Constitution’s existence

With all of these measures being taken into affect, it is clear that if South Africa was to issue a system of double-veto jurisdiction for both factions, it would have to vary from the American example that Madison beautifully fought for during the first couple of years of the Constitution's existence. But what would is extra measure be that South Africa would need in order to successfully adapt to this program?

Upon reviewing several government policies and constitutional frameworks, I was able to uncover a very distinct difference between both constitutions of each country and that difference was the actively directive, or passively directive, actions of the legislative and executive bodies of the government in terms of checks and balances, more specifically, with veto power. South Africa tends to have an indirect form of document management. For example, when I was assessing the parliamentary, I discovered that the second core objective as described in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, it is the sworn duty of the parliament to "scrutinize and oversee executive action (keep oversight of the executive and organs of state)," (A Beginner's Guide).

This does sound rather familiar to the United States' system of checks and balances, but later within the same document states that the executive branch also has a method of achieving this co-operative objective through a process of "reconsideration," or more simply, when the President oversees a document that he or she does not agree with, he or she simply sends the bill back to the Parliament in order to once again be deliberated. Imagine if this process could have some sort of veto system implemented to make it much more efficient and effective. One may say, "Their system seems to be okay in theory, shouldn't it be enough?"

The answer is simply no. Though it may be an indirect form of checks and balances, the very method Madison gives rise to within the Federalist Papers as to the best way to falter means of factions, it still does not give justice to the appropriate form of double-veto jurisdiction that South Africa needs. I believe that South Africa requires a much more direct approach to what has been institutionalized in American government today. The need for a harsher, more direct form of this system is especially needed due to the fact that the political factions of South Africa are established in a racial prejudice, a definitively social characteristic that ultimately is void of all reason and rationale.

In order to institute a more concrete form of veto, specifically through the terms of double-veto jurisdiction, I would call for a special board to be formed within the legislative body comprised of an equal distribution of members from each political faction, solely focused the task of reviewing new legislative bills and deciding whether or not to further them in the legislative progression. This process would not exactly be the most rapid form of political change available to South Africa, but after years of political discourse, it would be the most stable. Double-veto jurisdiction of both of the political factions of South Africa would be the most effective way to destroy any attempts of one faction to gain a tyrannical majority. 

South Africa is a great example of what a country can endure for the sake of democracy. Even though past events have painted a dismal picture of what South Africa is actually made of, the enthusiasm and dedication to find common ground between both political factions through years of conflict is enough to give anyone hope for this courageous country. T

he one reason why South Africa is different than many other countries is because both political factions want to talk to one another in order to find a way to coexist in a nonviolent way. Evidence of these attempts are most effectively given through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) regarding post-apartheid peace attempts. Within this organization, both native Africans and Afrikaners/English inhabitants of South Africa are able to come together to talk about the atrocities of apartheid in an attempt to forgive but to never forget.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, led a report covering the main objectives of the TRC and commended the entire South African people for their strength through the process of coming forth to tell their stories and thanked them for allowing South Africa to become a benchmark for the world in all communities wanting to make a nonviolent transition in society (TRC Report 1). Both parties working together on this project confirms what an extraordinary country South Africa is and that they are fully capable of handling something as intense and demanding as establishing and upholding a system of double-veto policy. 

South Africa has endured many horrendous events in the past, which is why they are strong enough to move past doubt and uncertainty to establish a system of double-veto jurisdiction within their government. The time to act is now. The world can no longer ignore the political faction problems within South Africa.

Even though a creative system will have to be devised which differs from the case of the United States, such virtues that the Founders laid within our Constitution can still apply to South Africa. With the help of such publications as the Federalist Papers, South Africa may one day be able to find a new founding, a better founding; something that this country has been in desperate need of since their independence less than two decades ago. 


  • A Beginner's Guide. Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. 2 June 2008.