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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Chapter 15 - General and Transitional Provisions

229 Continuation of existing laws

Subject to this Constitution, all laws which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution were in force in any area which forms part of the national territory, shall continue in force in such area, subject to any repeal or amendment of such laws by a competent authority.

230 Repeal of laws

(1) The laws mentioned in Schedule 7 are hereby repealed to the extent set out in the third column of the said Schedule.

(2) Notwithstanding the repeal of sections 13 and 101 (2) of the previous Constitution, any pension which, but for such repeal, would have been payable shall continue to be payable as if such repeal had not been effected.

231 Continuation of international agreements and status of international law

(1) All rights and obligations under international agreements which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution were vested in or binding on the Republic within the meaning of the previous Constitution, shall be vested in or binding on the Republic under this Constitution, unless provided otherwise by an Act of Parliament.

(2) Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, be competent to agree to the ratification of or accession to an international agreement negotiated and signed in terms of section 82 (1) (i).

(3) Where Parliament agrees to the ratification of or accession to an international agreement under subsection (2), such international agreement shall be binding on the Republic and shall form part of the law of the Republic, provided Parliament expressly so provides and such agreement is not inconsistent with this Constitution.

(4) The rules of customary international law binding on the Republic, shall, unless inconsistent with this Constitution or an Act of Parliament, form part of the law of the Republic.

232 Interpretation

(1) Unless it is inconsistent with the context or clearly inappropriate, a reference in a law referred to in section 229-

i     as a constitutional institution, shall be construed as a reference to the Republic referred to in section 1; or

ii     as a territorial area, shall be construed as a reference to that part of the national territory in which the law in question was in force immediately before such commencement, unless such law is applied by a law of a competent authority to the whole or any part of the national territory;

i     if the administration of such a law is allocated in terms of this Constitution to the national government, be construed as a reference to Parliament referred to in section 36; or

ii     if the administration of such law is allocated or assigned in terms of this Constitution to a government of a province, be construed as a reference to the provincial legislature of that province;

i     if the administration of such law is allocated in terms of this Constitution to the national government, be construed as a reference to the President acting in accordance with this Constitution; or

ii     if the administration of such law is allocated or assigned in terms of this Constitution to a government of a province, be construed as a reference to the Premier of such province acting in terms of this Constitution;

(2)

(3) No law shall be constitutionally invalid solely by reason of the fact that the wording used is prima facie capable of an interpretation which is inconsistent with a provision of this Constitution, provided such a law is reasonably capable of a more restricted interpretation which is not inconsistent with any such provision, in which event such law shall be construed as having a meaning in accordance with the said more restricted interpretation.

(4) In interpreting this Constitution a provision in any Schedule, including the provision under the heading 'National Unity and Reconciliation', to this Constitution shall not by reason only of the fact that it is contained in a Schedule, have a lesser status than any other provision of this Constitution which is not contained in a Schedule, and such provision shall for all purposes be deemed to form part of the substance of this Constitution.

(5)

233 Definitions

(1) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise indicates- 'Chief Justice' means the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Africa referred to in section 97 (1); 'Commission on Provincial Government' means the Commission established by section 163; 'Financial and Fiscal Commission' means the Commission established by section 198; 'House',in relation to Parliament, means the National Assembly or the Senate; 'Independent Electoral Commission' means the Commission established by section 4 of the Independent Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 150 of 1993); 'National Defence Force' means the Defence Force established by section 224 (1); 'National Revenue Fund' means the Revenue Fund established by section 185; 'new constitutional text' means the text of a new Constitution contemplated in Chapter 5; 'organ of state' includes any statutory body or functionary; 'previous Constitution' means the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1983 (Act 110 of 1983); 'Provincial Revenue Fund' means the Revenue Fund of a province established by section 159 (1); 'Public Service Commission' means the Commission established by section 209; 'Republic' means the Republic of South Africa referred to in section 1; 'Transitional Executive Council' means the Council established by section 2 of the Transitional Executive Council Act, 1993 (Act 151 of 1993).

