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10 S. Afr. J. on Hum. Rts. 31 (1994)
A Bridge to Where - Introducing the Interim Bill of Rights

handle is hein.journals/soafjhr10 and id is 39 raw text is: A BRIDGE TO WHERE?
INTRODUCING THE INTERIM
BILL OF RIGHTS
ETIENNE MUREINIK*
INTRODUCTION
What is the point of our Bill of Rights? The Bill is Chapter 3 of the interim
Constitution,1 which declares itself to be aspiring to be 'a historic bridge
between the past of a deeply divided society characterized 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'.2 If this bridge is successfully to span the open
sewer of violent and contentious transition, those who are entrusted with
its upkeep will need to understand very clearly what it is a bridge from,
and what a bridge to.
BSc LLB (Witwatersrand) BCL (Oxon), Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg.
1 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993.
The interim Constitution emerged from the Multi-party Negotiating Process (MPNP) at the World
Trade Centre in Kempton Park during 1993. Political approval of the Constitution was the
responsibility of a body called the Negotiating Council, on which all the political parties participating
in the MPNP were represented. What the Council approved was enacted by Parliament, with
relatively minor amendments. The initial drafting was the responsibility of two committees: the
Technical Committee on Constitutional Issues and the Technical Committee on Fundamental Rights
during the Transition. The latter was responsible for Chapter 3 - the Bill of Rights - and the former
for the rest of the Constitution. This division of labour is visible in the final product. Thus, for
instance,
(a) Chapter 3 declares itself binding only on all legislative and executive organs of state (s 7(1)); but
Chapter 1 declares the Constitution as a whole to be binding on all legislative, executive and judicial
organs of state (s 4(2)); and
(b) Chapter 3 gives '[alny superior court' competence to inquire into the validity of the declaration
of a state of emergency and any action taken under it (s 34(3)), questions which plainly engage the
interpretation, protection and enforcement of the Constitution; but by Chapter 7 the Appellate
Division, a superior court, is deprived of jurisdiction over any matter within the jurisdiction of the
Constitutional Court (s 101(5)), and the latter court is given jurisdiction over 'all matters relating to
the interpretation, protection and enforcement' of the Constitution (s 98(2)).
Because of dissatisfaction with some of the earlier drafts of the Technical Committee on
Fundamental Rights during the Transition, an Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of lawyers representing
certain parties on the Negotiating Council, was formed. The Ad Hoc Committee had a hand in
redrafting some of the clauses in the Bill.
2 These words appear in the postamble to the Constitution, entitled 'National Unity and Reconcilia-
tion'.

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