Four years and three months ago I said in Parliament that the time had come for us to break out of the cycle of conflict, tension and violent struggle in which we had been embroiled for decades.

I said that the table had been laid for sensible leaders to begin talking about a new dispensation and to reach an understanding by way of dialogue and discussion. 

I said that the agenda would include a new and dynamic constitution; the removal of any form of discrimination and domination; equality before an independent judiciary; the protection of minorities as well as of individual rights; freedom of religion; and universal franchise. 

During the past week we have seen the realisation of that vision: 

• we have a new and dynamic constitution;
• we have the assurance that there will be no domination of any South Africans by any others;
• we have seen the end of discrimination;
• we have equality before the law;
• minority rights have been secured;
• individual rights and all these other rights are guaranteed by a charter of fundamental rights and by a strong and effective constitutional court; and
• during the past week we have held our first universal franchise election. 

After so many centuries, we will finally have a Government which represents all South Africans.  After so many centuries all South Africans are now free. 

Hierdie eerste verkiesing het nie sonder probleme plaas gevind nie. 

Daar was ernstige haakplekke, gebreke en ook onreëlmatighede.  Daar word hard gewerk om binne die raamwerk van die wet, hierdie probleme te hanteer  en gepaste stappe sal gedoen word. 

Ten spyte van al hierdie probleme kan daar egter geen twyfel wees nie dat die ANC landswyd die meeste stemme gekry het en die NP die tweede meeste. Die Nasionale Party sal tydens die ratifiseringsproses seker maak dat hy en ander partye alles moontlik kry waarop hulle geregtig  is en dat die foute sover  moontlik reggestel sal word.   

Die nuwe Parlement, die Regering en die Streeksregerings moet nou saamgestel word.  Ons moet vorentoe. 

Ondanks al die probleme is ‘n dankwoord vanpas.   Talle mense het hard gewerk om die verkiesing moontlik te maak.  Hulle het min tyd gehad en daar was groot veranderings tussenin – soos die dubbel stembrief en die IVP se toetrede.   

Ek wil ook my dank aan Regter Johan Kriegler en die OVK betuig vir hulle harde werk.  Die feit dat ons kritiek het, doen nie afbreuk hieraan nie.  Aan  instansies soos die Lugmag wat teen die einde moes inspring om te help, eweneens ‘n woord van dank.  Baie dankie ook aan die Veiligheidsmagte en veral die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisie vir hulle bydrae om ‘n vreedsame verkiesing te verseker. 

En veral aan die kiesers, my dank.  In die besonder natuurlik vir die wat die Nasionale Party ondersteun het.  Ons sal u nie teleurstel nie. 

Die gees onder kiesers tydens die verkiesing was ‘n openbaring wat ons nooit mag vergeet nie.  Daar was verdraagsaamheid, geduld, opgewektheid en ‘n sigbare versugting na versoening en vrede. 

Ons mense wil hê dat die nuwe Suid-Afrika moet werk, dat die verkiesing moes slaag, dat die verbittering van die verlede opsy geskuif moet word. 

Hierdie gesindheid moet daagliks, in die jare wat kom, ‘n riglyn vir alle leiers wees van wat die mense van Suid-Afrika van hulle verwag. 

I also said four years ago that Mr Nelson Mandela would play an important role and noted that he had declared himself  willing to make a constructive contribution to the peaceful political process in South Africa. 

During the past four years Mr Mandela has played such a role.  His role was a leading and an honourable one.   I thank him and congratulate him. 

He deserves the congratulations, good wishes and prayers of all South Africans. 

I look forward to working with him constructively within the Government of National Unity in our common effort to promote the well being of all our people.    

During the past four years we have proved that we can work together.  Despite our differences, our relationship has become a symbol of the ability of South Africans from widely different backgrounds to co-operate in the national interest.    This spirit will be essential to the success of the Government of National Unity. 

Mr Mandela will soon assume the highest office in the land with all the awesome responsibility which it bears.  He will have to exercise this great responsibility in a balanced manner which will assure South Africans from all our communities that he has all their interests at heart.     I am confident that this will be his intention. 

Mr Mandela has walked a long road, and now stands at the top of the hill.  A traveller  would sit and admire the view.  But the man of destiny knows that beyond this hill lies another and another.  The journey is never complete.  As he contemplates the next hill, I hold out my hand to Mr Mandela – in friendship and in co-operation. 

