Pretoria - The Law Society of South Africa (LLSA) has welcomed the appointment of Justice Sandile Ngcobo as South Africa's new Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court.
The body, which represents the country's 18 800 attorneys and 4 900 candidate attorneys, said "Ngcobo brings vast and invaluable breadth of experience to the judiciary".
Ngcobo was officially appointed by President Jacob Zuma yesterday. His proven track record in promoting and protecting human rights earned the respect of the President and his peers.
President Zuma said he was confident that Ngcobo would be supported by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who was initially favoured by opposition parties for the top post.
LLSA believes that Ngcobo would serve as he had done in the past and with the same fervour and dignity displayed by outgoing Chief Justice Pius Langa.
"We are confident that our judiciary and our courts are in good hands."
They were also confident that Justice Ngcobo will continue to protect and promote the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law throughout his tenure.
"We assure the new chief justice of our continuing support, particularly with regards to upholding and safeguarding the independence, impartiality and dignity of the judiciary, the courts and the legal profession," they said.
Ngcobo's appointment has also been welcomed by political parties.
The African National Congress said he brings to the Constitutional Court experience that will ensure that the judiciary remains an "independent arbiter."
It said his commitment to uphold the oath of office and to administer justice to all persons without fear, favour or prejudice gives comfort and confidence to all.
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said his appointment brought with it the sacred responsibility of upholding South Africa's laws and safeguarding the Constitution.
"It is our hope that Chief Justice Ngcobo bears this responsibility with the same intellectual independence and wisdom that have characterised his time in the Constitutional Court thus far."
The Inkatha Freedom Party President Mangosuthu Buthelezi also expressed confidence that Ngcobo would rigorously uphold the Constitution as the country's "law of the law" and would bring clarity of thought and intellectual integrity to the role.
Ngcobo said he would do his best to ensure that he remains worthy of the trust that has been placed in him.