(2) A reference in this Constitution to rules and orders shall according to the context be construed as a reference to the rules and orders of the National Assembly or the Senate, or the joint rules and orders of the National Assembly and the Senate, or the rules and orders of the Constitutional Assembly, or the rules and orders of a provincial legislature.

(3) Where in this Constitution any functionary is required to take a decision in consultation with another functionary, such decision shall require the concurrence of such other functionary: Provided that if such other functionary is a body of persons it shall express its concurrence in accordance with its own decision-making procedures.

(4) Where in this Constitution any functionary is required to take a decision after consultation with another functionary, such decision shall be taken in good faith after consulting and giving serious consideration to the views of such other functionary.

234 Transitional arrangements: Legislative authorities

(1) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was a member of Parliament or of any other legislature (excluding a local government) which exercised legislative powers in respect of any area which forms part of the national territory, shall upon such commencement cease to be such a member, but shall for the purpose of any law relating to the payment of pension benefits to such members not be disqualified solely by reason of this section.

(2) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was employed by Parliament, shall after such commencement continue in such employment, subject to and in accordance with the applicable laws regulating such employment.

(3) The provisions of section 236 (4), (5) and (6) shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of a person referred to in subsection (2).

(4) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was employed by a legislature referred to in subsection (1) other than Parliament, shall be deemed to be employed by the administration in that part of the national territory in which such legislature exercised legislative powers, subject to and in accordance with the applicable laws regulating such employment, and sections 236 and 237 shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of such person.

(5) Any matter before Parliament or any such other legislature which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was not yet disposed of by Parliament or such legislature, as the case may be, shall lapse upon such commencement.

(6) The rules and orders of Parliament in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, shall, to the extent that they can mutatis mutandis be applied in respect of the business and proceedings of Parliament under this Constitution, continue in force until amended or replaced in terms of this Constitution.

235 Transitional arrangements: Executive authorities

(1) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was-

(2) Any vacancy which may occur in an office referred to in subsection (1) (a), (b) or (c) shall, if necessary, be filled by a person designated by the persons continuing in office in terms of subsection (1) (a), acting in consultation with the Transitional Executive Council.

(3) Executive authority which was vested in a person or persons referred to in subsection (1) (a), (b) or (c) in terms of a constitution or constitutional arrangement in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, shall during the period in which the said person or persons continue in office in terms of subsection (1), be exercised in accordance with such constitution or constitutional arrangement, as if it had not been repealed or superseded by this Constitution, and any such person or persons shall continue to be competent to administer any department of state, administration, force or other institution which was entrusted to, and to exercise and perform any power or function which was vested in, him or her or them immediately before the said commencement: Provided that-

(4) The Transitional Executive Council may by resolution of a majority of all its members at any time during the period in which the said State President continues in office in terms of subsection (1), require him or her, or any other appropriate authority, to take such steps in terms of any law as are necessary to maintain law and order, including the declaration of a state of emergency or of an area to be an unrest area in terms of an applicable law.

(5) Upon the assumption of office by the President in terms of this Constitution-

(6) The power to exercise executive authority in terms of laws which, immediately prior to the commencement of this Constitution, were in force in any area which forms part of the national territory and which in terms of section 229 continue in force after such commencement, shall be allocated as follows:

i.     do not fall within the functional areas specified in Schedule 6; or

ii.     do fall within such functional are as but are matters referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e) of section 126 (3) (which shall be deemed to include all policing matters until the laws in question have been assigned under subsection (8) and for the purposes of which subsection (8) shall apply mutatis mutandis), shall be administered by a competent authority within the jurisdiction of the national government: Provided that any policing function which but for subparagraph (ii) would have been performed subject to the directions of a member of the Executive Council of a province in terms of section 219 (1) shall be performed after consultation with the said member within that province.

