Transformative Constitutionalism In South Africa

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1. Introduction
According to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it is suggested that the white population, as beneficiaries during the apartheid era, should now pay a special “wealth tax.” This tax is assumed to be used in assistance of the empowerment and upliftment of those who have been oppressed by apartheid, with the aim of establishing equality in South Africa. This essay will discuss the transformative nature of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and its characteristics, and through this, the implementation of wealth tax as a policy will be analysed.

2. What is transformative constitutionalism?
South Africa’s constitution is widely acknowledged as a transformative constitution. Our constitution’s primary aim is to facilitate change in society, based on the values of ‘human dignity, achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms’ and ‘non-racialism and non-sexism’. According to Professor Karl Klare, transformative constitutionalism is a “long term project of constitutional enactment, interpretation, and enforcement committed to transforming a country’s political and social institutions and power relationships in a democratic, participatory and egalitarian direction.”

3. What are the characteristics of transformative constitutionalism?
3.1 Substantive equality
South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, but the constitution’s transformative nature aims to eradicate this inequality. The constitution supports substantive equality with the focus on social reconstruction. Substantive equality takes into account that some groups have previously experienced disadvantage, and that measures should be put in place to right the wrongs of the past by bringing these groups on t...

... middle of paper ... tax levies. Tax payers who will be affected by this wealth tax may feel like they are being robbed blind. When tax payers believe that the tax system is unfair, they might start looking for loopholes – so-called tax avoidance. In order for this to stop, tax morality should come into play. Payers of wealth tax should believe that they are being good citizens when paying wealth tax.

6. Conclusion
South Africa is on a constitutional journey; a journey to rectify the mistakes of the past and move forward in a more equal society. Wealth tax will have the power to restrain the growing power of inherited wealth. Wealth tax, although a controversial topic, should be implemented in South Africa, as long as it is done so correctly. A policy on this tax should be implemented with the aim to make reparations in our unequal society and through this, redistribute wealth.

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