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The constitutional court, human rights and democracy in South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Bozzoli B en
dc.contributor.author Van Huyssteen EF en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T11:14:14Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T11:14:14Z
dc.date.created 1995 en
dc.date.submitted 2003 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/106395
dc.description.abstract This study focuses on the role of the South African constitution-making process, particularly the work of the Constitutional Court, in the nature and extent of democratisation in South Africa. Against the background of an account of early constitutional thinking on the part of the major actors, the negotiation and drafting of the interim and final constitutions, and the work of the Constitutional Court, the study uses a sociological analysis of the link between law and power to understand the ways in which law, particularly the constitution-making process, can be used to challenge and transform the prevailing configuration of power in South Africa. This configuration of power bears an uncomfortable resemblance to that which characterised apartheid, and presents a fundamental obstacle to the consolidation of meaningful democracy. This thesis aims to contribute to the struggle for the democratisation of socio-economic power in South Africa by investigating the potential of law, particularly constitutionalism and rights, to be harnessed to such a project. <BR><BR> The Constitutional Court is a central actor in the ongoing constitution-making process, and the thesis tells the story of the genesis, power and work of the Court, particularly the impact of the Court on democratisation. The Constitution contains language and provisions which supply the tools for transformation, including the requirements of equality and dignity, transparent and accountable government, and socio-economic rights. In addition, the extensive power of the Constitutional Court provides an opportunity to pursue counter-hegemonic goals in a forum where the impact of vested interests is more constrained than in the political arena. However, the Court has constructed a mainly conventional notion of its own power in relation to that of the legislature and executive which, while protecting its own position from the wrath of government, results in its reluctance to intervene in a number of aspects of governance, including, crucially, the allocation of resources. In this sense, the Court's work has contributed to a limited notion and practice of democracy. But there are significant spaces for contestation, created mainly by the Court's own notion of democracy. The Court's emphasis on substantive equality and dignity, and on the protection of the weak and marginal, which it conceptualises as fidelity to both the content of and the values underlying the Constitution,, can and have been used to enlist the Court in more transformative politics. The Court's work thus also provides spaces for subversion and deepening of the limited notion of democracy which is currently hegemonic. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Political science en
dc.subject Political ideologies en
dc.title The constitutional court, human rights and democracy in South Africa en
dc.type Doctoral degree en
dc.description.degree PhD en


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