Dikgang Moseneke was born in Pretoria in December 1947. He attended primary and secondary school there. But at the age of 15, when in standard eight, Moseneke was arrested, detained and convicted of participating in anti-apartheid activity.
He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, all of which he served on Robben Island. Moseneke studied for his matric as well as two degrees while in jail.
Moseneke is married to Kabo and they have a daughter and two sons.
While Moseneke was jailed on Robben Island he obtained a BA in English and political science, as well as a B Iuris degree. He later completed an LLB. All three degrees were conferred by the University of South Africa.
Moseneke started his professional career as an attorney’s clerk at Klagbruns Inc in Pretoria in 1976. In 1978 he was admitted and practised for five years as an attorney and partner at the law firm Maluleke, Seriti and Moseneke.
In 1983 he was called to the Bar and practised as an advocate in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Ten years later, in 1993, he was elevated to the status of senior counsel.
In 1993 Moseneke served on the technical committee that drafted the interim constitution of 1993. In 1994 he was appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first democratic elections in South Africa.
In September 1994, while practising as a silk, Moseneke accepted an acting appointment to the Transvaal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court.
Before his appointment as Justice of the Constitutional Court, in November 2001 Moseneke was appointed a Judge of the High Court in Pretoria. On 29 November 2002 he was appointed as judge in the Constitutional Court Court and in June 2005, Moseneke was appointed Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa.
Between 1995 and 2001 Moseneke left the Bar to pursue a full-time corporate career in the following capacities. He has since resigned all these positions:
- Chairperson: Telkom South Africa Limited (Since October 1994)
- Chairperson: African Merchant Bank
- Chairperson: Metropolitan Life Ltd
- Chairperson: African Bank Investments Ltd
- Chief Executive: New Africa Investments Ltd
- Director: New Africa Publications (Pty) Ltd
- Director: Phaphama Holdings (Pty) Ltd
- Director: Urban Brew (Pty) Ltd
- Chairperson: Alisa Car Rental (Pty) Ltd (Hertz)
- Director: Life Officers’ Association
He is a founder member of the Black Lawyers' Association and of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa.
In 1986 Moseneke was appointed visiting fellow and lecturer at Columbia Law School, University of Columbia, New York.
He has served in several community and non-governmental organisations, including as:
- chairperson of Project Literacy for more than 10 years;
- trustee of Sowetan Nation Building; and
- deputy chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
Moseneke is the first chancellor of Pretoria Technikon and currently serves as chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Moseneke holds several honorary doctorates and is a recipient of numerous awards of honour, performance and excellence. These include:
- the KWV Award of Excellence;
- the Black Lawyers Association Excellence Award (1993);
- Unisa School of Business Leadership Excellence Award (1997);
- Black Management Forum Empowerment Award (1998);
- Sunday Times Businessman of the Year Nominee (1998);
- International Trial Lawyer of the Year Award (from the International Academy of Trial Lawyers) (2000);
- Soweto Achiever Award (2002);
- honorary professorship in Banking Law, Unisa (2002);
- honorary professor in the Department of Mercantile Law, Unisa (2004-2006);
- Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of the North;
- Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) from the University of Natal; and
- Doctor of Technology (honoris causa) from Tshwane University of Technology.
- Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of South Africa.
- Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the City University of New York.
In the past 20 years, Moseneke has read numerous papers at law and business conferences, published several academic papers in law journals at home and abroad.
Speeches and Lectures
Final Court Sitting - Moseneke DCJ 20 May 2016
A Jurisprudential Journey from Apartheid to Democratic Constitutionalism
Courage of Principle: An address by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Ruth First
The Hart Memorial Lecture 2012 - Georgetown University Law School
Striking a Balance between the will of the people and the Supremacy of the Constitution
Openning Statements at Special Meting of JSC
VIIth World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law
Tribute to former Chief Justice Langa D.M
Separation of Powers, Democratic Ethos and Judicial Function
NICRO’s contribution to the criminal justice system during the past 97 years
For more Speeches by the Judge Click Here
Speeches and lectures Published on Law Journal
Transformative constitutionalism: its implication for the law of contract’ (2009) 20 Stell LR
Oliver Schreiner memorial lecture: Separation of Power, democratic ethos and judicial function
Retirement of CC Justices-Tribute on behalf of the Constitutional Court of SA
The Fourth Bram Fischer memorial-lecture: transformative adjudication
Attack on the judiciary
For more Published Speeches of the Judge Click Here
JSC Interviews Curriculum Vitae of Justice narrated version.
JSC interview for the DCJ position
Johann Vincent van der Westhuizen was born in Windhoek, Namibia.
