JUST IN: Chief Justice declines “tea” with #Africa4Palestine

The Office of South Africa’s Chief Justice has written this weekend to the human rights organization #Africa4Palestine turning down our request for a meeting.

Earlier this month, on the 4th of March, following a complaint laid by #Africa4Palestine, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) found the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to be in breach of the JSC’s Code of Judicial Conduct over his anti-Palestine and pro-Israeli comments made last year in June. The JSC gave the Chief Justice 10 days to apologise.

Following the 4th of March decision, #Africa4Palestine reached out to the Chief Justice to try and engage as well as have a dialogue with him.

In our letter to the Chief Justice, find attached, we explained:

“While recognising our possible differences, we would like to meet with you to find whatever common ground we may have…we acknowledge your views on negotiation, mediation and dialogue and therefore in the same spirt we request this meeting.

As indicated in our public statements, we do welcome the JSC decision and remedy, because we feel strongly about the issue and principle, but not because we harbour dislike of you.”

We reached out to the Chief Justice with pure and sincere intent in the genuine interest of engagement but we are saddened that the Chief Justice has declined our invitation. The Chief Justice proclaims that he is a advocate of dialogue and yet he does not want to engage.

Furthermore, it is telling and disappointing that on the one hand, the Chief Justice will speak on a foreign Israeli platform but on the other hand, turns down an invitation to meet with a South African human rights organization. In addition, while the Chief Justice declines an invitation to engage, while he, at the same time, has gone on public platforms making outlandish statements and casting insults that have now turned, arguably, to intimidation. He does this without any shame, fear or dignity and is, we feel, further bringing our judiciary and the office he occupies into gross disrepute. Last week Sunday, speaking at yet another public webinar, Mogoeng threatened: “Anybody from today, who is plotting to disgrace me, they will die before they can even do it.”

It would seem that the Chief Justice does not appreciate the human rights concerns of the Palestinian people and is blind in his support of the Israeli regime. He confuses a complaint laid within the rules of the JSC with “disgrace”.

The Chief Justice has refused to engage and has chosen not to follow through with the JSC decision for him to apologise, he has, instead, decided to appeal the JSC decision – which is his right. We trust that the upcoming appeals process is swift and that the Chief Justice will eventually adhere to its outcome. Our legal team advises us that we can remain confident that the initial 4th of March ruling by the JSC for Mogoeng to apologise will be upheld.

Africa4Palestine is represented by Advocate Ben Winks of the Johannesburg Bar, Advocate Sheldon Magardie of the Cape Town Bar, Attorney Yasin Bham and Senior Counsel Nazeer Cassim.

ISSUED BY TISETSO MAGAMA ON BEHALF OF AFRICA 4 PALESTINE

Director, Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988
Spokesperson, Tisetso Magama: +27 (0) 61 4146348


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