Justice Sandile Ngcobo and the Judicial Reinforcement of Intergovernmental Relations in South Africa


  • Maropeng Mpya University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Nomthandazo Ntlama University of Fort Hare




co-operative government, constitutionalism, democracy, legislative competence, foundational values


The importance of co-operative governance is strengthened by the authority vested in the judiciary—to ensure the judicial review of any conduct, rule or law that runs contrary to the prescripts of the envisaged collaborative relations. Of particular significance is the establishment of the Constitutional Court, where retired Chief Justice Ngcobo distinguished himself as an independent thinker, within the limitations of judicial authority, in advancing the principles of co-operative governance. His rich intellect demonstrates an alternative way of arriving at the constitutionalised South African jurisprudence that has spanned twenty-two years of democracy in regulating public authority. This article reviews and provides an account of Justice Ngcobo’s selected case law in the judicial enforcement of the principles of co-operative governance. The objective is to give impetus to the advancement of an unwavering commitment and a well thought-out, futuristic and progressive outlook on the evolution of South African jurisprudence. These were motivated by a zeal to establish his deep-rooted philosophy that informed his thoughts in judicial reasoning. The motivation raises a question that is intended to help determine whether his contribution has shifted the culture of dictatorship of the pre-democratic dispensation to the affirmation of the principles of constitutional supremacy in a way that befits the general populace affected by the different spheres of government.


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Author Biography

Nomthandazo Ntlama, University of Fort Hare

Professor of Public Law & Head of Research, Nelson R. Mandela School of Law, University of Fort Hare



How to Cite

Mpya, Maropeng, and Nomthandazo Ntlama. 2018. “Justice Sandile Ngcobo and the Judicial Reinforcement of Intergovernmental Relations in South Africa”. Southern African Public Law 32 (1&2):20 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2522-6800/3574.
Received 2017-11-30
Accepted 2017-12-06
Published 2018-08-06