The event, at which degrees were awarded to students in human rights, commemorated 100 years since the birth of former president Nelson Mandela, and 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The event on Friday was also the last graduation ceremony presided over by the university’s outgoing Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor Cheryl de la Rey. It was announced last month that Professor Tawana Kupe had been chosen to succeed De la Rey.

Moseneke was awarded the honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to the legal profession. He retired in May 2016 after serving for more than 10 years as Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa. He had been a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa since 2002, and before that a judge of the High Court in Pretoria.

“Justice Moseneke’s contribution to the legal profession has been immense. He attained the highest judicial office, and delivered erudite and courageous judgments. Apart from being a committed campaigner for human rights, he also has emerged as a South African with the highest level of integrity. These characteristics made him an ideal choice to head the recent inquiry into the death of more than 100 patients transferred from Life Esidimeni,” according to the university’s Centre for Human Rights.

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In 1993, Moseneke was appointed to serve on the technical committee that drafted the 1994 interim constitution for a democratic South Africa. In 1994 he was appointed deputy chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first democratic elections in South Africa.

He has also served on the boards of several community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations, including as chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Moseneke has also long been closely associated with tertiary education. Until recently, the Pretoria-born Moseneke served as chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a recipient of numerous awards of honour, including the Order of Luthuli in Gold – South Africa’s highest national award.

– African News Agency (ANA)