Justices’ Biographies

We have included biographies of current and former justices of the Constitutional Court, including, where available, links to their JSC interviews and a selection of judgments they have authored.  We will be adding acting justices in the near future. 

Current Justices
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke
Justice Thembile Skweyiya
Justice Johann van der Westhuizen
Justice Bess Nkabinde-Mmono
Justice Chris Jafta
Justice Edwin Cameron
Justice Johan Froneman
Justice Sisi Khampepe
Justice Raymond Zondo

Former Justices
Justice John Didcott (1994 – 1998)
Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed (1994 – 2000)
Justice Richard Goldstone (1994 – 2000)
Justice Johann Kriegler (1994-2003)
Justice Laurie Ackermann (1994 – 2004)
Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson (1994 – 2005)
Justice Tholie Madala (1994 – 2008)
Chief Justice Pius Langa (1994 – 2009)
Justice Yvonne Mokgoro (1994 – 2009)
Justice Kate O’Regan (1994 – 2009)
Justice Albie Sachs (1994 – 2009)
Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo (1999 – 2011)
Justice Zak Yacoob (1998 – 2013)



Current Justices’ Biographies


Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

D.o.B.
14 January 1961

University

BIuris (1983) (University of Zululand), LLB (1985) (University of Natal, Durban), LLM (1989) (UNISA)

Date of appointment:
2009

Appointed as Chief Justice2011

Brief biography

Justice Mogoeng started his professional career as a Supreme Court (now High Court) prosecutor in Mafikeng, holding this position between March 1986 and February 1990, when he resigned to do pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar.

After completing pupillage, he practised as an advocate in Johannesburg until the end of 1991.Justice Mogoeng then terminated his membership of the Johannesburg Bar and immediately became a member of the Mafikeng Bar Association (now known as North West Bar Association) until May 1997.

Whilst at the Mafikeng Bar, Justice Mogoeng served as the deputy chairperson of the Bar Council and as the chairperson of the Bophuthatswana chapter of Lawyers for Human Rights. He was also a part-time senior lecturer in criminal law and criminal procedure at the University of the North West, Mafikeng Campus, from 1992 to 1993.

Justice Mogoeng was a member of the Industrial Court from 1989 until it ceased to exist.

In 1994 he served in the legal section of the Independent Electoral Commission in the North West province.

In June 1997 he was appointed a judge of the North West High Court. He was also appointed a judge of the Labour Appeal Court in April 2000.  In October 2002 he was appointed Judge President of the North West High Court.

Justice Mogoeng was a member of the five member committee, led by then Chief Justice Pius Langa, which investigated racism and gender discrimination within the judiciary.

Justice Mogoeng was nominated by the Judges President[AS1]  to represent them in the council of the South African Judicial Education Institute in 2009.

In January 2009, Justice Mogoeng and Judge Andre Davis, judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, USA, co-hosted a series of workshops on judicial case management throughout South Africa. He chaired[AS2] the Caseflow Management Committee, which reported to the various heads of courts.  In this capacity, Justice Mogoeng led the team that organised the Access to Justice Conference, which was held from 8 to 10 July 2011.

Justice Mogoeng is also an ordained pastor and serves in several church structures

Judgments written


Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke

D.o.B.
20 December 1947

University

BA, BIuris, LLB (UNISA)

Date of appointment:

2002

Appointed as Deputy Chief Justice: 2005

Brief biography

Justice Moseneke was arrested at the age of 15 and convicted for participating in anti-apartheid activities. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. While serving his sentence on Robben Island, Justice Moseneke studied for his matriculation and successfully completed his tertiary education.

Justice Moseneke started his professional career as an article clerk at Klagbruns Inc in Pretoria in 1976. In 1978 he was admitted and practised for five years as an attorney, and later a partner, at the law firm Maluleke, Seriti and Moseneke.

In 1983 Justice Moseneke was called to the Bar and practised as an advocate in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Ten years later, in 1993, he was elevated to the status of senior counsel.

In 1986 Justice Moseneke was appointed visiting fellow and lecturer at Columbia Law School at the University of Columbia, New York.

In 1993 Moseneke served on the technical committee that drafted the Interim Constitution. In 1994 he was appointed deputy chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first democratic elections in South Africa.

In September 1994 Justice Moseneke accepted an acting appointment to the Transvaal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court.

Between 1995 and 2001 Justice Moseneke left the Bar to pursue a full-time corporate career, during which time he held the position of chairperson of the following companies (from which he has since resigned): Telkom South Africa Limited, African Merchant Bank, Metropolitan Life Limited, African Bank Investments Limited and Alisa Car Rental.  He was also a director of New Africa Publications (Proprietary) Limited, Phaphama Holdings (Proprietary) Limited, Urban Brew (Proprietary) Limited and Life Officers’ Association.

Justice Moseneke was also a founder member of the Black Lawyers Association and of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa.

Prior to his appointment at the Constitutional Court, Justice Moseneke served as a judge of the High Court in Pretoria.

Justice Moseneke is currently the chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand.  He has been awarded honorary doctorates in law, commerce and technology by the following universities:

  • University of the North;
  • University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal);
  • Tshwane University of Technology;
  • UNISA; and
  • City University of New York.

JSC interviews 

Judgments written

Justice Thembile Skweyiya

D.o.B.
1941

University:

BSocSci (1963) (University of Natal), LLB (1967) (University of Natal)

Date of appointment:

2003

Brief biography

From 1963 to 1964, Justice Skweyiya was a member of the students’ representative council of the University of Natal. From 1968 to 1970 he served his articles of clerkship. In 1970 he was admitted as an advocate of the Supreme Court and become a member of the Society of Advocates in Natal. From 1971 to 1996 he practised as an advocate in Durban.

Justice Skweyiya’s practice initially dealt almost exclusively in commercial and civil matters. From towards the end of 1979, however, his work became more varied and he began handling cases not only in Durban, but in all Supreme Court divisions in South Africa.

From 1971 to 1990 Justice Skweyiya was a member of the Committee of Clemency, which campaigned for political prisoners, people who were banned or under house arrest, and those in exile.

He was also a legal adviser and member of the panel of advisers of SASO from 1973 to 1977, which was when SASO was declared an unlawful organisation.

Justice Skweyiya was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Lesotho in 1974.

In 1977 Justice Skweyiya became the chairperson and a trustee of the Institute of Black Research, positions he still holds.

From about 1981, the bulk of his work involved human rights and civil liberties cases, including many political trials all over South Africa, which invariably involved political, labour or student organisations (for example the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the Black People’s Convention, the South African Students’ Organisation and a variety of others), cases involving the rights of people detained in terms of security laws, and matters involving workers and trade union officials and inquests into the deaths of people in detention. However, from the time Justice Skweyiya took silk in 1989, the focus of his practice shifted back to commercial and civil work. In 1992 the High Court of Namibia admitted him as senior counsel.

From 1979 to 1990 Justice Skweyiya was a member of the Mandela Committee and in 1980 he became the chairperson of the Association for Rural Development.

Justice Skweyiya was a member of the President’s Advisory Committee of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa from 1981 to 1982 and was a trustee of the Black Lawyers Association Legal Education Centre from 1984 to 1990.

