Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
22 September 2010

New book: Heinz Klug – The Constitution of South Africa: A Contextual analysis

The Constitution of South Africa: A Contextual Analysis

Heinz Klug

South Africa’s 1996 ‘Final’ Constitution is widely recognised as the crowning achievement of the country’s dramatic transition to democracy. This transition began with the unbanning of the liberation movements and release of Nelson Mandela from prison in February 1990. This book presents the South African Constitution in its historical and social context, providing students and teachers of constitutional law and politics an invaluable resource through which to understand the emergence, development and continuing application of the supreme law of South Africa. The chapters present a detailed analysis of the different provisions of the Constitution, providing a clear, accessible and informed view of the constitution’s structure and role in the new South Africa. The main themes include: a description of the historical context and emergence of the constitution through the democratic transition; the implementation of the constitution and its role in building a new democratic society; the interaction of the constitution with the existing law and legal institutions, including the common law, indigenous law and traditional authorities; as well as a focus on the strains placed on the new constitutional order by both the historical legacies of apartheid and new problems facing South Africa. Specific chapters address the historical context, the legal, political and philosophical sources of the constitution, its principles and structure, the bill of rights, parliament and executive as well as the constitution’s provisions for cooperative government and regionalism. The final chapter discusses the challenges facing the Constitution and its aspirations in a democratic South Africa.The book is written in an accessible style, with an emphasis on clarity and concision. It includes a list of references for further reading at the end of each chapter.

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

1. THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH AFRICA: CONTEXT AND HISTORY

2. DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION

3. SOURCES OF THE CONSTITUTION

4. CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES

5. THE BILL OF RIGHTS

6. PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY

7. EXECUTIVE GOVERNMENT

8. CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE OF THE COURTS

9. CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNMENT, REGIONALISM AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

10. THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH AFRICA: FACING THE FUTURE

Please click here to read the full table of contents

The Author

Heinz Klug is Evjue-Bascom Professor of Law and Director of the Global Legal Studies Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School and an Honorary Senior Research Associate in the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand.

July 2010     311pp     Pbk     9781841137377    £16.95

Please click here to order on-line

Please click here for information about the Constitutional Systems of the World series

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