MPs say goodbye to Langa

2009-11-11 19:02

Cape Town - Parliamentarians bade farewell to former chief justice Pius Langa on Wednesday, simultaneously welcoming his successor, Sandile Ngcobo.

Langa, who turned 70 in March this year, handed over the reins of the Constitutional Court to Chief Justice Ngcobo last month.

In a special joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, President Jacob Zuma and MPs heaped praise on Langa, who shared a bench with the president in the House.

Zuma said Langa's time at the helm of the Constitutional Court would stand out for years to come.

"This occasion is testimony... to the high regard in which retiring chief justice Pius Langa is held.

"In all his time in the Constitutional Court he has served our country and its people in a remarkable and outstanding manner, with dedication and commitment.

"We are [also] paying tribute to the role justice Langa played in the struggle for democracy in our country. For many years he has been a champion and defender of people's rights.

"We especially remember his role as one of the progressive lawyers who fought for justice in the face of apartheid's laws... He was also deeply involved in negotiating the end of apartheid," Zuma said.

From messenger to chief justice

Leader of the opposition Athol Trollip said Langa's progression through the ranks of the legal profession had been inspiring.

"All the citizens of this country now know that one can overcome the most daunting obstacles, endure unimaginable personal suffering and sacrifice, and yet progress from being a court messenger... to the highest judicial office in the land," he said to applause.

Langa had not only acquired an inimitable local reputation, but an international one too, having served many foreign nations with distinction.

"Judge Langa is a jurist of unimpeachable integrity and wisdom. Even in times of political tension, judicial turmoil and controversy, he retained his inherent and coherent dignity, and was cool under fire," Trollip said.

Still work to be done

Addressing the House, Langa reminded members - who gave him a standing ovation - that there remained much to be done in South Africa.

"As I leave centre stage as chief justice of South Africa... I am acutely aware that the work I've tried to do... is far from done. There is a long way to go still.

"As long as poverty, homelessness, disease and illiteracy ravage our people - and are still a feature of the lives of many, existing side by side with those who are privileged and have everything before them - our job, yours and mine, will not have been accomplished," he said.

Message for successor

Langa also had a message for his successor.

"It is still very much a time of transition, requiring the gifts of wisdom, diligence and diplomacy," he said.

Speaking after Langa, Ngcobo spelled out his vision, and listed some of the challenges facing the judiciary.

"The justice system should be accessible to all. Judicial integrity is crucial to the delivery of justice. There must be a healthy constitutional dialogue among the branches of government consistent with the principle of the separation of powers.

"There must be transformation of the judiciary, and the legal system, consistent with the demands of our Constitution.

"I expect to devote all my energy and every moment of my tenure to give effect to this vision," Ngcobo said.

Read more on:    constitutional court  |  pius langa  |  sandile ngcobo

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.