Our fearless Chief Justice

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was appointed by President Zuma in 2011 under great scrutiny. Even DA leader, Helen Zille, was among the critics. After attending the JSC (Judicial Service Commission) hearing during February this year, held in Cape Town, she admitted “I was wrong”. She described our Chief Justice as “a very strong chief justice” who “puts the Constitution first. He also protects court independence.” (View the article) Chief Justice Mogoeng proved this to be true in the Constitutional Court’s judgment in one of the most highly publicized cases of recent times. Significantly, the man who appointed him in 2011, was the one under scrutiny.

Ethical and fearless

On Friday, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in an interview that he was never afraid of handing down the judgment against President Zuma in the Nkandla hearing, because when he took his oath of office he “understood very well what it meant to carry out his Constitutional mandate without fear, favour or prejudice”. He said he was simply doing what President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of the nation, appointed him to do in terms of the Constitution and further, that he is not afraid of anything.

Honorary doctorate recipient

In 2013, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was honoured for his vision of an independent, empowered, adequately resourced and transformed judiciary by being awarded with an honorary doctorate from the University of North West. His continued efforts to improve and strengthen the efficiency of the judicial system, is truly exemplary on the African continent.

The doctrine of the separation of powers and its function

The basis of the recent judgment in Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others; Democratic Alliance v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others (CCT 143/15; CCT 171/15) [2016] ZACC 11 (31 March 2016), is the doctrine of separation of powers, which is entrenched in our Constitution and whereby our government’s functions and powers are divided into three branches – the Legislature (or Parliament), which makes the laws; the Executive (The President and his cabinet ministers), which creates policies and implements the laws of Parliament and the Judiciary, which interprets the law, rules on its application in specific situations and provides successful litigants with effective remedies.

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Photo: Felix Dlangamandla, Rapport

The main object of the doctrine is to prevent the abuse of power. These three branches function independently from one another and keep each other in check. The Constitutional Court’s judgement in the aforementioned case is a prime example of the Judiciary holding the Executive accountable for their actions. The Chief Justice emphasised in his judgment, “Any failure to fulfil shared constitutional obligations by any member of the Executive would … be attributable  to the President as his own failure. After all he appoints them and they are answerable to him.”


Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng truly leads by example and is a man and jurist to be reckoned with. His cause is fairness, impartiality, ethical behaviour and to be fearless. In short, his cause is JUSTICE, and so is ours… We at Cause for Justice salute him as South Africa’s Fearless Chief Justice!


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