Judge Zak Yacoob


Judge Zakeria Muhammed Yacoob is a retired judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He was born on March 3, 1948. He became blind at the age of sixteen months as a result of Meningitis. Judge Yacoob attended the Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind, Durban, during the period 1956 to 1966. He studied for the Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University-College, Durban (now the University of Durban-Westville), 1967 to 1969, majoring in English and Private Law. He completed the Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Durban-Westville 1972. He was admitted as advocate by the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court (as it was then known, March 12, 1973. He practiced as a Junior Counsel from Durban, July 1973 to May 1991. During this period he represented and advised many people who were prosecuted for contraventions of the provisions of restriction orders imposed in terms of security legislation; 5 represented and advised persons and organizations who were the victims of other oppressive legislation; was instructed to appear and did appear on behalf of people in attempt to secure their release from detention in terms of security legislation or emergency measures; represented victims of attempted unfair evictions or people who were required to pay unfair tariffs and charges; represented a group of persons who became known as the "Durban Six" in negotiations with the British Government when the "Durban Six" occupied the offices of the British Consulate Durban during September-October 1984 as a protest against apartheid and unjust laws in an effort to persuade the Government to help. Also, represented their case before Secretary-General and representatives of certain member countries of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and its affiliates charges of treason and certain statutory offences during the period 1985 until 1981 a trial that became known as the "Delmas Treason Trial", represented the accused in the political trial that became known as the, "Vula" trial involving high-ranking members of the African National Congress during the period 1990 until 1991; and sustained a significant and diverse commercial and general legal practice. He served as a member of the Society of Advocates of Natal for several years and tool Silk during May 1991.

Judge Zak Yacoob was actively involved the resistance against apartheid. During 1979-1984 he served as chairperson and a member of the executive of the Democratic Lawyers Association (the predecessor of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers) Durban. He participated in the foundational work, which gave rise to the United Democratic Front during, 1983 to 1985 and served as an interim Publicity Secretary from 1984-1985 and also a member of the Natal Executive. On behalf of various organizations, he planned and executed a campaign against the institutions of and elections for the tricameral parliament during, 1983-1985. He assisted with the planning and the setting up of national, regional and local structures necessary to ensure the success of the first democratic election in South Africa. He advised political parties, facilitated negotiations, participated in drafting, conducted research and, in particular, assisted with those aspects Panel of Independent Experts of the Constitutional Assembly, appointed in terms of Chapter 5 of the Interim Constitution. Judge Yacoob also advised local government bodies and assisted them in the conceptualization, formation, and constitution of the South African Local Government Association. He advised the National Land Committee on its response to legislation aimed at ensuring land tenure security, particularly for tenants. He is a board member of the Human Rights Commission Trust and of Reconstruct Trust. He was appointed a judge of the Constitutional Court by President Mandela on February 1, 1990 and retired in 2015.