Cape Town, South Africa, Sept. 25, 2017 (TNE) Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been named as the 2017 South African of the Year, according to a poll held to coincide with Monday’s national Heritage Day celebrations.
Mogoeng garnered nearly two thirds of the vote – 63%. He was followed by a national rugby squad which obtained a 21% share of the 37,427 votes cast, followed by tennis player Kevin Anderson – who reached the final of this month’s US Open – with 16%.
Other popular choices in the poll were long jump World Champion Luvo Manyonga and traditional artist Esther Mahlangu.
Mogoeng, who was born in Zeerust in 1961, accepted an appointment to the North West High Court in 1997.
In 2009, during President Jacob Zuma’s first raft of judicial appointments, Mogoeng was elevated to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land. Less than two years later, he was nominated as Chief Justice. It was an extremely controversial nomination, drawing strong criticism from across the political spectrum
Criticism of Mogoeng’s suitability, and his close ties with the Zuma administration, continued well after his appointment but Mogoeng has regularly ruled against Zuma in high-profile cases.
With Zuma’s numerous legal battles mounting, the judiciary is being closely monitored. The Chief Justice has been at the helm of several Constitutional Court cases this year, including one which stipulated that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete had the power to decide whether to hold a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma via secret ballot.
She subsequently allowed the secret vote and numerous members of Zuma’s own party were able to vote against him.