Will former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng apologise for his remarks about Israel? He has one week to do so after the Judicial Conduct Committee found he breached the code of conduct for judges by becoming involved in a political controversy. It’s a first for a Chief Justice in SA. 🤦
The background: Mogoeng participated in a webinar with The Jerusalem Post in June last year, and was asked about Israel’s tense diplomatic relations with SA over Palestine. While stating he was bound by the country’s policies he equated the modern-day state of Israel to the Jerusalem of the Bible, a view taken by followers of certain evangelical churches. He said was bound to love Israel, and any “hatred” of the country would “attract unprecedented curses upon our nation”, effectively siding with Israel over Palestine. Last year,The Jerusalem Post Watch released a report accusing Israeli officials of the crimes of apartheid and persecution.
You may be thinking: Mogoeng’s actual remarks weren’t TOO bad. The same is preached in some churches across the country. The difference is that Mogoeng is a judge – mandated to remain impartial and uphold the crucial independence of the court. ☝🏽
But Mogoeng has declared he will never apologise, “even if 50 million people were to march every day for 10 years”. In Sir Elton John’s words: “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”. 😬
His next step is to challenge the ruling in court.
It’s not the first time Mogoeng, who is also a former lay pastor, made news for the wrong reason before he vacated his post in October last year. He previously claimed the Covid-19 vaccine was aligned with the devil and that, with the power of prayer, he cured a couple of HIV/Aids.
If you’re wondering who is taking over from Mogoeng, we’ll know soon. The four nominees will sit down for JSC interviews next week. We’re glad to report they all have a better record of maintaining the impartiality upon which our country’s justice system relies.
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 27 January 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.