Cabinet of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela took the oath as President of South Africa on 10 May 1994 and announced a Government of National Unity on 11 May 1994.[1] The cabinet included members of Mandela's African National Congress, the National Party and Inkatha Freedom Party, as it was required under the terms of the Clause 88 of the Interim Constitution of South Africa that all parties winning more than 20 seats in National Assembly be given representation in the cabinet.

Government of National Unity

1st Cabinet of Republic of South Africa
(since 1994 democratic elections)
Nelson Mandela (1994)
Date formed10 May 1994 (1994-05-10)
Date dissolved14 June 1999 (1999-06-14)
People and organisations
Head of governmentPresident Nelson Mandela
Status in legislatureMajority
Opposition partyFreedom Front (1994–96)
National Party (1996–97)
New National Party (from 1997)
Opposition leaderConstand Viljoen (1994–96)
F. W. de Klerk (1996–97)
Marthinus van Schalkwyk (from 1997)
Legislature term(s)5 years, 1 month and 4 days
PredecessorDe Klerk (TEC)
SuccessorMbeki I


In the election of 27 April 1994, the African National Congress obtained the majority of seats in the National Assembly, and thus could form the government on its own. The two chief parties who made use of the provision for a GNU were the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party, both of which obtained cabinet portfolios for their leaders and other members of parliament. President Nelson Mandela also invited other parties to join the cabinet, even though they did not obtain the minimum twenty seats in the National Assembly.

The aims of the GNU centred on correcting social and economic injustices left by the legacy of Apartheid. The main aim, however, was that of creating a final constitution. The constitution was essentially a two-step process. During the CODESA talks – started in 1991 – the NP (National Party) and ANC (African National Congress) agreed to create an interim constitution, which would be the basis for a final constitution. The final constitution was to be drawn up by the two chambers of parliament – the Senate and National Assembly.

However, it was important to the GNU that the opinions of ordinary South Africans be included into the constitution. From 1994 to 1996 the GNU organised large media campaigns. This was not easy, considering that they needed to reach 40 million people, most of whom were illiterate or didn't have television. Slogans such as "You’ve made your mark, now have your say" were used to gain public attention for the cause. Over 1.7 million written submissions were collected over the two years. These included opinions on matters ranging from the death penalty to abortion.

On 8 May 1996 the final Constitution was adopted by the National Assembly and one day later, second Deputy President of the Republic F. W. de Klerk announced the withdrawal of his National Party from the GNU, with effect from 30 June.

The requirement for the GNU lapsed at the end of the first Parliament in 1999. Even so, the Inkatha Freedom Party continued to hold seats in the government, as minority partners, until the elections of 2004.


Note: Opaque background indicates the member did not serve the full term of Mandela's cabinet.
Post Minister Image Term Party
President Nelson Mandela 1994 1999 ANC
Deputy President Thabo Mbeki 1994 1999 ANC
F. W. de Klerk 1994 1996 NP
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs
(renamed in 1996)
Derek Hanekom MP 1994 1999 ANC
Kraai van Niekerk MP 1994 1996 NP
Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Ben Ngubane MP 1994 1996 IFP
Minister of Correctional Services Ben Skosana MP 1998 1999 IFP
Sipho Mzimela MP 1994 1998 IFP
Minister of Defence Joe Modise MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Education Sibusiso Bengu MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Pallo Jordan MP 1996 1999 ANC
Dawie de Villiers MP 1994 1996 NP
Minister of Finance Derek Keys MP 1994 1994 NP
Chris Liebenberg MP 1994 1996
Trevor Manuel MP 1996 1999 ANC
Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfred Nzo MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of General Affairs John Mavuso MP 1996 1999 ANC
Minister of Health Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Home Affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP 1994 1999 IFP
Minister of Housing Joe Slovo MP 1994 1995 (died) ANC
Minister of Justice Dullah Omar MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Labour Tito Mboweni MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Minerals and Energy Penuell Maduna MP 1996 1999 ANC
Pik Botha MP 1994 1996 NP
Minister of Public Enterprises Stella Sigcau MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Public Works Jeff Radebe MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Social Affairs and Development Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi MP 1996 1999 SACP/ANC
Minister of Sport Steve Tshwete MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Transport Mac Maharaj MP 1994 1999 ANC
Minister of Trade and Industry Trevor Manuel MP 1994 1996 ANC
Alec Erwin MP 1994 1996 ANC


Cabinet changes and reshuffles:

  • Minister of Finance, Derek Keys, resigned in mid-1994 and was replaced by Chris Liebenberg[2]
  • Cabinet reshuffle in March / April 1996, following resignation of Chris Liebenberg
  • Cabinet reshuffle in May 1996, taking effect 1 July 1996, upon the withdrawal of the National Party (NP) from the Cabinet[3]
  • Replacement of Bantu Holomisa as Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism by Peter Mokaba in August 1996.[4]

See also


  1. "Mandela Completes His Cabinet, Giving Buthelezi a Post". The New York Times. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  2. Daily News Briefings, ANC, 6 July 1994.
  3. ANC Daily News Briefing, 14 May 1996.
  4. ANC Daily News Briefing, 27 July 1996
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