10 December 2021
25 years ago, on 10 December 1996, President Nelson Mandela signed the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa into law in Sharpeville, Gauteng, a major milestone in the life of the South African nation.
The Constitution enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights.
“South Africa has the best Constitution in the world. It is hailed by many and used as an example for many other countries. It is a model for law and constitutional experts. It seeks to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.”
“We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity”
The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Government. The current constitution, the country’s fifth, was drawn up by the Parliament elected in 1994 in the South African general election, 1994.
It was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997, replacing the Interim Constitution of 1993. The first constitution was enacted by the South Africa Act 1909, the longest-lasting to date. Since 1961, the constitutions have promulgated a Republican form of government.