Ramaphosa praises late Justice Mokgoro for championing human dignity

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the late retired Justice Yvonne Mokgoro for championing human dignity as the cornerstone of constitutionalism.

Ramaphosa praises Mokgoro for being one of the justices who saw the end of the death penalty. She was one of the justices who sat on the matter and was tasked with determining whether capital punishment was consistent with the provisions of the country’s Constitution.

Mokgoro was the first woman justice to be appointed to the Constitutional Court and served her full 15-year term. She died earlier this month after a lengthy stay in hospital following a car accident in April last year.

She was 73.

Addressing mourners at her funeral, Ramaphosa says Mokgoro brought with her, her commitment to social justice to the country’s highest bench.

“She brought this humanism and commitment to social justice to the bench. In her judgment on the court’s very first case, the Seminal State vs Makwanyane involving the death penalty, she expanded on the principle of ubuntu, describing it as ‘one shared value and ideal that runs like a golden thread across cultural lines’. She was steadfast in her view that regard for human dignity should be the bedrock of jurisprudence everywhere.”

‘Dedicated legal giant’

The late retired Justice has been described as a giant of the legal profession dedicated and selfless. Mokgoro was afforded a Special Official Funeral Category 1.

Cause of voiceless

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has called on mourners to honour the late retired Justice by fighting corruption. Zondo says Mokgoro sought to champion the cause of the voiceless in society.

Zondo says corruption robs the poorest in society.

“You can say ‘I will put more effort in fighting corruption’ because Justice Mokgoro wanted to make sure that the poorest in our society are uplifted but corruption prevents that. Justice Mokgoro would have wanted to make sure that all those who take an oath or affirmation because they must perform constitutional duties, respect their oath of office, and respect the affirmations they take.”