He was also a member of the editorial board of the South African Journal on Human Rights between 1985 and 1990.

Between October 1995 and January 2001, Justice Skweyiya served as an acting judge of the High Court in the Natal and Eastern Cape Divisions for various periods (two years in all). He took up a permanent appointment on 1 February 2001.

Justice Skweyiya acted as a judge of the Constitutional Court from August 2001 to the end of May 2002.

Justice Skweyiya has also held many positions in the world of business, including:

  • chairperson of Worldwide African Investment holding (Proprietary) Limited, KFM Radio (Proprietary) Limited and Zenex Oil Limited;
  • deputy chairperson of Fortune Beverages Limited and the SA Tourism Board;
  • director and vice-chairperson of Fasic Investment Limited;
  • director of Fedics Group Limited, Lion Match (Proprietary) Limited, Gold Circle Racing and Gaming, the Premier Group Limited, Southern Bank of Africa Limited; and
  • member of the regional advisory board of Nedcor Bank KwaZulu-Natal.

Justice Skweyiya has also attended and participated in several local and international law conferences, and has spoken and presented papers at some of them.

JSC interviews
http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/skweyiya.html

Judgments written

Justice Johann van der Westhuizen

D.o.B.

26 May 1952

University:

BA Law (1973), LLB (1975), LLD (1980) (University of Pretoria)

Date of appointment:   

2004

Brief bio

From 1980 until 1998 Justice van der Westhuizen was a professor of the Department of Legal History, Comparative Law and Legal Philosophy in the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law.  From 1980 until 1994 he was the head of this department.

He was also the founding director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights (“CHR”) from 1986 to 1998. The CHR played a prominent role in legal resistance to apartheid and in the debate about a new constitutional dispensation, and is now internationally recognised as a leading human rights institution in Africa.

He has had a diverse career as an academic and has:

  • taught jurisprudence, human rights, constitutional law, legal history, comparative law and Roman law at the University of Pretoria as well as other South African universities;
  • co-taught an advanced course on the regional enforcement of the international human rights system at the Yale Law School;
  • presented numerous papers and lectures at conferences, universities and discussion groups in Germany, the USA, Canada, west and southern Africa and South Africa;
  • authored and edited several publications on legal history, criminal law, legal philosophy, constitutional law and human rights;
  • organised several conferences on human rights and related matters, participated in discussions with the then banned liberation movements in Dakar, Harare, Lusaka and New York and contributed to the human rights reports of the South African Law Commission; and
  • participated in numerous radio and television programmes in the USA, Germany, Canada, Japan and South Africa.

He was admitted as an advocate in 1976 and was an associate member of the Pretoria Bar from 1989 to 1998.

Justice van der Westhuizen acted as counsel in human rights litigation and argued many appeals against the censorship of socially and politically significant films and books such as RootsCry Freedom and A Dry White Season. He acted as a consultant and in-house advocate for the Legal Resources Centre and Lawyers for Human Rights and also served on the national council and board of trustees of Lawyers for Human Rights.

At the multiparty negotiating process in 1993, resulting in the adoption of the Interim Constitution, and at the Transitional Executive Council in 1994, he served as the convenor of task groups dealing with the abolition of discriminatory and oppressive legislation from the Apartheid era.

Justice van der Westhuizen was intimately involved in the drafting of South Africa’s Constitution in 1995 and 1996 as a member of the Independent Panel of Recognised Constitutional Experts, which advised the Constitutional Assembly, and of the Technical Refinement Team responsible for the final drafting and editing process.

He also co-ordinated the equality legislation drafting project of the Ministry of Justice and the South African Human Rights Commission in 1998.

In 1999 Justice van der Westhuizen was appointed by then President Mandela as a judge of the Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court of South Africa (now the North Gauteng High Court) in Pretoria.

Justice van der Westhuizen is a council member of the South African Judicial Education Institute, an extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria and a member of the board of trustees of the CHR.

Judgments written

Justice Bess Nkabinde-Mmono

D.o.B. 1 January1959

University:

BProc (1983) (University of Zululand), LLB (1986) (University of the Northwest), Diploma in Industrial Relations cum laude (Damelin)

Date of appointment:

2006

Brief biography

After graduating from the University of Zululand, Justice Nkabinde-Mmono (“Justice Nkabinde“) acted as a state law advisor in Bophuthatswana until 1988, after which she completed her pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar and was admitted as an advocate.

From 1990 until 1999 Justice Nkabinde was a member of the North West Bar Association specialising in civil, commercial, matrimonial and criminal matters.  During this time she participated in numerous other initiatives including a judicial training programme in Canada in 1993 and the Mpshe Commission of Inquiry into the Mutiny of Warders at Mogwase Prison.

In 1999 Justice Nkabinde was appointed to the bench of the Bophuthatswana Provincial Division, first in an acting capacity and, thereafter, as a judge.  In 2000, and again in 2003, she served a term as an acting judge of the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

Also in 2002 she facilitated a discussion on “The rights of minorities within the context of access to justice” at the First South Asian Regional Judicial Colloquium on Access to Justice (held in New-Delhi) which was convened by the Chief Justice of India, BN Kirpal, and facilitated by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (Interights) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In 2003 Justice Nkabinde was appointed to serve on the Special Tribunal on Civil Matters Likely to Emanate from Investigations by the Special Investigative Units.

In 2004 and 2005 she took up the role of acting judge at the Labour Appeal Court, and from June until November in 2005 she served as an acting judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

She is a member of the Black Lawyers Association and the International Association of Women Judges: SA Chapter, as well as a member of the Sub-Committee on Racism and Sexism within the Judiciary established by the Judicial Service Commission.

JSC interviews
http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/bessnkabinde.html

Judgments written

Justice Chris Jafta

D.o.B.
1959

University:

BIuris (1983), LLB (1987) (University of Transkei, now Walter Sisulu University)

Date of appointment:

2008

Brief bio

Justice Jafta started his career as a court interpreter in 1983. He was appointed as a prosecutor of district court at the beginning of 1984 until December 1985 when his authority to prosecute was withdrawn by the Attorney-General at the instance of the security police. He was then demoted to the position of an administrative clerk. This occurred after he had rejected instructions from the security police on how he should conduct prosecutions in some cases and had declined to prosecute people who were arrested for walking in the streets at night in contravention of emergency regulations which were in operation at the time. He was also briefly detained and subjected to an intense interrogation by the security police.

In July 1986 he was appointed as a magistrate. In February 1988 he resigned and joined Mbuqe and Mbuqe, a firm of attorneys, as a candidate attorney. In August 1988 he resigned to join the University of Transkei as a lecturer. There he taught commercial law and constitutional law. In 1992 he completed his pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar.

Justice Jafta commenced practice as an advocate in Mthatha in January 1993. His practice focused mainly on labour and constitutional matters.

In 1997, Justice Jafta was appointed as an acting judge of the Transkei Division of the High Court for a period of four months.  In January 1999 be became an acting judge of the same division until November when he was appointed on a permanent basis.

In June 2001 Justice Jafta became the acting Judge President of the Transkei Division until June 2003. In 2003 he was appointed as an acting judge at the Labour Appeal Court until June 2004. From June to October 2004, he was an acting judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal. In November 2004 he was appointed as a judge at the same court.

