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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Innovations in the interim and 1996 South African constitutions
Author:Sarkin, JeremyISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:The Review - International Commission of Jurists
Issue:60
Pages:57-78
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:constitutions
1996
Abstract:Negotiations between the apartheid government and liberation movements in South Africa delivered a two-phase transition to democracy. The first phase began on 27 April 1994 when the interim Constitution came into force. The drafting of the final Constitution by an elected Constitutional Assembly, culminating in the adoption ceremony on 8 May 1996, was the second phase. The shift to a constitutional system, with the powers of constitutional review assigned to a new, Constitutional Court, means that henceforth in South Africa the law will be what the Constitution, and not the politicians, says it is. The present article details the constitutional drafting process and points to major themes and contentious issues which had to be dealt with. It notes that both constitutions emphasize individual human rights, freedom and equality. The Bill of Rights in the final Constitution protects more rights than the interim Constitution did. The equality clause has been strengthened. Like its predecessor, the 1996 Constitution affords recognition to traditional authorities and customary law, and provides for State institutions supporting democracy. An ongoing question is whether the list electoral system is the correct one for South Africa or whether a hybrid situated somewhere between the constituency and list systems would be preferable. Notes, ref.
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