Joint Sitting - 10 June 2005

FRIDAY, 10 JUNE 2005 __


Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 11:00.

The Speaker of the National Assembly took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.


The SPEAKER: Hon members, the President has called a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in terms of the Constitution and the Rules in order to welcome the incoming leadership of the judiciary, Chief Justice Pius Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, and to bid farewell to the outgoing Chief Justice, Arthur Chaskalson.

We have today represented in the House the three branches of government, namely the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. While each of these arms of our democracy has distinct functions, they nevertheless work together to give effect to the constitutional provisions that underpin our democracy.

The President will hand over the certificates of appointment to the Deputy Chief Justice and the Chief Justice. Thereafter, the outgoing Chief Justice will hand over the robe of office to the new Chief Justice, thereby symbolising the change of leadership in the judiciary.

In the course of this sitting, the President and the political parties will have an opportunity to address the Joint Sitting, after which the retired Chief Justice will respond.

As it is the function of the President, and not of Parliament, to appoint the Chief Justice and his deputy, I will suspend proceedings to allow the President to conduct the presentations. While business is suspended, Justice Chaskalson, Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke will be conducted from their seats to join the President in front of the podium for the presentations. I now suspend business.

Business suspended at 11:02 and resumed at 11:06.

The SPEAKER: Hon members, please take your seats, business now resumes. I now call upon the President of the Republic to address the Joint Sitting. [Applause.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Speaker, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Deputy Speaker, Deputy Chairperson and the other presiding officers, Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, outgoing Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, leaders of our political parties, Premiers, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of Parliament, fellow South Africans, when I spoke from this podium on 11 February to deliver the annual state of the nation address I announced that, with effect from 1 June, Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson would retire from the Bench.

I said then:

I trust that later this year, Parliament will give all of us an opportunity to bid this giant among the architects of our democracy the fitting farewell that the constraints of time today prohibit.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the presiding officers, the political leaders and the hon members for responding to that request, which has given us the possibility to convene here today in what I am certain will, up to its conclusion, be a dignified ceremony that will communicate the respect of our people for our judiciary and the judges we are privileged to honour today.

As we approached the day of his assumption of office, I requested the then Chief Justice-elect to advise me about the formal ceremony we would have to conduct publicly to signal the changing of the guard at the apex of our judicial system. It transpired that nothing existed in our state protocols providing for such a ceremony. It is, therefore, the first time in the history of our country that we have convened as we have today.

I would like to thank the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, their deputies, leaders of the political parties, the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Justice, the Chief of State Protocol, the Director-General in the Presidency and his staff for everything they have done to design today’s proceedings, which set a precedent for what should happen in future when our country honours an outgoing chief justice and welcomes his or her successor.

The ceremony, as Madam Speaker has said, has been designed in such a way that it respects both the separation of powers that is entrenched in our Constitution relating to the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, as well as co-operation among these three centres of state power without which our body politic would cease to exist. In this latter eventuality, ineluctably, mere anarchy would be loosed upon our world.

I believe that it is right and proper that we should convene, as we have done today, bringing together the national legislature, the national executive and the judiciary to salute our compatriots who have served and will serve at the apex of the leadership of our judicial system.

This marks the culmination of the process of the appointment of the presiding judges of the Constitutional Court and the judiciary, which involves the three branches of our system of governance. It is, therefore, fitting that we should come together as we have done today in the Houses of Parliament, finally to confirm to all our people our confidence in the fellow South Africans who had and will have the responsibility to lead our judiciary.

In this regard, speaking as the President of the Republic and the sponsor of the candidatures of our Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, I would like to convey my profound gratitude to the Judicial Service Commission and the leaders of the political parties represented in our national Parliament for their unanimous agreement that Justice Pius Langa and Justice Dikgang Moseneke should serve as our Chief and Deputy Chief Justices respectively. [Applause.]

We meet here today to bid farewell to the outgoing Chief Justice, the hon Judge Arthur Chaskalson, and to welcome the new leadership of our judiciary, Chief Justice Pius Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. In paying tribute to our recently retired Chief Justice, we draw inspiration from the Preamble of our Constitution, which states that:

We, the people of South Africa. . .
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our

Long before assuming the Office of Chief Justice of South Africa, Arthur Chaskalson worked hard to lay the foundation for a South Africa that would truly belong to all who live in it, united in our diversity. He dedicated his professional life to the defence of those who were regarded as subhuman, and accordingly treated as such by the legal system that prevailed then. He and his colleagues worked tirelessly, using the laws of the day, however deficient, to try to protect the rights of the poor and the oppressed.

Speaking about the significance of the period following the end of World War II, a period when, according to him, “humanity appeared to seek a new mutation, a humanity that had come so perilously close to its own annihilation”, our former Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed, said that a defensible and durable civilisation can only sustain itself legitimately and effectively if it recognises the inherent dignity of every member of the human family.

Arthur Chaskalson’s lifelong work is a testimony to his belief in the inherent dignity of all people. In the past 11 years of our democracy, the judiciary has not shunned its role to become part of the construction of a South Africa that recognises the inherent dignity of all its citizens. We too are citizens of a country that came perilously close to its own annihilation. It was through the efforts of progressive lawyers such as Arthur Chaskalson, acting together with all other progressive forces in our country, that we were able to pull ourselves away from the abyss.

Because of his refusal to give up when some of the best among us lost hope in the promise of a better future, he served as one of the experts that assisted in drafting our Constitution. After assuming the Office of the President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Arthur Chaskalson worked with distinction to restore the credibility of a judiciary that had been totally discredited in the eyes of the majority during the apartheid years.

He steered the judiciary at a time when it was grappling with defining its proper role in a democracy, a matter that will continue to engage us as our democracy matures. Speaking about this matter, in April 2000, in an address on the role of the judiciary in a democratic state, Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, a judge of the court of appeal of Ontario, Canada, referred to the historically erroneous premise that judicial institutions do not form part of the democratic framework. She went on to say that, I quote:

While all branches of government are responsible for the delivery of justice, the judiciary has a different relationship with the public. It is accountable less to the public’s opinions, and more to the public interest. This means that the occasional judgment will collide with some public expectations, which will inevitably create controversy, but judgments that are controversial are not thereby illegitimate or undemocratic. They are in fact democracy at work.

What Arthur Chaskalson did during his years as a fighter for liberation and an architect of the new South Africa constituted the democracy at work of which Judge Abella spoke. On 1 June 2001, acting in terms of the Constitution, I appointed Justice Pius Langa as the successor to Arthur Chaskalson. On the same date I also appointed Justice Moseneke as the Deputy Chief Justice, successor to Justice Pius Langa.

