Legal fraternity backs Ngcobo

2009-10-01 22:12

Cape Town - The legal fraternity on Thursday warmly congratulated new Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo on his appointment by President Jacob Zuma.

"We are confident that our judiciary and our courts are in good hands," said the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA).

The body represents the country's 18 800 attorneys and 4 900 candidate attorneys.

"Justice Ngcobo will continue to protect and promote the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law throughout his tenure," said LSSA's co-chairs Thoba Poyo-Dlwati and Henri van Rooyen.

Ngcobo would serve as he had done in the past and with the same fervour and dignity displayed by outgoing Chief Justice Pius Langa, they said.

Political parties joined in wishing the new chief justice well, with DA leader Helen Zille saying Ngcobo's appointment came with the "sacred responsibility" of upholding South Africa's laws.

Moseneke is ID's preferred candidate

The ID'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 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.

'Solid track record'

African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe agreed with his ID counterpart, but also welcomed Ngcobo's appointment.

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu said Ngcobo's "solid track record as a fighter for human rights speak volumes".

"Justice Ngcobo brings to the Constitutional Court experience and the fortitude our country needs to assure that the judiciary remains an independent arbiter for every citizen," he said.

Sokutu said: "His [Ngcobo's] commitment to uphold the oath of office and to administer justice to all persons without fear, favour or prejudice should give all of us comfort and confidence in the calibre of South Africa's most senior justice."