Constitutional Court of South Africa
The Constitutional Court of South Africa is a supreme constitutional court established by the Constitution of South Africa. It was the final appellate court for constitutional matters. Since the enactment of the Superior Courts Act in 2013, the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to hear any matter if it is in the interests of justice for it to do so; the Court was first established by the Interim Constitution of 1993, its first session began in February 1995. It has continued in existence under the Constitution of 1996; the Court sits in the city of Johannesburg. After occupying commercial offices in Braamfontein, it now sits in a purpose-built complex on Constitution Hill; the first court session in the new complex was held in February 2004. The Constitutional Court consists of eleven judges who are appointed by the President of South Africa from a list drawn up by the Judicial Service Commission; the judges serve for a term of twelve years. The Court is headed by the Chief Justice of the Deputy Chief Justice.
The Constitution requires. In practice, all eleven judges hear every case. Decisions are reached by a majority and written reasons are given; the movement for the establishment of a constitutional court in South Africa was begun in 1920 by the African National Congress. By 1956, judges and liberals in the country had drawn up a bill of rights in support of the creation of the court; the first meeting of selected members of the court took place in 1994. In 1995, President Nelson Mandela appeared at the court to deliver a speech for its commissioning. According to South African History Online Mandela said, “The last time I appeared in court was to hear whether or not I was going to be sentenced to death. For myself and my colleagues we were not. Today I rise not as an accused, but on behalf of the people of South Africa, to inaugurate a court South Africa has never had, a court on which hinges the future of our democracy." Constitution Hill is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow.
The hill overlooks downtown Johannesburg to the South and the wealthy northern suburbs of Houghton and Sandton to the North. The court building was constructed using bricks from the demolished awaiting-trial wing of the former prison. Most of the prison was demolished to make way for the new court, but the stairwells were kept and incorporated into the new building as a reminder of the Constitution's transformative aspirations. Inside the main room, a row of horizontal windows has been set up behind the seats of the judges. While the windows are at head-height on the inside, they are on ground level on the outside; those sitting in the court have a view of the feet of passersby moving along, above the heads of the judges, to remind them that in a constitutional democracy the role of judges is to act in the interests of the people of the nation, rather than in their own self-interest. The first court session in the new building at this location was held in February 2004; the court building is open to the public who want to attend hearings or view the art gallery in the court atrium.
The court houses a collection of more than 200 contemporary artworks chosen by Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs, including works by Gerard Sekoto, William Kentridge, Cecil Skotnes. The doors to the Court have the 27 rights of the Bill of Rights carved into them, written in all 11 official languages of South Africa. One of the stairwells from the old awaiting-trial block with the Portuguese words A luta continua written in lights, has been retained. Sections 174 to 178 of the Constitution deal with the appointment of judicial officers. Judges may not be members of Parliament, of political parties. To select judges the Judicial Service Commission first draws up a list of candidates, which must have at least three more names than the number of vacancies; the Commission does this after holding public interviews. The President, after consultation with the Chief Justice and the leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly, chooses the judges from this list. In terms of section 176 of the Constitution, judges of the Constitutional Court serve for a non-renewable term of 12 years or until they reach the age of 70, whichever is earlier.
Section 4 of the Judges' Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act 47 of 2001 has extended the term limit to an effective term of 15 years including prior service on other courts. The effect is that judges who had served more than 3 years before their appointment to the Constitutional Court retain a 12-year term limit; the same section extends the retirement age to 75. However, in terms of section 3, if the judge has been a judge for 15 years by the time she reaches the age of 65, she may voluntarily retire. Following the retirement of Justice Johann van der Westhuizen in January 2016, there was one vacancy on the Court which the Judicial Service Commission struggled to fill due to the small number of applicants. Since the retirement of Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, there are now two vacancies on the Court. Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson Chief Justice Pius Langa (born 1939, appointed by Nelson Mandela in 1994, elevated to Deputy President of the Court by Nelson Mandela in 1997, became Deputy
A political spectrum is a system of classifying different political positions upon one or more geometric axes that represent independent political dimensions. Most long-standing spectra include a left wing, which referred to seating arrangements in the French parliament after the Revolution. On a left–right spectrum and socialism are regarded internationally as being on the left, Liberalism can mean different things in different contexts: sometimes on the left; those with an intermediate outlook are sometimes classified as centrists. That said and neoliberals are called centrists too. Politics that rejects the conventional left–right spectrum is known as syncretic politics, though the label tends to mischaracterize positions that have a logical location on a two-axis spectrum because they seem randomly brought together on a one-axis left-right spectrum. Political scientists have noted that a single left–right axis is insufficient for describing the existing variation in political beliefs and include other axes.
