“I deliberately posponed my second meeting with Nelson Mandela until after I had delivered my speech of 2 February 1990. On the evening of 9 February he was again brought to a meeting with me at Tuynhuys.  We had prepared our plans for his release but I knew that it would be necessary to consult with him about the logistical details.  We wanted to release him, at short notice, two days later in Johannesburg.  We were worried about the risk of an uncontrollable gathering to greet him after his release and felt that we could avoid this if we kept the time and place secret until just before it was due to take place.

“His reaction to these arrangements was clearly negative.  To my surprise he wanted his release to be delayed for at least a week so that he, his family and his organisation could make the necessary preparations. He also told me that he wanted to be released in the Cape – as he put it, he wanted to be able to walk through the gates of the Victor Verster prison a free man.  After some quick consultation with my colleagues, we agreed to a compromise:  he could be released from Victor Verster, but it was impossible for us to change the date of his release.  He was initially adamant about postponing his release for at least a week.  In the end, he reluctantly accepted the compromise…

“During these first two meetings Mandela and I established a reasonable rapport with one another.  We accepted one another’s integrity – but in the full knowledge that we were opponents with divergent goals.  We realised that we both bore  the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that there would be a negotiated settlement and we were both committed to carrying out this responsibility.  This tacit understanding would carry us through the first years of tentative negotiations, through the agreements we reached at Groote Schuur, and Pretoria and finally to the first multiparty negotiations at Codesa (the Convention for a Democratic South Africa) in December, 1991.”

“The Last Trek: a New Beginning”, FW de Klerk, pp 168/169