Moseneke: Take concrete steps to pursue legitimate ideals

Outgoing deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke has urged South Africans to become their own liberators.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke delivered his last judgment as a judge in the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 20 May 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Outgoing Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke says he became his own liberator during apartheid, which culminated in his illustrious life journey to one of the top legal positions in the land.

A special sitting has been held at the Constitutional Court, marking his last day in office.

Moseneke has been described as 'a son of the soil', who has been selfless in his leadership, and always spoke truth to power.

The deputy chief justice has detailed his journey of activism and the critical lessons he has learnt along the way.

"We have to identify worthy causes which might change our [mindset] and that of the world, and immediately thereafter we must ask the question famously asked by Lenin; what is to be done?"

Moseneke has urged South Africans to become their own liberators.

"You cannot merely dream about your revolutionary ideals; you have to take real and concrete steps to pursue those legitimate ideals."

The now retired justice says he has penned his memoirs in a book, which is expected to be published by September.

LISTEN: Tributes paid to outgoing Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke


He's been described as someone who delicately balanced his political beliefs with his legal duties.

Some of the country's top legal minds, struggle stalwarts and dignitaries attended today's commemoration, including Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.

Speakers paid tribute to Moseneke's rich political history as an activist at the age of 14, his incarceration on Robben Island, and his journey to one of the top legal positions in the land.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza remembered how the legal fraternity tried to prevent Moseneke from becoming an attorney during the apartheid era.

"There is controversy within the Pretoria bar because right up to that point that bar had been exclusively white bar or had an exclusively white membership."

LISTEN: Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza pays tribute to Moseneke

Speaking on behalf of Parliament, Thandi Modise says the executive appreciates the judiciary.

"Sometimes it is Parliament that feels it is the balancing leg; but sometimes and more recently, we found that the judiciary creates that space to bring us all together."

Earlier, Moseneke shed a tear as he concluded the last part of his speech, and was comforted by his counterpart Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Moseneke left his office with a reminder to South Africans that they remain the bedrock of democracy and hold the power.

Dignitaries, and his peers, all described Moseneke as a son of the soil with immeasurable wisdom.

The newly retired judge thanked his colleagues for their unwavering support.

"Each time there was a storm swelling around our institution, you and me stood firm."

Dignitaries attending today's celebration called on the judge to continue contributing to public discourse during the country's trying times.