Constitution in the World: The External Dimensions of South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Constitution

By Heinz Klug

While South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution is often heralded as a model for other countries, particularly in Africa, the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa and the failure of South African foreign policy to support the progressive development of human rights raise questions about the external dimensions of the South African Constitution. This article explores these questions through an analysis of the jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court involving a range of cases in which the issues or consequences reach beyond the borders of South Africa. The external dimensions of the constitution may be seen, from this perspective not only in its influence as a post-conflict model but also more directly in the Court’s jurisprudence dealing with the status of foreigners, refugees and deportees as well as cases arising from South Africa’s regional engagements, whether in relation to Zimbabwe or in the demise of the Southern African Development Community Tribunal. In this sense this article adopts an inclusive approach to what might be considered the external dimensions of constitutions to explore the most productive lens through which to understand this specific dimension of constitutions and the South African Constitution in particular.

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