JUDGE Sandile Ngcobo is the new chief justice of South Africa.
President Jacob Zuma, who had personally nominated Ngcobo, made the official announcement at the presidential guest house in Pretoria yesterday.
Ngcobo takes over from Justice Pius Langa, who vacates the office next Sunday.
"It is his track record that made us see in him a South African who will protect that which we hold dear, the Constitution and the rights of our people, " Zuma said.
"He will not be alone. I am confident of the support he will receive from Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke."
Ngcobo said he was humbled by the trust and confidence shown in him.
"I will do everything in my ability to be worthy of the trust you have placed in me," he said. "I am mindful of the task I have and the challenges facing the judiciary.
"I am a judge so I cannot make any promises but what I can give is my commitment to the oath I took, the commitment to uphold and protect the Constitution without fear, favour or prejudice.
"As chief justice it is my commitment to make sure that the judiciary works efficiently."
Zuma also paid tribute to former justices Arthur Chaskalson and Langa, saying they had led with dignity and that the importance of the position could not be underestimated.
"The past leaders . dedicated their lives to building a just and equitable society."