In February 1990 President FW de Klerk announced Nelson Mandela's release and began the slow dismantling of the Apartheid system. In 1992 a whites-only referendum approved the reform process. On 27 April 1994 the first democratic elections were held in South Africa, with people of all races being able to vote.
The African National Congress won 62.65% of the vote. The National Party 20.39%, Inkatha Freedom Party 10.54%, Freedom Front 2.2%, Democratic Party 1.7%, Pan Africanist Congress 1.2%, African Christian Democratic Party 0.5%. A total of nineteen political parties participated and 22 million South Africans voted.
A Government of National Unity was formed, with Nelson Mandela as president and FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki as deputy presidents.