oa Constitutional Court Review - Finding the constitutional court's place in South Africa's democracy : the interaction of principle and institutional pragmatism in the court's decision making

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2073-6215



Ever since its establishment in 1995, the South African Constitutional Court has been called upon to address issues and to face challenges that would be considered extraordinary for any judiciary. From the task of certifying whether the Constitutional Assembly had remained faithful to the constitutional principles in the 1993 interim Constitution to the ruling of a High Court accepting the allegation by the Judge President of the Western Cape High Court that the justices of the Constitutional Court had violated his rights by publicly accusing him of improperly attempting to influence the outcome of a case before them, the Court has been repeatedly buffeted by the strong winds of political conflict. The Court has also faced direct challenges to its legitimacy, as was the case when the newly appointed justices were asked to recuse themselves from a case against President Nelson Mandela on the grounds that he had appointed them.

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