Stand up to bullies - Mazibuko
Cape Town - Some South Africans believe they are above the law and that might is right, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Tuesday.
"They enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and use race to divide South Africa's citizens," she told a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.
The special sitting was called to bid farewell to former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo and welcome Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
"They wish to destroy our Constitution. They are the bullies of our time," Mazibuko said in her maiden speech as leader of the opposition.
The drafters of the Constitution understood that limiting power abuse was the key to preventing a recurrence of tyranny.
They sought to ensure that the law would never again be used by the strong to oppress the weak.
There were many, on both sides of the House, who cherished the constitutional values.
"After all, our Constitution transcends party politics. It was a product of negotiation and compromise. It is our founding compact, the very bedrock upon which our rainbow nation was built. But not everybody sees it that way," she said.
These were those who believed they were above the law, that might was right.
Mazibuko paid tribute to Ngcobo for "his quiet humility and love of the law; for his steadfastness in defending and upholding the Constitution of this land".
It was said that a Constitution was only as strong as the character of those charged with upholding it.
That South Africa's Constitution was thriving today - despite pressure on it from some quarters - was a testament to the characters of former chief justices Arthur Chaskalson, Pius Langa, and Ngcobo.
That tradition had now been passed on to Chief Justice Mogoeng.
"In his hands rest the hopes and dreams of millions of South Africans. It is no exaggeration, Justice Mogoeng, to say that our success as a nation depends on your success as a chief justice.
"It is an awesome responsibility. We believe that you will adjudicate the cases before you with wisdom and fairness.
"We trust that you will build on the foundations laid by your predecessors. And above all, we wish you the strength to stand up to bullies," Mazibuko said.