DIKGANGMOSENEKE retired in May 2016 as the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa and a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Before his appointment to the Constitutional Court, he was a judge of the High Court in Pretoria.
Dikgang Moseneke was born in December 1947 in Pretoria where he completed primary and secondary schooling. During March 1963, at the age of 15 years and whilst in Std 8 (now Grade 10) he was arrested, detained and convicted for participating in political activity opposed to the apartheid regime. Moseneke was sentenced in the Supreme Court, Pretoria to 10 years imprisonment, all of which he served on Robben Island. Whilst on Robben Island, Moseneke studied privately and matriculated with a University entrance pass. He enrolled with the University of South Africa (Unisa) where he obtained the BA degree majoring in English and Political Science. Subsequently Moseneke obtained a B Iuris degree and thereafter completed the LLB degree. All three degrees were conferred by the University of South Africa.
Shortly after leaving Robben Island, his professional career started in 1976 as an attorney’s clerk at the Pretoria law firm Dyasons and subsequently at the law firm Klagsbrun Incorporated. In 1978 Moseneke was admitted as an attorney and thereafter practised in partnership at the law firm Maluleke, Seriti and Moseneke. After practising for 5 years as an attorney, in 1983 Moseneke was called to the Bar where he practised as an advocate at the Johannesburg and Pretoria Bars. During his practise at the Pretoria Bar he was elected to serve on the Bar Council. Ten years later, in 1993 he was elevated to the status Senior Counsel (SC).
With the advent of constitutional negotiations, in 1993 Moseneke was appointed to serve on the technical committee that drafted the 1993 Interim Constitution for a democratic South Africa. In 1994 Moseneke was appointed deputy chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission which conducted the first democratic elections in South Africa. In September 1994, Moseneke was appointed to the Supreme Court [Transvaal Provincial Division, as it was then know] as an acting judge after which he returned to his practice at the Bar.
From 1995 to 2001 Moseneke left the Bar to pursue a full time corporate career in the following capacities. He has since resigned all these corporate positions:
Chairman: Telkom South Africa Limited
Chairman: African Merchant Bank
Chairman: Metropolitan Life Limited
Chairman: African Bank Investments Limited
Chief Executive: New Africa Investments Limited
Director: New Africa Publications (Pty) Limited
Director: Phaphama Holdings (Pty) Limited
Director: Urban Brew (Pty) Limited
Chairman: Alisa Car Rental (Pty) Limited (Hertz)
Director: Life Officers’ Association
Moseneke was elevated to the bench of the High Court Pretoria in 2001 and thereafter he was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 2002 and as the Deputy Chief Justice in 2005.
He has played an active role in the affairs of the organised profession. He was a founder member of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) and its first national secretary. He was a founding member of the editorial board of the African Law Review published by the BLA to give a voice to disenfranchised legal practitioners. Together with other progressive legal practitioners, he was a founding member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa (NADEL) and its first national treasurer.
He has served in several community based organisations and non-governmental organisations whose activities were directed at ameliorating the harsh impact of apartheid inequality. This service included his role as chairman of Project Literacy for over 10 years and as trustee of the Sowetan Nation Building and as Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund for 15 years.
Moseneke has been keenly associated with tertiary education. In 1986 Moseneke was appointed visiting Law Professor at Columbia Law School, University of Columbia, New York. He served a term a five years as the first Chancellor of Pretoria Technicon which is now known as the Tshwane University of Technology. He is currently serving as the Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. During autumn of 2011, he was a Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, USA. In 2012 Moseneke was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Georgetown School of Law, Washington and in 2013 he was invited as a Visiting Professor at the University of Zurich School of Law, Switzerland.
Moseneke holds several honorary doctorates and is a recipient of numerous awards of honour, performance and excellence. These include:
- KWV Award of Excellence
- 1993 Black Lawyers Association Excellence Award
- 1997 Unisa School of Business Leadership Excellence Award
- 1998 Black Management Forum (BMF) Empowerment Award
- 1998 Sunday Times Businessman of the Year Nominee.
- 2000 International Trial Lawyer of the Year Award [International Academy of Trial Lawyers].
- 2002 Soweto Achiever Award.
- 2002 Honorary Professorship in Banking Law, University of South Africa.
- Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of the North.
- Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) from the University of Natal.
- Doctor of Technology (honoris causa) from Tshwane University of Technology.
- 2004 Kumkani Hintsa Bravery Award.
- 2004 Plaque of Honour presented by the Society of Advocates, Pretoria.
- 2009 University of South Africa Calabash Best Alumni Award.
- 2011 Sydney and Felicia Kentridge Award for service to law in Southern Africa presented by the General Counsel of the Bar of South Africa.
- 2011Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of South Africa.
- 2012 Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the City University of New York School of Law
- 2012 Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers
- 2013 Global Jurist of the Year Award – Centre for International Human Rights-Northwestern University School of Law
- 2015 Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of Cape Town
- 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award – African Legal Awards – Commercial Lawyers Association of South Africa.
- 2016 Honorary Lifetime membership of the Society of Advocates- Johannesburg.
- 2016 The Archbishop of the Anglican Church’s Highest Award of Merit
- 2016 The Congress of Business and Economics Lifetime Achiever Award
- 2016 Honorary Professor of Bioethics – School of Health Sciences; University of the Witwatersrand.
- 2016 The Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s Conference Award of Wesleyan Witness and Merit presented by the Presiding Bishop.
- 2017 Extraordinary Professor of Law and Social Justice – School of Law; University of Cape Town
During the past 40 years, Moseneke has read numerous papers at law conferences, both at home and abroad and is widely published in academic journals and has recently published his memoir: My Own Liberator.
Dikgang Moseneke is married to Kabonina and they have a daughter, two sons and six grandchildren