Africa Notes: South Africa: The Politics of Constitution-Making - May 1991
May 30, 1991
The process aimed at structuring a new political system for South Africa stalled in late May 1991, when negotiations between the government and the African National Congress were formally suspended by the ANC.
This means that the two sides will continue to talk to each other, but instead of progressing from discussing preliminary problems to negotiating the substance of a new constitution, they will move backward into dealing with a new set of prenegotiations hurdles. Violence in the townships, the role of the Inkatha Freedom Party led by KwaZulu Chief Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and charges of police bias have been added to an agenda that previously focused on the release of political prisoners, the return of exiles, and the repeal of apartheid legislation as the priority obstacles that must be removed before the new political system can be discussed. The expanded agenda is a manifestation of the two sides' attempts to control the constitution-making process and thus the distribution of power in the new South Africa.