Though the descriptive words at polar opposites may vary in popular biaxial spectra the axes are split between socio-cultural issues and economic issues, each scaling from some form of individualism to some form of communitarianism. The terms right and left refer to political affiliations originating early in the French Revolutionary era of 1789–1799 and referred to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France; as seen from the Speaker's seat at the front of the Assembly, the aristocracy sat on the right and the commoners sat on the left, hence the terms right-wing politics and left-wing politics. The defining point on the ideological spectrum was the Ancien Régime. "The Right" thus implied support for aristocratic or royal interests and the church, while "The Left" implied support for republicanism and civil liberties. Because the political franchise at the start of the revolution was narrow, the original "Left" represented the interests of the bourgeoisie, the rising capitalist class.
Support for laissez-faire commerce and free markets were expressed by politicians sitting on the left because these represented policies favorable to capitalists rather than to the aristocracy, but outside parliamentary politics these views are characterized as being on the Right. The reason for this apparent contradiction lies in the fact that those "to the left" of the parliamentary left, outside official parliamentary structures represent much of the working class, poor peasantry and the unemployed, their political interests in the French Revolution lay with opposition to the aristocracy and so they found themselves allied with the early capitalists. However, this did not mean that their economic interests lay with the laissez-faire policies of those representing them politically; as capitalist economies developed, the aristocracy became less relevant and were replaced by capitalist representatives. The size of the working class increased as capitalism expanded and began to find expression through trade unionist, socialist and communist politics rather than being confined to the capitalist policies expressed by the original "left".
This evolution has pulled parliamentary politicians away from laissez-faire economic policies, although this has happened to different degrees in different countries those with a history of issues with more authoritarian-left countries, such as the Soviet Union or China under Mao Zedong. Thus the word "Left" in American political parlance may refer to "liberalism" and be identified with the Democratic Party, whereas in a country such as France these positions would be regarded as more right-wing, or centrist overall, "left" is more to refer to "socialist" or "social-democratic" positions rather than "liberal" ones. For a century, social scientists have considered the problem of how best to describe political variation. In 1950, Leonard W. Ferguson analyzed political values using ten scales measuring attitudes toward: birth control, capital punishment, communism, law, theism, treatment of criminals and war. Submitting the results to factor analysis, he was able to identify three factors, which he named religionism and nationalism.
He defined religionism as belief in God and negative attitudes toward birth control. This system was derived empirically, as rather than devising a political model on purely theoretical grounds and testing it, Ferguson's research was exploratory; as a result of this method, care must be taken in the interpretation of Ferguson's three factors, as factor analysis will output an abstract factor whether an objectively real factor exists or not. Although replication of the nationalism factor was inconsistent, the finding of religionism and humanitarianism had a number of replications by Ferguson and others. Shortly afterward, Hans Eysenck began researching political attitudes in Great Britain, he believed that there was something similar about the National Socialists on the one hand and the communists on the other, despite their opposite positions on the left–right axis. As Hans Eysenck described in his 1956 book Sense and
1920 South African general election
The 1920 South African general election was held for the 134 seats in the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, on 10 March 1920. This was for the third Union Parliament; the National Party won the largest number of seats, but not a majority. The South African Party minority government continued in office, with Unionist Party support in Parliament; this was the third successive term of SAP government, but only the second period with General Jan Smuts as Prime Minister. The first SAP premier had died in office during the previous Parliament; the National Party became the official opposition, for the first time. The South Africa Act 1909 had provided for a delimitation commission to define the boundaries for each electoral division; the representation by province, under the third delimitation report of 1919, is set out in the table below. The figures in brackets are the number of electoral divisions in the previous delimitation. If there is no figure in brackets the number was unchanged.