I take this opportunity to wish them well as they lead the judiciary during this second decade of our freedom, confident that they will accomplish their mission with distinction. We face continuing challenges with regard to the judiciary, principal among them being its transformation. Among other things, gender parity within our judicial ranks remains a matter of concern.

The role of the judiciary in a constitutional state, with a history such as ours, also continues to pose a challenge. I believe that the new leaders of our judiciary will help us successfully to respond to these challenges, as well as continue to create the space for these and other matters to be debated, confident that, in the words of former Chief Justice Mahomed:

A viable and credible constitutional culture evolves most effectively within the crucible of vigorous intellectual combat and even moral examination of judicial officers.

The debate about the role of the judiciary in South Africa should never be portrayed as an intention or desire to interfere in any manner with its independence. It is not. Happily, I know that the leadership of our judiciary agrees with us in this regard.

Among other things, the struggle we waged with Justices Chaskalson, Langa and Moseneke as our fellow combatants was precisely about the convergence of the concepts of the law and justice, and therefore the need for an independent judiciary that would ensure that law and justice would not stand in opposition to each other, as they did in our country for many centuries.

I am honoured to extend to Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, an esteemed member of the Order of the Baobab, the heartfelt thanks of our diverse and united nation for everything he has done to restore to our people their freedom, their dignity and esteem among the peoples of the world. [Applause.]

On behalf of our nation, I wish him and his dear wife happiness, long life and success in their future endeavours. I trust that the nation will still have the privilege to access their wisdom and experience as we continue our journey towards the formation of the South African, the African and the world society to which they dedicated their lives.

I thank him, Chief Justice Pius Langa, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, their spouses and all other judges and eminent guests present in the House today, for the privilege they have accorded all of us to salute them, to thank them, to wish them well during this unique ceremony in the history of our country, and I extend the nation’s best wishes and message of confidence to them all. I thank you very much. [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Madam Speaker, hon President and Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, retired Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, Chief Justice Pius Langa, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, members of the judiciary, provincial Premiers and Speakers, members of the diplomatic corps, members of Parliament and distinguished guests, the announcement by the President of the Republic, Mr Thabo Mbeki, on the occasion of his state of the nation address on 11 February earlier this year that Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson would retire at the end of May marked the passing of an era - a critical era in the history of the transformation of our society and the entrenchment of the rule of law.

Judge Chaskalson has played a significant and crucial role in reshaping South African jurisprudence to be in line with the Constitution of the land. He is one of the most distinguished legal minds our country has ever produced.

He is a recipient of numerous South African and international awards, and an illustrious lawyer who played a leading role in using the law to fight injustices, including setting up the non-profit Legal Resources Centre in 1978 to fight for justice and human rights in South Africa.

During the days of oppression under the apartheid regime, he appeared on behalf of members of the liberation movement in several major political trials, including the Rivonia Trial. His contribution to the struggle for justice and respect for human rights saw him play a critical role as adviser to the Namibian Constituent Assembly on Namibia’s constitution, and to the ANC on constitutional issues prior to the transition, and serving on the technical committee that advised the multiparty negotiating forum on constitutional issues. He played an equally important part in drafting the transitional Constitution.

Judge Chaskalson was appointed President of the newly established Constitutional Court in 1994, and in 2001 became Chief Justice of South Africa. This was in recognition of the role he had played in advancing and protecting the integrity of justice, and his contribution to the drafting of the Constitution, which all of us enjoy today.

The retired Chief Justice fully subscribes to the notion of a judiciary that is informed by the vision and aspirations of the millions of South Africans who waged a struggle to free our country from the apartheid regime. He firmly holds the view that the values that are articulated in the Constitution must inform the decisions made by judges.

Our judiciary needs people such as Judge Chaskalson, who welcome the assertion that the judiciary has to be accountable to our people and be inspired by their hopes, dreams and value systems, a judiciary that understands the reality that the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary are issues central to our system of government. The President touched on that.

The challenges facing our judiciary in the new South Africa demand our nation’s discourse 11 years into our democracy. The continuing challenge of the transformation of the judiciary remains one of our key goals in our quest to bring about fundamental change in our society. Our democratic government has the unenviable task of having to change the mind-set of a section of our judiciary that does not understand or wish to see the need to embrace transformation. Judge Chaskalson himself identified this challenge when he said in an interview with the Institute for Global Dialogue, and I quote:

There are no doubt individuals within the system who find it hard to apply the new values, because it is different to their whole understanding of law, to their own training in law, and the way in which they previously viewed the law. There will also be people with particular social or political attitudes who find some of the values of the Constitution inconsistent with their own personal values.

Our Constitution is about these new values that Judge Chaskalson was talking about. They are the values of the new democratic order that are clearly articulated in the Preamble to the Constitution, which I will take the liberty to quote, albeit not in full:

We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –

  Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on
  democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights ...

In the same interview Judge Chaskalson also expressed the view that it would be wrong to say that there is significant resistance within the legal system to these values of our Constitution. Long before the adoption of our country’s Constitution, the ANC had committed itself to the fundamental provisions of the basic law of the land, which accords with its own vision of a democratic and just society. This basic law of the land is our supreme law, namely the Constitution. All the laws of our land must conform to its principles, and all the organs of state and all individuals must comply with these provisions.

The other important aspect of our Constitution is that it provides for a truly representative form of government. This is a far cry from the previous dispensation where Parliament, which represented a tiny fraction of the total population of our country, was supreme.

However, this was to change as a result of the work of people such as Judge Chaskalson, who tirelessly served as an agent of change for the kind of South Africa visualised in our Constitution, a South Africa where all the people shall be guaranteed human dignity, democracy, nonracialism, nonsexism, equality and prosperity.

As we pay homage to one of our stalwarts in the legal struggle for the protection and promotion of human rights, we cannot help but recall some of the landmark decisions arrived at by our Constitutional Court, which entrenched the values of our new society. One such decision was the ruling that found that the death penalty had no place in the new South Africa. It is a decision that changed the face of our country.

Mr President, it is a fitting tribute for Parliament to bid farewell to a man of the calibre and stature of the eminent Judge Chaskalson. His record speaks for itself. Parliament wishes him a long and happy retirement. We will no doubt continue to seek his counsel.

In the same breath I wish, on behalf of Parliament, to welcome the new leadership of our judiciary, Chief Justice Pius Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. We hope that both Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke will continue where Judge Chaskalson has left off.

