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Interpreting ConstitutionsA Comparative Study$
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Jeffrey Goldsworthy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226474

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226474.001.0001

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South Africa: From Constitutional Promise to Social Transformation

South Africa: From Constitutional Promise to Social Transformation

(p.266) 6 South Africa: From Constitutional Promise to Social Transformation
Interpreting Constitutions

Heinz Klug

Oxford University Press

South Africa's emergence as a constitutional democracy after four decades of apartheid and nearly three centuries of colonialism is rightly heralded as a miracle. With 243 sections and seven schedules, the constitution of South Africa also represents an attempt to constitutionalise all the hopes, fears, and conflicts of its democratic transition. This process is epitomised by the two-stage constitution-making process in which the conflicting parties first negotiated an ‘interim’ constitution and then, after democratic elections, empowered the new Parliament to sit as a constitutional assembly in order to produce a ‘final’ constitution. This chapter describes South Africa's constitution, the union and apartheid constitutions, democratic transition, constitutional principles, the 1993 interim constitution, regionalism and cooperative governance, rule of law and the Bill of Rights, amending procedures, Constitutional Court, sources of constitutional interpretation, constitution as statute, modes of interpretation, duty to develop the common law and customary law, internal directives for interpretation, problems of interpretation, certification and the problem of future constitutional amendments, and legal legacies and popular experience of the law.

Keywords:   South Africa, constitutional interpretation, constitution, constitutional democracy, apartheid, regionalism, rule of law, Constitutional Court, constitutional amendments, common law

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