”The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa challenges all of us to recognise that once upon a time there were injustices in this country and today, we believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it and may God bless South Africa.” These were the sentiments of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who was acknowledged with an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday, 27 March 2018.
The University conferred an honorary doctorate on Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in recognition of his pioneering commitment to serving humankind by upholding the independence of the judiciary and by promoting access to justice in tangible ways has earned him widespread respect and admiration for serving humankind.
Speaking ahead of the conferral, the Chancellor of UJ, Prof Njabulo Ndebele highlighted the significance of such an Honorary Degree – both to the recipient and to the University, pointing out that this Honorary Doctorate is conferred upon Judge Mogoeng as an acknowledgement for his notable contributions within the judiciary sphere – which should remind South Africans to take the constitution as a guide which will give us unity to build our country and to reconcile as all South Africans.
Mogoeng Thomas Reetsang Mogoeng born in 1961, is the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, having assumed office on 8 September 2011. Through his exemplary leadership of the judicial branch of government, he has steadfastly advanced the constitutional values of human dignity, equality and freedom; non-racialism and non-sexism; the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
“Through his actions, Judge Mogoeng has been concretising each of the core University of Johannesburg values. An unquestionable ethical foundation is evident from his judgements in the Constitutional Court, delivered without fear or favour, as well as from his public addresses and publications. He has earned trust and credibility through judgments that were critical of executive decisions and conduct; of parliamentary rules and conventions; and of legislation that does not conform to the Constitution, resisting political pressure and maintaining judicial independence,” said the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Prof Letlhokwa George Mpedi.
Judge Mogoeng’s commitment to judicial independence has a wider purpose: promoting access to justice by regenerating the judicial system. “His quest for institutional legitimacy of the judiciary is rooted in the realisation that many South Africans felt alienated from the court system,” said Prof Mpedi.
During his tenure as Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng has made a decided impact on and contribution to South African society. This is clear from two awards made to him in 2017. Moegeng Mogoeng has received the Biko Fanon award from the Pan-African Psychology Congress for contributing to psychological liberation. The award commends him for contributing to public awareness and creating a source of hope for morality in the country. He was also voted 2017 South African of the Year in a public poll hosted by News24, having been nominated by a panel of journalists and experts.