Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Post-Apartheid Constitutions
Perspectives on South Africa’s Basic Law

Edited by Penelope Andrews and Stephen Ellmann

"This book helps us to understand more fully how our Constitution was created, and why it took the form it did."

Nelson Mandela

"The themes canvassed in this volume provide the reader with a rich array of perspectives that will resonate beyond the borders of South Africa."

Yvonne Mokgoro

In a book which offers a unique range of perspectives on the development of South Africa’s Interim and final Constitutions, scholars, practising lawyers, members of the judiciary and the Human Rights Commission, and political leaders illuminate the many issues of process, substance and context presented by the Constitutions.

Essays on process make clear the challenges and the triumphs of South Africa’s constitutional rebirth. The authors examine such questions as the extent of popular involvement in South Africa’s exercise in constitution writing, the impact of political force, human transformation, and reasoned persuasion on the agreements that were reached, and the Constitutional Court’s extraordinary role in assessing the negotiators’ efforts.

Contributions on the substance of the Constitution address both its human rights provisions and issues of governmental structure and institutional context. The articles on rights attest to the breadth of the new rights protections, with essays on free speech, socio-economic rights and their application to private actors, women’s rights, traditional authority, cultural rights, and the rights of non-citizens.

Chapters on structure and context reflect how important the institutions through which a government operates are to the actual implementation of the Constitution’s aspirations. These wide-ranging pieces look at three of the newly created structures of South African government — the federal aspects of the Constitutions, the Constitutional Court, and the Human Rights Commission — and at the process of change in the criminal justice system, a particularly important institution carried over from an old order.

Penelope Andrews is an Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law.   More info →

Stephen Ellmann is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at New York Law School.   More info →

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