In December 2007 Jafta was appointed as an acting judge at the Constitutional Court until his permanent appointment in May 2008.

Judgments written

Justice Edwin Cameron

D.o.B.15 February 1953

University:

BA Law cum laude, BA (Hons) cum laude (Stellenbosch University), BA (Hons) Jurisprudence (first class honours), BCL (first class honours) (University of Oxford), LLB cum laude (UNISA)

Date of appointment:

2009

Brief biography

After completing his studies, Justice Cameron practised at the Johannesburg Bar from 1983 to 1994. From 1986 he practised as a human rights lawyer based at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), where, in 1989, he was awarded a personal professorship in law.

His practice centred around labour and employment law, as a result of which he took on cases involving the defence of ANC activists charged with treason, conscientious and religious objection, land tenure and forced removals as well as gay and lesbian equality.

From 1988 Justice Cameron advised the National Union of Mineworkers on AIDS/HIV, and helped to draft and negotiate the industry’s first comprehensive AIDS agreement with the Chamber of Mines.

While at CALS, he drafted the Charter of Rights on AIDS and HIV, co-founded the AIDS Consortium (a national affiliation of non-governmental organisations working in AIDS) which he chaired for its first three years in existence, and founded and was the first director of the AIDS Law Project.

Justice Cameron also oversaw the gay and lesbian movement’s submissions to the Kempton Park negotiating process. This, together with other work, helped secure the express inclusion of sexual orientation in the Constitution. In September 1994, he was awarded senior counsel status.

In October 1994, then President Mandela appointed him an acting judge, and later a judge, of the High Court.  It was after this appointment that Justice Cameron publicly announced his homosexuality and HIV status.  In 1999 and 2000 he served for a year as an acting judge of the Constitutional Court. In 2000 he was appointed a judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Between 1998 and 2008 Justice Cameron chaired the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Justice Cameron has co-authored a number of books including Defiant Desire – Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa (with Mark Gevisser) and Honoré’s South African Law of Trusts.

Justice Cameron is the general secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships in Southern Africa and a patron of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal.

He has been awarded numerous awards over the years, including the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2000), Transnet’s HIV/AIDS Champions Award and the Brudner Prize from Yale University (2009-2010).

JSC interviews 

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/edwincameron.html

Judgments written

Justice Johan Froneman

D.o.B.
10 February1953

University:
BA (1974) (Stellenbosch University), LLB (1977) (UNISA)

Date of appointment:
2009

Brief biography

Justice Froneman completed his pupillage at the Pretoria Bar, where he was admitted as an advocate in 1978. He continued his practice as an advocate at the Eastern Cape Bar in Grahamstown from 1980 onwards. He obtained senior counsel status in 1990 and was appointed as a judge to the Eastern Cape High Court (previously the Eastern Cape Provincial Division of the Supreme Court) in 1994.

In 1996 Justice Froneman was appointed Deputy Judge President of the newly established Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, a post he held until 1999. During periods of judicial leave in 1999 he attended Harvard University in a visiting capacity.

In 2002 he served as an acting judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal. From 2003 until 2008 Justice Froneman was an extraordinary professor in Public Law at the University of Stellenbosch.

In 2008 he attended the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University in a visiting capacity.  Over the years, he has been involved in judicial training for new judges and has also participated in practical training courses for magistrates, attorneys and advocates.

Judgments written

Justice Sisi Khampepe

D.o.B.
8 January 1957

University:
BProc (1980) (University of Zululand), LLM (1982) (Harvard Law School)

Date of appointment:
2009

Brief biography

Justice Khampepe began her legal career as a legal advisor in the Industrial Aid Society, where she undertook vacation employment from 1979 to 1980. During this period she was exposed to the dishonourable employment conditions of black workers. Between the years 1981 and 1983, she served as a fellow in the Legal Resources Centre.

In 1983 she joined Bowman Gilfillan as a candidate attorney. After being admitted as an attorney in 1985 she established her own law firm, practising under the name SV Khampepe Attorneys. Her law firm was especially renowned for defending the rights of workers against unjust laws and unfair employment practices. She also represented several human rights bodies and unions affiliated to both NACTU and Cosatu. She was also the national legal advisor of SACAWU and the administrator of union funds in FIET and ICFTU.

In 1995 she was appointed by former President Mandela as a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) and, in the following year, she acted as a member of the TRC’s Amnesty Committee. She was then employed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development as Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, a post she held from September 1998 to December 1999.

In December 2000, Justice Khampepe was appointed as a judge in the Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court (now the North Gauteng High Court), and she was appointed as a judge in the Labour Appeals Court in 2007.

During the period April 2005 to February 2006, she was appointed by former President Mbeki to chair the Commission of Enquiry into the Mandate and Location of the Directorate of Special Operations (also known as the Khampepe Commission).

In 2004, was appointed by former President Mbeki to oversee the elections in Zimbabwe.

In February 2006, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Hert Hon Donald C McKinnon seconded her as a member of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Uganda.

She was vice chairperson of the National Council of Correctional Services from 2005 until April 2010.

She is has been a member of several legal and community organisations, including the International Law Society (Harvard Law School), the South African Legal Education Programme and the Employment Advisory Centre.

Judgments written

Justice Raymond Zondo

D.o.B.
4 May 1960

University:
BIuris (1983) (University of Zululand), LLB (1986) (University of Natal), LLM specialising in labour law, LLM specialising in commercial law, LLM specialising in patent law (UNISA)

Date of appointment:

2012

Brief biography

Justice Zondo served the first part of his articles of clerkship under the late Mrs Victoria Mxenge in her law firm in Durban. After Mrs Mxenge’s assassination, Justice Zondo ceded his articles of clerkship to Mthembu & Partners, and later to Chennels Alberton Attorneys.

After admission as an attorney, he became a partner in the Durban law firm first part of his articles of clerkship under the late Mrs Victoria Mxenge in her law firm in Durban. After Mrs Mxenge’s assassination, Justice Zondo ceded his articles of clerkship to Mthembu & Partners, and later to Chennels Alberton Attorneys., in which he practised for a number of years before he was appointed as a judge. He also served as a mediator and arbitrator on a part-time basis.

In 1991 and 1992 Justice Zondo served in two committees of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation (also known as the Goldstone Commission) which investigated violence in South Africa during the early 1990s.

In 1994 Justice Zondo was appointed as a member of the task team charged with producing a draft Labour Relations Bill (later to become the Labour Relations Act) for the post-Apartheid South Africa. In 1996 he was appointed as the first chairperson of the governing body of the Commission for the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (otherwise known as the CCMA) from which position he resigned upon appointment as a judge

With effect from 1 February 1997, Justice Zondo was appointed as an acting judge of the Labour Court. With effect from 1 November 1997 he was appointed on a permanent basis. In 1999 he was appointed as a judge of the then Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court (now the North Gauteng Division of the High Court) in Pretoria. With effect from 1 August 1999 he was appointed as Acting Judge President of the Labour Appeal Court and Labour Court. In 2000 he was appointed to this position on a permanent basis for a term of 10 years.

