An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
The Constitution of South Africa: A Contextual Analysis
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
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 £16.95BACK TO TOP