n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - Not quite a rejoinder : some thoughts and reflections on Michelman's "Liberal Constitutionalism, Property Rights and the Assault on Poverty"

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



This article continues a conversation that commenced on the pages of this journal in 2011 between myself and Professor Michelman. In seeking to take that conversation forward the present article briefly recounts the overarching thesis in my article entitled "Not Purpose-Made! Transformative Constitutionalism, Post-independence Constitutionalism and the Struggle to Eradicate Poverty" (2011) 22 482. In that article I sought to develop a critique of transformative constitutionalism specifically, and liberal democratic constitutionalism more generally. This critique presented the very limited set of possibilities presented by these forms of constitutionalism in the transformation of post-apartheid South Africa into a more equal society in which poverty is eradicated. The current article then proceeds to briefly outline Professor Michelman's views advanced in his essay entitled "Liberal Constitutionalism, Property Rights, and the Assault on Poverty". In particular, the present article engages with Professor Michelman's reconstruction of the critique advanced in "Not Purpose-Made". In so doing, this article articulates what Professor Michelman identifies as resonances and limits and/or shortcomings in my critique. Thereafter, the article sets out the basis for my continuing lack of conviction in liberalism's (including social-liberalism's) potential to be the enabler of truly emancipatory outcomes in the South African political, social and economic . The article concludes by making a call to a revival of imagination beyond liberal notions and conceptions as a way in which to deliberately re-imagine a liberated South Africa.

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