We trust their leadership, and we have no doubt that they will be equal to the task. We need not remind them that the road to realising a judiciary that is attuned to the needs and aspirations of a democratic, nonracial, nonsexist society is still a long one to go. I thank you all. [Applause.]

Ms F I CHOHAN-KHOTA: Mr President, Madam Speaker, Chief Justice, colleagues and friends, it is not often that the leadership of the three institutions of our state gather to pay tribute to one of their own in the manner that we are doing today.

It is significant that today we all gather, taking time off from the stresses and toils of our respective vocations, and pause in the ever- unfolding story of our nation’s progress into the 21st century. It is another notch marked in this era of democracy that will in time to come be remembered as the first of hopefully many such happy occasions.

It is a particular honour for me to stand before you today to pay tribute to our former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson for his contribution to this unfolding history and as a personal tribute to one who has, in his lifetime, given much of his talents and energies in the service of the nation.

Justice Arthur Chaskalson - and he remains Justice Chaskalson - was the first head of the Constitutional Court when it was established in 1994. In 2001, after the untimely death of another great jurist, Ismail Mahomed, he became Chief Justice.

Born in Johannesburg on 24 November 1931, he graduated cum laude in 1954 from the University of the Witwatersrand. He was a member of the university’s football team at the time and was selected . . . [Laughter.]. . . [Applause.]. . . for the combined South African universities’ football team in 1952. I have it on good authority that his soccer career, however, was always tenuous, given his excessive insistence on the audi alteram partem principle every time the referee ruled him out of order. [Laughter.]

As a young, highly talented man, a great career lay ahead of him in the field of law; much fame, acclaim and fortune awaited the young Arthur Chaskalson in latter-day white South Africa. But this young white man had a destiny with the nation. He chose a path not many of his peers would have considered too clever.

Our story as a nation is full of little miracles, but 1994 produced the big one. One of those little miracles was that this magnificent legal mind, as Justice Albie Sachs calls him, put his enormous talents at the disposal of justice, and not that of fame and fortune.

When he was made part of the defence team in the Rivonia Treason Trial the accused didn’t know much about this young man, and it was Bram Fischer who put paid to their concerns by saying to them: “Yes, he may be young but, mark my words, he is the next Issie Maisels.” Such was Bram Fisher’s confidence in the young man that he tasked him to deal with the vital aspects of the case regarding the jurisprudence.

Anyone who understands the apartheid treason laws at the time would understand that one would be forgiven for thinking that you didn’t need a lawyer for the purpose but a magician. Young Arthur Chaskalson was indeed a little of both.

He, again, showed his mettle when he gave up a lucrative practice and set up the Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit organisation that seeks to use law to pursue justice and human rights in South Africa. Indeed, many of the members present here today were beneficiaries of the services of this noble institution that to this day . . . [Applause.] . . . champions fundamental freedoms for the poorest of the poor.

In 1994 Arthur Chaskalson was called upon to establish the Constitutional Court. At a recent tribute in Johannesburg, the first secretary being interviewed by him told of how she had to sit on the only piece of furniture available, a chair. She remembered how frightened she felt at that interview, not only at being interviewed by the great man, but also having his tall frame circling her all the while. During the time after 1994 there were two significant partnerships formed, the first was between Arthur Chaskalson and Justice Ismail Mahomed, both of whom were passionate, yet very different in their styles and in their personalities. Meetings, I hear, were often interesting.

While Justice Mahomed was overtly passionate and lyrical - and powerfully so - Justice Chaskalson has in his make-up a determination that is housed in a dignified stance and true humanitarian belief in respect for all people. This is true when dealing with other judges on the Bench or, indeed, in the courts when dealing with counsel.

In this country, where judicial bullying so characterised our courts, this is a lasting legacy that can only bode well for the future of our judiciary.

The second partnership that he developed was with the current Chief Justice, Pius Langa. I am told that when accepting the Peter Gruber Award recently at the UN, which was awarded to both of these distinguished men, each sang the praises of the other in a manner that would put traditional praise singers to shame. [Laughter.]

It is a mark of such a true leader that one can say that Justice Arthur Chaskalson, through a labour of love, built the institution of the Constitutional Court, but that all 11 judges hold pride of place and that all of them find a niche and are able to contribute to the extent of their talents and interests.

The atmosphere is collegial and, in a large measure, this is attributed to the strong leadership provided by both judges in that the energies of the 11 very strong personalities are harnessed in a lively ensemble.

Above all of these achievements, though, the most lasting legacy of all must be found in the judgments of the Constitutional Court. During his distinguished tenure Justice Chaskalson has given and has been part of a number of landmark decisions covering various fields of public life.

They range from judicial independence, in the Van Rooyen case, and the President of the Republic of South Africa and others v the SA Rugby Football Union with regards to the right to a fair trial, the constitutional review powers of the President, of Parliament’s freedom of speech, and voting rights, to name a few.

But for me it is when the court talks about dignity for ordinary South Africans, the downtrodden individual, the legal and the illegal immigrant, the person sentenced to death, the Muslim woman seeking recognition of her marriage, the child seeking maintenance, the child - again - used to produce pornographic material in the name of freedom of expression and other similar outrages that the heart of South Africa cries: “Viva!”

It was former President Nelson Mandela who, when inaugurating the Constitutional Court in February 1995, said, and I quote:

To Judge Arthur Chaskalson and other members of the Constitutional Court, let me say the following: Yours is the most noble task that could fall to any legal person. In the last resort, the guarantee of the fundamental rights and freedoms for which we have fought so hard, lies in your hands. We look to you to honour the Constitution and the people it represents. We expect from you, no, demand of you, the greatest use of your wisdom, honesty and good sense - no shortcuts, no easy solutions. Your work is not only lofty, it is also lonely.

In the end you have only the Constitution and your conscience on which you can rely. We look upon you to serve both without fear or favour.

Justice Pius Langa said recently that as a six-year-old he was placed on a box to recite “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are”. He says that he was particularly good at it and at the time he used to think of all the children in South Africa reaching for these elusive stars. Even at the age of six he displayed qualities on which this nation is built.

Well, the son of a humble priest from rural KwaZulu-Natal has now become Chief Justice of a free South Africa. [Applause.] Twinkle, twinkle little stars, we no longer wonder what they are. We have two of them in our midst. [Applause.]

On behalf of the ANC and the people of our country, thank you to both of you, and we wish you well. To the new Chief Justice and the new Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke, may your tenure be guided, and may it be blessed with wisdom and strength. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs S M CAMERER: Madam Speaker, Mr President, Judge Chaskalson, Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke, hon members, it is a great honour for me to participate on behalf of the DA in this parliamentary ceremony to honour and bid farewell to our retiring Chief Justice, Arthur Chaskalson, and to welcome our new Chief Justice, Pius Langa, and his deputy.