He received the degrees BA Law cum laude, LLB cum laude, LLD and LLD honoris causa from the University of Pretoria. He also researched for lengthy periods in Germany (as an Alexander von Humboldt-fellow) and the USA and for shorter periods in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
He was professor in and the head of the Department of Legal History, Comparative Law and Jurisprudence in the University of Pretoria's Faculty of Law, as well as the founding director of the university's Centre for Human Rights. He is currently an honorary professor at the University of Pretoria and a member of the Centre’s board of trustees, the Law Faculty Council of the University of Pretoria and council of the Judicial Education Institute of South Africa
As an academic, Van der Westhuizen has taught widely in South Africa and abroad, including at Yale Law School and in Germany and Canada; presented numerous papers at national and international conferences; authored and edited several publications; and participated in numerous radio and television programmes in the USA, Germany, Canada, Japan and South Africa.
He was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa and was an associate member of the Pretoria Bar. He acted as counsel in many human-rights matters, and served as a consultant and in-house advocate for the Legal Resources Centre and on the governing body of Lawyers for Human Rights.
During the drafting of South Africa's Constitution he served as a member of the Independent Panel of Recognised Constitutional Experts, which advised the Constitutional Assembly, and of the Technical Refinement Team, responsible for the final drafting and editing.
In 1999 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela as a judge in the Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court (now the North Gauteng High Court) in Pretoria. He joined the Constitutional Court of South Africa - the country's apex court - on 1 February 2004.
Constitutional Court judgments written by Justice Van der Westhuizen dealt with matters including constitutional amendments, provincial boundaries and powers, fair trial issues, equality, the development of African customary law, the right of access to adequate housing and other socio-economic rights, asset forfeiture and search and seizure procedures, the right to privacy and the contractual and delictual liability of private security companies,freedom of expression and land claims
Speeches and Lectures
Getting used to Life Without Death :(The Abolition of Capital Punishment in South Africa)
A few reflections on the role of courts, government, the legal profession, universities, the mediaand civil society in a constitutionaldemocracy (172 kb)
Legal Language: Instrument of Deception or Empowerment? (NOTES ON PLAIN LANGUAGE AND THE CONSTITUTION)(162 kb)12 September 2013
Courts as Economic Freedom Fighters 16 September 2015
Justice Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob was born on 3 March 1948 and became blind at 16 months as a result of meningitis. He married in 1970, has two adult children (a daughter and a son) and has lived in Durban almost all his life.
Yacoob attended Durban's Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind from 1956 to 1966. From 1967 to 1969 he studied for a BA at the University College, Durban (now the University of Durban-Westville), majoring in English and private law.
From 1970 to 1972 he completed an LLB at UDW.
He was involved with many clubs and societies at university and helped to organise activities and negotiations that culminated in the first elected students' representative council.
Yacoob served his pupillage in Durban in 1973. The Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court admitted him as an advocate on 12 March 1973; he practised as a junior counsel from July 1973 to May 1991.
During this time he:
- represented and advised many people prosecuted for contravening security laws, emergency measures and other oppressive legislation;
- represented victims of unfair evictions and people who were required to pay unfair tariffs;
- represented the "Durban Six" in negotiations with the British government when they occupied the British Consulate in Durban in 1984 in protest against apartheid and unjust laws;
- was part of a team that from 1985 until 1988 defended officials and members of the United Democratic Front and its affiliates in the Delmas Treason Trial; and
- represented the accused in the "Vula" trial, which involved high-ranking members of the African National Congress, in 1990 and 1991.
- In this time he also ran a significant and diverse commercial and general legal practice. Yacoob served as a member of the Society of Advocates of Natal for several years and took silk in May 1991.
He joined the Constitutional Court of South Africa in February 1998.
Yacoob was the chairperson of the Durban Committee of Ten in 1980. Its aim was to alleviate the plight of pupils, ensure the release of those in detention and facilitate talks between pupils, students, parents and educational authorities.
He was a member of the executive of the Natal Indian Congress from 1981 to 1991 - in which capacity he organised and took part in protests, produced and distributed publicity material, and organised and addressed many anti-apartheid mass meetings.
Yacoob, as a member of the executive of the Durban Housing Action Committee from 1982 to 1985, was involved in action aimed at ensuring that the Durban City Council managed its housing schemes fairly.
As a member of the executive of the Durban Detainees' Support Committee from 1981 to 1985, Yacoob was involved in:
- promoting community support for detainees;
- calling for the release of detainees;
- helping to ameliorate the conditions under which detainees were held; and
- helping to organise workshops, meetings and conferences to expose the evils of detention without trial.
