‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution

 

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dc.contributor.author De Vos, Pierre
dc.coverage.spatial South Africa en_ZA
dc.date 2014-04-01
dc.date.accessioned 2014-09-29T19:36:25Z
dc.date.available 2014-09-29T19:36:25Z
dc.date.issued 2014-09-29
dc.identifier.citation De Vos, P. 2014-09-29. ‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution. Recorded lecture. UCT Summer School Lectures 2014. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/7744
dc.description.abstract South Africa’s Constitution contains a list of rights protecting the interests of individuals. Formulated in an open-ended way, their scope and content are not always apparent. For example, section 9(3) prohibits ‘unfair discrimination’ on any ground, but when, for instance, would affirmative action based on race be fair and when not? When would it be fair to discriminate against people with disabilities, pensioners, men, or people who used to be classified ‘white’ during apartheid, and when not? Judges, who have their own personal views and beliefs, must determine the scope and content of the rights by interpreting them. For an interpretation to be credible, and not seen as based purely on political and personal beliefs, judges often rely on ‘objective’ criteria. This three lecture course will look at how the Constitutional Court relies on South Africa’s history as one such ‘objective’ criterion. Taking its title from a remark made by Evita Bezuidenhout that ‘the future is certain – it’s the past that is unpredictable’, the course will illustrate that the manner in which the court understands South Africa’s history partly determines how it interprets the scope and content of the right. The right to equality and the question of affirmative action will be the points of departure, to assist understanding how South Africa’s particular history influences the court’s understanding of various human rights. LECTURE TITLES 1. History and the interpretation of the Bill of Rights 2. History and non-discrimination: race, gender and sexual orientation 3. On affirmative action Recommended reading De Vos, P. 2012. The past is unpredictable: race, redress and remembrance in the South African Constitution. South African Law Journal, 129, 73–103. (Read Prof de Vos's inaugural lecture of the same title here: http://www.uct.ac.za/downloads/uct.ac.za/news/lectures/inaugurals/De_Vos...) De Vos, P. 2012. Why Historical Context Still Matters in South Africa. Available here: http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/why-historical-context-still-matte... Ngcukaitobi, T. 2013. Equality. In The Bill of Rights Handbook. 6th ed. I. Currie et al. Eds. Cape Town: Juta. 209–249. This lecture series was part of the 2014 UCT Summer School programme http://www.summerschool.uct.ac.za/ Image details: The judges' table in a courtroom of the Constitutional Court of South Africa at Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. (2007). Available at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ConstitutionalCourtofSouthAfrica-... en_ZA
dc.language eng en_ZA
dc.relation.ispartofseries UCT Summer School Lectures 2014 en_ZA
dc.rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International en_ZA
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ en_ZA
dc.subject affirmative action en_ZA
dc.subject constitutional court en_ZA
dc.subject non-discrimination en_ZA
dc.subject legal en_ZA
dc.subject rights en_ZA
dc.title ‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution en_ZA
dc.type Other en_ZA
uct.type.publication Teaching and Learning en_ZA
uct.type.resource Recorded lecture en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
uct.type.filetype
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation 2014. <i>‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution.</i> http://hdl.handle.net/11427/7744 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation . 2014. <i>‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution.</i> http://hdl.handle.net/11427/7744 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation . 2014. <i>‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution.</i> http://hdl.handle.net/11427/7744 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Other AU - De Vos, Pierre AB - South Africa’s Constitution contains a list of rights protecting the interests of individuals. Formulated in an open-ended way, their scope and content are not always apparent. For example, section 9(3) prohibits ‘unfair discrimination’ on any ground, but when, for instance, would affirmative action based on race be fair and when not? When would it be fair to discriminate against people with disabilities, pensioners, men, or people who used to be classified ‘white’ during apartheid, and when not? Judges, who have their own personal views and beliefs, must determine the scope and content of the rights by interpreting them. For an interpretation to be credible, and not seen as based purely on political and personal beliefs, judges often rely on ‘objective’ criteria. This three lecture course will look at how the Constitutional Court relies on South Africa’s history as one such ‘objective’ criterion. Taking its title from a remark made by Evita Bezuidenhout that ‘the future is certain – it’s the past that is unpredictable’, the course will illustrate that the manner in which the court understands South Africa’s history partly determines how it interprets the scope and content of the right. The right to equality and the question of affirmative action will be the points of departure, to assist understanding how South Africa’s particular history influences the court’s understanding of various human rights. LECTURE TITLES 1. History and the interpretation of the Bill of Rights 2. History and non-discrimination: race, gender and sexual orientation 3. On affirmative action Recommended reading De Vos, P. 2012. The past is unpredictable: race, redress and remembrance in the South African Constitution. South African Law Journal, 129, 73–103. (Read Prof de Vos's inaugural lecture of the same title here: http://www.uct.ac.za/downloads/uct.ac.za/news/lectures/inaugurals/De_Vos...) De Vos, P. 2012. Why Historical Context Still Matters in South Africa. Available here: http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/why-historical-context-still-matte... Ngcukaitobi, T. 2013. Equality. In The Bill of Rights Handbook. 6th ed. I. Currie et al. Eds. Cape Town: Juta. 209–249. This lecture series was part of the 2014 UCT Summer School programme http://www.summerschool.uct.ac.za/ Image details: The judges' table in a courtroom of the Constitutional Court of South Africa at Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. (2007). Available at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ConstitutionalCourtofSouthAfrica-... DA - 2014-09-29 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town KW - affirmative action KW - constitutional court KW - non-discrimination KW - legal KW - rights LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2014 T1 - ‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution TI - ‘The past is unpredictable’: South African history and the understanding of the constitution UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/7744 ER - en_ZA


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