Ramaphosa lauds late Justice Mokgoro as human rights champion

Ramaphosa lauds late Justice Mokgoro as human rights champion

President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the late Justice Yvonne Mokgoro as a champion of human rights in South Africa.

Ramaphosa lauds late Justice Mokgoro as human rights champion

The president delivered the eulogy at the late Constitutional Court justice’s funeral in Johannesburg on Thursday. 


Mokgoro passed away at the age of 73 after a lengthy spell in hospital. 


She was one of the first justices appointed to the Constitutional Court when it was established in 1994 and the first black woman judge of the apex court.


Ramaphosa described her as someone who fought for human rights and delivered rulings which supported the right to life. 


"As we have heard from her own humble beginnings in her family, hard work was instilled in her humility and that is what she exhibited through out her life. 


"And through her life, and through her work, I would call her ‘imbokodo’ Justice Yvonne Mokgoro.”


Mokgoro was honoured with a special official funeral category one. 


Her service was attended by a number of prominent figures, including Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. 


Zondo labelled Mokgoro as the embodiment of constitutional values. 


"As many speakers have said, she was humble, loving, caring and hard-working. The fact that Justice Mokgoro was the Justice of the Constitutional Court was not something that was always in her mind. Justice Mokgoro had the same respect for everybody.” 


Constitutional Court Justice Steven Majiedt told mourners that Mokgoro was also a great teacher.


Majiedt says Mokgoro leaves behind a long legacy of selfless service.


"We were abundantly blessed to have this child of the Northern Cape to guide and lead SPU during those development years. She was one of South Africa's very best. 


"I have no doubt that Sol Plaatjie, a feminist as one can see in his well-known novel, would have nodded with the strongest approval to Justice Mokgoro's contribution to his home city, province and country". 


At the same time, human rights activist Mark Heywood said Justice Mokgoro would be remembered as someone who lived a constitutional life. 


“A sense of what marked her out was not just her fine judicial reasoning, but that for her, the South African constitution was an instruction not just about law but about life and living. The constitution was an ethical code, which she lived.” 


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