Yacoob was also a member of a committee that rallied against the South African Indian Council. He belonged to the Democratic Lawyers Association from 1979 to 1984, was a member of the UDF's Natal executive, was heavily involved in a campaign against the tricameral parliament from 1983 to 1985 and was a member of the underground structures of the ANC.
Yacoob has been heavily involved in the activities of the Natal Indian Blind and Deaf Society, and the South African National Council for the Blind. He has served on many school committees, parent-teacher bodies, ratepayers' associations and civic organisations.
He was the chairperson of the South African National Council for the Blind and was a member of its national management committee and its national executive committee from 2001 to 2009.
He was a member of the council of the University of Durban-Westville from 1989 to 1993 and from 1995 to1997. He was the chancellor of the university from May 2001 until 31 December 2003.
Yacoob has attended dozens of international conferences and workshops on topics as varied as blindness, children and democracy.
Yacoob was a member of the Technical Committee on Fundamental Rights in the negotiating process.
He served on the Independent Electoral Commission from December 1993 to June 1994 and was a member of the Panel of Independent Experts of the Constitutional Assembly.
Yacoob has also advised local-government bodies, the National Land Committee and the Department of Finance.
Service on the Constitutional Court
- Justice 1998 - 2013
Judge Yacoob presentation at Maryland University Law School 16 October 2012
Judge Yacoob presentation in Pakistan:The Role of the Judiciary in Good Governance
Presentation by the South African Delegation at the 50th Anniversary of the Turkish Constitutional Court
A Dynamic Constitution
Keynote Address delivered at the University of Fort Hare 7 May 2010
Acceptance of LLD Honoris Causa Fort Hare 7 May 2010
Role of Civil Society 2011
9TH Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Memorial lecture
The entrenchment and enforcement of socio-economic rights
Thembile Lewis Skweyiya was born in Worcester in the Western Cape. He is married to Sayo Nomakhosi Skweyiya and they have four children.
Skweyiya attended primary school in Cape Town, where his parents settled. But in 1959 he matriculated at the Healdtown Institution in the Eastern Cape. He was awarded a Bachelor of Social Science degree by the University of Natal in 1963 and an LLB by the same university in 1967.
From 1968 to 1970 Skweyiya served his articles of clerkship in an attorney's office. In 1970 he was admitted as an advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa and become a member of the Society of Advocates in Natal.
From 1971 to 1996 he practised as an advocate in Durban.
His practice dealt almost exclusively in commercial and civil matters. From about the end of 1979, however, Skweyiya's work became more varied and he began handling cases not only in Durban, but in all Supreme Court divisions in Southern Africa.
From about 1981, the bulk of his work involved human rights and civil liberties cases, including:
- many political trials all over South Africa, which invariably involved political, labour, or student organisations (for example the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the Black People's Convention, the South African Students' Organisation and a variety of others);
- cases involving the rights of people detained in terms of security laws;
- matters involving workers and trade-union officials; and
- inquests into the deaths of people in detention.
However, from the time Skweyiya took silk in 1989, the focus of his practice shifted back to commercial and civil work.
Skweyiya was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Lesotho in 1974.
From 1980 to 1982 he was a member of the Bar Council of Natal. In 1989 he became a senior advocate and in 1992 the High Court of Namibia admitted him as senior counsel.
Between October 1995 and January 2001, Skweyiya acted as a High Court Judge in the Natal and Eastern Cape divisions for various periods - two years in all. He took up a permanent appointment on 1 February 2001.
Skweyiya acted as a Judge of the Constitutional Court from August 2001 to the end of May 2002.
Skweyiya has held many positions in community organisations.
From 1963 to 1964, he was a member of the students' representative council of the University of Natal. From 1971 to 1990 he was a member of the Committee of Clemency, which campaigned for political prisoners, people who were banned or under house arrest, and those in exile.
He was a legal adviser and member of the panel of advisers of SASO from 1973 to 1977, which was when SASO was declared an unlawful organisation.
In 1977 Skweyiya became the chairperson and a trustee of the Institute of Black Research, positions he still holds.
From 1979 to 1990 he was a member of the Mandela Committee. In 1980 he became the chairperson of the Association for Rural Development.
Skweyiya was a member of the President's Advisory Committee of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa from 1981 to 1982 and was a trustee of the Black Lawyers' Association Legal Education Centre from 1984 to 1990.
From 1985 to 1990 he was a member of the editorial board of the South African Journal on Human Rights.
