Fall of the gavel for Constitutional Court judges

CHIEF Justice Pius Langa's last judgment in the Constitutional Court will be on the fate of Mqabukeni Chonco, an IFP member and murderer who wants a presidential pardon.

CHIEF Justice Pius Langa's last judgment in the Constitutional Court will be on the fate of Mqabukeni Chonco, an IFP member and murderer who wants a presidential pardon.

Justice Langa and four of his colleagues, Justices Yvonne Mokgoro, Kate O'Regan, Albie Sachs and Tholie Madala, will retire in 12 days. Chonco's case will be their last hearing.

Chonco was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the late 1980s. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished in 1994.

In 2003, he applied for a presidential pardon on the grounds that he had committed the murder for political motives.

When Chonco and 384 other applicants received no feedback from the Justice ministry, they took the matter to the Human Rights Commission, which ruled that then Justice minister Brigitte Mabandla had violated their constitutional rights by not considering their applications.

They further took the matter to the Pretoria high court, which ruled in their favour.

Mabandla appealed the decision but it was dismissed.

She then took the matter to the Constitutional Court, where the decision will be made today.

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