While he was Judge President, Justice Zondo served in various ad hoc committees established by the Heads of Courts. These included a committee, chaired by then Chief Justice Pius Langa, which drew up a document to be used by the judiciary in dealing with complaints about racism and sexism within the judiciary. He also served in committees chaired by Judge President Ngoepe, which was established by the Heads of Courts to organise the first and second Conferences of Judges in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Justice Zondo also chaired a committee of the Heads of Courts which looked into the use of official languages in courts.

After completing his term of office as Judge President in 2010, Justice Zondo returned to the North Gauteng High Court and resumed his duties as a judge of that court.

With effect from 1 November 2011 Justice Zondo was appointed as an acting judge of the Constitutional Court until just prior to his permanent appointment to the same court.

Judgments written

Justice Mbuyisile Madlanga


D.o.B. 
27 March 1962

University

B Iuris (1983) (University of Transkei – now Walter Sisulu University), LLB (1986) (Rhodes University), LLM cum laude (1990) (University of Notre Dame)

Dates of appointment

2013 (effective as of 1 August 2013)

Brief biography

From 1987 to 1989 Justice Madlanga worked as a law lecturer at the University of Transkei. He subsequently joined the Bar and practised as an advocate for five years in Mthatha.

From 1996 to 2001 he was appointed to act as a judge in the High Court. He was then appointed to Acting Judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein and, later, Acting Judge President of the Transkei Provincial Division of the High Court (now the Eastern Cape High Court, Mthatha).

In 1999 Justice Madlanga was appointed to the then newly-established Competition Appeal Court but retained his permanent position at the High Court. From August 2000 to May 2001 Justice Madlanga was appointed as an acting justice of the Constitutional Court. He subsequently resigned from the judiciary and stared practising as senior counsel.

In 2003 Justice Madlanga was appointed to the Competition Tribunal on a part-time basis. In 2004 he appeared on behalf of South Africa before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands in the matter of Separation Wall Constructed by Israel on Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Justice Madlanga was appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal with effect from 1 July 2009, a post he has held until his appointment to the Constitutional Court.

Judgments written 


Former Justices’ Biographies

Justice John Didcott (1994 – 1998)

Born
14 August 1931

Deceased
20 October 1998

University

BA (1951), LLB (1953) (University of Cape Town)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

He served until his death on 20 October 1998.

Brief biography

Justice Didcott served as the secretary of the Students’ Representative Council at the University of Cape Town from 1951 to 1952, and as president thereof from 1952 to 1954. He also served as the vice-president of the National Union of South African Students from 1953 to 1954, and as its president from 1954 to 1955.

Justice Didcott was admitted to the Bar in Cape Town on 26 February 1954.  He also served as a Supreme Court reporter for the CapeArgus from 1954 to 1955.  From July 1956 until June 1975 he practised at the Durban Bar.

He was appointed senior counsel on 19 July 1967.  He served as chairperson of the Society of Advocates of Natal from 1973 until 1975.

Justice Didcott served as an acting judge of the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court from 16 June 1975 until 12 October 1994.

From August to December in 1984 he was a visiting scholar at the Law School of Columbia University, New York.

He served as chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville from 1988 to 1993 and has been a member of the board of governors of theUniversity of Cape Town Foundation since 1990, as well as an honorary professor in the Department of Procedural and Clinical Law at theUniversity of Natal in Durban since 1989.

He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Law (honoris causa) by the University of Natal on 17 April 1991, by the University of Cape Town on 28 June 1991 and by the University of the Witwatersrand on 30 April 1992.

JSC interview 

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/didcott.html

List of judgments written 

 

Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed (1994 – 2000)

Born
5 July 1931

Deceased
17 June 2000

University

BA (1953), Honours in Political Science (1954), LLB (1957) (University of the Witswatersrand)

Date of appointment

1994

Appointed as Chief Justice: 1998

When retired

He served until his death on 17 June 2000.

Brief biography

Justice Mahomed was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar because the Bar in Pretoria, where he lived, was reserved for whites.

During the early 1960s he was admitted as an advocate in Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In 1984 he was admitted to the English Bar.

He built an extensive litigation practice and in 1974 he became the first black person in the South Africa’s history to take silk.

Justice Mahomed’s practice focussed predominantly on civil rights. He appeared in numerous trials on behalf of some of the leading figures in the anti-apartheid movement and played a leading role in challenges to the government’s administrative and executive decrees during his 35 year career as an advocate.

In 1979 he was appointed a judge of the Appeal Court in Swaziland, and in 1982 he was made a judge of appeal in Lesotho. He later became the Chief Justice of Namibia and the president of the Lesotho Court of Appeal. In this capacity, he gave some of these courts’ leading constitutional and administrative law judgments.

Justice Mahomed also co-chaired the Conference for a Democratic South Africa, better known as Codesa.

In 1991, after the unbanning of the ANC, he became the first black person in South African history to be made a permanent judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa.

Justice Mahomed has also lectured on human rights jurisprudence at universities abroad. He was made an honorary professor of law at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990. He also received honorary doctorates in law from the University of Delhi and the University of Pennsylvania.

He was awarded the Indicator Human Rights award in 1990 and also received the special award of the Black Lawyers’ Association for his outstanding contribution to the development of human rights in South Africa.

List of judgments written 

Justice Richard Goldstone (1994 – 2003)

Born
26 October 1938

University

BA LLB cum laude (1962) (University of the Witwatersrand)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2003

Brief biography

After graduating, Justice Goldstone began his practice as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. In 1976 he was appointed senior counsel, and in 1980 he was made a judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court. In 1989 he was appointed to the Appellate Division.

From 1991 to 1994 he served as the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, which came to be known as the Goldstone Commission.

From 15 August 1994 to September 1996, he served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

From 1995 until March 2007 he served as the chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand.

In 1998 Justice Goldstone was the chairperson of a group of international experts that met in Valencia, Spain, and drafted the Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities for the director-general of UNESCO (the Valencia Declaration).

From August 1999 until December 2001, he was the chairperson of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo. In December 2001, he was appointed the co-chairperson of the International Task Force on Terrorism which was established by the International Bar Association.

From 1999 to 2003 he served as a member of the International Group of Advisers of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In April 2004 Justice Goldstone was appointed to the Volcker Committee to investigate the Iraqi oil-for-food programme. In October 2007 he was appointed by the Registrars of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to chair an Advisory Committee on the Archiving of the Documents and Records of the two tribunals.

From 1985 to 2000 Justice Goldstone was the national president of the National Institute of Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of Offenders. From 1994 to 2003 he was the chairperson of the board of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa where he still remains a trustee.

Since the beginning of 2004 he has been a visiting professor of law at a number of US law schools. He is presently the Distinguished Visitor from the Judiciary at Georgetown University Law Center.

He is a member of the boards of Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Center for Economic and Social Rights.

He chairs the advisory board of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation and is a member of the advisory board of the BrandeisUniversity Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. Justice Goldstone is also the chairperson of the Bradlow Foundation, a charitable educational trust.

He has received many awards, locally and internationally, including the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association in 1994, the Richard E. Neustadt Award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the 2008 World Peace Through Law Award from Washington University in St. Louis, and honorary doctorates from, among others:

·         the University of Cape Town;

·         the University of the Witwatersrand;

·         the University of Natal;

·         the Hebrew University, Jerusalem;

·         Wilfred Laurier, Ontario;

·         the University of Glasgow;

·         Princeton University;

·         the University of Wales;

·         Duke University;

·         Bard College; and

·         Brooklyn Law School.