i.     if any such law was immediately before the commencement of this Constitution administered by or under the authority of a functionary referred to in subsection (1) (a) or (b), be administered by a competent authority within the jurisdiction of the national government until the administration of any such law is with regard to any particular province assigned under subsection (8) to a competent authority within the jurisdiction of the government of such province; or

ii.     if any such law was immediately before the said commencement administered by or under the authority of a functionary referred to in subsection (1) (c), subject to subsections(8) and (9) be administered by a competent authority within the jurisdiction of the government of the province in which that law applies, to the extent that it so applies: Provided that this subparagraph shall not apply to policing matters, which shall be dealt with as contemplated in paragraph (a).

i.     in relation to a law of which the administration is allocated to the national government, an authority designated by the President; and

ii.     in relation to a law of which the administration is allocated to the government of a province, an authority designated by the Premier of the province.

(7)

(8)

i.     amend or adapt such law in order to regulate its application or interpretation;

ii.     where the assignment does not relate to the whole of such law, repeal and re-enact, whether with or without an amendment or adaptation contemplated in subparagraph (i), those of its provisions to which the assignment relates or to the extent that the assignment relates to them; and

iii.     regulate any other matter necessary, in his or her opinion, as a result of the assignment, including matters relating to the transfer or secondment of persons (subject to sections 236 and 237) and relating to the transfer of assets, liabilities, rights and obligations, including funds, to or from the national or a provincial government or any department of state, administration, force or other institution.

(9)

236 Transitional arrangements: Public administration

(1) A public service, department of state (including a police force), administration, military force as defined in section 224 (2) (a) or (b) or other institution (excluding any local government) which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution performed governmental functions under the control of an authority referred to in section 235 (1) (a), (b) or (c), shall, subject to subsection (7), continue to function as such in accordance with the laws applicable to it until it is, as the case may be, abolished or incorporated or integrated into any appropriate institution or is rationalised as contemplated in any other Chapter, consolidated with any other institution or otherwise rationalised as contemplated in section 237, as the case may be: Provided that a military force referred to in this subsection shall not be employed for service referred to in section 227 (1) (a), (b) or (e) otherwise than by the President and shall only be used for such service by the authority referred to in section 225 in accordance with section 227 (2).

(2) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was employed by an institution referred to in subsection (1) shall continue in such employment subject to and in accordance with this Constitution and other applicable laws regulating such employment.

(3) Subject to subsections (1) and (2), all powers, directions, orders, instructions or delegations which were in force in respect of an institution which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution performed governmental functions as contemplated in subsection (1) shall, after the said commencement, continue in force for the purpose of the continued functioning within the contemplation of subsection (1) of any such institution, until cancelled or otherwise no longer in force in law.

(4) Subject to this Constitution and subsection (5), the terms and conditions of employment applicable to a person employed by an institution referred to in subsection (1) immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, shall continue to apply to him or her until amended by or under any law, including any law enacted in order to establish uniformity of the terms and conditions of employment in accordance with those generally prevailing at such commencement.

(5) Subject to any law relating to unfitness or incapacity of a person to carry out his or her duties efficiently, the pensionable salary or pensionable salary scale of a person referred to in subsection (2) shall not be reduced below that applicable to such person immediately before the commencement of this Constitution.

(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the conclusion or amendment of a contract, the appointment or promotion, or the award of a term or condition of service or other benefit, which occurred or may occur between 27 April 1993 and 30 September 1994 in respect of any person referred to in subsection (2), or any class of such persons, may, at the instance of a Minister or a member of the Executive Council of a province, within one year of the commencement of this Constitution be reviewed by a commission appointed by the President and presided over by a judge, and if not proper or justifiable in the circumstances of the case, the commission may reverse or alter the contract, appointment, promotion or award.

(7)

(8)

237 Rationalisation of public administration

(1)

i.     an effective administration at the national level of government to deal with matters within the jurisdiction of the national government referred to in section 235 (5) (a); and

ii.     an effective administration for each province to deal with matters within the jurisdiction of each provincial government referred to in section 235 (5) (b).