As far as my own position is concerned, I should like to make it clear that I believe that my political task is just beginning.   Everything that we have done so far – the four years of difficult and often frustrating negotiations, the problems and the crises – have been simply a preparation for the work that lies ahead. 

The greatest challenge which we will face in the Government of National Unity will be to defend and nurture our new Constitution.  Our greatest task will be  to ensure that the our young and vulnerable democracy takes root and flourishes. 

• We must make the Transitional Constitution a living organism. 

• We must remain vigilant against any attempt by any level of government to erode any aspect of the Constitution or of  individual,  minority or religious rights. 

• Our courts must build up a sound basis of case law which will provide further guarantees for the maintenance of constitutional rights. 

• We must rally all the genuinely democratic institutions of our society in a grand coalition for the defence of the constitution and its principles. 

We must also ensure that we adopt the right approaches in the economic and social spheres.  We need a strong and a vibrant economy based on the tried and tested principles of free enterprise.  Only then can we ensure that we will generate the wealth which we need to address the pressing social needs of large sections of our population.   We must ensure that social services are affordable, caring and effective. 

I will be in a good position in the Government of National Unity to promote these objectives.  I will not be there at the whim of any person or any party, but in my own right as the representative of many millions of South Africans.   Just as we could not rule South Africa effectively without the support of the ANC and its supporters, no Government will be able to rule South Africa effectively without the support of the people and the institutions that I represent.  I enthusiastically pledge that support in the interest of working for national reconciliation and reconstruction. 

Ek glo dat ook die Nasionale Party in ‘n goeie posisie is om ‘n sleutelbydrae in hierdie verband te maak.  Die verandering wat in die afgelope aantal jare in die Nasionale Party plaasgevind het, is niks minder as ‘n wonderwerk nie.  Dit word ten volle deur die verwagte verkiesingsuitslag onderskraag.  Alhoewl ons op die oomblik nie die grootse party is nie, kan daar min twyfel wees dat ons party die mees verteenwoordigend is van al ons bevolkingsgroepe.    Dit is ‘n stewige grondslag vir die toekoms en vir toekomstige groei.  

Ek wens almal in ons party – sy leiers, sy werkers en ondersteuners – geluk met ons vertoning in die verkiesing.   Dankie vir die grootsheid wat julle aan die dag gelê het om u werk en die veranderinge moontlik te maak.  En dankie vir julle harde werk. 

The National Party represents to a certain extent the nucleus of our new nation. Within our party we have already achieved the reconciliation which South Africa as a whole needs.  We believe we have the recipe for the future and we plan to spread our message and win further support until, one day,  we shall be the largest party in the country.  Our objective will be to prove this at the polls in five years time. 

Ek weet daar is diegene wat skepties staan teenoor die nuwe bedeling,  en daar is ook diegene  wat dit selfs heftig sal teenstaan. 

As dit vir hulle oor godsdiensvryheid, taal en kultuurregte gaan,  dan moet ons saamstaan, want ek sal ook daarvoor veg.  As dit egter vir hulle oor rassisme en onmoontlike drome gaan, dan is hulle op ‘n verkeerde pad wat hulle geen heil inhou nie.  Dit is ‘n nuttelose koers  –  laat vaar dit.  Die verkiesing het vir eens en altyd bewys dat die minderhede wat oplossings op hulle mede Suid-Afrikaners wil afdwing, in ‘n doodloopstraat is.  

I should also like to use this opportunity to thank all those who have helped to bring South Africa to this new era.  The list is very long. It includes our negotiators, the Cabinet, officials, the security forces who have helped to keep the process on track;  foreign leaders who have given us so much support; my party; and thousands of ordinary people who have remembered us in their prayers. Most importantly, I must thank my wife, Marike, and my family. 

This is an important milestone in the history of our country – perhaps the most important that we will ever see.   

Next Tuesday I shall lay down my responsibilities as State President, secure in the knowledge that we have achieved what we set out to achieve four years and three months ago.  I shall be handing over the Presidency to Mr Mandela, but I shall not be leaving Government.   I shall be surrendering power – not to  the majority of the moment, but to the South African people.  I shall do so with the strong conviction that henceforth sovereignty will ultimately lie with them and in the Constitution.  

A power greater than man has given South Africa the spirit, and the chance, to go forward in peace.  God Almighty has been kind to us.  Now it is up to the political leaders to join together for the good of our people and to complete the task of healing and reconciliation. 

God bless South Africa. Nkosi I Sikele I Afrika.