DA: Statement by Helen Zille, Democratic Alliance Leader, congratulating Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo (01/10/2009)

1st October 2009

The Democratic Alliance congratulates Mr. Justice Sandile Ngcobo on his appointment as Chief Justice.

His appointment brings with it the sacred responsibility of upholding South Africa's laws and safeguarding our Constitution. It is our hope that Chief Justice Ngcobo bears this responsibility with the same intellectual independence and wisdom that have characterised his time in the Constitutional Court thus far.

The Democratic Alliance has in the past expressed a preference for Justice Dikgang Moseneke, but we respect the right of the President to appoint the Chief Justice.

It is a pity that Chief Justice Ngcobo's nomination was marred by the unprocedural manner in which President Zuma went about the consultation process. While this did not reflect on the merits of Justice Ngcobo's candidacy, it was an unsettling reminder that key constitutional principles continue to be flouted. We also note that Chief Justice Ngcobo will only serve 18 months as Chief Justice, before the President will again need to appoint a replacement.

However, this must not detract from Justice Ngcobo's achievement. The DA wishes him all of the best in his new position. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of South Africa's democracy depends on how he, and his fellow judges discharge the responsibility with which they have been vested.