Moseneke – a towering intellect
At 15 years old, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was detained and convicted of plotting to overthrow the apartheid government. He still bears the scars from his interrogation on his wrists. He spent 10 years on Robben Island, and in those 10 years, he obtained his Matric, a BA in English and Political Science and a BJuris degree through Unisa. Under house arrest, he obtained a law degree – and went on to complete his articles. After becoming an advocate, he went on to be chosen as one of South Africa’s first black judges.
He rose to the position of Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, and served his term as a judge on that court with distinction. Regarded as one of the towering intellects of the bench, he has handed down many of the most important judgements of the court in recent years. Some of these include the second Glenister decision, Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa, which was co-written with Cameron J and the affirmative action decisions in Van Heerden and Barnard, and the pro-poor Abahlali decision.
His retirement now requires that a new deputy Chief Justice be appointed. There are two vacancies on the bench; the second left by van der Westhuizen J. In terms of the Constitution, the President, in consultation with the JSC, appoints the Deputy Chief Justice in consultation with leaders of the parties in the National Assembly. The candidate would usually be one already sitting on the bench of the Constitutional Court. The JSC will, in all liklihood, only be able to appoint the two new members of the court at the end of the year.