In celebration of Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July 2018, SchoemanLaw Inc. will be reviewing the effect that Nelson Mandela has had on South African Law. Nelson Mandela signed the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 108 of 1996 into Law on 10 December 1996 (hereinafter the “Constitution”). The Constitution was the finalisation of the Constitutional Revolution of South Africa. The overarching effect of the Constitution was the introduction of Constitutional supremacy, which meant that the Constitution is the highest law in South Africa and that all ordinary law must adhere to the principles of the Constitution. In other words, the drafting of legislation, any interpretation by the Courts and the development of Common Law must adhere to the Constitution.
Chapter 2 of the Constitution introduced the Bill of Rights, which guaranteed Human Rights for all South Africans. Section 29 of the Constitution entrenched the Right to Education – a right Nelson Mandela firmly believed in as can be seen from his following quote:
“Education is the most powerful weapon we have, and that it can be used to change the world.”
Section 29 of the Constitution outlines the Rights of all South Africans with regards to Education. Section 29 states that:
“ (1) Everyone has the right—
(a) to a basic education, including adult basic education; and
(b) to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.
(2) Everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable. In order to ensure the effective access to, and implementation of, this right, the state must consider all reasonable educational alternatives, including single medium institutions, taking into account—
(b) practicability; and
(c) the need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and
(3) Everyone has the right to establish and maintain, at their own expense,
independent educational institutions that—
(a) do not discriminate on the basis of race;
(b) are registered with the state; and
(c) maintain standards that are not inferior to standards at comparable public
(4) Subsection (3) does not preclude state subsidies for independent educational