The vote totals in the table below may not give a complete picture of the balance of political opinion, because of unopposed elections and because contested seats may not have been fought by a candidate from all major parties. The total registered electorate was 421,790; the votes cast were 282,361. South Africa 1982: Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, published by Chris van Rensburg Publications
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity; the more extreme elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were". The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time, thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues.
Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s. According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself". In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more, "a meditation on—and theoretical rendition of—the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, trying to win it back". Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy.
Individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, individuals cannot be depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation. Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism, influenced by liberal stances; as these latter two terms have had different meanings over time and across countries, liberal conservatism has a wide variety of meanings. The term referred to the combination of economic liberalism, which champions laissez-faire markets, with the classical conservatism concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values, it contrasted itself with classical liberalism, which supported freedom for the individual in both the economic and social spheres. Over time, the general conservative ideology in many countries adopted economic liberal arguments and the term liberal conservatism was replaced with conservatism.
This is the case in countries where liberal economic ideas have been the tradition such as the United States and are thus considered conservative. In other countries where liberal conservative movements have entered the political mainstream, such as Italy and Spain, the terms liberal and conservative may be synonymous; the liberal conservative tradition in the United States combines the economic individualism of the classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism. A secondary meaning for the term liberal conservatism that has developed in Europe is a combination of more modern conservative views with those of social liberalism; this has developed as an opposition to the more collectivist views of socialism. This involves stressing what are now conservative views of free market economics and belief in individual responsibility, with social liberal views on defence of civil rights and support for a limited welfare state. In continental Europe, this is sometimes translated into English as social conservatism.
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism that combines liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or more the right-wing of the liberal movement. The roots of conservative liberalism are found at the beginning of the history of liberalism; until the two World Wars, in most European countries the political class was formed by conservative liberals, from Germany to Italy. Events after World War I brought the more radical version of classical liberalism to a more conservative type of liberalism. Libertarian conservatism describes certain political ideologies within the United States and Canada which combine libertarian economic issues with aspects of conservatism, its four main branches are constitutionalism, paleolibertarianism, small government conservatism and Christian libertarianism. They differ from paleoconservatives, in that they are in favor of more personal and economic freedom. Agorists such as Samuel Edward Konkin III labeled libertarian conservatism right-libertarianism.
In contrast to paleoconservatives, libertarian conservatives support strict laissez-faire policies such as free trade, opposition to any national bank and opposition to business regulations. They are vehemently opposed to environmental regulations, corporate welfare and other areas of economic intervention. Many conservatives in the United States, be
Leader of the Opposition (South Africa)
The Leader of the Opposition in South Africa is a title held by the leader of the largest party, not forming part of the government, in the most important house of Parliament. This was the House of Assembly from 1910 to 1994 and the National Assembly from 1994, he or she acts as the public face of the opposition, leading the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet and the challenge to the government on the floor of Parliament. They thus act as a chief critic of the government and attempt to portray the opposition as a feasible alternate government; the current Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly is Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance. He is the national party leader. Former national party leader Helen Zille is not a member of the National Assembly, but is the Premier of the Western Cape. In the list below, when the office is said to be vacant, there was no opposition party with more than ten seats and no clear Leader of the Opposition has been identified; this was the case between the formation of the Hertzog-Smuts coalition in 1933 and the breakaway of the Purified National Party in 1934.
It was the case during the government of National Unity from 1994 until the National Party ministers resigned in 1996. In some cases the Leader of the Opposition may have been the Parliamentary leader only, during a vacancy in the party leadership and the first part of their own tenure, before being confirmed as national party leader by a party congress. Only the last two Leaders of the Opposition in the list have been Parliamentary leaders only, whilst the incumbent national party leader was not a Member of Parliament. Section 56 of the South Africa Act 1909, was amended by Section 1 of the South Africa Act Amendment Act 1946. A salary was provided for the Leader of the Opposition and the office was given an official definition. "For the purposes of this section the expression'Leader of the Opposition' shall mean that member of the House of Assembly, for the time being the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength in that House and if there is any doubt as to, or was at any material time the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength in that House of Assembly, or as to, or was at any material time the Leader in the House of such a party, the question shall be decided for the purposes of this section by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, his decision, certified in writing under his hand, shall be final and conclusive".
