PRESS STATEMENT: Africa4Palestine concerned by long delay in Chief Justice Mogoeng appeal
07 September 2021
Earlier today the human rights organisation #Africa4Palestine wrote to South Africa’s Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) Judicial Conduct Committee to register our grave concern regarding the protracted, almost 6 month, delay in finalising the outcome of the appeal by South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng over the JSC Judicial Conduct Committee’s ruling that he withdraws his pro Israel remarks.
We are concerned that the term of South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng is coming to an end and it sets a bad precedent that one can occupy such high judicial office for more than 5 months with an appeal pending against him/her. This delay weakens the JSC and brings uncertainty to the entire South African judiciary.
In our letter to the JSC’s Judicial Conduct Committee we have urgently requested a timeframe for the finalisation of this appeals process. We maintain that the pro Israel utterances by the Chief Justice brought the office into disrepute and we agree with the JSC that his pro-Israel utterances violated the JSC Code of Judicial Conduct.
Last year in June 2020, 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. He publicly undermined South African foreign policy in his capacity as South Africa’s top judge. Following his pro-Israel comments #Africa4Palestine, supported by other organisations including the Woman’s Cultural Group, laid a complaint with the JSC (click here and click here).
Subsequently, this year, in March 2021, the JSC’s Judicial Conduct Committee, in a ruling penned by Judge Phineas Mojapelo, found in favor of our complaint, 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).
However, the Chief Justice chose to appeal the JSC Judicial Conduct Committee decision, which was within his right, and made an appeal submission on 02 April 2021 (click here). Members of the JSC’s Judicial Conduct Committee who were eligible to hear the appeal were Deputy Chief Justice R M M Zondo, Justices D H Zondi, N Dambuza and M Victor.
We have been waiting almost half a year now for the JSC’s Judicial Conduct Committee outcome and verdict on Chief Justice Mogoeng’s appeal.
#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
For comment contact Muhammed Desai: 0842119988