SACP humbly calls upon Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to comply with the Judicial Conduct Committee’s decision
The South African Communist Party (SACP) calls upon Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to comply with the decision reached by the Judicial Conduct Committee, to humble himself, and unreservedly apologise for and retract the utterances he made on 23 June 2020 and the subsequent remarks he made intransigently reaffirming those utterances.
By complying with the decision, Chief Justice Mogoeng will help restore public trust and respect for the judiciary, with the knowledge that no one including the head of the judiciary is above the law.
The SACP further reiterates its call for an end to the occupation of Palestinian land by the Zionist Israeli regime, and its support for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders with a viable Palestinian state. All justice and peace-loving people across the world should intensify their strong condemnation of the occupation and the illegal construction of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land.
Chief Justice Mogoeng expressed support for Israel in a context conflating the Biblical Israel and the latter-day typically apartheid Israel which occupies Palestinian land and unleashes varying forms of apartheid segregation, atrocities, and other human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
The Chief Justice made the utterances during his participation in what many people who stand on the side of justice across the world saw as an unconscionable propaganda campaign activity to clean up the image of the oppressive Israeli regime.
The occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli regime has caused untold misery on the Palestinian people over the decades. The utterances by Chief Justice Mogoeng implied that he could not feel any indignation at the injustices endured by the Palestinian people, the victims of Israeli apartheid.
In a decision delivered by Justice Mojapelo on Thursday, 4 March 2021, the Judicial Service Commission’s Judicial Conduct Committee concluded that Chief Justice Mogoeng’s utterances were made in contravention of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which the Chief Justice is required to uphold as a judge, in terms of the Constitution and other law of the Republic.
Chief Justice Mogoeng’s judicial misconduct, according to the Judicial Conduct Committee, was committed with wilfulness or gross negligence. The Judicial Conduct Committee accordingly ordered him to issue an apology and retract his statements.
The Judicial Conduct Committee found that through his utterances, Chief Justice Mogoeng became involved in political controversy on the issue of South Africa’s policy towards Israel and the conduct of its diplomatic relations. He was also found to have violated the doctrine and principles of separation of powers between the judiciary and executive by deriding the executive’s power to make policy.
In addition, the Judicial Conduct Committee found that Chief Justice Mogoeng’s criticism of South Africa’s policy on the Israeli regime flew in the face of several United Nations resolutions on the matter and contradicted the position elaborated by the Secretary General of the United Nations in his statement issued on 24 June 2020.
The Judicial Conduct Committee gave an important clarity, that the Chief Justice and members of the public who believe in religion are free to practice the religious beliefs of their choice within the confines of the Constitution and other law of the Republic but, like all other citizens, they must observe the lawful restrictions of their chosen profession. In this regard the Chief Justice, as the head of the judiciary, is subject to the restraints of that office, including the ethical rules which govern the conduct of every judge. He, therefore, cannot cease to be the Chief Justice and be like any other citizen for as long as he holds that office, further reasoned the Judicial Conduct Committee.
The Judicial Conduct Committee criticised Chief Justice Mogoeng’s self-righteous utterances, that he would only apologise if he believed himself to be wrong, including the intransigent declaration that he would never apologise for his conduct even if 50 million people marched for 10 years demanding that he apologises. This was a demonstration of total disregard for the various legal processes of our country.
Statement issued by the SACP, 5 March 2021