Before I proceed, I would like to apologise that not all our members could be present today. Our leader, the hon Tony Leon, would have liked to have spoken himself, and indeed all our members would have liked to be present as we have the highest respect for Judge Chaskalson and the greatest expectations of Judge Pius Langa in his new elevated position, as we do for Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke. Unfortunately, the notice was rather short.

On a personal note, I remember so well as a young attorney in Johannesburg in the mid-seventies, who we regarded as the giants of the Johannesburg Bar, among them the late Ismail Mohamed and Arthur Chaskalson who successively became Chief Justices of our country. Even at the height of the apartheid years, their brilliance was acknowledged and sought after. It was very exciting being part of a legal team that briefed them at the time.

Judge Chaskalson’s unfailing courtesy, kindness and humility were as noticeable then as they are today. Outgoing Chief Justice Chaskalson is an outstanding jurist of principle, dedicated to excellence. During the 11 years that he has presided over the Constitutional Court, he has made an immeasurable contribution to the development of our law, and, in particular, to our constitutional jurisprudence.

It must be remembered that 11 years ago, when he took over as President of the Constitutional Court, the guardian of our Constitution was merely a thing outlined on paper. Its 11 new judges were from diverse backgrounds and many had not previously been judges. It had no home and it had no jurisprudence.

The sheer magnificence of what Arthur Chaskalson has achieved in building that institution is evidenced in the body of judgments, internationally acknowledged to include leading decisions, particularly in the field of human rights; the vigorous independence of the court; the dedication of the judges who so manifestly work as a team; and the beautiful building in which the court is housed. To experience a sitting of the Constitutional Court is to experience South African democracy at work. All can participate and all can have their say.

For the past six years I have had the privilege of sitting on the Judicial Service Commission, which Judge Chaskalson has chaired with a sure hand, as we have tried to make appointments in terms of the constitutional imperative that the judiciary reflect broadly the racial and gender composition of South Africa.

While I agree with Judge Chaskalson that the commission has done well as far as race is concerned, now that some 40% of judges and most of the leaders of the judiciary are black, the same cannot be said for gender, with only 13% of the judges being women. The President has rightly said that more attention must be focused on ensuring that more women are appointed as judges. [Applause.]

It is perhaps poignant that Judge Chaskalson is leaving the judiciary at a time when judges perceive their independence to be threatened, and when thuggish and ignorant attacks have been made on the judiciary, which demonstrate a lack of respect for the rule of law.

These must be resisted, and I believe Judge Chaskalson spoke for all judges when he said at his farewell ceremony at the Constitutional Court last week:

The independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers are foundational principles of constitutionalism. The delicate balance called for to give effect to this separation requires the three arms of government to pay attention to the interrelationship between them mandated by the Constitution and to the deference that each owes to the other. How this is done is of particular importance for the standing of the courts, their efficacy and the respect that their judgments command. It is crucial constitutionalism. We wish Judge Chaskalson well in his retirement and we shall miss him. At the same time, it is a pleasure to congratulate Chief Justice Langa and, of course, his deputy on their appointments.

The DA has great faith that Judge Langa will be a worthy successor and an outstanding leader of the judiciary. Everything that Judge Langa has said since his appointment has tended to justify that faith - from his commitment to maintaining the stability of the judiciary, to his laudable outspoken position that judges should control the system of judicial education, in keeping with the independence of the judiciary.

Judge Langa has also made it clear in his judgments that he takes his cue from the Constitution, and he has said:

The process of interpreting the Constitution must recognise the context in which we find ourselves, and the Constitution’s goal of a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

We wish him and his deputy well. Their success will be South Africa’s success. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Speaker, Mr President, I first met Arthur Chaskalson some 45 years ago when I was a registrar to a High Court judge in Johannesburg. That judge told me: “Koos, watch this young Chaskalson. He is very bright . . . maar pasop, hy is ’n kommunis.” [. . . but watch out, he’s a communist.][Laughter.]

Today, after a lifetime, Adv Chaskalson may no longer be young, but we all know that he is still very bright. Whether he is still a communist, I don’t know. [Laughter.]

On behalf of the IFP, I wish to say: Thank you, Arthur, for always demonstrating the purest form of judicial conscience, for fearlessly protecting the independence of the judiciary, for dauntlessly protecting the values contained in the Constitution and for being an outstanding example of a dignified and honest jurist. We wish you well.

In the event of Judge Chaskalson still being a communist, I wish to say goodbye to him in my best Russian: Прощайте, Вы мой товарищ. [Farewell to you, my comrade.][Laughter.][Applause.]

The new Chief Justice is a good example of somebody who started at the bottom of the judicial ladder and ended up at the very top. He reminds me of somebody else, a relative of mine, who started at the bottom and ended up at the top. He was first a bootmaker, and now he is a hairdresser. [Laughter.] We now call Judge Langa “Dlondlobele”.

Pius Langa, I am told, was also a court interpreter, speaking many languages, though not as many as Dikgang Moseneke, who speaks nine South African languages. I am told that during a criminal trial Judge Langa once interpreted for a young Zulu who was charged with stealing a sheep. Interpreter Langa told the youngster that the magistrate had found him not guilty and therefore he did not steal the sheep. [Laughter.] Then the accused man asked Interpreter Langa: May I now keep the sheep? [Laughter.]

In welcoming Dlondlobele, we are confident that he will be the great custodian of our Constitution; that he will be the great guardian of the independence of the judiciary; that he will be the great mobiliser, mobilising whatever is required to protect our judiciary from sliding further into collapse; that he will be the great protector, jealously protecting the integrity, dignity and efficiency of our courts, and especially of our High Courts; that he will protect the language rights of litigants; that he will be the great transformer, ensuring that the Bench is transformed, but not at a rate that will erode the efficiency of the judiciary with a resultant loss of trust in the judiciary.

In this respect, you are reminded of some Latin words: Festina lente. [Hasten slowly.]

I now wish to say something in isiZulu.

Jaji elikhulu, sikufisela izilokotho ezinhle. Siyakwethemba, uhambe kahle. [Chief Justice, we wish you everything of the best. We trust you, goodbye.]

And in Sesotho – this is for the benefit of the mojaperes and the mojatransporotes. [Laughter.]

Moahlodi e moholo, re o lakaletsa mahlohonolo. Re motlotlo ka wena, re o tshepile. Tsamaya hantle. [Chief Justice, we wish you good luck. We are proud of you and we have faith in you. Go well.]

