A lawyer’s response to the current travails of South African constitutionalism - PULP FICTIONS No. 5
Edited by Karin van Marle
ISSN: 1992-5174
Pages: 10
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available

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About the publication

In this edition of Pulp fictions we have shifted from the usual paper and respondent format. In May this year Judge Johan Froneman delivered a talk called, ‘A lawyer’s response to the current travails of South African constitutionalism’ to the South African Law Deans Association. The talk is reproduced here. In his talk he carefully considers some of the many challenges and tensions faced by not only lawyers and legal scholars, but also by ordinary South Africans living within a post-apartheid context. Responding to a statement by retired Constitutional Court judge, Johan Kriegler, that in many cases commitment to the principles of rule of law and democracy amount to ‘mere lip service’, Froneman paradoxically calls for exactly ‘lipservice’ to be paid to the constitution. Froneman’s talk, like all words, could of course be interpreted in many ways. However, given his commitment to engagements that go beyond the merely instrumental, we could consider interpretations that disclose possibilities such as lip-service as performativity,1 lip-service as double-gesture,2 or at least lip-service to the principles and ideals of constitutionalism and human rights in the vein of what Patricia Williams calls an ‘unlocking’.3

About the Editor:

Karin van Marle is a Professor at the Department of Legal History, Comparitive Law and Jurisprudence, at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

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