Mogoeng’s appeal dismissed, must apologise for Israel comments

Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s appeal against the Judicial Conduct Committee’s findings that he had involved himself in political controversy over SA’s policy on Israel has been dismissed by the Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee and he has been ordered to issue an unconditional apology within 10 days.

In a 2-to-1 majority decision by Judges Dumisani Zondi and Nambitha Dambuza, the appeals committee further found that Mogoeng breached the code when he involved himself “in extra-judicial activities which are incompatible with the confidence in and the impartiality of Judges”.

The third member of the appeals committee, Judge Margaret Victor, wrote a minority decision in which she said she would have upheld Mogoeng’s appeal in its entirety, setting aside the findings of the JCC and its remedial action.

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Anti-Israel groups Africa 4 Palestine, the SA BDS Coalition and the Women’s Cultural Group complained to the Judicial Service Commission about comments that Mogoeng made during a webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post on June 23 2020. He was found guilty and then appealed, arguing that he had the constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of expression and that the Constitution had supremacy over the judicial code of conduct.

In her minority opinion Judge Victor wrote: “In my view, context is, indeed, everything, and Mogoeng CJ’s plea for peace and love among nations, in a broad and general sense, must be the context against which the impugned statements must be measured. Mogoeng CJ’s words were not calculated to support an anti-BDS campaign, nor were the words consistent with a Zionist notion of unequivocal support for Israel at the expense of Palestine and the struggle of Palestinians. On the contrary, on a careful scrutiny of the entire transcript of the webinar and the specific context within which the impugned statements were made, one garners merely a lesson in peace for both Israel and Palestine as well as all nations. Not more.”

Gateway News has learned that Mogoeng and his prayer partners are seeking to hear from the Lord within the 10 days. In his appeal in April last year Mogoeng clarified remarks he had made at a prayer meeting in which he said he would not apologise for his webinar statements. “I in effect said that I would not apologise or retract ‘unless forced by the law’ to do so,” he said. 

See full judgment here.

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One Comment

  1. What a wonderful opportunity for ex Chief Justice Mogoeng to publicly testify by means of a well worded national and international response. To give the context of his comments regarding Israel on the webinar and the context of an apology, so worded as to continue to testify with due respect before the Living God, before men and with suitable respect to the judiciary. Go Judge, go!