Agb Hoofregter, dit doen my ou Boerehart ook goed om met u ook in Afrikaans te praat. [Gelag.] Ons wens u alles van die beste toe. Ons vertrou u en ons staan by u. En ek dra graag aan u ’n Afrikaanse versie op:

 Gee my ’n man wat doen wat reg is
 As die regter weg is
 Wat sê wat waar is
 As die duiwel daar is
 En wat trou by sy gewete bly
 As hy straf in plaas van beloning kry.

In my laaste vyftien sekondes wil ek iets sê. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Hon Chief Justice, it also warms my old Boer heart also to speak to you in Afrikaans. [Laughter.] We wish you everything of the best. We trust you and we stand by you. And I take pleasure in dedicating a short Afrikaans verse to you.

Gee my ’n man wat doen wat reg is
As die regter weg is
Wat sê wat waar is
As die duiwel daar is
En wat trou by sy gewete bly
As hy straf in plaas van beloning kry.

In my last fifteen seconds I want to say something.]

In conclusion, we welcome Judge Moseneke as the new Deputy Chief Justice, the man who speaks nine of the official languages. We are confident that he will play a pivotal role in our judiciary.

But we, today, would also like to tell him, as chairperson of the commission looking into the improvement of salaries of members of Parliament . . . [Laughter.][Applause.] . . . that the ink on his appointment form is not yet dry. [Laughter.][Applause.] And I believe the President will check if we have a huge improvement in salaries, otherwise we kick him out. [Laughter.][Applause.]

Mr G T MADIKIZA: Madam Speaker, hon President, retired Chief Justice Chaskalson, incoming Chief Justice Pius Langa, hon members, thorough justice is about far more than the application of law. It is about impartiality and fairness, and about resolving disputes in a fashion that reflects the values of society. In this sense, thorough and comprehensive justice is something that only came to South Africa with the introduction of the new democratic constitutional order.

Ours is not only a judicial system that is a vast improvement on the past; it is also a shining example in comparison with other systems in the world. The practice of justice can be a clinical business: It weighs arguments, evidence and law with cold logic.

What distinguishes modern, South African constitutional justice is that its clinical reasoning is balanced and complemented by a strong sense of compassion and humanity. In no small measure, that remarkable achievement achieved within a very short time can be attributed to the women and men who actively set out to create a judicial system that is not only just, but also compassionate.

Whilst, at any given time, many people might aspire to such noble goals, it takes leadership to gather those disparate noble intentions and unify them into an ethos that can transform an entire system.

Retired Chief Justice Chaskalson is such a leader. Whilst we know your humility well, Sir, and we can confidently expect that you’ll remind us that you were but one of many who strived towards these noble goals, we must nonetheless single you out as a steadfast leader and guide to your peers.

I will not attempt to single out isolated achievements in the life of retired Chief Justice Chaskalson, but rather say that through highs and lows his life was dedicated to the pursuit of justice in the true sense of the word.

I can also say that he was never a passenger, swept along by the currents of history, but always in the forefront, no matter the personal costs.

Sir, we salute your service to the nation up to this point and we do so with the comfort of knowing that you have merely retired from your position and not from the quarters of the pursuit of justice.

On behalf of the UDM, I’d like to also congratulate the incoming leadership of the judiciary. Sirs, you have an onerous task ahead of you, but we are confident you’ll measure up. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs P DE LILLE: Madam Speaker, Mr President, hon members of the judiciary, the credentials and achievements of outgoing Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson read like the specifications of a luxury motor vehicle. The man is a national monument and, indeed, is still alive.

Certainly, his contribution to the transformation and establishment of a new order in our country’s judicial system is unique and immeasurable. The judiciary, under his distinguished leadership, has been transformed to levels that a few years ago were unthinkable.

The standards set by Chief Justice Chaskalson are high and this has created an exciting challenge to our new Chief Justice Pius Langa and his Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who have inherited this important mission. But these two jurists are undoubtedly icons in their own right, and South Africans can be proud that we have such worthy successors. Their contribution to the establishment of a new South Africa is equally significant.

Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke has always been my source of inspiration, for which I’m very grateful. I want to promise him that I will always respect the principle of separation of powers between Parliament and the judiciary. We therefore look forward to an era where we will be guided through the final process of transformation of the judiciary under their good leadership.

However, we still have many challenges facing us. We must continue the debate around the independence of the judiciary. We must, furthermore, ensure that access to justice is also there, especially for the poor. The question of language in our courts must be addressed and, lastly, the courts must be made more accessible, especially to the poor.

Lastly, as we say farewell to a truly great South African and also welcome our new Chief and Deputy Chief Justice, we are truly convinced that our country is blessed with great talents in the judiciary, and we hope that these will be directed towards transforming our judicial system. I thank you. [Applause.]

HON MEMBERS: Malibongwe! [Let it be praised!]

Ms C B JOHNSON: Madam Speaker, hon President, Justices Chaskalson, Langa and Moseneke, and hon members, for South Africans the Constitutional Court is a symbol of our commitment to dignity, equality and freedom, and Justice Arthur Chaskalson will always be remembered as the first President of the first Constitutional Court of a free South Africa, and that is very special.

He will be remembered for a long list of achievements - too many to mention

  • from obtaining his LLB cum laude from Wits in 1954 at an early age; his role in, amongst others, the Rivonia Trial; to the establishment of the Legal Resources Centre in 1978, which sought to use the law to pursue justice and human rights in South Africa.

But, mostly, he will be remembered as an architect of our new democracy, and as a man who used his talents and his brilliant legal mind in a lifetime of service to his fellow South Africans and in the creation of a just society.

Of many of the judgments that he wrote, just from me, thank you, Justice Chaskalson, for writing judgments that we as law students could actually read easily. Thank you for that.

My favourite dictum from Justice Chaskalson, the one that stands out, is from the Makwanyane case, when he said that the court will never allow itself to be diverted from its duty to act as an independent arbiter of the Constitution. Chief Justice Langa, we congratulate you on your appointment and we wish you well. Whenever one speaks to members of the legal profession they always say the same thing: they will tell you that Pius Langa is highly respected as a brilliant legal practitioner, but just as highly respected for being an exceptional human being.

If I may now turn to one of the dictums of Chief Justice Langa, when he spoke in a recent judgment about the type of society that we as South Africans want to achieve. He said that the process of interpreting the constitutional text must recognise the Constitution’s goal of a society that is based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

We thank you both and, in fact, all the members of the judiciary for your commitment and your dedication in striving towards building this society, a society based on democratic values, social justice and human rights.

