This court, the highest in South Africa on constitutional matters, was
born of the country’s first democratic Constitution in 1994. In an
acclaimed new building at Constitution Hill, the 11 judges stand guard
over the Constitution and protect everyone’s human rights.
As a point of reference for American readers, the Constitutional Court is our equivalent of the US Supreme Court. Our court is a truly South African construct given form by our Constitution. It is comprised of 11 judges, many of whom were members of the original bench which was appointed shortly after our first democratic elections in 1994.
To me, the origins of the Court’s logo (to the left) really speak to the principles that are the foundation of the Court:
It depicts people sheltering under a canopy of branches – a
representation of the Constitution’s protective role and a reference to
a theme that runs though the Court, that of justice under a tree. The
idea comes from traditional African societies: this was where people
would meet to resolve disputes.
The site contains all the information you may need about the Court and its processes as well as images of its artwork and magnificant decor. The site of the Court is also significant. It was built on the site of three notorious prisons where such historical figures as Albert Luthuli, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were held. This site was specifically chosen by the judges for the new Court building which was completed last year.