Zuma expresses confidence in new Chief Justice

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has described the country's new Chief Justice, Sandile Ngocobo, as someone who has a rich track record in the justice system.

Zuma on Thursday confirmed Ngcobo, a Constitutional Court Judge, as the person who will take over from Pius Langa who retires later this month.

"Justice Ngcobo brings over 35 years of practice and experience both here and abroad," President Zuma said.

It is his proven track record in promoting and protecting human rights that earned Ngcobo the respect of the President and his peers.

Zuma said he was confident that he would receive the necessary support from Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, adding that Moseneke was someone who had been consistent in upholding the values of a free society.

Flanked by family members, Ngcobo appeared calm as he arrived at the Presidential Guesthouse, where his new role was formally announced.

He later told journalists that he was humbled by the trust and confidence shown in him by Zuma.

"I am mindful of the mammoth task ahead and the challenges facing the judiciary. However, I am a judge and therefore cannot make any promises, but I can make a commitment to the Constitution of the country," said Ngcobo.

Described as an intellectual, Ngcobo is highly educated in law having graduated from the University of Zululand with a B Proc (Bachelor of Law), earning distinctions in constitutional law, mercantile law and accounting. From 1983 to 1985 he studied for an LLB at the University of Natal in Durban.

He was detained by apartheid forces for his political activism between 1976 to July 1977.

From April 1996 to the end of August that year, he was an acting judge of the Supreme Court, Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division. In September 1996 he was made a judge of the same division. From January to December 1997 he was an acting judge of the Labour Appeal Court; in November that year he was appointed a judge of the court.

In 1999 Ngcobo was appointed the acting Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Courts.

Ngcobo has published many papers on topics such as justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, housing segregation and gender equality. He will assume his new role of Chief Justice on 12 October