Zuma names Sandile Ngcobo as Chief Justice

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday nominated Constitutional Court Judge
Sandile Ngcobo as the country's new Chief Justice. 

"I have decided to nominate Justice Sandile Ngcobo as the next Chief Justice as Chief Justice Pius Langa is due to retire," the President told reporters at a press briefing hosted by the National Press Club.

He said he had engaged with the Judicial Services Commission and leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly before making his decision. He further said he had taken the decision "properly" and "objectively".

Judge Ngcobo was suitably qualified and experienced for the position, said President Zuma.

A graduate of the universities of Zululand, Natal, Georgetown Law Centre and Harvard, Judge Ngcobo will bring a wealth of experience to the task of heading the highest court in the land.

"The fact of the matter is that I have appointed a judge that I believe is capable. Judge Ngcobo's credentials and experience speak for themselves," said Mr Zuma

A Fulbright scholar, Judge Ngcobo was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 1999. The Judicial Service Commission had recommended then-Johannesburg High Court Judge Edwin Cameron.

He was born in Durban in 1953 and completed his undergraduate BProc studies in 1975, obtaining distinctions in constitutional law, mercantile law and accounting. 

He was admitted as an attorney six years later, after stints as a clerk and public prosecutor.

President Zuma paid tribute to outgoing Chief Justice Langa saying he served the country "exceptionally well with dignity and distinction."

He said he would also be announcing who would serve on the Judicial Services Commission soon, following the wrapping up of interviews recently.

"We believe that a well-resourced judiciary will greatly enhance our fight against crime," he said