|The Archbishop and Justice Moseneke (Photo: Open Society)|
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has presented retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke of South Africa with a special award for his lifelong public service.
Archbishop Makgoba presented Justice Moseneke with the Archbishop's Award for Peace with Justice at Bishopscourt in Cape Town. He did so at a reception during which the interfaith community and civil society in Cape Town expressed their appreciation for Justice Moseneke's service.
Earlier, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa hosted an event during which young lawyers interacted with Justice Moseneke.
In his citation for the award, the Archbishop said that the judge “has earned renown for his strong commitment to social justice and equality, for his fiercely independent spirit and for his dedication to striving for what is good for all the people of South Africa.”
Quoting from Micah, the citation said Justice Moseneke “has done justice, loved kindness and has walked humbly with his God.”
Among previous winners of the award are Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu, South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, educationist and priest Dr Barney Pityana, retired President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and retired Bishop John Osmers of Zambia.
The full text of the citation follows:
Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice - Dikgang Ernest Moseneke
Dikgang Moseneke’s public service can be said to have begun when he decided by the age of 12 that he wanted to change the circumstances of South Africa’s people. Becoming politically active at school in Atteridgeville, by 15 he was a student at what he has called “Makana University”, serving a 10-year prison sentence under the previous regime’s sabotage laws. On Robben Island he sat for his Junior Certificate with Walter Sisulu, then studied in turn for his matric, a BA in English and Political Science and a B Iuris degree, coached in Latin by a fellow prisoner, Mmutlanyane Stanley Mogoba—later a revered leader of the Methodist Church. He also became known for his skills in reconciling prisoners from different political traditions.
Out of prison, he completed his law articles at first an Afrikaans and then a Jewish firm, also earning his Bachelor of Laws degree. Then he established a law firm with other black attorneys in Pretoria. He was first admitted to the Bar in Johannesburg, when the Pretoria Bar still barred people of colour from membership. After helping to write our Interim Constitution, then serving as Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, he went into business for six years, initially at the urging of President Nelson Mandela. Returning to the law, he was appointed a judge in Pretoria, then a year later to the Constitutional Court. Less than three years later, in June 2005, he was elevated to the position of Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.
Throughout this time, Justice Moseneke has earned renown for his strong commitment to social justice and equality, for his fiercely independent spirit and for his dedication to striving for what is good for all the people of South Africa. As he memorably said when under fire for his views: “We will all do well to remember that in our constitutional democracy, underpinned by the will of the people and the rule of law, judges are not answerable to any political or other organisation, but are answerable to the will of the people as expressed and formalised in the Constitution and the laws of the Republic.”
Justice Moseneke is also a faithful and committed Methodist. In the words of Micah 6:8, he has done justice, loved kindness and has walked humbly with his God. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is honoured to recognise this servant of God and of our people with the Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice.