Constitution of South Africa
The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was drawn up by the Parliament elected in 1994 in the South African general election, 1994. It was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997, replacing the Interim Constitution of 1993.
- In some countries the Constitution only formalises, in a legal instrument, a historical consensus of values and aspirations evolved incrementally from a stable and unbroken past to accommodate the needs of the future. The South African Constitution is different: it retains from the past only what is defensible and represents a decisive break from, and a ringing rejection of, that part of the past which is disgracefully racist, authoritarian, insular, and repressive and a vigorous identification of and commitment to a democratic, universalistic, caring and aspirationally egalitarian ethos expressly articulated in the Constitution. The contrast between the past which it repudiates and the future to which it seeks to commit the nation is stark and dramatic.
- Ismail Mahomed, State v. Makwanyane, 1995 (3) SA 391 (CC)
- Encyclopedic article on Constitution of South Africa at Wikipedia