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North-West University Faculty of Law has a firm foundation

The North-West University's (NWU's) Faculty of Law on the campus in Mahikeng can be rightfully proud of its alumni who are carrying out the university's goal to build and enhance communities.

The campus has produced its fair share of community and business leaders who are working towards building strong institutions. It also delivered many judges who are helping to shape and uphold justice in South Africa.

"For many years now, alumni from the NWU have made their mark; not only in South Africa, but also internationally," says Dr Neo Morei, deputy dean for quality assurance and stakeholder relations in the faculty.

It is only fitting that the new faculty building will soon officially be opened.

"As we look forward to our new surroundings, we also look back to what we have achieved. We feel very privileged to boast such a distinguished stakeholder group," she added.

Outstanding alumni

Over the years, several of the faculty's graduates have been recognised through the NWU's Alumni Awards. These awards acknowledge outstanding alumni for their personal and career accomplishments and for their exemplary contributions to society.

Some of the recipients include Judge Frans Diale Kgomo, Mr Mokoditloa Eliakim (Alec) Moemi, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, Judge Bess Nkabinde-Mmono and Dr Sejako Senatle.

Alec Moemi

Alec Moemi is director-general of the national Department of Sport and Recreation.

His B Juris degree from the former University of North West (UNW) and master's degree in political governance and transformation from the University of the Free State serve him well as he navigates the transformation of sport in the country.

Responsible for the administration of the department, he also addresses the transformation of sport from school to national level.

Judge Frans Kgomo

Since becoming Judge President of the Northern Cape, Frans Kgomo has presided over high-profile court cases that have broken new ground in upholding human rights and entrenching constitutional values.

Judge Kgomo holds an LLB degree from the former University of Bophuthatswana (UNIBO). He was admitted as an advocate in 1986 and practised at the North West Bar from 1986 to 1998. He was appointed Judge President in 2001.

He has given judgement in various landmark equality cases. These include the court case of a judge who fought for the right of her same-sex partner to benefit from her pension pay-out. Judge Kgomo found sections of the enabling legislation unconstitutional and referred the case to the Constitutional Court, where the ruling was confirmed.

Judge Yvonne Mokgoro

Judge Yvonne Mokgoro is a reformer and respected law practitioner in the country and abroad. She stepped down from the bench as a Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2009, which she had served since the court's inception in 1994.

Her qualifications include a B Juris degree and Bachelor of Laws from the former UNW and Master of Laws from the University of Pennsylvania.

She has written and presented papers, and participated in a myriad of national and international conferences, seminars and workshops in South Africa and internationally. Her focus is mainly on sociological jurisprudence and human rights, customary law, as well as the impact of law on society in general and on women and children specifically.

Judge Mokgoro has taught law at national and international universities and have had a number of honours and awards being bestowed on her. These include the Human Rights Award of the Black Lawyers Association and the Legal Profession's Woman Achiever Award of the Centre for Human Rights and the University of Pretoria.

Justice Bess Nkabinde-Mmono

Justice Bess Nkabinde-Mmono has been a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa since January 2006.

She obtained an LLB from the former UNIBO.

She was admitted as an advocate in Bophuthatswana in 1988. After serving her pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar in 1989, she was admitted as an advocate in Pretoria. She joined the North West Bar in 1990, where she practised in the areas of civil litigation, commercial law, matrimonial law and criminal law.

She began her judicial career as acting judge of the High Court, Bophuthatswana Provincial Division. In 1999, she became a permanent judge of this court.

Dr Sejako Senatle

Dr Sejako Senatle's dedication to law set him on a varied career path that has included being a prosecutor, interpreter, reporter and education stakeholder.

He obtained a B Juris degree from the former UNIBO and went on to complete LLB, LLM and LLD degrees.

He is a people's lawyer, who believes in pro bono work on a no-fee basis in poor communities. He has worked across the country as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa. He started out as a general administrative clerk and worked his way up to prosecutor, laying the groundwork for a dynamic career in public service.

His dedication has not gone unnoticed. In 1998, he received a merit award for outstanding performance in the National Prosecuting Authority. He received senior status in the North West Bar Association from the President of South Africa in 2014.

Academics, students and the South African government use his thesis, "Access to Justice in the Milieu of a Constitutional Dispensation", as a reference work.

With these distinguished legal minds serving as inspiration, law students on the campus in Mahikeng are fortunate to have a firm foundation to build on.

*Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, the Chief Justice of South Africa, will lead the opening ceremony of the new Faculty of Law building on 20 November 2018.