The Quantum Leap – FW de Klerk’s speech to Parliament on 2 February 1990
On 2 February 1990, South African President FW de Klerk delivered a speech at the opening of the 1990 session of the Parliament of South Africa.
He announced sweeping reforms that marked the beginning of the negotiated transition from apartheid to constitutional democracy. The reforms included the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC), The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other anti-apartheid organizations, the release of political prisoners -including Nelson Mandela- the end of the state of emergency and a moratorium on the death penalty.
FW de Klerk’s actions and speech marked the official end of segregation policies and the official start of the negotiations that led to a constitutional democracy with equal rights for all South Africans.