NWU Faculty of Law leads with legal giants

The North-West University’s (NWU’) Faculty of Law at the campus in Mahikeng stands on the shoulders of giants, associating itself with various experts in the legal fraternity.

The faculty recently conferred honorary Doctorates of Law on individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the country and in the legal environment.

These stalwarts include the late Justice Victor Gustav Hiemstra, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, the late former Chief Justice Pius Nkonzo Langa, and the present Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Former Chief Justice of Bophuthatswana, the late Victor Gustav Hiemstra

The University of Bophuthatswana conferred a Doctor of Laws on Judge Victor Gustav Hiemstra in 1984.

Judge Hiemstra was the first Chief Justice of Bophuthatswana. He established the first court in Bophuthatswana, which is still known as “the Hiemstra Court”, and secured a place for himself in South African legal history as a distinguished scholar.

The late President Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope recognised his contribution to the life and ideals of the Republic of Bophuthatswana by bestowing upon him the highest honour the former homeland had to offer, the Order of the Leopard.

Judge Hiemstra was an expert in criminal procedure, and the influence of his reported decisions and publications has extended beyond the borders of Southern Africa. Even though he  passed away in 2006, his influence lives on and his judgements continue to be quoted in the courts on a daily basis.

Judge Yvonne Mokgoro

Judge Yvonne Mokgoro received a Doctor of Laws from the former University of North-West in 1996.

Judge Mokgoro has had an impressive legal career and is well respected here and abroad. She was appointed to the Constitutional Court in October 1994 and served her full 15-year term. She is also a former chairperson of the South African Law Review Commission.

She has written and presented papers, and participated in a myriad of national and international conferences, seminars and workshops, focusing on the impact of law on society in general and on women and children in particular.

Judge Mokgoro has had a number of honours and awards bestowed on her including the Human Rights Award of the Black Lawyers Association and the Legal Profession’s Woman Achiever Award of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. She has been nominated for a national order in 2019.

Former Chief Justice, the late Pius Nkonzo Langa

In 2011 the NWU bestowed a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on the late former Chief Justice Pius Langa for his distinguished contribution. This included helping to craft the Constitution, developing the country’s human rights jurisprudence as a member of the Constitutional Court for more than 15 years, and his sterling work in service of humanity.

Admitted as an advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa in June 1977, he attained Senior Counsel in January 1994. His work as an advocate reflected the struggle against the apartheid system and his clientele included the underprivileged, various civic bodies, trade unions and people charged with political offences under the former apartheid government.

In 2008, former president Thabo Mbeki bestowed upon him the order of the Supreme Counsellor of the Baobab: Gold.

Judge Langa passed away in 2013.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng received an honorary doctorate from the NWU in October 2013 in recognition of his vision of an independent, empowered, adequately resourced and transformed judiciary.

The Chief Justice is noted for promoting access to justice, especially for rural and indigent communities, and is saluted for his outstanding commitment to strengthening judicial independence in Africa.

He specialised in labour law and the law of property, insurance, evidence and criminal procedure and was a member of the Industrial Court from 1989 until it ceased to exist.

Chief Justice Mogoeng has strong roots in the North West Province where he started his professional career as a prosecutor in Mahikeng. In June 1997 he was appointed as a judge of the North West High Court and in April 2000 a judge of the Labour Appeal Court. In October 2002 he became Judge President of the North West High Court.

He was appointed to the Constitutional Court in October 2009 and appointed Chief Justice in September 2011.


Judge Yvonne Mokgoro 

Former Chief Justice of Bophuthatswana, the late Victor Gustav Hiemstra

Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng

Former Chief Justice, the late Pius Nkonzo Langa

Submitted on Tue, 11/20/2018 - 13:01