He is an honorary bencher of the Inner Temple, London, an honorary fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, an honorary member of the Association of the Bar of New York and a fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

List of judgments written


Justice Johann Kriegler (1994 – 2003)

Born 
29 November 1932

University

BA (1954) (University of Pretoria), LLB (1958) (UNISA)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2003

Brief biography

Under the previous South African government, Justice Kriegler was involved in establishing various human rights and public interest advocacy bodies.  He was also involved with advocacy and transformation training with the Black Lawyers Association from the early 1980s.  He was also a founding trustee of the Legal Resources Centre in 1978 and the founding chair of Lawyers for Human Rights in 1981.

Justice  Kriegler practised as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar for 25 years and went on to become a provincial and thereafter an appellate judge.

Justice Kriegler headed the Independent Electoral Commission, which ran the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, and was instrumental in establishing the permanent electoral commission, which he chaired until 1999.

Justice Kriegler has, since leaving the Constitutional Court, participated in the International Commission of Jurists/International Bar Association (IBA) judicial independence missions in Malawi in 2002 and Uganda in 2007, the United Nations Development Programme advocacy training in the United Kingdom in 2002, Hong Kong in 2006 and South Africa from 1983 to date, the IBA judicial training for Iraq and Swaziland in 2005 as well as the IBA/South African Bar observer missions in Zimbabwe in 2004. He has also been briefed by the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division on a number of election-related assignments in Afghanistan, East Timor, Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan andSierra Leone.

Justice Kriegler is the author of a textbook on criminal procedure and the co-drafter of a judicial code of conduct. He has lectured in recent years on judicial and electoral matters in Angola, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Namibia, theNetherlands, Palestine, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, the West Indies, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

At present he is an extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria Law Faculty and a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Project Literacy, the Centre for Human Rights and the AIDS Law Project, a patron of Advocacy Training for the General Council of the Bar and the chairperson of the Constitutional Court Trust.

Justice Kriegler is an honorary life member of the Johannesburg Bar and an honorary bencher of Gray’s Inn.

JSC interview 

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/johannkriegler.html

List of judgments written

 

Justice Laurie Ackermann (1994 – 2004)

Born
14 January 1934

University

BA (University of Stellenbosch), BA (Jurisprudence) (Oxford University), LLB (University of Stellenbosch)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2004

Brief biography

Justice Ackermann practised as an advocate at the Pretoria Bar from 1958 to 1980, becoming senior counsel in 1975. During this time he served on the Pretoria Bar Council and on the General Council of the Bar of South Africa.

After a number of acting appointments from 1976, he was permanently appointed to the Transvaal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court in 1980. He served as such until 1987. During this time he was the chairperson of the board of governors of Pretoria Boys’ High School and was the national vice-president of the National Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Rehabilitation of Offenders.

In September 1987 he resigned to inaugurate the newly established Harry Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Stellenbosch, the first of its kind in South Africa. He held this position until the end of 1992. In 1989, as part of a group of constitutional lawyers, he participated in discussions about a future South African constitution with the exiled ANC.

During the tenure of his appointment at the University of Stellenbosch, he was a visiting scholar at the Columbia University Law School in New York and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law in Heidelberg. He also served as a judge on the Lesotho Court of Appeal and on the post-independence Namibian Supreme Court.

From 1988 to 2003 he was the South African secretary of the Rhodes Trust.

In January 1993 he accepted reappointment to the South African Supreme Court, this time the Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division. In April 1994 he chaired the Cape Electoral Appeal Tribunal.

Ackermann has spoken at South African and foreign universities on constitutional law and was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg in 2000. His particular field of interest is fundamental rights under the Constitution and, in particular, the role of dignity in equality jurisprudence.

While at the Constitutional Court, he chaired its library committee and was intimately involved with developing the vision of the library as a “world-class resource in and for Africa”.

In his retirement, he hopes to continue with the development of the library and the establishment of an institute for advanced constitutional, public, human rights and international law.

He has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Stellenbosch and is an honorary fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.

List of judgments written

Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson (1994 – 2005)

Born
24 November 1931

Deceased
1 December 2012

University

B Com (1952) (University of the Witwatersrand), LLB cum laude (1954) (University of the Witwatersrand)

Date of appointment

1994

Appointed as Chief Justice: 2001

When retired

2005

Brief biography

Justice Chaskalson was appointed by President Nelson Mandela in June 1994 to be the first President of South Africa’s new Constitutional Court and was Chief Justice of South Africa from November 2001 until his retirement in 2005.

During his time at the University of the Witwatersrand, he was a member of the university’s football team and was selected for the Combined South African Universities football team in 1952.

He was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in May 1956 and took silk in July 1971. During his career at the Bar he appeared as counsel on behalf of members of the liberation movements in several major political trials between 1960 and 1994, including the Rivonia Trial in 1963/1964 at which President Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He also appeared as counsel in several major commercial disputes.

He was a member of the Johannesburg Bar Council from 1967 to 1971 and from 1973 to 1984. He also held the position of chairman of the Johannesburg Bar in 1976 and again in 1982. Justice Chaskalson was also a member, and later convenor, of the National Bar Examination Board from 1979 to 1991, and the vice chairman of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa from 1982 to 1987.

In 1978 he helped establish the Legal Resources Centre, and was its director from November 1978 until September 1993. During that period he was leading counsel in several cases in which successful challenges were launched by the Legal Resources Centre against the implementation of apartheid laws.

He was a member of the board of the Faculty of Law of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1979 to 1999, an honorary professor of law at the university from 1981 to 1995 and a member of its board for the Centre for Applied Legal Studies from 1979 to 1994.

From 1980 to 1991 Justice Chaskalson was a member of the National Council of Lawyers for Human Rights. He was also the vice-chairman of the International Legal Aid Division of the International Bar Association from 1983 to 1993 and chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for South Africa from 1988 to 1993.

He was a member of the Judicial Service Commission from 1994 until 2005, and its chairperson from 21 November 2001 until his retirement on 31 May 2005.

Justice Chaskalson was elected as an honorary member of the Bar Association of the City of New York in 1985, the Boston Bar Association in 1991 and the Johannesburg Bar in 2002.

He was a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York from 1987 to 1988, and again in 2004, and was also a Distinguished Global Fellow at New York University School of Law.

Justice Chaskalson was a consultant to the Namibian Constituent Assembly in connection with the drafting of the Constitution of Namibia, a consultant to the African National Congress on constitutional issues from April 1990 to April 1994, and served as a member of the Technical Committee on Constitutional Issues, appointed by the Multi Party Negotiating Forum in May 1993 to give advice on constitutional matters to the Forum (which negotiated the transition to democracy in South Africa), and to draft on its behalf the transitional constitution, which was finalised and adopted in December 1993.

He was the president of the International Commission of Jurists from 2004 to 2008. He was, further, the chairperson of a committee of senior judges appointed by the United Nations Environmental Programme to promote and develop judicial education on environmental law in all parts of the world.

