A Perspective on the Principle of ‘Constitutionalism’ in Relation to Executive and Legislative Accountability in South Africa

  • Andile Mcineka
  • Nomthandazo NtlamaEmail author
Part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series (AAESPD)


This chapter explores the significance of the principle of constitutionalism to accountability in relation to the functional independence of each of the branches of the government. In this regard, we reviewed selected cases of the Constitutional Court: United Democratic Movement v Speaker of the National Assembly, Black Sash Trust v Minister of Social Development and Others, and Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others. We used these judgments to affirm the argument herein. We argue that constitutionalism is an amalgam of the principle of judicial review and a basic tool for enforcing accountability. It further raises the question of whether constitutionalism is at a crossroad in South Africa, because of what seems to be a lack of moral and ethical leadership in the regulation of state authority within the required standards and norms (Shaikh and Zungu 2017). There were reports that the President called on people take the money to bribe them, and used it to pay for their children’s school fees and then voted correctly. He said this to the loud cheers from the group. This report indicated a grave compromise of moral authority and ethical leadership that, in fact, should steer the exercise of state authority in a way that conforms to the principle of constitutionalism.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KwaZulu-Natal, (UKZN), Candidate Attorney: Tomlinson Mnguni James AttorneysUmhlangaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Nelson R. Mandela School of Law, University of Fort HareAliceSouth Africa

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