We have been privileged to have two jurists of such a calibre and stature as Justices Chaskalson and Langa, and we salute you for showing this nation that it’s not simply about having a constitution, but about living a constitution. Thank you. [Applause.]

Rev K R J MESHOE: Madam Speaker, hon President, hon members of the judiciary and colleagues, today we bid farewell to a great man who has spent many years helping to build the justice system we now have in South Africa.

My colleague, Adv Madasa, who served with former Chief Justice Chaskalson on the Judicial Service Commission for three years, has shared with me the following, and I quote:

Former Chief Justice has laid a solid foundation for the transformation of the Bench to continue without compromising its standards. He presided over issues of the transformation of the Bench with a rare ability, given the emotional nature of transformation in South Africa, to balance the demands of social equity and judicial efficiency with care.

Additionally, the former Chief Justice has passionately defended the independence of the judiciary and he will always be respected for that, particularly in the light of the recent controversy surrounding proposed legislative amendments affecting the judiciary.

The ACDP salutes you, Sir, for serving your country with distinction, and trust that you will enjoy your well-deserved rest.

We also welcome the incoming Chief Justice Pius Langa, whom we equally respect, particularly for demonstrating to us that hard work is always rewarded. He worked his way through the legal system to get to where he is today. Finally, the ACDP wishes to congratulate the Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke on his appointment. He too has a long, distinguished career in law, as well as in business. We believe that, together with Chief Justice Langa, they form a formidable team that will ensure that there will always be justice for all in this beautiful country of ours.

The ACDP wishes them well in all their added responsibilities, and trust that they will also be successful in ensuring that the independence of the judiciary is retained for many years to come. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mnr F J VAN HEERDEN: Mevrou die Speaker, mnr die President, die VF Plus vereenselwig hom met die woorde, uitgespreek deur lede van die ander partye, van waardering teenoor die Hoofregter en ook teenoor die andere.

Die onafhanklikheid van die regbank is deur geslagte heen deur voorgangers van die uittredende Hoofregter vreesloos toegepas en gekoester. Dié tradisie is voortgesit deur die uittredende Hoofregter, en die VF Plus het geen twyfel nie dat hoofregter Langa en adjunkhoofregter Moseneke hierdie tradisie sal voortsit.

‘n Suksesvolle jong demokrasie het ‘n onafhanklike regbank, vertroue en respek nodig. Dis die kultuur en tradisie van die Afrikaners om sodanige respek te hê, en die Hoofregter en die Adjunkhoofregter kan staatmaak op die ondersteuning, respek en agting van die VF Plus. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mr F VAN HEERDEN: Madam Speaker, Mr President, the FF Plus identifies itself with the words of appreciation expressed by members of the other parties to the Chief Justice and others.

The independence of the Bench has throughout generations been treasured and applied without fear by the predecessors of the outgoing Chief Justice. This tradition was perpetuated by the outgoing Chief Justice and the FF Plus has no doubt that Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke will perpetuate this tradition.

A successful young democracy requires an independent Bench, confidence and respect. It is the culture and tradition of Afrikaners to have such respect, and the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice can rely on the support, respect and regard of the FF Plus.]

In the pension case the outgoing Chief Justice gave judgment against us. He’s now also going to be a pensioner. . . [Laughter.] . . . and I think he’s going to experience it himself and maybe sometimes wonder whether he shouldn’t have given judgment in our favour. [Laughter.]

Nietemin, ons wens die uittredende Hoofregter ‘n aangename aftrede toe, en sukses en voorspoed vir die nuwe Hoofregter en die Adjunkhoofregter. Ek dank u. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)

[Nevertheless, we wish the outgoing Chief Justice a pleasant retirement and we wish the new Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice success and prosperity. I thank you. [Applause.]]

Mr P H K DITSHETELO: Madam Speaker, President, outgoing Chief Justice, when an eagle lands, other birds watch with awe and admiration because they know that it is hard-working and is not limited by the skies.

When it prepares for the next take-off, the journey to the unknown skies and destination, it does so with confidence, ready to explore and break new ground in an attempt to discover what life has to offer, and it shares with others.

We are proud that in South Africa we had our own legal eagle in Chief Justice Chaskalson. He landed at a time when our country was in a state of transition and in need of guidance to navigate through the waters of our unjust legal system that favoured a specific race and the rich. It was a time that our legal system was under severe pressure to change with times and serve all South Africans, irrespective of their background. We as a country were indeed blessed to have luminaries such as Chief Justice Chaskalson at the helm of the Constitutional Court, including his dedicated team of legal eagles. When the Chief Justice announced his retirement we did not expect it as he still had so much to offer his fellow countrymen.

But what can we do when the eagle takes off? We simply have to watch with admiration and awe as it takes off. Many people say that the eagle is unpredictable; it might decide to land again. [Laughter.]

Rona, jaaja ntsu re tla go galogelwa ka ditiro tsa gago tse di molemo. [We will recognise you as an eagle, and also be reminded of the great work you have done.]

To the new Chief Justice and his Deputy, the soil has been well prepared. Yours is to plant the seed.

Gorogang ka pula Bakwena. Re solofetse go le go ntsi mo go lona. Aforika Borwa ga e a bolo go kgeresiwa ke batswakwa. Kampanang le dikgwetlho tsa segompieno. Lo tla di henya. Nayang badiredi ba rona thuso ya Modimo. A kagiso e nne le lona. [Bring us happiness, Bakwena. We expect a lot from you. Foreigners have always been a problem in South Africa. In facing modern challenges, with the help of God you will overcome them. Peace be with you.]

Mr N T GODI: Madam Speaker, Comrade President of the Republic, comrades and hon members, I stand on behalf of the PAC and, indeed, on my own behalf to join Parliament and the entire country in saying farewell to the outgoing Chief Justice Judge Arthur Chaskalson.

It is with both a sense of loss and fulfilment that we bid farewell to an outstanding and dedicated South African, whose involvement in the legal field spans almost half a century. Judge Chaskalson could have chosen the easy road of indifference to the inequities bedevilling our country, but instead he chose the hard, least-travelled but noble route of struggle.

He used his vast talents to assist liberation fighters and resist the abominable system of settler minority rule. It was therefore befitting and appropriate that after the 1994 democratic breakthrough he became the first President of South Africa’s Constitutional Court. It was under his stewardship that the important, ongoing transformation process of the judiciary began.

The PAC wishes you well and hopes that your wealth of experience and wisdom will continue to be readily available to benefit our country.