(2)

i.     institutions referred to in section 236 (1), excluding military forces, shall primarily but not exclusively rest with the national government, which shall exercise such responsibility in co-operation with the provincial governments and the Commission on Provincial Government, and with due regard to the advice of the Public Service Commission: Provided that in the case of policing services, the national government shall exercise such responsibility in co-operation with the committee referred to in section 220 (1) and the Board of Commissioners referred to in section 220 (2); and

ii.     military forces shall rest with the national government.

(aA)

i.     the National Commissioner and Provincial Commissioners of the South African Police Service contemplated in section 214 (2) (a) may be appointed;

ii.     a meeting of the National Commissioner and the Provincial Commissioners or their nominees shall be deemed to be a meeting of the Board of Commissioners contemplated in section 220 (2) and any decision taken at such a meeting shall be deemed to be a decision of the Board;

iii.     the existing police forces, deemed in terms of section 236 (7) to constitute the South African Police Service contemplated in section 214, may be rationalised in accordance with this section; and

iv.     proclamations to regulate such rationalisation may be issued in terms of subsection (3). [Para. (aA) inserted by s. 8 of Act 29 of 1994.]

(3)

i.     the amendment, repeal or replacement of any law regulating the establishment, functions and other matters relating to an institution referred to in section 236 (1), or of any law referred to in section 236 (2), or of any law which deals with any of the aforegoing matters in a consequential manner: Provided that if a law referred to in section 236 (2) is repealed, provision shall be made for the application of any law of general application regulating the employment of persons or any class of persons in the employment of the state, to the persons or class of persons affected by such repeal; and

ii.     measures relating to the transfer or secondment of personnel, or the allocation of property, funds, rights and obligations, including administrative records, in order to establish the administrations referred to in subsection (2) and rationalise the South African Police Service and the National Defence Force.

(4)

239 Transitional arrangements: Assets and liabilities

(1) All assets, including funds and administrative records, which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution vested in an authority referred to in section 235 (1) (a), (b) or (c), or in a government, administration or force under the control of such an authority, shall be allocated as follows:

i.     does not fall within a functional area specified in Schedule 6; or

ii.     does fall within such a functional area but is a matter referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e) of section 126 (3) (which shall be deemed to include a police asset), such asset shall vest in the national government.

(2)

(3)

i.     directly linked to an asset vesting in terms of subsection (1) in a provincial government, shall be assumed by such provincial government; and

ii.     other than those referred to in subparagraph (i) shall be assumed by the national government: Provided that the servicing of all state debts and liabilities not provided for in this Constitution shall be undertaken by the national government until allocated to the relevant level of government.

(4) Subject to and in accordance with any applicable law, the assets, rights, duties and liabilities of all forces referred to in section 224(2) shall devolve upon the National Defence Force.

(5)Anything done in terms of this section shall be subject to audit by the Auditor-General.

240 Transitional arrangements: State Revenue Fund

(1) At the commencement of this Constitution the State Revenue Fund established in terms of section 81 of the previous Constitution shall continue to exist until an Act of Parliament contemplated in section 185(1) is adopted prescribing the administration of the National Revenue Fund.

(2) While the State Revenue Fund continues to exist it shall for all purposes be deemed to be the National Revenue Fund.

(3) The Accounts of the State Revenue Fund referred to in section 82 of the previous Constitution shall be phased out and closed as soon as circumstances permit.

(4) In the 1994/1995 financial year the head of the department of the Treasury, as defined in section 1 of the Exchequer Act, 1975 (Act 66 of 1975), may, in consultation with the Minister responsible for national financial matters, from the Exchequer Account, on conditions aimed at ensuring financial control, grant advances to provincial governments as he or she deems necessary for the purposes of establishing and funding of structures of government at provincial level as contemplated in this Constitution until Parliament has appropriated money for such purposes.

