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South African Law

Finding Commentary on the South African Constitution

Use books:

  • see the Books box below on this page.
  • look for books at KR 4227 on the shelves on Level 5 in the Law Library .
  • use the Library catalogue to find print and e-books by keyword.

Find journal articles - see the Journals page in this Guide.

Other good ways of finding commentary on the Constitution are:

Oxford Constitutions of the World (UniMelb staff & student access).

The Republic of South Africa: Introductory Note by Francois Venter (written in 2016) provides an excellent scholarly overview of the current 1996 Constitution, links to the text of the Constitution, and refers to caselaw. It includes the following sections:

  • Origins and Historical Development of the Constitution
  • Fundamental Principles of the Constitution
  • Fundamental Rights Protection
  • Separation of Powers
  • Decentralisation
  • Constitutional Adjudication
  • International Law and Regional Integration

Kluwer law Online: the International encyclopedia for constitutional law (UniMelb staff & student access)

Contains a useful history and two detailed commentaries on the South African Constitution - one national and one on the provincial arrangements created by the Constitution. Both include references to cases. Scroll to South Africa under the 'National Monographs' heading and the 'Sub-national Constitutional Law' heading. This commentary was last updated in 2014.

HEIN Online World Constitutions Illustrated: South Africa (UniMelb staff & student access) includes:

  • Commentaries;
  • Scholarly Articles; and 
  • A Bibliography of Selected Works

Please note that much of the HEIN commentary is quite old, and may be more useful for historical rather than contemporary research.

History of the Constitution & Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court website provides a useful brief historical timeline of the Constitution and information on writing the final ConstitutionThe website also contains an outline of the history of the Constitutional Court.

Recent Open Access articles on SSRN

Dixon, Rosalind and Roux, Robert, 'Marking Constitutional Transitions: The Law and Politics of Constitutional Implementation in South Africa' (UNSW Law Research Paper No 18-64, 2018)

Klug, Heinz, 'Decolonization, Compensation and Constitutionalism: Land, Wealth and the Sustainability of Constitutionalism in Post-Apartheid South Africa' (2018) South African Journal on Human Rights (Forthcoming) 

Badenhorst, Pieter and Young, C, 'The Notion of Constitutional Property in South Africa' (2017) 28(1) Stellenbosch Law Review 26-46  

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