Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1994
|Government of the Republic of South Africa
|27 April 1994
|4 February 1997
|Republic of South Africa
|The interim Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was the supreme legal document in the country between 1994 and 1997, and oversaw the transition from white-minority rule, and the previous policy of apartheid, to democratic government. It was drawn up by a coalition of Africa National Congress (ANC) leaders, the then National Party government and others, following years of opposition to racially discriminatory laws and practices of the South African Government.
|The interim Constitution prescribed a democratically elected Government of National Unity, ‘for the promotion of national unity and the restructuring and continued governance of South Africa while an elected Constitutional Assembly draws up a final Constitution’ made up of all parties who obtained a certain percentage of the vote in the National Assembly (Preamble).
The interim Constitution was replaced by the Republic of South Africa’s current Constitution, which received assent in December 1996, and came into force in February 1997.
The interim Constitution:
stipulated rights, including that of equality, life, human dignity, freedom and security of person, as well as freedom of religion, belief, assembly, movement, residence and expression;
prescribed matters relating to restitution of land rights for land dispossessed as a result of racial discrimination;
established various public bodies, including a Human Rights Commission and a Commission on Gender Equality;
stated the requirements for franchise, including that all South African citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote in elections;
set out the ‘constitutional principles’ that the final Constitution must adhere to; and
prescribed the official languages of South Africa as Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, Sesotho sa Leboa, Sesotho, siSwati, Xitsonga, Setswana, Tshivenda, isiXhosa and isiZulu.