Mogoeng vows to uphold Constitution
Cape Town - Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng vowed on Thursday to uphold and protect the Constitution as the newly-appointed chief justice.
Mogoeng's appointment was announced by President Jacob Zuma at a news conference in Pretoria.
He took to the podium to thank Zuma for his "trust and confidence" and promised not to betray it.
"I also vow to be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, to uphold and protect the Constitution and the human rights entrenched in it, and to administer justice for all persons alike without fear, favour or prejudice, in accordance with the Constitution and the law," the 50-year-old Mogoeng said.
Zuma commended Mogoeng for staying silent amid criticism on his nomination.
He said Mogoeng responded at the correct forum, the Judicial Services Commission.
"The interview was no doubt the longest, most transparent and most robust ever undertaken by a candidate of chief justice in the history of this young democracy," Zuma said.
Mogoeng will take up his position with immediate effect, succeeding the outgoing Sandile Ngcobo.
The announcement came amid strong opposition to Mogoeng's nomination.
There was mixed reaction from political parties about the appointment, but the IFP in particular voiced its displeasure.
The IFP expressed disappointment and said the current system for appointing a chief justice did not allow for the best candidate to be appointed.
"It is not only surprising, but shocking that despite the massive public outcry, the president has simply ignored the objections and appointed this controversial candidate," IFP spokesperson Koos van der Merwe said.
"It shows an utter disrespect for public opinion, and our democracy as a whole."
Van der Merwe, who is also a member of the Judicial Service Commission, said he was considering introducing a private members' bill in Parliament that could lead to changes in the way the chief justice was appointed.
Despite saying that it was "regrettable" that Zuma did not accept its request for more candidates to be provided, the FF Plus said that the party would accept the move.
"We are of the opinion that more candidates could possibly have rendered a better result," it said in a statement.
"We accept that Justice Mogoeng has been appointed as chief justice, and consider it to be in the best interest of the judiciary that forthwith positive co-operation is given in this regard," the statement said.
The African Christian Democratic Party, however, welcomed the move.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said: "We have no doubt that, given Mogoeng’s lengthy experience on the bench, he will uphold the Constitution and protect the independence of the judiciary from executive interference."
He said Mogoeng would face various challenges in his new role.
"We believe he is more than able to meet these challenges. He also has a passion for facilitating access to justice, which we clearly support."