Justice Chaskalson was the first chairperson of the Southern African Judges Commission and chaired the Eminent Jurists Panel appointed by the International Commission of Jurists to enquire into the impact of terrorism and counter-terrorism on the rule of law, human rights law, and where relevant, international humanitarian law. He was an elected member of the South African Academy of Science, a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, a trustee of the Legal Resources Trust, the Constitutional Court Trust, and the Constitution Hill Trust, and he was also a member of the board of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional Law.

He was awarded honorary doctorates by, among others:

·        the University of Natal;

·        the University of the Witwatersrand;

·        the University of Amsterdam;

·        the University of the Western Cape; and

·        the University of Pretoria.

He received the Premier Group Award for prestigious service by a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1983, the Claude Harris Leon Foundation award for community service and the Wits Alumni Honour Award for exceptional service to the community, both in 1984, was the joint recipient of the Human Rights Award for 1990 of the Foundation for Freedom and Human Rights, and received awards for his work in the promotion of human rights and constitutionalism from the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (the Sydney and Felicia Kentridge Award), from the Jewish Board of Deputies, from Rotary (the Paul Harris Award), from Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa, and from the Constitution Hill Trust. In 2004, he was the co-recipient with Justice Langa of the Peter Gruber Justice Prize, and in 2007 he was the co-recipient with Ms Wangari Maathai of the Nelson Mandela Award for Human Rights and Health.

In December 2002 he received the award of Supreme Counsellor of the Order of the Baobab in Gold (a national honour) for his service to the nation in respect of constitutionalism, human rights and democracy.

He participated in conferences and delivered lectures concerned with constitutional issues, human rights and legal services in South Africa,Australia, Austria, Bosnia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mauritius, Namibia, Netherlands,New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, United States of America, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Justice Chaskalson died in Johannesburg on 1 December 2012.

List of judgments written 

 

Justice Tholie Madala (1994 – 2008)

Born
13 July 1937

Deceased
25 August 2010

University

BA (Fort Hare University) UED (SA) diploma, LLB (1974) (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2008

Brief biography

Until 1980 Justice Madala lectured at the University of Transkei. Subsequently he practised as an attorney, chairing the Transkei Attorneys’ Association, and was admitted as an advocate in 1982. In his legal practice Justice Madala handled many human rights cases, and he and other lawyers interested in the protection of the rights of the underprivileged established the Umtata Law Clinic under the auspices of the Umtata and Districts Lawyers’ Association.

From 1987 to 1990 he served as vice-chairperson of the Society of Advocates of Transkei and as chairperson from 1991 to 1993, representing the society on the General Council of the Bar. Justice Madala took silk in 1993 and was elevated to the Bench in 1994, becoming the first black judge in the Eastern Cape and the fourth black judge in South Africa.

In 1995 the Legal Education Centre of the Black Lawyers Association presented him with an award in recognition of his contribution in the area of human rights, and in April 1999 his alma mater, the University of Natal, awarded him an honorary LLD.

Justice Madala was a founder member and director of the Prisoners’ Welfare Programmes, an association established in 1985 to provide legal, financial and educational assistance to political detainees, prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families.

For varying periods, Justice Madala served on the council of the University of Transkei and on the board of that university’s Law Faculty. In addition, he served on the Transkeian Medical Council and was a founder member of the board of the Thembelitsha Centre for the Rehabilitation of Drug Dependents.

On his appointment to the Bench, Justice Madala stepped down as deputy chairperson of the Transkei National Building Society.

Over many years he participated in a range of seminars and conferences and delivered papers on constitutional and human rights issues in South Africa, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Malawi, Swaziland and the United States.

Until his death on 25 August 2010, Justice Madala remained a member of the Black Lawyers Association, serving as a trustee of its Legal Education Centre. He was also the chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of St John and Deputy Chancellor of the Church of the Province of South Africa.

List of judgments written 

Chief Justice Pius Langa (1994 – 2009)

Born
25 March 1939

Deceased
24 July 2013

University

B Iuris (1972); LLB (1976) (UNISA)

Date of appointment

1994

Appointed as Deputy-President of the Constitutional Court, August 1997

Appointed as Deputy Chief Justice, November 2001

Appointed as Chief Justice, June 2005

When retired

October 2009

Brief biography

Justice Langa’s working life commenced in 1957 at a shirt factory. Between 1960 and 1977, he served in various capacities in the Department of Justice from interpreter and messenger, working his way up to magistrate. He was admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa in June 1977 after which he practised at the Natal Bar and attained the rank of senior counsel in January 1994.

Justice Langa’s practice as an advocate reflected the struggle against the apartheid system and his clientele thus included the underprivileged, various civic bodies, trade unions and people charged with political offences and under the oppressive apartheid security legislation.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, he served in the structures of the United Democratic Front, was involved in the work of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and of its successor, the Multi-Party Negotiating Forum. He was also a member of the Constitutional Committee of the African National Congress and was in the advisor group during the Groote Schuur and Pretoria “Talks-about-Talks”.

In 1998 he chaired a commission to probe the Lesotho elections on behalf of the Southern African Development and Economic Community. In 2000 he was appointed the Commonwealth’s special envoy to assist the Fiji Islands’ return to democracy. He has participated in the work of constitutional review commissions in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Tanzania. He also led a delegation of the International Bar Association to Cameroon, at the request of the Cameroon government, to review and integrate that country’s system of criminal procedure.

He became Deputy President of the Constitutional Court in August 1997 and, in November 2001, assumed the position of Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa. He was appointed as the country’s Chief Justice with effect from June 2005 until his retirement in October 2009. As Chief Justice, Justice Langa was chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission and was also the chairperson of the Southern African Judges Commission, a forum of Chief Justices in Southern and East Africa. He is also a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

He served on the executive committee of the Democratic Lawyers Association and was founding member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and he served as its president from 1988 to 1994. He has served on the boards and as trustee of various law-related institutions, and was also involved in the founding of the South African Legal Defence Fund. Justice Langa served as commissioner of the pre-constitutional Human Rights Commission (later known as the Human Rights Committee).

As a township resident in his early working life, he was always involved in community work and in attempts to improve the quality of life among the communities around him. He helped organise civic organisations and residents’ associations and gave guidance to youth and recreational clubs.

Justice Langa served as a founder member of the Release Mandela Committee (Natal) and was a member of the Regional and National Reception Committees formed to prepare for and accelerate the release of political prisoners. He was appointed to the Police Board to assist with the transformation of the police services under the aegis of the National Peace Accord, which was set up to stem the violence that plagued parts of South Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s. He also chaired the Technical Committee to review and rationalise health legislation, served as a member of the Commission of Inquiry into Unrest in Prisons and was a member of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Alleged Covert South African Defence Force Activities.

He has, over the years, organised and/or participated in numerous conferences, workshops and seminars on human rights, justice and other constitutional issues and also delivered speeches on various related topics in South Africa and in many countries abroad. He is a member of the Judicial Integrity Group which was responsible for the compilation of the Bangalore Principles for Judicial Ethics.

