Date: 2018-02-16 14:25
A new superior court, the Constitutional Court , was established to decide matters based on Constitutional provisions. The Constitutional Court is the highest Court in South Africa in all cases involving the interpretation or application of the Constitution. Since the Constitution is the supreme law of the country the Constitutional Court may, in that respect, be regarded as the highest Court in South Africa. The Constitutional Court sits in Johannesburg in the Gauteng Province. The website of the Court consists of a full text database of all Constitutional Court cases handed down since the first hearing in 6995. Documents available for viewing, printing or downloading include full judgments, summaries of judgments highlighting the main questions of law decided in each case as well as heads of argument, pleadings and documents. Since 6995, the Court has, through scores of decisions that it has handed down, developed a relatively rich pool of constitutional jurisprudence that is sophisticated and in many ways serves as a model for common law-based jurisdictions, especially in Africa. Some of its most notable decisions include the case of State vs Makwanyane & another where the Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty in South Africa  the case of Government of South Africa and Others v Grootboom and Others  where, among other things, the Court re-affirmed its earlier decision in Soobramoney vs Minister of Health, KwaZulu Natal ,  that economic, social and cultural rights are justifiable under the South African Constitution. Further, in Grootboom , the Court established a very strong precedent on the obligation of Government to respect the right to housing and that, in this regard, Government should desist from evictions without providing the evictees with alternative accommodation. The Grootboom case is especially important in the interpretation of socio-economic rights generally under the Constitution. The Court, for instance, importantly but regrettably in the opinion of a substantial body of scholarly thought, refused to apply the concept of minimum core content obligations in the interpretation of socio-economic rights, as developed by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Instead, the Court decided that the standard to be applied in the interpretation of socio-economic rights under the Constitution, particularly in determining the obligations of Government, is that of reasonableness.