(5) Any Revenue Fund established before the commencement of this Constitution by a law in force in an area which forms part of the national territory, excluding the State Revenue Fund referred to in subsection (1), shall, subject to subsection (6) and any laws governing the application and withdrawal of moneys from such Revenue Fund, continue to exist until the money therein is transferred under this Chapter to the National Revenue Fund or to any relevant Provincial Revenue Fund, as the case may be, or otherwise dealt with by a competent authority.

(6) Moneys in a Revenue Fund referred to in subsection (5) may only be withdrawn in order to meet expenditure for services in the area in respect of which the Fund was established and in respect of which an appropriation has been made for the current or in the immediately preceding financial year or for which there is other statutory authority: Provided that no withdrawal shall be made from such Revenue Fund other than with the concurrence of a person designated by the President for that purpose.

241 Transitional arrangements: Judiciary

(1) Every court of law existing immediately before the commencement of this Constitution in an area which forms part of the national territory, shall be deemed to have been duly constituted in terms of this Constitution or the laws in force after such commencement, and shall continue to function as such in accordance with the laws applicable to it until changed by a competent authority: Provided-

[Sub-s. (1) amended by s. 15 (a) of Act 13 of 1994.]

(1A) Until the court structures contemplated in Chapter 7 have been established as required by section 242 (1), the jurisdiction of courts of law which existed immediately before the commencement of this Constitution and which continued to exist by virtue of subsection (1) of this section, shall be as follows:

[Sub-s. (1A) inserted by s. 15 (b) of Act 13 of 1994.]

(1B) For the purposes of the application of this Constitution while the existing court structures referred to in subsection (1) continue, any reference in this Constitution to any of the court structures contemplated in Chapter 7 shall, unless inconsistent with the context or clearly inappropriate, be deemed to be a reference to the corresponding existing court structure, and in such application a reference to a provincial division shall be construed also to refer to any of the other supreme courts, or general division of any such court, referred to in subsection (1A) (b). [Sub-s. (1B) inserted by s. 15 (b) of Act 13 of 1994.]

(2) The Chief Justice of South Africa, the judges-president and deputy judges-president of the various divisions of the Supreme Court of South Africa, the judges of appeal of the Appellate Division of the said Supreme Court, and the other judges of the said Supreme Court, holding office immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, shall be deemed to have been duly appointed to the corresponding positions in terms of Chapter 7 and shall continue to hold office in accordance with the applicable laws.

(2A) The chief justice of a supreme court referred to in the proviso to subsection (1) who in terms of that proviso continues in office as the Judge President of such supreme court, and the other judges of such supreme court, including the judges of any other supreme court which did not have an appellate division, holding office immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, shall be deemed to have been duly appointed to the corresponding positions in terms of Chapter 7 and shall continue in office in accordance with the applicable laws. [Sub-s. (2A) inserted by s. 15 (c) of Act 13 of 1994.]

(3) All other judicial officers holding office immediately before the commencement of this Constitution in terms of a law, shall continue to hold such office in accordance with such law.

(4) Every attorney-general holding office immediately before the commencement of this Constitution in terms of a law, shall continue to hold such office in accordance with such law.

(5) Subject to this Constitution, all measures which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution were in operation and applied to judicial officers and attorneys-general, including measures regarding the remuneration, pension and pension benefits, leave gratuity and any other term and condition of service, shall continue in operation and to apply to the said judicial officers and attorneys-general, until amended or repealed by a competent authority: Provided that no such measure shall, except in accordance with an applicable law, be changed in a manner which affects such judicial officers and attorneys-general to their detriment.

(6) The provisions of section 236 (5) and (6) shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of persons referred to in subsections (3) and (4) of this section.

(7)

[Sub-s. (7) substituted by s. 15 (d) of Act 13 of 1994.]

