Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been inaugurated as Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
Speaking at his inauguration ceremony on UKZN’s Westville campus, Mogoeng congratulated the University on its Transformation Charter and encouraged those present to read South Africa’s Constitution. “Our Constitutional project is about building a united and democratic South Africa founded on human rights, non-racialism, non-sexism, accountability and responsiveness,” he said.
He condemned corruption in the public sector and emphasised the importance of speaking out against corruption and mismanagement in that sector. “There is a lot of wrong doing in the private sector. As long as we pretend wrong doing is only in the public sector, never in the private sector, we are not going to achieve our Constitutional aspirations.
“It must be spoken against, so that it is corrected… it’s easy to criticise – look for solutions, that is the difficult part,” said Mogoeng.
The Chief Justice thanked the University community for accepting his appointment and applauded “living legends” Dr Frene Ginwala and Dr Zweli Mkhize who had previously served as Chancellors of the University.
He paid tribute to members of the University community, including Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor Managay Reddi; UKZN alumnus and political commentator; Mr Lukhona Mnguni, and UKZN academic, Professor David McQuoid-Mason.
In a recent interview with alumni magazine, UKZNTouch, Mogoeng expressed delight in his appointment at the University. “Very few developments in a person’s life can match the contentment and encouragement that comes with unsolicited recognition by one’s very own, like your alma mater,” he said.
“I am especially gratified by the fact that it was here that I was, for the first time, initiated into the educational system that allowed, encouraged and insisted that I subject legal issues to critical analysis,” he said.
“I was previously required to memorise and reproduce but not permitted to think. Then, your critical analysis earned you less marks if not a failure, whereas robotic consumption and regurgitation were highly rewarded.”
Mogoeng recalled some of his experiences as a student. “Truth be told, it was here that I cut my political teeth and became more daringly involved, together with the critical mass of our people, in efforts geared at ending the institutionalised abnormality of the time. It was here that I, for the first time, met real judges in the Moot Court finals in which I was privileged to be one of four participating students and was given a sense of real court experience.”
Mogoeng received warm messages of congratulations and support from staff, students, the UKZN Council, Senate, Convocation and former Chair of Council, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
The fourth Chief Justice of South Africa, Mogoeng holds a B Juris degree from the University of Zululand and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the former University of Natal. He also holds a Master of Law (LLM) degree from the University of South Africa.
Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
Photographs: Rajesh Jantilal