13 Jan 2015
The 1996 Political Settlement in South Africa: An Analysis of the Primary Strands of the Negotiations and its Most Public Actors
IPS Paper No. 5
This paper examines how exclusions, in regards to enfranchisement and land ownership that were essential components of the political settlement following the second Boer war, led directly to the armed resistance of the 1960s. The mutually damaging stalemate between the power contenders and the white government of the day triggered a period of preliminary talks and formal negotiations which resulted in a political settlement, finally codified in 1996. It examines the primary actors – the African National Congress and the National Party, but notes that these parties or movements also had allies and contrary groups. This settlement has lasted at least 18 years, or 20 years, if the interim arrangements which resulted in a democratic election are identified as the turning point. There are no obvious reasons to suggest a re-emergence of politically motivated conflict, however, warning signs suggest that the political settlement is fraying.
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