Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

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Tembeka Ngcukaitobi
Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.jpg
Tembeka Ngcukaitobi at an event in Constitution Hill
Personal details
Born (1976-12-25) 25 December 1976 (age 44)
Western Cape, South Africa
Alma mater
  • Lawyer [Advocate]
  • author
  • legal historian

Tembeka Nicholas Ngcukaitobi (25 December 1976) is a South African lawyer, public speaker, author and political activist. He is a member of the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC). Ngcukaitobi has authored the book The Land Is Ours: South Africa's First Black Lawyers and the birth of Constitutionalism.[1]

Early years[edit]

Ngcukaitobi studied his undergraduate at the University of Transkei and finished his LLB at Rhodes University. Early in his career, he served as law clerk to Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Ngcukaitobi worked at the Legal Resources Centre, a leading South African public interest law centre, first as a candidate attorney and later as Director of its Constitutional Litigation Unit.

Notable contributions[edit]

Apart from his well known role as an advocate, Ngcukaitobi is also an Acting Judge at the Land Claims Court of South Africa, with his notable work in that regard being the Msiza case.[2][3] He played a critical role in the removal of the Former President of South Africa Jacob Zuma by initially arguing in the Constitutional Court on the Nkandla matter that the Public Protector's remedial actions—that the President must pay back the money claimed to be for security upgrades—were binding. [4][5][6] The implications of such an argument was that Zuma had broken his oath of office, a view which the Court ultimately held.[7] In what became known as the Secret Ballot case in 2017, Ngcukaitobi argued that the Speaker of the National Assembly had a discretion to allow members of parliament to vote anonymously, in a bid to oust Zuma.[8][9]

Education and Qualifications[edit]

Ngcukaitobi holds the degrees of BProc, LLB (Unitra), LLM (Rhodes) and LLM (London School of Economics).[10] He was part of the international legal team that that represented the major opposition political party in Zimbabwe after deadly elections.[citation needed] In 2019, he became a senior counsel after practising law as an advocate for only 8 years, an enormous achievement in light of the status typically obtained by older advocates given the 10 to 15 years minimum requirement.[11][12]


  1. ^ Matangira, Lungelo (5 March 2018). "Ngcukaitobi: ANC-led govt has failed on land reform, not best suited to lead it". Eye Witness News. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  2. ^ "LAND CLAIMS COURT JUDGES". www.judiciary.org.za. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Msiza v Director-General for the Department of Rural Development And Land Reform and Others (LCC133/2012) [2016] ZALCC 12; 2016 (5) SA 513 (LCC) (5 July 2016)". www.saflii.org. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  4. ^ "FULL JUDGMENT: Constitutional Court rules on Nkandla". News24. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  5. ^ "The sheer brilliance of Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi". News24. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Accountability for Zuma lies with the Speaker - EFF lawyer - NEWS & ANALYSIS | Politicsweb". www.politicsweb.co.za. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  7. ^ "President Zuma broke oath of office on many occasions". News24. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Concourt: Speaker has the powers to prescribe secret ballot". The Mail & Guardian. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  9. ^ ConCourt hears secret ballot case | Ngcukaitobi for EFF, retrieved 7 February 2020
  10. ^ "Sebutinde, Justice Julia, LLB, LLM". doi:10.1163/1570-6664_iyb_sim_person_50369. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi becomes senior counsel in only 8 years". Flipboard. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  12. ^ Topics, Head. "Tembeka Ngcukaitobi set to become a senior counsel after just eight years". Head Topics. Retrieved 27 February 2020.