Originally published in 1997, South Africa: The Battle over the Constitution analyses rivaling positions in the South African constitutional debate from the early 1990s, via the 1993 interim constitution to the adoption and certification of the new, 'Final' Constitution in December 1996.
A theoretical framework is developed to analyze the constitutional structure of the contesting constitutional models and the book looks into their potential for addressing the problems of violence, social inequality and ethnic tension and for achieving legitimacy and constitutionalism.
It argues that the constitutional 'solutions' are premised on incomparable conceptions of South African reality, and that the Final Constitution includes elements based on incompatible world-views. The compromises required by the 'constitutional moment' could pose problems for the ’constitutional function’.
The book also discusses other factors influencing the consolidation of a constitutional democracy in South Africa, such as the role of the Constitutional Court and the attempts to create legitimacy for the constitution by broad public participation in the constitution-making process.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Rivalling Realities. 1. Introduction. 2. Obstacles to Democratic Consolidation. Part 2: The Quest for Solutions. 3. Constitutions and Constitutionalism. 4. The Justice Model: Human Rights and Distributive Justice. 5. Consociational Models: Power-Sharing for Stability. Part 3: Assessing the Contenders. 6. Methodological Critique: Valid Models for South Africa? 7. Normative Acceptability. 8. Practical Feasibility. Part 4: The 'Final' Constitution. 9. Constitutional Compromises. 10. Dynamics of Constitution-Making and Constitutionalism.
’This is an unusual and thought provoking book...’ Ethnic and Racial Studies