We also want to take this opportunity to welcome the new Chief Justice Judge Pius Langa and his deputy, Justice Dikgang Moseneke. The PAC would like to thank the President for your appointments. The challenges of our country are not new to you, especially the imperative of transformation.

Transformation is an objective and dialectical imperative to which we need to give added vigour and pace. Your appointment is a powerful affirmation that transformation is a must, urgent and non-negotiable.

On this joyous occasion the PAC wishes you well, Judge Chaskalson, and heartily welcomes and celebrates your appointments, Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice. I thank you. [Applause.]

Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, hon President, Judge Arthur Chaskalson and our other respected members of the judiciary, Ministers, our fellow colleagues, our colleagues from the NCOP, the MF applauds and honours Chief Justice Judge Arthur Chaskalson’s service to our nation.

During the apartheid regime you were, as a young attorney, a beacon of hope for many freedom fighters. We admire you and express gratitude for your contribution to the Legal Resources Centre, established in 1978. But, our great admiration and gratitude extends to you for being the first head of the Constitutional Court.

Chief Justice, you have been an inspirational contributor to the transformation of our justice system, based on the spirit, purport and values of our Constitution.

The MF is honoured to have had our judiciary headed by such an honourable and humanitarian man as Chief Justice Chaskalson. We thank you, Sir, abundantly, and wish you a peaceful and restful retirement.

To our Chief Justice Langa and our Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke: Sirs, a very warm and heartfelt welcome to both of you. May your stay in our judiciary be a pleasant one, and we pray that you both enjoy whatever you do. We further pray that the good Lord guides your judgments and that they always be fair and justified at all times. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mr P J NEFOLOVHODWE: Madam Speaker, hon President of the Republic of South Africa, hon retired Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, hon incoming Chief Justice Pius Langa and your deputy, hon Dikgang Moseneke, other hon judges and members of Parliament, on behalf of Azapo, I am honoured to bid farewell to a distinguished lawyer, a human rights activist and, indeed, one of the founding members of our constitutional dispensation.

Hon Chaskalson, in Azapo we know you as one of those who were there during the many trials that characterised our people’s struggle. Those of us, hon Chaskalson, who come from the liberation struggle know you as a person who used his legal talents to defend all of us, as well as those who sought to defeat the evil system of apartheid. Little did we know - and yourself, I think – that you would, together with your legal colleagues, be the champion of shaping the legal justice system of our democratic South Africa.

Hon Chaskalson leaves behind a legacy of dedicated service to our country, which will serve to inspire future generations to continue working for a legal justice system that is accessible to the poor. Azapo wishes you well in your retirement.

To the incoming hon Chief Justice Pius Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Azapo wishes to congratulate you on having been appointed to the highest office within the judiciary. We are convinced that the hon Chaskalson is leaving the judiciary in good hands. Your long and distinguished legal careers and the fact that you spent your entire adult lives in the service of the people bring to focus the fact that the judiciary is, indeed, now in capable hands.

May the spirit of Albert Luthuli, Robert Sobukwe and Steven Bantu Biko give you strength to transform the judiciary. I thank you. [Applause.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Madam Speaker, hon President of the Republic of South Africa, Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, our esteemed incoming Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, members of the judiciary, members of the diplomatic corps, members of Parliament, distinguished guests and fellow comrades, all protocol observed, one is humbled to take part in the momentous occasion of bidding farewell to our esteemed Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, and welcoming of the new leadership of our judiciary.

Let me assure you that I will not speak in Russian or Latin, lest - in the words of Mr Van der Merwe - if the interpretation is not good, we may lose a lot of sheep. [Laughter.] If my speech were a poem or an essay, the title would be, “Why me?” This is because at the beginning of May 2004, members of the NCOP, including myself, were sworn in by this honourable son of the soil, Chief Justice Chaskalson. Coincidentally, at the end of May this year, he retired.

We are aware of and thankful for the role that Chief Justice Chaskalson has played in the transformation of the judiciary, not only in South Africa, but also in the whole of Southern Africa. He is one of those who associated themselves with the just treatment of all South Africans for a very long time, including, as previous speakers have indicated, his involvement as a representative of our leaders in political trials, which included the then landmark Rivonia Trial.

As the National Council of Provinces is charged with bringing all spheres of government together in the spirit of co-operative government, it can compare itself to the unselfish contribution that the hon Chief Justice Chaskalson has made to bring all the people of South Africa together.

During his days as a legal practitioner, he represented many political activists because he wanted to see justice prevail. He did this because he believed in the basis of the struggle of those activists, which was achieving equality for all and for all people to be treated as human beings with human rights.

During those days it was lawyers such as Mr Chaskalson who were used as protectors of political activists against the evil system of apartheid. It was people like him who kept government on its toes to ensure that it did not abuse its power. Here we are talking of the apartheid government, which, to the contrary, unleashed its machinery and abused the power of the state to the extreme. But he would not be deterred.

There is no doubt that he is the father of the Constitutional Court. He is areal son of South Africa and the epitome of the people’s justice. Today our democracy is strong because of institutions such as the Constitutional Court, which he headed for just over a decade of our democratic order; presiding as he did at a critical stage in the history of our country.

Chinua Achebe once said, I quote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Today things do not fall apart, because the centre, such as the Constitutional Court, does hold. Though he has retired from the Constitutional Court, we are confident in our belief that he will not retire from fighting for justice for all and making sure that our democracy grows stronger, and stronger, and stronger.

He has indeed left an indelible mark on the constitutional democracy of this country and he will be sorely missed. He has left the judiciary while it is grappling with the important issue of transformation. We believe that the new leadership will play a critical role in advancing transformation, not only in the judiciary, but also of our society in its entirety.

During his tenure as Chief Justice, we have seen some progress, especially with regard to the representation of women judges on the Bench. He was also in favour of the change of names of the various jurisdictions of High Courts. Many of the High Courts still carry the names of the pre-1994 jurisdiction. As a champion of justice and human rights, he took many cases without remuneration. This was a sign of solidarity with the poor, the downtrodden and oppressed masses of our country.

He wanted justice to be a winner. It is the prevailing of justice over injustice that has placed our country where it is today. I hope that as he retires, Chief Justice Chaskalson is happy to have contributed to our liberation in the way he did. He was one of those brave people in the legal fraternity who believed in justice and lived it through their actions - people such as the late Abraham Fischer.

The smooth change of government in 1994 was one of the most outstanding achievements of liberation struggles this century. We now have the Constitution and its various institutions, which provide the framework within which individuals should exercise their democratic rights.

We salute you. We will hold up your example to the youth of this country as an ultimate temple for those who intend understanding the road to justice. God bless you. [Applause.]

