Presidency of F.W. de Klerk
De Klerk and Mandela in Davos, 1992
Early in 1989, Botha suffered a stroke; he was prevailed upon to resign in February 1989. He was succeeded as president later that year by F.W. de Klerk. Despite his initial reputation as a conservative, de Klerk moved decisively towards negotiations to end the political stalemate in the country. In his opening address to parliament on 2 February 1990, de Klerk announced that he would repeal discriminatory laws and lift the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the United Democratic Front.
The Land Act was brought to an end. De Klerk also made his first public commitment to release Nelson Mandela, to return to press freedom and to suspend the death penalty. Media restrictions were lifted and political prisoners not guilty of common-law crimes were released.On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years of confinement.
Having been instructed by the UN Security Council to end its long-standing involvement in South-West Africa / Namibia, and in the face of military stalemate in Southern Angola, and an escalation in the size and cost of the combat with the Cubans, the Angolans, and SWAPO forces and the growing cost of the border war, South Africa negotiated a change of control; Namibia became independent on 21 March 1990.