Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been named 2017 South African of the Year, according to a poll hosted by local media outlet News24.
Mogoeneg outshone two other South Africans – the Blitzbokke and table tennis player Kevin Anderson to emerge the winner of the ward.
Results showed that the Chief Justice garnered nearly two-thirds of the vote (63%), followed by the Blitzbokke who pulled a 21% share of the 37 427 votes cast. The third position went to Anderson, who obtained a16% share of the total votes. R
Mogoeng was nominated with four other outstanding South Africans – long jump World Champion Luvo Manyonga, Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu, Anderson and the Blitzbokke. But Manyonga and Mahlangu were eliminated after the first round of voting, leaving the renowned Chief Justice, the Blitzboks and Anderson to put up a fight for the honour.
The five names for the award was reportedly brought up by a panel of journalists and other experts. According to the panel, Mogoeng was nominated because “he has proven to be a beacon of morality that provides a light for others to follow. He is consistent in choosing what is right and lawful, and demonstrates a commitment to serving the people of South Africa above all.”
In his contribution, the master minder of the award and the National Braai Day Initiative, Jan Scannell, expressed delight with the outcome of the poll. Scannell also attributed Mogoeng’s triumph to his superlative, outstanding, and masterful performances in the judicial sphere. “All five of the original 2017 candidates are truly exceptional South Africans, and their achievements should make us all feel proud to be South African.” “Clearly, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s efforts in his position and his continued excellence have resonated with the South African of the Year voters in 2017,” he added.
The poll was organized in conjunction with the National Braai Day initiative as part of Heritage Day celebrations. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is one of South Africa’s leading legal practitioners. In fact, he is seen as the symbol and breathing embodiment of South Africa’s judicial system. In 2016, Mogoeng and his retired deputy Dikgang Moseneke emerged the runner-up to 2016 South African Person of the Year.
The most groundbreaking case of all their cases was the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla, which found President Zuma guilty of breaching and defiling the constitution he swore under oath to protect. Early this year, precisely in April, he was elected the President of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA).
The CCJA is an independent institution established by constitutional judiciaries in Africa, to ensure that the judiciary arms in member states support and deepen democracy by upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law. His appointment as the Chief Justice of the country on September 8, 2011, was greeted with extreme controversies, strong criticism from across many spheres. The Goo-Mokgatha-born legal guru obtained a B.Juris in 1983 from the University of Zululand and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Natal, in 1985.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng earned a Master of Laws from the University of South Africa by correspondence. He was formerly a part-time lecturer at the University of Bophuthatswana (now North-West University) and currently the Vice Chancellor of University of KwaZulu-Natal.