PRESS STATEMENT: #Africa4Palestine lodges submission opposing South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng’s appeal on Pro-Israeli remark


20 May 2021

While the world is shocked and protesting the horrific attacks by the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people, it would seem that South Africa’s Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, remains firmly on the side of Apartheid Israel.

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation #Africa4Palestine has this week lodged its submission with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) opposing the appeal by South Africa’s Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, (click here for our submission which was lodged this week). Mogoeng is appealing the JSC decison for him to apologise for his pro-Israel comments made last year in violation of the JSC’s Code of Judicial Conduct.

Last year in June, Chief Justice Mogoeng entered into controversy unbecoming of his office and in violation of the JSC’s Code of Judicial Conduct, by making anti-Palestine and pro Apartheid Israel comments – which, till today he stands by, even as Palestine burns. Following his pro-Israel comments #Africa4Palestine laid a complaint with the JSC (click here and click here).

Subsequently, on 04 March this year, the JSC found in favor of #Africa4Palestine and other complainants that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was indeed in breach of the JSC’s Code of Judicial Conduct and provided the Chief Justice 10 days to apologise (click here).

#Africa4Palestine reached out to the Chief Justice, requesting him for a meeting, sadly, however, the Chief Justice turned this down (click here) and chose to appeal the decision. Click here for Chief Justice Mogoeng’s appeal which was submitted on 02 April 2021 and which we are now opposing. The Womens Cultural Group has also lodged an appeal.

In our submission, we make several arguments and also point out how the Chief Justice employs unwarranted ad-hominen attacks and a strategy of straw-man arguments in what we consider, is a weak appeal. In response to one of the Chief Justice’s grounds of appeal we argue that:

“The approach of Mogoeng CJ under this ground of appeal is a classic case of a straw man argument. It is unfortunately an approach which is characteristic of his entire appeal and indeed, his reaction to the complaints themselves. The approach adopted by Mogoeng CJ is one whereby an apparent position held by his detractors is constructed, that position is attacked and in the process, the facts and the law which do not conveniently support Mogoeng CJ’s own position and arguments, are ignored.”

The JSC’s Judicial Conduct Committee will be meeting on the 11th of June at 11h00 at the Constitutional Court to consider the the appeal by Chief Justice Mogoeng as well as our submissions.

#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.


For comment:

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