The transition from apartheid to a democratic South Africa has been called the “negotiated revolution”. The racist regime was not expelled by force of arms, but all political parties after 1990 negotiated a new constitution together. When the country became almost ungovernable in the 1980s due to protests and martial law, industrial relations had already developed into a place of negotiation. Non-racist trade unions established themselves as negotiating partners in the factories and fought apartheid. Leading business circles in South Africa and multinational companies also tried to overcome the crisis of apartheid in this way. The article examines these developments and the strategy changes of both the resistance movements against apartheid and within business circles with regard to industrial relations.