ConCourt bids emotional farewell to Moseneke

2016-05-20 22:09
Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke

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Johannesburg – An emotional special sitting was held to mark the departure of Constitutional Court Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke on Friday.

Moseneke, 68, was honoured at the Constitutional Court, with a number of prominent politicians - including former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe - and legal figures in attendance.

Speaking for the final time as the deputy chief justice, struggle stalwart Moseneke became emotional, shedding tears and concluding his speech with the words, "God bless us".

Addressing the distinguished gathering of around 100 people, Moseneke reminded key legal figures, politicians and business people that all public offices were in existence for the sake of ordinary South African.

"I am blessed to have love for my people. I think it is the reason I get out of bed every day. Our ordinary people must remain central to moving our country forward. What a privilege it has been to serve you all."

Moseneke went on to address Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, telling him that "there will be turbulence" at the Constitutional Court.

"But every good pilot knows how to get through this. In recent times, you have shown that you are here for the people and for upholding the law. I hope everyone here today will be faithful to this office."

The struggle

Moseneke fondly recalled being honoured as the curator of former President Nelson Mandela's will.

"This was probably the single most unexpected honour."

He also reflected on his arrest during the liberation struggle as a 14-year-old boy, and as one of the youngest prisoners in the history of Robben Island.

"The pain in my childhood prepared me for my future. It was not easy but it paved a path for me. But I was my own liberator. And that is how we will all move forward – by liberating the self."

He urged South Africans to not just conjure up ideals, but to find ways to pursue them.

He also made special mention of his mother, Karabo Moseneke, who he thanked for always supporting him.

Speaking of Moseneke, Mogoeng described his colleague as "a lawyer with exceptional abilities and a jurist that contributed enormously" to South Africa.  

Mogoeng said he found it difficult to speak about someone as distinguished as Moseneke.

"We can only ask what his life communicated over the years. There are profound lessons that we can learn. He has always been humble. He has told me, through tough times, that it is an honour just to be a judge."

Other tributes to Moseneke:

Thandi Modise, Member of Parliament: "We appreciate the judiciary you have been part off. We hope that even though you retire from office, you will still make yourself present and part of the democratisation of South Africa."

Lutendo Sigogo, Black Lawyers Association: "Today you are only retiring from active service. We see you as one of the best lawmen in our country. We shall hope to hear your voice always."

Mvuzo Notyesi, National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) and the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA): "You walked along the route of heroes. From the age of 14 you chose the side of the oppressed. It takes a special wisdom to do this."

John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development: "You became the youngest prisoner in the history of Robben Island. At the trial your parents begged for you not to be imprisoned, yet you were. Your mother Karabo drove from Johannesburg to Cape Town just to see you for 30 minutes. We salute you and your family for the enormous freedom we enjoy today."

Read more on:    dikgang moseneke  |  justice

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