(8) All proceedings which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution were pending before any court of law, including any tribunal or reviewing authority established by or under law, exercising jurisdiction in accordance with the law then in force, shall be dealt with as if this Constitution had not been passed: Provided that if an appeal in such proceedings is noted or review proceedings with regard thereto are instituted after such commencement such proceedings shall be brought before the court having jurisdiction under this Constitution.

(9) Any legal proceedings instituted before or after the commencement of this Constitution by or against a government, authority or functionary which ceased to exist at or after such commencement, may be continued by or against the relevant government, authority or functionary which superseded the said government, authority or functionary.

(10) The laws and other measures which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution regulated the jurisdiction of courts of law, court procedures, the power and authority of judicial officers and all other matters pertaining to the establishment and functioning of courts of law, shall continue in force subject to any amendment or repeal thereof by a competent authority.

242 Rationalisation of court structures

(1) All jurisdictional areas and court structures appropriate thereto existing immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, shall as soon as possible after such commencement be rationalised in accordance with an Act of Parliament with a view to establishing the jurisdictional areas and court structures contemplated in Chapter 7.

(2) The rationalisation of the jurisdictional areas and court structures referred to in subsection (1) shall be the responsibility of the national government after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.

(3) The rationalisation contemplated in subsection (1) includes-

243 Transitional arrangements: Ombudsman

(1) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was-

(2) Section 236 (4), (5) and (6) shall apply mutatis mutandis to a person referred to in subsection (1) (c).

244 Transitional arrangements: Auditor-General

(1) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was-

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the persons referred to in that subsection shall not be dealt with less favourably than an officer or employee in a public service.

245 Transitional arrangements: Local government

(1) Until elections have been held in terms of the Local Government Transition Act, 1993, local government shall not be restructured otherwise than in accordance with that Act.

(2) Restructuring of local government which takes place as a result of legislation enacted by a competent authority after the elections referred to in subsection (1) have been held, shall be effected in accordance with the principles embodied in Chapter 10 and the Constitution as a whole.

(3)

i.     the area of jurisdiction of any institution or body as was referred to in section 84 (1) (f) of the Provincial Government Act, 1961 (Act 32 of 1961); and

ii.     any other area not falling within the area of jurisdiction of the institution or body referred to in subparagraph (I), no area referred to in subparagraph (I) or (ii) shall be allocated less than half of the total number of wards of the local government concerned: Provided further that an area referred to in subparagraph (i) shall be deemed not to include any area for which a local government body referred to in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the definition of 'local government body' in section 1 (1) of the Act referred to in subsection (1) of this section (as that Act exists at the commencement of this Constitution), has been established. b) amended by s. 9 of Act 29 of 1994.]

245 Transitional arrangements: Pension of political office-bearers

The right of any person in terms of any law which at the commencement of this Constitution provides for the payment of pensions from the exchequer or from any pension fund or arrangement to which the state contributes or has contributed, to or in respect of political office-bearers or former political office-bearers (including members and former members of Parliament and of any other legislative assembly which exercised legislative powers in respect of any area which forms part of the national territory) shall continue and shall not be diminished: Provided that those who have already received benefits that were due to them shall not benefit again by reason of the provisions of this section.

247 Special provisions regarding existing educational institutions

(1) The national government and the provincial governments as provided for in this Constitution shall not alter the rights, powers and functions of the governing bodies, management councils or similar authorities of departmental, community-managed or state-aided primary or secondary schools under laws existing immediately before the commencement of this Constitution unless an agreement resulting from bona fide negotiation has been reached with such bodies and reasonable notice of any proposed alteration has been given.

(2) The national government shall not alter the rights, powers and functions of the controlling bodies of universities and technikons under laws existing immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, unless agreement resulting from bona fide negotiation has been reached with such bodies, and reasonable notice of any proposed alteration has been given.

(3) Should agreement not be reached in terms of subsection (1) or (2), the national government and the provincial governments shall, subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, not be precluded from altering the rights, powers and functions of the governing bodies, management councils or similar authorities of departmental, community-managed or state-aided primary or secondary schools, as well as the controlling bodies of universities and technikons, provided that interested persons and bodies shall be entitled to challenge the validity of any such alteration in terms of this Constitution.

