Executive accountability and the separation of powers: Introducing the political accountability doctrine in South Africa

  • Mtendeweka Mhango

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 envisages that the political branches of government should be held politically accountable for their discretionary decisions, which may include cabinet appointments and dismissals, policy development, and legislative modalities for holding the executive to account. This chapter focuses on the latter area. I argue that the Constitutional Court should be commended for developing the political accountability doctrine – a useful jurisprudential tool to resolve constitutional questions that are allocated to the discretion of the political pillars of government. I argue that the judiciary can employ the political accountability doctrine to explain or defend against alleged accusations of judicial overreach or perceived substantive partisan support thereby maintaining the social legitimacy of the judiciary and encourage participatory democracy in South Africa.

Keywords: constitutional doctrine; justiciability; participatory democracy; political accountability doctrine; political questions; political disputes; separation of powers.

Speculum Juris Volume 35
Issue : 
Issue 1