The South African Parliament’s Failed Moment
The nature of the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government is only laid bare when tested. This is particularly so in a country growing into a new constitutional dispensation such as contemporary South Africa. This chapter examines a seminal test case in this relationship, namely the role of parliament2 and particularly that of its standing committee on public accounts (SCOPA) in examining the risks involving the strategic defense packages for the acquisition of armaments at the department of defense (hereafter “the arms deal”). The national assembly’s treatment of the investigation into the arms deal provides a lens through which the complex and convoluted relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government is likely better understood. It also raises important questions about the nature of constitutional democracy in South Africa, now and in the future.
KeywordsExecutive Branch African National Congress Standing Committee Legislative Branch Auditor General
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