PRESS STATEMENT: Africa4Palestine asks to meet South Africa’s Chief Justice
09 March 2021
The human rights organization #Africa4Palestine has written to South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng requesting a meeting.
The request to meet follows the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) decision last week that found Justice Mogoeng in contravention of the JSC Code of Judicial Conduct over his anti-Palestine comments. The JSC has given the Chief Justice 10 days to tender an apology and retraction at a meeting of Constitutional Court justices. Click here for the full JSC decision.
The JSC enquiry took place following #Africa4Palestine having lodged a complaint on 04 July 2020 joined later by, among others, the Womens Cultural Group.
We have welcomed the outcome as an important step towards accountability, but we are concerned by some of the public reaction, both in support, and against the outcome.
In the course of this issue, the Chief Justice has spoken of and advocated for, dialogue and reconciliation as principles that he values. We are thus requesting a meeting with the Chief Justice in the same spirit.
We are concerned that the outcome may be viewed, incorrectly, as an attack on the Chief Justice’s religious views and/or freedom of expression, and in some quarters may be exploited for political reasons.
As we stated in our complaint to the JSC: Africa4Palestine harbours no ill-will nor intolerance towards Christianity or Christians (or people of any other faith). As a matter of fact, over 10% of Palestinians living under the illegal Israeli occupation are Christians. Africa4Palestine is fighting for their rights too. Second, Africa4Palestine’s Board Members, supporters and volunteers are made up of a diverse group including Christians, Muslims, Jews and others.
It is unfortunate that some confuse the Biblical Land of Israel with the Modern Apartheid State of Israel created in 1948, or that some conflate the Israelites of the Bible with the Israelis of the Modern Apartheid Sate of Israel created in 1948. This is incorrect and a disservice to the Palestinian Christians – who are some of the first followers of Christ.
Our complaint, and the outcome, should not be used to discredit the Honourable Chief Justice who has served South Africa with professional integrity. Some perceptions, and agendas, are disheartening and cast a shadow over the importance of the JSC process and outcome. We believe that the JSC code, the JSC processes and this recent outcome strengthens our judiciary, democracy and upholds our constitution. As such the Chief Justice’s retraction, as requested by the JSC, will be a sign of the strength of our institutions, not a defeat for the Chief Justice.
It is for these reasons that we humbly request to meet the Chief Justice to find common ground and bring an end to this issue, without fuelling conspiracy and division in our society. The meeting we hope to have is neither a withdrawal of our complaint nor an attempt to influence the Chief Justice’s reaction to the JSC decision. We are, furthermore, not in any way attempting to circumvent the JSC processes whatsoever. As indicated previously, we welcome the JSC decision and remedy (apology and retraction), because we feel strongly about the issue and principle, but not because we may harbour dislike of the Chief Justice.
ISSUED BY TISETSO MAGAMA ON BEHALF OF AFRICA 4 PALESTINE
Spokesperson, Tisetso Magama: +27 (0) 61 414 6348
Director, Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988
AFRICA 4 PALESTINE
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Africa4Palestine is a registered Non-Profit Company. Registration Number: 2020/549404/08