Skweyiya has also held many positions in the world of business, for example:
- as the chairperson of Worldwide African Investment holding (Pty) Ltd, KFM Radio (Pty) Ltd and Zenex Oil Ltd;
- as the deputy chairperson of Fortune Beverages Ltd and the SA Tourism Board;
- as the director and vice-chairperson of Fasic Investment Ltd;
- as a director of Fedics Group Ltd, Lion Match (Pty) Ltd, Gold Circle Racing and Gaming, the Premier Group Ltd, Southern Bank of Africa Ltd; and
- as a member of the regional advisory board of Nedcor Bank KwaZulu-Natal.
He has also attended and participated in several local and international law conferences, and has spoken and presented papers at some of them.
Service on the Constitutional Court
- Justice 2004 - 2014
Speeches by the Justice
What it means to be a lawyer in South Africa today
Justice Sandile Ngcobo was born in Durban on 1 March 1953. He is married to Zandile and they have three children: a daughter, Nokwanda, and two sons, Ayanda and Manqoba.
In 1975 Ngcobo graduated from the University of Zululand with a B Proc (Bachelor of Law), earning distinctions in constitutional law, mercantile law and accounting. From 1983 to 1985 he studied for an LLB at the University of Natal, Durban.
In 1985 he completed an orientation course on the United States' legal system, given by the International Law Institute at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington DC. From 1985 to 1986 he attended Harvard Law School, where he studied for an LLM. He concentrated on constitutional law, labour law, international legal process and international human rights.
Ngcobo was the beneficiary of a scholarship from Barclays Bank between 1973 and 1976. In 1985 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and in 1986 he was the recipient of a Harvard Law School Human Rights Fellowship.
Ngcobo was in detention from 1976 to July 1977. From September 1977 to April 1978 he worked in the Maphumulo magistrate's office.
Ngcobo then joined KK Mthiyane and Company, a law firm in Durban. As an articled clerk and then as an associate attorney, he performed general law office work - such as registering corporations, advising corporate directors, administering deceased persons' estates and conducting criminal and civil trials.
In 1982 he moved to the Legal Resources Centre, also in Durban. Here, as an attorney at law, he tried public-interest civil and criminal cases involving issues such as the ejection of tenants from townships; the forced removal of black communities to homelands; influx control laws; police torture and assault; wrongful detentions; labour disputes; and the eviction of black squatters.
His Supreme Court experience involved preparing pleadings and briefs, and preparing cases for trial and appeal. Cases involved the unlawful transfer of teachers, the cancellation of black pupils' matriculation results and the cancellation of medical students' scholarships.
Then, from July 1986 to July 1987, Ngcobo spent a year as the law clerk and research associate of the late Honourable A Leon Higginbotham Jr, the former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ngcobo's duties included researching and preparing legal memoranda on issues before the court. He also researched the role of law in American and South African societies, and, in particular, its use to perpetuate and eradicate social injustice.
Ngcobo also helped teach a seminar titled "Race Values and the American Legal Process" at the University of Pennsylvania, at Harvard Law School and at Stanford Law School.
From August to November 1987 Ngcobo was a visiting foreign attorney at Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He specialised in labour law.
At the beginning of 1988 he returned to South Africa and took up the post of acting director of the Legal Aid Services Clinic of the University of Natal, Durban. From August of that year he taught a course on race legislation, also at the University of Natal.
From December 1988 to November 1989 he practised as an advocate in Durban. But in December 1989 he returned to Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz in Philadelphia, where he was an associate attorney in a firm of about 300 lawyers. He specialised in labour and immigration law.
In 1992 Ngcobo returned to South Africa and practised as an advocate in Durban. His focus was labour and employment law, constitutional law and general practice. In 1994 he lectured part-time in constitutional litigation.
From April 1996 to the end of August that year, Ngcobo was an acting judge of the Supreme Court, Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division. In September 1996 he was made a judge of the same division. From January to December 1997 he was an acting judge of the Labour Appeal Court; in November that year he was appointed a judge of the court.
In 1999 Ngcobo was appointed the acting Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Courts.
Ngcobo was a member of the Industrial Court of KwaZulu in 1993. In the same year he was also the co-ordinator of the Equal Opportunities Project of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Natal, Durban.
In 1994 he was a presiding officer of the Independent Election Commission's Electoral Tribunal. Ngcobo was also appointed to serve on the amnesty committee of the Truth And Reconciliation Commission in February 1998.
He has served as a member and as the chairperson of the Rules Board for Courts of Law. In February 1999 the University of Cape Town made him an honorary professor of law.
Ngcobo has published many papers on topics such as justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, housing segregation and gender equality.
He is a trustee of the Dehler Foundation and is a former trustee of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.
Service on the Constitutional Court
- Justice 1999 - 2009 Appointed by President Nelson Mandela
- Elevated by President Jacob Zuma to Chief Justice 2009 - 2011
JSC Interview For Position of Chief Justice