The current Constitution of South Africa makes provision for recognition of the Leader of the Opposition in section 57: "The rules and orders of the National Assembly must provide for … the recognition of the leader of the largest opposition party in the Assembly as the Leader of the Opposition." Rule 21 of the rules of the National Assembly provides in similar words that: "The leader of the largest opposition party in the Assembly must be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition." Notes The South African Constitution, by H. J. May Keesing's Contemporary Archives, various volumes Smuts: A Reappraisal, by Bernard Friedman ISBN 0-04-920045-3 South Africa 1982 Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, published by Chris van Rensburg Publications
President of South Africa
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under the Constitution of South Africa. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President; the President is elected by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, is the leader of the largest party, the African National Congress since the first non-racial elections were held on 27 April 1994. The Constitution limits the president's time in office to two five-year terms; the first president to be elected under the new constitution was Nelson Mandela. The incumbent is Cyril Ramaphosa, elected by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018 following the resignation of Jacob Zuma. Under the interim constitution, there was a Government of National Unity, in which a Member of Parliament from the largest opposition party was entitled to a position as Deputy President. Along with Thabo Mbeki, the last State President, F. W. de Klerk served as Deputy President, in his capacity as the leader of the National Party, the second-largest party in the new Parliament.
But De Klerk resigned and went into opposition with his party. A voluntary coalition government continues to exist under the new constitution, although there have been no appointments of opposition politicians to the post of Deputy President; the President is required to be a member of the National Assembly at the time of his election. Upon his election, he resigns his seat for the duration of his term; the President may be removed either by a motion of an impeachment trial. The office of the President, the roles that come with it, were established by Chapter Five of the Constitution of South Africa, formed by a Constituent Assembly upon the dissolution of apartheid as state policy. A number of manifestations of the office have existed. Aspects of these offices exist within the presidency today; the executive leadership of the British colonies of Natal and of the Cape of Good Hope were invested in their Governors was invested in the Presidents of the Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
Alternating sovereignty as a result of wars culminated in the Vereeniging Treaty signed in which concluded the South African War. The Union of South Africa, a British Dominion, was established on 31 May 1910 with the British monarch as titular head of state, represented by a viceroy, the Governor-General. Upon the declaration of the Republic of South Africa on 31 May 1961, the office of State President was created, it was a ceremonial post, but became an executive post in 1984 when a new constitution abolished the post of Prime Minister and transferred its powers to the State President. South Africa has a distinctive system for the election of its president. Unlike other former British colonies and dominions who have adopted a parliamentary republican form of government and those that follow the Westminster system, South Africa's President is both head of state and head of government and Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force. Contrary to presidential systems around the world, the President of South Africa is elected by the Parliament of South Africa rather than by the people directly.
He is thus answerable to it in theory and able to influence legislation in practice as head of the majority party. The President is elected at the first sitting of Parliament after an election, whenever a vacancy arises; the President is elected by the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, from among its members. The chief justice must oversee the election. Once elected, a person is no longer a member of the National Assembly, they must be sworn in as President within five days of the election. Should a vacancy arise, the date of a new election must be set by the chief justice, but not more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs; the Constitution has thus prescribed a system combining both parliamentary and presidential systems in a unique manner. Only Botswana and a few other countries use a similar system. Between 1996 and 2003 Israel combined the two systems in an opposite way, with an elected prime minister. Although the presidency is the key institution, it is hedged about with numerous checks and balances that prevent its total dominance over the government, as was the case in many African countries.
The presidential term is five years, with a limit of two terms. Thus the electoral system attempts to prevent the accumulation of power in the president as was during Apartheid or in many other African countries. According to chapter five of the constitution, the President can only exercise the powers of his or her office while within the Republic of South Africa. Should the president be outside of the country, or unable to fulfil the duties of the office, they may appoint an acting president; the presidential vacancy should be filled first by the Deputy President cabinet minister selected by the President a cabinet minister selected by the cabinet, by the Speaker of the National Assembly. The President is the head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the South African National Defence Force; the rights and remuneration of the President are enumerated in Chapter V of the Constitution of South Africa and subsequent amendments and laws passed by the Parliament of South Africa.