Justice Langa was appointed an honorary professor in the Department of Procedural and Clinical Law at the University of Natal in June 1998 and has served for several years as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He was chancellor of the University of Natal from 1998 to 2004 and is currently chancellor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

He has been honoured with awards for the advancement of justice and human rights by the Black Lawyers Association, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Judicial Council of the American National Bar Association. He was awarded the 2004 Justice Prize, jointly with the then Chief Justice of South Africa, Justice Chaskalson, by the Peter Gruber Foundation in the USA, and received the 2006 Sydney and Felicia Kentridge Award for Service to Justice in 2006. On 11 March 2008 he was honoured with the eThekwini Living Legends award together with other local heroes who have excelled in their respective fields. On 22 April 2008, the President of the Republicof South Africa bestowed upon him the Order of the Supreme Counsellor of the Baobab in Gold.

Justice Langa has been awarded honorary doctorates in law by the Universities of Zululand, Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, Rhodes, Yale and the National University of Ireland, and the degree Doctor of the Public Service (honoris causa) by the North EasternUniversity, Boston

JSC interviews

·        For appointment to Constitutional Court: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/piusnkonzolanga.html

·        For appointment as Chief Justice: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/piusnkonzolanga1.html

List of judgments written 

Justice Yvonne Mokgoro (1994 – 2009)

Born
19 October 1950

University

B.Iuris (1982), LLB (1984), LLM (1987) (University of Bophuthatswana – now University of the North West); LLM (University of Pennsylvania)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2009

Brief biography

Justice Mokgoro started her working life as a nursing assistant and later as a salesperson before her appointment as a clerk in the Department of Justice of the erstwhile Bophuthatswana. After completion of her LLB degree, she was appointed as maintenance officer and public prosecutor in the then Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court.

In 1984, she was appointed a lecturer in law in the Department of Jurisprudence, University of Bophuthatswana, where she rose through the ranks to associate professor and served there until 1991. From 1992 to 1993 she served as an associate professor at the University of theWestern Cape, from where she moved to the Centre for Constitutional Analysis at the Human Science Research Council, serving as Specialist Researcher (Human Rights) and also lecturing on a part time basis at the University of Pretoria until her appointment to the Constitutional Court.

Throughout her legal career she has taught a number of courses, including, constitutional law, human rights law jurisprudence, history of law, comparative law, criminal law, private law and customary law at a number of universities in South Africa, the United Kingdom, theUnited States and the Netherlands. She has written and presented papers and participated in a myriad of national and international conferences, seminars and workshops in South Africa and internationally, mainly in sociological jurisprudence with particular emphasis on human rights, customary law and the impact of law on society generally, and on women and children specifically. She has served extensively as a resource person in this regard for non-governmental and community-based organisations and other initiatives in South Africa and internationally.

During her academic career, she participated in a number of research projects and held positions on various non-governmental organisations, including community-based organisations.

She is the current chairperson of the South African Law (Reform) Commission and has served on that body since 1995. She has served on the Advisory Committee of the South African-Canadian Linkage Project from its inception in 1994 until it ceased operations in 2004. From 1995 until 2005, she was president of Africa Legal Aid, a non-governmental organisation which provides legal aid and human rights education throughout Africa and is based in Accra, Ghana with satellite offices in Maastricht in the Netherlands and Pretoria. She currently serves on a number of boards, university councils and trusts, including the boards of the Nelson Mandela-Rhodes Trust and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. She is also the chairperson of Venda University Council.

Justice Mokgoro has also served as chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Press Council of South Africa (which appoints the Press Ombudsperson and members of the Press Appeal Board).

She is honorary (emeritus) Professor of Law at the University of the North, University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town,University of Pretoria, and the University of South Africa. She has been conferred with honorary doctorates by the University of North West, the University of Natal, the University of Toledo (Ohio) USA, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Pretoria. She is a recipient of a number of other honours and awards, including the Educational Opportunities Council scholarship to study in the USA from 1989 to 1990, the Women’s Law and Public Law Fellowship by Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington DC in 1990, the Human Rights Award by the Black Lawyers Association in 1995, the Oude Molen Reserve Order of Merit in 1995/1996, the Legal Profession’s Woman Achiever Award by the Centre for Human Rights and the University of Pretoria in 2001, the University of the North School of Law Excellence Award in 2003, the Kate Stoneman Democracy Award (Albany Law School, New York, U.S.A) in 2003, the Tshwane Outstanding Service Award in 2006 and the James Wilson Award by the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in 2008.

She holds memberships of the International Women’s Association (Washington DC), the International Association of Women Judges, the International Federation of Women Lawyers as Interim President of the South African Chapter and the South African Women Lawyers Association.

JSC interview

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/yvonnemokgoro.html

List of judgments written

Justice Kate O’Regan (1994 – 2009)

Born
17 September 1957

University

BA (1978), LLB cum laude (1980) (University of Cape Town), LLM (first class honours) (1981) (University of Sydney), PhD (1988) (London School of Economics)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2009

Brief biography

Justice O’Regan practised as an attorney in Johannesburg specialising in labour law and land rights law for four years in the 1980s. During this period, she acted for a wide range of trade unions, anti-apartheid organisations and several communities facing the threat of eviction under the apartheid land policy.

In 1988, she joined the University of Cape Town Labour Law Unit as a researcher. In 1990, she became a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Over the next five years, she was a founder member of both the Law, Race and Gender Research Project and the Institute for Development Law at UCT. She was also an advisor to the African National Congress on land claims legislation, and to the National Manpower Commission on gender equality law. She also served as a trustee of the Legal Resources Trust.

During this period she co-edited a book on forced removals and the law entitled No Place to Rest, as well as the IMSSA Arbitration Digest (a digest of labour arbitration decisions). She was also one of the authors of A Charter for Social Justice: A Contribution to the South African Bill of Rights Debate. She also wrote numerous articles that were published in academic journals.

During her term at the Constitutional Court, she acted as Deputy Chief Justice in the absence of Justice Moseneke from February to May 2008.

In 2008, she was appointed by the secretary-general of the United Nations as chairperson of the newly established Internal Justice Council of the United Nations. The Council has been established to help ensure independence, professionalism and accountability in the internal administration of justice within the United Nations. One of the primary responsibilities of the Council is to identify suitable candidates for appointment as judges of the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal and to make recommendations to the General Assembly for the appointment of such judges.

Justice O’Regan continued her interest in academic teaching during her tenure as a judge. She has served as an honorary professor at theUniversity of South Africa and is currently an honorary professor at the University of Cape Town. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Cape Town and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is also an honorary bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.

She has been an honorary consulting editor of the South African Law Reports since 1997 and serves on the editorial board of many South African legal publications.

JSC interview 

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/catherineoregan.html  

List of judgments written

 

Justice Albie Sachs (1994 – 2009)

Born
30 January 1935

University

BA LLB (University of Cape Town), PhD (Sussex University)

Date of appointment

1994

When retired

2009

Brief biography

Justice Sachs’ career in human rights activism started at the age of seventeen when, as a second year law student at the University of Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. Three years later, he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown where the Freedom Charter was adopted.

He started practice as an advocate at the Cape Bar aged 21. The bulk of his work involved defending people charged under discriminatory statutes and repressive security laws, many of whom were faced with the death sentence. He himself was investigated by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement and eventually placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention.

In 1966 Justice Sachs went into exile. After spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England, he worked for a further eleven years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher.

