Transition and negotiation, 1990-1994

'Laws do not make a better society, people do ... it is crucial that the people of South Africa unite around a common respect for the Constitution'

Serialisation of The Soul of a Nation - Constitution-Making in South Africa. We will Publish the entire book in the next two weeks.

On 10 December 1996, the signatures on the country's new and final Constitution fixed a milestone beside the road of South African history, and marked the way for a new democratic order. The Constitution was also the birth certificate of the South African nation, a text adopted by an overwhelming 85 per cent of the Constitutional Assembly.

This Constitution is one of the most advanced in the world, establishing a constitutional democracy in which a finely Grafted Bill of Rights enjoys pride of place. It divides government into national, provincial, and local spheres. In order to avoid the tensions and conflict inherent in this separation, a principle of co-operative governance was adopted, which obliges each sphere of government to co-operate for the greater good of the entire country. The Constitution makes provision for an independent and impartial judicial system including a powerful Constitutional Court. An entire chapter is devoted to the establishment of state institutions designed to support a constitutional democracy, and a representative, open, and accountable government is guaranteed. It also obliges the civil service to be broadly representative and to conduct itself in a transparent and accountable manner. In addition, all institutions of government must adhere to strict financial and accounting procedures.

Read the full online book: The Soul of a Nation

Last updated : 10-Aug-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 21-Mar-2011

Support South African History Online

Dear friends of SAHO

South African History Online (SAHO) needs your support.

SAHO is one of the most visited websites in South Africa with over 6 million unique users a year. Our goal is to fulfill our mandate and continue to build, and make accessible, a new people’s history of South Africa and Africa.

Please help us deliver this by contributing upwards of $1.00 a month for the next 12 months.

Make a donation here and send us a message of support.