SA's Mogoeng Mogoeng hands over CCJA presidency to Angola's da Costa Aragão
Johannesburg - South African Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, stepped down as President of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA) at the end of his two-year term, his office said on Friday.
On Wednesday, Mogoeng handed over the reins to the President of the Constitutional Tribunal of Angola, Justice Manuel da Costa Aragão, who was elected for a period of two years. The handing over marked the conclusion of the Fifth Congress of the CCJA in Luanda, Angola under the theme: “The Constitutional courts and Councils as Guarantors of the Constitution and the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.”
Mogoeng's office said during his term as president, the chief justice oversaw the rapid growth of the CCJA as a continental body as well as its critical role on constitutional issues in the global arena.
"This can be attested by the growth in membership of the CCJA during Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s tenure. When he took over as President in April 2017, the CCJA comprised of 35 full members and one member with observer status. To date, the CCJA comprises of 46 full members and 3 members with observer status," his office said in a statement.
"The sharp increase in membership was due to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s rigorous work in the continent in which he actively pursued jurisdictions that were not members by urging them to join the CCJA. He did this in commitment to the broader vision of the CCJA of bringing together, in a common African framework, African jurisdictions responsible for ensuring compliance with the Constitution; and the promotion of constitutional justice in Africa through dialogue and consultation. He remains steadfast to continue this drive beyond his role as the president of the CCJA."
Mogoeng did not only ensure the increment in membership but also elevated the status of the CCJA in the global stage by ensuring that the CCJA participates in the conferences of all other continental bodies from around the world to ensure Africa’s voice is heard on constitutional justice matters, his office said.
During his tenure as CCJA president, Mogoeng also served as the President of the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice (WCCJ), for a year.
"It was through Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s visionary leadership and commitment to judicial independence as well as the ideal to promote solidarity and mutual aid among its members that saw the CCJA pledging solidarity with Judiciaries that were under threat from the Executive branches of their respective states," his office said.
"This was done through penning statements that were published widely in the media in support of Judiciaries that were under attack in their respective jurisdictions. He also ensured that these statements also formed part of the agenda of the WCCJ, resulting in the WCCJ endorsing the need for the continental bodies and the world body to speak out against leaders who tend to attack the Judiciary for exercising its constitutional responsibility."
Mogoeng will remain part of the Executive Bureau of the CCJA for the next two years.