Zuma chooses chief justice

2009-08-06 14:17

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has nominated Constitutional Court Judge Sandile Ngcobo to replace Judge Pius Langa, who retires from the position of Chief Justice later this year.

Explaining his choice, Zuma said he had taken the decision "properly" and "objectively".

"Ngcobo has more experience in that court [than deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke]. He has been there for a long time. He has very serious credentials in terms of his experience.

"The fact of the matter is that I have appointed a judge that I believe is capable," said Zuma.

After studying at various institutions in South Africa and abroad, Ngcobo became a clerk in the civil court and later a public prosecutor before entering into the private legal sector.

His first judicial appointment was in 1993 when he became the presiding officer of the Industrial Court.

A year later he joined the Independent Electoral Commission as a presiding officer.

Ngcobo has served as judge in the Western Cape High Court, a judge and presiding judge in the Labour Appeal Court and also joined the Amnesty Commission at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In 1999 he was appointed as a justice to the Constitutional Court. His term expires in 2011.

When asked why he had chosen Ngcobo and not the other rumoured possibilities, Zuma said it was not a matter of comparing one judge to another but merely that he felt his choice was the most appropriate.

Western Cape Chief Justice John Hlophe and Moseneke were believed to be in the running.

"At the end of the day you look at the judges in the country and you look at the issues," Zuma said.