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Vol 37 No 5

Published 1st March 1996

South Africa

Another country, another law

The ANC wants the new constitution to remake society but the minority parties fear more social engineering

Bouncing from crisis to breakthrough and back again, the constitution-making negotiations are running true to South African form. Doubts are growing about the schedule to finalise the new basic law and the way in which arguments are being settled. The African National Congress wants the constitution to help remake post-apartheid society and enforce social justice; the minority parties – knowing the ANC has an overwhelming majority for the foreseeable future – want the constitution to guard against abuses of power if the ANC steamrollers its way to becoming the permanent party ofgovernment. ANC delegates are increasingly irritated by what they regard as liberal constitutional niceties while the minority parties speak scathingly of 'post-socialist' attempts at social engineering.

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