Essay: The institutions of the South African constitution

In chapter 9, the South African Constitution establishes six independent institutions supporting constitutional democracy. This assignment aims to review the chapter 9 institutions of the Constitution in terms of its origin, motivation which is the reason for existence and it will also focus on how these institutions are composed.

The chapter 9 institutions referred to are the Public Protector, the Human rights commission, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the Commission for Gender Equality, the Auditor General and the Electoral Commission. This assignment will focus on the roles played by each institution in strengthening the democracy and it will also discuss the significance of each institution.

2. Background of chapter 9 institutions

The Chapter 9 institutions all exist to strengthen the constitutional democracy of the country. These institutions have specific responsibilities and perform different functions (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:41). However by strengthening the constitutional democracy of South Africa it means that service delivery must be democratised in order to provide quality services and qualitative means of service delivery. Democratising service delivery means the citizens whom services are being delivered to must be given an opportunity to be involved and to participate with regards to services that are being provided (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:41). According to (Murray, 2006:3) some of the chapter 9 institutions were already in existence by the time South Africa had its first democratic elections in 1994. However they are independent, impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their duties without fear, favour or prejudice. The institutions reports only to the National Assembly and must give feedback on their activities to the Assembly at least once a year (Madue, Tsolo and Ramoabi, 2014:880).

3. The chapter 9 institutions

3.1. Auditor General

The Auditor General is an independent Supreme Audit Institution of South Africa that carries out audits of government accounts in order to determine whether the government has implemented the budget as appropriated by the legislature and complied the financial prescripts (Madue et al., 2014:880). The Auditor General audits and report on the account, financial statements and financial management of all national and principal state departments and administrations, all the municipalities and any other institution or accounting entity required by the national or provincial legislation to be audited by the Auditor General (Madue et al., 2014:880).

3.2. Public Protector

The mandate of the Public Protector emphases on the firming of democracy by ensuring that all state structures are accountable, fair and receptive in the way they treat people and deliver services (Madue et al., 2014:881). According to Dlalisa and Mafunisa (2009:693) the Public Protector ??????has the power to investigate any conduct in state affairs or public administration any sphere of government that is alleged or suspected to be improper or may result in any impropriety or prejudice???.

3.3. Human Rights Commission

The Commission was initially established by the 1993 interim Constitution. The powers and functions are laid down in section 184 and the Commission is obliged to promote respect for human rights and culture of human rights and it also promotes and protect, development and attainment of human rights (Mubangizi, 2006:458).

3.4. Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities

The Commission has the primary responsibilities of promoting respect for the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities and it also has the responsibility of promoting and developing peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among cultural, religious and linguistic communities on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:42). Moreover the Commission must recommend the establishment or recognition in accordance with national legislation of a cultural or other council or councils for a community in South Africa (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:42).

3.5. Commission for Gender Equality

This commission must amongst other objectives, promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality as stipulated in section 187 of the Constitution (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:43).

3.6. Electoral Commission

This Commission has, like the others, specific responsibilities to strengthen the constitutional democracy of the country. In terms of section 190 of the Constitution it has the functions of managing elections of national, provincial and municipal legislature in accordance with national legislature (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:44). It also has the function of ensuring free and fair elections and lastly has to declare election results within a period prescribed by national legislation (Van der Waldt and Auriacombe, 2015:44).

4. Conclusion

The institutions established in Chapter 9 have important mandates. Their role is particularly significant now because constitutional democracy in South Africa faces a number of specific interrelated challenges. This assignment has introduced the perception of chapter 9 institutions. It has discussed the background of the institutions and their significance of existence as they strengthen the constitutional democracy of the country. It has also named the chapter 9 institutions and discussed the roles played by each of these institutions. The assignment has emphasised the significance of the institutions and it also focused on the roles played by each institution in strengthening the constitutional democracy and in one way or the other it has discussed on why these institutions are called noise makers without teeth.


Dlalisa, W.T.M. & Mafunisa, M.J. 2009. National integrity framework: A comprehensive model for instilling good governance in local government. Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 44(3)
Madue, S.M., Tsolo, M.A. & Ramoabi, T.C. 2014. Institutions Supporting Democracy: Noise Makers without Teeth. Journal of Public Administration, Vol 49(3)
Mubangizi, J.C. 2006. The role of national Human Rights institutions in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Uganda and South Africa: A comparative evaluation. Obiter, Vol.27 (3)
Murray, C. 2006. The Human Rights Commission et al: What is the role of South Africa???s chapter 9 institutions?. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, Vol 2
Van der Waldt, G. and Auriacombe, C.J. 2015. Public management and governance 2A: Internal handbook. Johannesburg: University of Johannesburg

Source: Essay UK -

Not what you're looking for?

Search our thousands of essays:


About this resource

This Law essay was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.

Word count:

This page has approximately words.



If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay UK, Essay: The institutions of the South African constitution. Available from: <> [24-01-19].

More information:

If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal:

Essay and dissertation help

Latest essays in this category:

Our free essays:


Ww1 1914-1918 Purple Poppy Animals At War Dove Of Peace Remembrance Enamel Badge | OglÄ…daj | Red Sparrow