The OUTGOING CHIEF JUSTICE ARTHUR CHASKALSON: Madam Speaker, Chair of the National Council of Provinces, Mr President, Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, members of Parliament and members of the judiciary, distinguished guests, it is an exceptional honour to be invited to speak at a Joint Sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that and by expressing my appreciation to the President and to Parliament for convening this Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to wish me well, and to welcome the new leaders of the judiciary, Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke.

It is a special day for me and my family. Kind and generous words have been spoken about me by the President, by Parliament and by representatives of all the parties in this Chamber, and I thank you all for that.

I am overwhelmed by what has been said, particularly, I think, by Comrade Koos van der Merwe. [Laughter.] In those days to be called “a Communist” was a badge of honour. It showed that you were on the right side. [Laughter.]

Reflecting on what has been said, I want to repeat what I said last week in the Constitutional Court. It is my wife who has constantly, throughout all the years, made me understand what sort of a society we live in. [Applause.] She made me understand what needed to be done and she ensured that whatever I did, I did because it was necessary to do, and I thank her for that. [Applause.]

Madam Speaker, today’s ceremony, as you, the President and other speakers have said, serves an important symbolic purpose. As members have pointed out, it acknowledges the relationship between the three arms of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. That inter-relationship is recognised by our Constitution in different ways. The President appoints the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice administers the Oath of Office to the President. The Chief Justice administers an Oath of Office to members of Parliament, who make the laws. The executive administers the laws thus made. Where disputes arise in relationship to these laws, the judiciary decides what the requirements of the Constitution are and whether they have been complied with.

So each arm of government operates in its own field. All of us are bound by the Constitution. All of us are required to give effect to its values and all of us, I believe, in everything that we have done over the past 11 years, have done our best to do so.

There is another important symbolism attached to this ceremony. It acknowledges that a change in leadership is taking place, and that, too, is important, for in a democracy such changes are essential. All who exercise power as leaders do so for a limited time and one of the strengths of the system is that such changes should take place. It is crucial for democracy.

And when this happens, it is appropriate that change should be recognised and celebrated. The change in the leadership of the judiciary today is of particular importance. It brings to the head of the judiciary two outstanding judges who know from their own life experience what it means to have been denied human dignity, equality and freedom. [Applause.] Those are now the founding values of our Constitution. They are values that Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke cherish and which will inform everything they do as leaders of the judiciary.

This change is also symbolically important as it marks another significant stage in the process of the transformation of the judiciary. The present leaders of the judiciary, the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Judges President - most of whom are in this House today – have all been appointed to their positions of leadership under our new constitutional order. All of them are committed to the transformation that the Constitution demands.

When I mention this, I would also like to mention Chief Justice Corbett, who held the judiciary together during a very difficult time between the adoption of the interim Constitution and the adoption of our final Constitution. He was a fine judge; a man committed to the values of our Constitution, and he did our nation a great service in those years. [Applause.]

I would also like to mention Chief Justice Mahomed, whose sad and untimely death deprived this country of a judge of great intellect and unrivalled ability. His legacy remains in the law reports, in those who have worked with him and in his contribution to bringing the courts together again at a very difficult time. [Applause.]

I have talked about transformation. I believe that in attitudes to our Constitution and to the law, the judiciary as an institution is totally committed to transformation. However, more needs to be done in regard to the composition of the judiciary, particularly as far as gender is concerned, to complete the transformation that the Constitution requires. But the foundations have been laid and I am confident that the process will be completed expeditiously as the Constitution requires.

When we adopted and embraced, I should say, democracy some 11 years ago, we committed ourselves to constitutionalism. All constitutions provide a framework for government. They define the institutions of the state, the powers vested in them and the way in which such powers must be exercised. Constitutionalism is more than that.

Constitutionalism recognises that sovereignty resides in the people of the country and that power must be exercised in their interests. These interests are protected in a constitutional state by well-established principles of democracy. They are the principles that have been mentioned by almost all of the speakers today: the separation of powers between the different arms of government, the constitutional guarantees of fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, and an independent judiciary.

In fact, the period since the end of World War II has been an era of constitutionalism, precipitated initially by the ravages of that war and also by the establishment of the UN, its commitment in its charter to reaffirm the faith in human rights and in the dignity of people, and in the equal rights of men and women.

This commitment to human rights and dignity is repeated in all the important declarations and covenants of the UN and has, over the past 50 years or so, been adopted by nations around the world.

Looking back, we see that a driving force for this has been the suffering of people, who have been the subject of authoritarian and unjust regimes, who, having shaken off the oppressor, have been determined to ensure that this does not happen again. This is what happened in Germany, Italy and Japan after World War II. It happened in Spain and Portugal after the collapse of fascism. It has happened in South America and in Eastern Europe after the collapse of authoritarian regimes. It has happened in Africa - in Namibia, Malawi, Uganda - and elsewhere, and most importantly, it is the choice we made 11 years ago.

Constitutionalism calls for co-operation between the different arms of government; that is a requirement of our Constitution. And yet at the same time there must be a separation; that too is a requirement of our Constitution.

And so the legislature, the executive and the judiciary move forward together with the same goals: those enshrined in our Constitution, and separately, each arm of government having its own role to play in the joint endeavour to achieve these roles.

Our Constitution offers a vision of the future: it is of a society in which there will be social justice, a society in which the basic needs of all the people of our country will be met, a society in which we show respect and concern for one another. Those are the principles that guide our joint and separate endeavours.

Eleven years is a brief period in the history of a nation. However, looking back over the past 11 years, I believe that we have made considerable progress: we have put down the roots of democracy; we have respected the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; we have given effect to the separation of powers; we have an independent judiciary; we have a new jurisprudence, which is being developed to give effect to the values of our Constitution. The foundations have been laid. The framework is still being built.

Madam Speaker, we have still much to do in building our institutions, in addressing poverty and in achieving the constitutional goal of social justice, but I have great confidence in the future. I believe that we have the will and the capacity to realise the goals of our Constitution.

It has been a great privilege for me to be part of this joint endeavour. It has been a great privilege for me to be the Chief Justice of South Africa and to be the first President of our first Constitutional Court. I appreciate that and I thank you all for the honour you have bestowed on me today. [Applause.]

The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, after I have adjourned the Joint Sitting, members and guests should please remain at their places until the processions have left the Chamber. The first procession to leave the Chamber will be that of the judiciary, led by Chief Justice Langa. The second procession will consist of the presiding officers, the President and the former Chief Justice, Justice Chaskalson.

The Joint Sitting rose at 12:40.