(4) In order to ensure an acceptable quality of education, the responsible government shall provide funds to departmental, community-managed or state-aided primary or secondary schools on an equitable basis.

248 National flag and anthem

(1) The State President may at any time before the commencement of this Constitution or while continuing in office in terms of section 235 (1) (a), exercise, on the advice of the Transitional Executive Council, the powers conferred upon the President by section 2 (1) and (2), and if the State President in the exercise of such powers issues a proclamation referred to in that section, such proclamation shall for all purposes be deemed to form part of this Constitution.

(2) This section shall come into operation on the date of promulgation of this Constitution. [Date of commencement of s. 248: 28 January 1994.]

249 First election of National Assembly

(1) Notwithstanding the fact that Chapter 4 may not yet be in force, the State President may, by proclamation in the Gazette, call an election in terms of the Electoral Act, 1993, for the election of the members of the National Assembly and the provincial legislatures. [Sub-s. (1) substituted by s. 10 (1) of Act 2 of 1994.]

(2) Such election shall be conducted in accordance with Schedule 2 and the Electoral Act, 1993, as amended by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Act, 1994, and the Electoral Amendment Act, 1994, respectively. [Sub-s. (2) substituted by s. 10 (1) of Act 2 of 1994.]

(3) This section shall come into operation on the date of promulgation of this Constitution. [Date of commencement of s. 249: 28 January 1994.]

250 Non-certification of election by Independent Electoral Commission

(1) If in the application of section 18 of the Independent Electoral Commission Act, 1993, the Independent Electoral Commission declares that it is unable to certify that any election referred to in that section was substantially free and fair, the Commission shall declare that either-

(2) If the Independent Electoral Commission declares as contemplated in subsection (1) (a)-

(3) If the Independent Electoral Commission declares as contemplated in subsection (1) (b)-

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the Independent Electoral Commission shall continue to exist for the purposes set out in this section and the Commission shall exercise its function contemplated in section 18 of the Independent Electoral Commission Act, 1993, with reference to an election referred to in this section: Provided that section 232 (5) (b) shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the replacement of members of the Commission.

251 Short title and commencement

(1) This Act shall be called the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993, and shall, subject to subsection (2), come into operation on 27 April 1994.

(2) The State President may, in consultation with the Transitional Executive Council, by proclamation in the Gazette provide that a provision of this Constitution specified in the proclamation shall come into operation on a date prior to the date referred to in subsection (1).

(3) Different dates may be fixed in terms of subsection (2) in respect of different provisions of this Constitution.

(4) A reference in a provision of this Constitution to the commencement of this Constitution shall, unless the context otherwise indicates, be construed as a reference to thecommencement of such provision.

National Unity and Reconciliation

This Constitution provides a historic bridge between the past of a deeply divided society characterised by strife, conflict, untold suffering and injustice, and a future founded on the recognition of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence and development opportunities for all South Africans, irrespective of colour, race, class, belief or sex. The pursuit of national unity, the well-being of all South African citizens and peace require reconciliation between the people of South Africa and the reconstruction of society.

The adoption of this Constitution lays the secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past, which generated gross violations of human rights, the transgression of humanitarian principles in violent conflicts and a legacy of hatred, fear, guilt and revenge.

These can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimisation.

In order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past. To this end, Parliament under this Constitution shall adopt a law determining a firm cut-off date, which shall be a date after 8 October 1990 and before 6 December 1993, and providing for the mechanisms, criteria and procedures, including tribunals, if any, through which such amnesty shall be dealt with at any time after the law has been passed.

With this Constitution and these commitments we, the people of South Africa, open a new chapter in the history of our country.

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika. God seën Suid-Afrika
Morena boloka sechaba sa heso. May God bless our country
Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afrika. Hosi katekisa Afrika

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.