Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993/Chapter 5

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Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993
drafted by the Multiparty Negotiating Forum and enacted by the Parliament of South Africa
Chapter 5: The Adoption of the new Constitution

Chapter 5

The Adoption of the new Constitution


Constitution-making Body

68. (1) The National Assembly and the Senate, sitting jointly for the purposes of this Chapter, shall be the Constitutional Assembly.

(2) The Constitutional Assembly shall draft and adopt a new constitutional text, in accordance with this Chapter.

(3) (a) The first sitting of the Constitutional Assembly shall be convened by the President of the Senate not later than seven days as from the first sitting of the Senate under this Constitution.

(b) Any subsequent sittings of the Constitutional Assembly shall be convened by the Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly after consultation with the Speaker and the President of the Senate.

(4) Subject to the rules and orders contemplated in section 70 and save where clearly inappropriate, sections 55 and 56 and the provisions of this Constitution with regard to joint sittings of the National Assembly and the Senate shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the Constitutional Assembly.


Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson

69. (1) At its first sitting and before proceeding to dispatch any other business, the Constitutional Assembly, with the President of the Senate presiding, shall elect one of the members of the Constitutional Assembly to be the Chairperson and another of its members to be the Deputy Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly.

(2) The provisions of Schedule 5 shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the election of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly.

(3) The Chairperson shall be vested with all powers and functions assigned to him or her under this Constitution, an Act of Parliament and the rules and orders.

(4) Section 49(4) to (10) shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, and in any such application references in the said sections to the Senate and a senator shall be construed as references to the Constitutional Assembly and a member of the Constitutional Assembly, respectively.


Rules and orders

70. (1) The Constitutional Assembly may make rules and orders in connection with the conduct of its business and proceedings.

(2) The provisions of section 58 shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the Constitutional Assembly.


Constitutional Principles and certification

71. (1) A new constitutional text shall—

(a) comply with the Constitutional Principles contained in Schedule 4; and

(b) be passed by the Constitutional Assembly in accordance with this Chapter.

(2) The new constitutional text passed by the Constitutional Assembly, or any provision thereof, shall not be of any force and effect unless the Constitutional Court has certified that all the provisions of such text comply with the Constitutional Principles referred to in subsection (1)(a).

(3) A decision of the Constitutional Court in terms of subsection (2) certifying that the provisions of the new constitutional text comply with the Constitutional Principles, shall be final and binding, and no court of law shall have jurisdiction to enquire into or pronounce upon the validity of such text or any provision thereof.

(4) During the course of the proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly any proposed draft of the constitutional text before the Constitutional Assembly, or any part or provision of such text, shall be referred to the Constitutional Court by the Chairperson if petitioned to do so by at least one fifth of all the members of the Constitutional Assembly, in order to obtain an opinion from the Court as to whether such proposed text, or part or provision thereof, would, if passed by the Constitutional Assembly, comply with the Constitutional Principles.


Appointment of commissions, committees and bodies

72. (1) The Constitutional Assembly shall, in addition to appointing committees of its members, be competent to appoint any commissions, technical committees and other advisory bodies to assist it in the performance of its functions.

(2) The Constitutional Assembly shall, subject to subsection (3), appoint an independent panel of five South African citizens being recognised constitutional experts, not being members of Parliament or any other legislature and not holding office in any political party, to advise it, or the Chairperson, on matters pertaining to its functions, and to perform such other tasks as are provided for in this Constitution.

(3) A majority of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Constitutional Assembly shall be required for the appointment of the panel of constitutional experts, and, in the event of such majority not being achieved, a panel of constitutional experts complying with the requirements mentioned in subsection (2) and consisting of a nominee of each party which holds at least 40 seats in the Constitutional Assembly and wishes to make such a nomination, shall be appointed.


Adoption of new constitutional text

73. (1) The Constitutional Assembly shall pass the new constitutional text within two years as from the date of the first sitting of the National Assembly under this Constitution.

(2) For the passing of the new constitutional text by the Constitutional Assembly, a majority of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Constitutional Assembly shall be required: Provided that provisions of such text relating to the boundaries, powers and functions of provinces shall not be considered passed by the Constitutional Assembly unless approved also by a majority of two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.

(3) If the Constitutional Assembly fails to pass a proposed draft of the new constitutional text in accordance with subsection (2), but such draft is supported by a majority of all its members, such proposed draft shall be referred by the Chairperson to the panel of constitutional experts referred to in section 72(2) for its advice, to be given within 30 days of such referral, on amendments to the proposed draft, within the framework of the Constitutional Principles, which might secure the support required in terms of subsection (2).

(4) An amended draft text unanimously recommended by the panel of constitutional experts and submitted to the Constitutional Assembly within the said period of 30 days, shall be considered by the Constitutional Assembly, and if passed in accordance with subsection (2), it shall become the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

(5) Should the panel of constitutional experts fail to submit within the said period of 30 days to the Constitutional Assembly an amended draft text which is unanimously recommended by the panel, or should such an amended draft text not be passed by the Constitutional Assembly in accordance with subsection (2), any proposed draft text before the Constitutional Assembly may be approved by it by resolution of a majority of its members for the purposes of subsection (6).

(6) A text approved under subsection (5) shall, after it has been certified by the Constitutional Court in terms of section 71(2), be referred by the President for a decision by the electorate by way of a national referendum.

(7) The question put before the electorate in the referendum shall be the acceptance or rejection of the text approved under subsection (5).

(8) The text presented to the electorate in the referendum shall, if approved by a majority of at least 60 per cent of the votes cast in the referendum and subject to subsection (13), become the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

(9) If the relevant text is not approved in the referendum in accordance with subsection (8), or if a new constitutional text is not passed in terms of this Chapter within the period of two years referred to in subsection (1), the President shall dissolve Parliament by proclamation in the Gazette within 14 days after the referendum or the expiry of the said period, whereupon an election contemplated in section 39(1)(a) shall be held.

(10) The Constitutional Assembly as constituted after such an election, shall pass the new constitutional text within a period of one year as from the date of its first sitting after such election.

(11) For the passing of the new constitutional text referred to in subsection (10) by the Constitutional Assembly, a majority of at least 60 per cent of all the members of the Constitutional Assembly shall be required: Provided that provisions of such text relating to the boundaries, powers and functions of provinces shall not be considered passed by the Constitutional Assembly unless approved also by a majority of at least 60 per cent of all the members of the Senate.

(12) The provisions of subsections (3) to (9) of this section and the other sections of this Chapter shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the Constitutional Assembly referred to in subsection (10) of this section.

(13) A new constitutional text adopted in terms of this Chapter shall be assented to by the President and shall upon its promulgation be the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.


Amendments relating to this Chapter and Schedule 4

74. (1) No amendment or repeal of—

(a) this section or the Constitutional Principles set out in Schedule 4; or

(b) any other provision of this Chapter in so far as it relates to—

(i) the Constitutional Principles; or

(ii) the requirement that the new constitutional text shall comply with the Constitutional Principles, or that such text shall be certified by the Constitutional Court as being in compliance therewith,

shall be permissible.

(2) The other provisions of this Chapter may be amended by the Constitutional Assembly by resolution of a majority of at least two-thirds of all its members.