Johann Kriegler

Johann Christiaan Kriegler (born 29 November 1932)[1] is a retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.[2]


Johann Kriegler
Retired Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
In office
Appointed byPresident Nelson Mandela
Personal details
Born (1932-11-29) 29 November 1932
Pretoria, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
ResidenceJohannesburg, South Africa
Alma materUniversity of Pretoria; University of South Africa

Early life

Born in Pretoria, he matriculated at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg in 1949. He then attended the South African Military Academy for two years. He studied law at the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa. After obtaining his LLB degree in 1958, he was called to the Johannesburg Bar in 1959. Kriegler served three times as Chairman and Secretary of the Johannesburg Bar Council, and as Secretary of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa.

He drafted the constitution of the Christian Institute of Southern Africa, became National President of Verligte Aksie and founding Chairman of Lawyers for Human Rights. For some years he served on the Transvaal Board of the Urban Foundation and from 1978 to 1988 was a founding trustee of the Legal Resources Centre.

Judicial career

Between 1976 and 1983 Kriegler served intermittently as an acting judge and in 1984 was appointed to the Transvaal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court. Between 1990 and 1993 he acted in the Appellate Division, then the highest court in the country, and was permanently appointed to its bench in 1993. The following year he was appointed a founding justice of the newly formed Constitutional Court of South Africa and completed his term of office in 2002.

Electoral Commission

In December 1993 he was appointed Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission whose task it was to deliver South Africa's first elections based on universal adult suffrage.

On 10 March 1994, president Lucas Mangope took a hardline stance, rejecting Judge Johann Kriegler's plea for free political activity in the homeland, and firing the staff of the Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporation, closing down two television stations and three radio stations.

In 1999 after months of fighting over the way South Africa's second post-apartheid election should be run, Kriegler resigned. He said he found "the load" of being both chairman of the commission and a justice of the Constitutional Court "increasingly heavy." He had repeatedly complained of a lack of financing for his agency and criticized the Government's decision to require voters to get new identity documents before registering. The new requirements were opposed by the two major white political parties and the Inkatha Party.[3]

Other positions and awards

Kriegler is currently a trustee of a number of charitable trusts.

In 2008, Kriegler led a commission recommending reforms to the electoral process in Kenya following the crisis after the 2007 presidential election.[4]

Personal life

Kriegler and his wife have nine children and sixteen grandchildren between them and live in Johannesburg.


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