Serjeant at the Bar | Attack on the Constitution just a deflection from the country's real issues

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Copy of the Constitution. (Courtesy of Constitution Hill)
Copy of the Constitution. (Courtesy of Constitution Hill)

in light of recent criticism of the Constitution, Serjeant at the Bar argues that its text guarantees not merely formal, but substantive equality. The writer analyses several Constitutional Court cases where the rights of the poor and vulnerable have been upheld.  

The recent intense debate about the role of the Constitution in general and the judiciary, in particular, raises a critical question: Given the notorious fact that South Africa is among the most unequal societies in the world and that more than 16 million South Africans live below an absolute poverty threshold, has the Constitution played a significant role in the failure to redress this stark reality encountered on a daily basis by so many South Africans? 

A read of the text of the 1996 Constitution must dictate a negative answer.

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