In 1977 Justice Sachs accepted the position as Professor of Law at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, and from 1983 he served as the Director of Research in the Ministry of Justice until his attempted assassination in 1988, in which he was injured by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents. As a result, he lost an arm and the sight in one eye.

During the 1980s, working closely with Oliver Tambo, he helped draft the ANC’s Code of Conduct, as well as its statutes. After recovering from the bomb explosion, he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. In 1990 he returned to South Africa and, as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC, took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy.

Justice Sachs became the founding director of the South African Constitution Studies Centre, which moved to the University of the Western Cape in 1992. It was here that he was made Professor Extraordinary and appointed an honorary professor in the Faculty of Law at theUniversity of Cape Town.

In addition to his work at the Constitutional Court, he has travelled to many countries sharing South Africa’s experience in healing divided societies. He has also been engaged in the sphere of art and architecture, and played an active role in the development of the Constitutional Court building and its art collection on the site of the Old Fort Prison in Johannesburg.

Justice Sachs has been awarded over 10 honorary doctorates form various universities around the world, including:

·        the University of Cape Town;

·        Edinburgh University;

·        Princeton University; and

·        the University of York.

Justice Sachs is also the author of several books, including The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law (which won the 2010 Alan Paton Prize),Advancing Human Rights in South Africa and The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs.

JSC interview 

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/albertlouissachs.html   

List of judgments written

 

Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo (1999 – 2011)

Born
1 March 1953

University

B Proc (1975) (University of Zululand), LLB (1985) (University of Natal, Durban), LLM (1986) (Harvard Law School)

Date of appointment

1999

Appointed as Chief Justice: 2009

When retired

2011

Brief biography

Justice Ngcobo was the beneficiary of a scholarship from Barclays Bank between 1973 and 1976. He was in detention from 1976 to July 1977. From September 1977 to April 1978 he worked in the Maphumulo magistrate’s office.

Justice Ngcobo then joined KK Mthiyane and Company, a law firm in Durban, as a candidate attorney and then as an associate, where he performed general law office work such as registering corporations, advising corporate directors, administering deceased persons’ estates and conducting criminal and civil trials.

In 1982 he moved to the Legal Resources Centre where he tried public interest civil and criminal cases involving issues such as the ejection of tenants from townships, the forced removal of black communities to homelands, influx control laws, police torture and assault, wrongful detentions, labour disputes, and the eviction of black squatters.

In 1985 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and in 1986 he was the recipient of a Harvard Law School Human Rights Fellowship.

From July 1986 to July 1987, Justice Ngcobo spent a year as the law clerk and research associate of the late Honourable A Leon Higginbotham Jr, the former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Justice Ngcobo also helped teach a seminar titled Race Values and the American Legal Process at the University of Pennsylvania, atHarvard Law School and at Stanford Law School.

From August to November 1987, Justice Ngcobo was a visiting foreign attorney at Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania where he specialised in labour law.

At the beginning of 1988, he returned to South Africa and took up the post of acting director of the Legal Aid Services Clinic of theUniversity of Natal, Durban. From August of that year, he taught a course on race legislation, also at the University of Natal.

From December 1988 to November 1989 he practised as an advocate in Durban. However, in December 1989, he returned to Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz where he expanded his specialisation to include immigration law.

In 1992 Justice Ngcobo returned to South Africa and practised as an advocate in Durban. His focus was labour and employment law, constitutional law and general practice. In 1994 he lectured part-time in constitutional litigation.

Justice Ngcobo was a member of the Industrial Court of KwaZulu-Natal in 1993. In the same year he was also the co-ordinator of the Equal Opportunities Project of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Natal.

In 1994 he was a presiding officer of the Independent Election Commission’s Electoral Tribunal.

From April 1996 to the end of August that year, Justice Ngcobo 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 theLabour Appeal Court.

Justice Ngcobo was also appointed to serve on the amnesty committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in February 1998.

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

He has served as a member and as the chairperson of the Rules Board for Courts of Law. In February 1999 the University of Cape Townmade him an honorary professor of law.

Justice Ngcobo has published many papers on topics such as justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, housing segregation and gender equality.

He is a trustee of the Dehler Foundation and is a former trustee of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

JSC interviews 

·        For appointment to the Constitutional Court: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/ngokobo.html

·        For appointment as Chief Justice: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/ngokobo2.html

List of judgments written

Justice Zak Yacoob (1998 – 2013)

Born
3 March 1948

University

BA (1969), LLB (1972) (University College, Durban – now University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus)

Date of appointment

February 1998

When retired

February 2013

Brief biography

Justice Yacoob served his pupillage in Durban in 1973. He was admitted as an advocate by the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court on 12 March 1973, after which he practised as a junior counsel from July 1973 to May 1991.

He was the chairperson of the Durban Committee of Ten in 1980. Its aim was to alleviate the plight of pupils, ensure the release of those in detention and facilitate talks between pupils, students, parents and educational authorities.

As a member of the executive of the Durban Housing Action Committee from 1982 to 1985, he was involved in action aimed at ensuring that the Durban City Council managed its housing schemes fairly.

Justice Yacoob was also a member of a committee that rallied against the South African Indian Council. He belonged to the Democratic Lawyers Association from 1979 to 1984, was a member of the United Democratic Front’s Natal executive, where he was heavily involved in a campaign against the tri-cameral parliament from 1983 to 1985 and was a member of the underground structures of the ANC.

During his time as an advocate, he represented and advised many people prosecuted for contravening security laws, emergency measures and other oppressive legislation, victims of unfair evictions and people who were required to pay unfair tariffs, the “Durban Six” in negotiations with the British government when they occupied the British Consulate in Durban in 1984 in protest against apartheid and unjust laws and was part of a team that, from 1985 until 1988, defended officials and members of the United Democratic Front and its affiliates in the Delmas Treason Trial. He also represented the accused in the “Vula” trial, which involved high-ranking members of the African National Congress, in 1990 and 1991.

Justice Yacoob also ran a significant and diverse commercial and general legal practice. He served as a member of the Society of Advocates of Natal for several years and took silk in May 1991.

He was a member of the executive of the Natal Indian Congress from 1981 to 1991, in which capacity he organised and took part in protests, produced and distributed publicity material, and organised and addressed many anti-apartheid mass meetings.

Justice Yacoob served on the Independent Electoral Commission from December 1993 to June 1994 and was a member of the Panel of Independent Experts of the Constitutional Assembly.

Justice Yacoob has also advised local-government bodies, the National Land Committee and the Department of Finance.

Justice Yacoob has been heavily involved in the activities of the Natal Indian Blind and Deaf Society, and the South African National Council for the Blind. He has served on many school committees, parent-teacher bodies, ratepayers’ associations and civic organisations. He was the chairperson of the South African National Council for the Blind and was a member of its national management committee and its national executive committee from 2001 to 2009.

He was a member of the council of the University of Durban-Westville from 1989 to 1993 and from 1995 to1997. He was the chancellor of the university from May 2001 until 31 December 2003.

Justice Yacoob has attended dozens of international conferences and workshops on topics as varied as blindness, children and democracy.

In 2011, Justice Yacoob was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

JSC interview 

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judges/transcripts/yacoob.html

List of judgments written