8 MONTHS AWAY
Finally, in October 1995 the first milestone was reached. The CA was presented with a completed Refined Working Draft of the Constitution. After a year of meeting to discuss submissions and public opinion, there was something real on the table on which to negotiate. The CA Chairperson declared:
For the first time since we started, we have before us a composite draft Constitution that is near completion. We are getting close to finalising the work that we were given to do.
These proved to be valiant words. While the text certainly provided the first sense of what the final Constitution might look like, it also revealed major issues of contention. For one thing, several politicians were uncomfortable with the ‘plain language’ approach that had been adopted and many felt that the actual wording failed to reflect the agreements that had been reached. More seriously, technical advisers listed more than 30 issues where agreement was required in principle and a further 130 where negotiation was still needed to refine the clauses. The issues ranged from the influence of minority parties in the executive arm of government to the right to receive education in single-language schools. The politicians let their feelings of discontent with the first draft be known.
Withdraw the draft!
It doesn’t reflect the constitution-making process.
This is a non-document.
The document fails to reflect some of the agreements or changes that have taken place in bilateral meetings.
A western liberal constitutional order.
Cyril Ramaphosa made placatory noises:
No one is bound hand and foot to the draft. This is a report by a technical committee that is trying to help us reach agreement.