Ngcobo has sacred duty - DA
Cape Town - Political parties on Thursday warmly congratulated new Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo on his appointment by President Jacob Zuma.
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said his appointment brought with it the sacred responsibility of upholding South Africa's laws and safeguarding the Constitution.
"It is our hope that Chief Justice Ngcobo bears this responsibility with the same intellectual independence and wisdom that have characterised his time in the Constitutional Court thus far."
However, it was a pity that Ngcobo's nomination was marred by the "unprocedural manner" in which Zuma went about the consultation process.
While this did not reflect on the merits of Ngcobo's candidacy, it was an unsettling reminder that key constitutional principles continued to be flouted.
"We also note that Chief Justice Ngcobo will only serve 18 months as Chief Justice, before the President will again need to appoint a replacement.
"However, this must not detract from Justice Ngcobo's achievement. The DA wishes him all of the best in his new position.
"It is no exaggeration to say that the future of South Africa's democracy depends on how he, and his fellow judges discharge the responsibility with which they have been vested," Zille said.
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi wished Ngcobo well and expressed confidence that he would rigorously uphold the Constitution as the country's "law of the law" and would bring clarity of thought and intellectual integrity to the role.
The Independent Democrat's Patricia de Lille said Zuma had acted in line with his Constitutional mandate.
However, the ID had made its position regarding Zuma overlooking Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke very clear, she said.
"President Zuma's decision to overlook Moseneke has poured some cold water on his assertion today (Thursday) that he is a believer in the independence of the judiciary.
"However, by saying that Justice Moseneke was the ID's preferred candidate, we are by no means casting aspersions on Justice Ngcobo's learning and competence and we wish him all the best over the next two years," De Lille said.
African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe agreed with his ID counterpart, but also welcomed Ngcobo's appointment.
"While the ACDP welcomes the appointment of Justice Sandile Ngcobo as the new Chief Justice, we are nevertheless of the opinion that Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke was better suitable for the post because of the many years of experience he gained as deputy of outgoing Chief Justice, Pius Langa."