Bernard Makgabo Ngoepe achieved his postgraduate law degree (LLB) with Unisa in 1977. In 2004 Unisa awarded Judge Ngoepe an honorary doctorate in law, for his contribution to the field of human rights. He was appointed as Unisa’s Chancellor in 2001.


Judge Bernard Ngoepe served as Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Courts until October 2012. He has since remained in the public eye both in his role as Unisa’s Chancellor and as South Africa’s first tax ombudsman.

Judge Ngoepe completed his junior law degree (B. Luris) in 1972, at the University of the Limpopo.  He went on to graduate with a LLB from Unisa.  In 1993 he was appointed as one of eight legal experts tasked with drafting South Africa’s interim constitution. He became a judge in 1995, and in 1996 was appointed Co-Chair of the Amnesty Committee of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His ongoing service to public causes included chairing, in 2001, the commission of inquiry into the Ellis Park Stadium stampede, in which 42 football fans lost their lives. His report became a blueprint for subsequent legislation to regulate safety at sports events.  He also served at the Constitutional Court for several years. Judge Ngoepe resigned from his position as Chancellor in 2016.