The executive powers of the Republic are vested in the President. He appoints various officials to positions listed in the Constitution however the most significant are the ministers and justices of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Through the Cabinet, the President implements and enforces the constitution and laws and enforces his
Politics of South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The President of South Africa serves both as head of government; the President is elected by the National Assembly and must retain the confidence of the Assembly in order to remain in office. South Africans elect provincial legislatures which govern each of the country's nine provinces. Since the end of apartheid in 1994 the African National Congress has dominated South Africa's politics; the ANC is the ruling party in the national legislature, as well as in eight of the nine provinces. The ANC received 62.15% of the vote during the 2014 general election. It had received 62.9% of the popular vote in the 2011 municipal election. The main challenger to the ANC's rule is the Democratic Alliance, led by Mmusi Maimane, which received 22.23% of the vote in the 2014 election. Other major political parties represented in Parliament include the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Inkatha Freedom Party, which represents Zulu voters.
The dominant New National Party, which both introduced and ended apartheid through its predecessor the National Party, disbanded in 2005 to merge with the ANC. Jacob Zuma served as President of South Africa since May 9, 2009 until his resignation in February 2018. Zuma was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa; the country's next general election will be held in 2019. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated South Africa as "flawed democracy" in 2016. South Africa is a parliamentary representative democratic republic, wherein the President of South Africa, elected by parliament, is the head of government, of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of Parliament, the Council of Provinces and the National Assembly; the judiciary is independent of the legislature. Government is three-tiered, with representatives elected at the national and local levels. Following the 1994 elections, South Africa was governed under an interim constitution.
This constitution required the Constituent Assembly to draft and approve a permanent constitution by 9 May 1996. The Government of National Unity established under the interim constitution ostensibly remained in effect until the 1999 national elections; the parties comprising the GNU – the African National Congress, the National Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party – shared executive power. On 30 June 1996, the NP withdrew from the GNU to become part of the opposition. Under the Constitution, the President is both head of head of government. General elections take place every 5 years; the first multi-racial democratic election was held in 1994, the second in 1999, the third in 2004, the fourth in 2009, the most recent in 2014. Until 2008, elected officials were allowed to change political party, while retaining their seats, during set windows which occurred twice each electoral term, due to controversial floor crossing legislative amendments made in 2002; the last two floor crossing windows occurred in 2005 and in 2007.
After the 2009 elections, the ANC lost its two-thirds majority in the national legislature which had allowed it to unilaterally alter the constitution. The Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party are in a formal alliance with the ruling ANC, thus do not stand separately for election. Notes: The constitution's bill of rights provides extensive guarantees, including equality before the law and prohibitions against discrimination; the legal rights of criminal suspects are enumerated. It includes wide guarantees of access of food, education, health care, social security; the constitution provides for an independent and impartial judiciary, and, in practice, these provisions are respected. Citizens' entitlements to a safe environment, housing and health care are included in the bill of rights, are known as secondary constitutional rights. In 2003 the constitutional secondary rights were used by the HIV/AIDS activist group the Treatment Action Campaign as a means of forcing the government to change its health policy.
Violent crime, including violence against women and children, organised criminal activity are at high levels and are a grave concern. As a result, vigilante action and mob justice sometimes occur; some members of the police are accused of abusing suspects in custody. In April 1997, the government established an Independent Complaints Directorate to investigate deaths in police custody and deaths resulting from police action; some discrimination against women continues, discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS is becoming serious. There has been growing political repression. Many leaders of former bantustans or homelands have had a role in South African politics since their abolition. Mangosuthu Buthelezi was chief minister of his Kwa-Zulu homeland from 1976 until 1994. In post-apartheid South Africa he has served as President of the Inkatha Freedom Party, he was a Minister in President Mandela's cabinet. He acted as President of the country when President Nelson Mandela was out of the country.
Bantubonke Holomisa, a general in the homeland of Transkei from 1987, has served as the president of the United Democratic Mov