Good luck keeping the most senior lawmaker in the land out of trouble: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been told by the Judicial Conduct Committee that he must apologise for making ‘pro-Israel comments’ back in June 2020 – after a judge agreed with a case filed by several lobby groups.
Africa4Palestine, the BDS Coalition, and the Women’s Cultural Group were all dismayed by the remarks and launched their legal action shortly afterwards. Although occupying a position that demands outright neutrality, CJ Mogoeng broke from tradition and weighed-in heavily on the complex topic of Israel and Palestine:
“I am under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, which actually means the peace of Israel. I cannot, as a Christian, do anything other than love and pray for Israel because I know hatred for Israel by me and my nation can only attract unprecedented curses upon our nation”.
“As a citizen of our great country, we are denying ourselves a wonderful opportunity of being a game-changer in the Israeli-Palestinian situation. We know what it means to be at loggerheads, a nation at war with itself.”
Mogoeng’s decision to declare his love for Israel is particularly problematic, given that South Africa has some fairly frosty relations with the country. ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe also chastised the Chief Justice, but this reprimand hasn’t slowed him down. The devout Christian also made headlines at the end of 2020, for his contentious opinions on vaccines.
It has been confirmed that Mogoeng ‘broke the Code of Judicial Conduct’, and must now make a public apology once he has officially retracted his comments. The following verdict was shared on Thursday afternoon:
“Judge Mojapelo has found that the Chief Justice has, through his statements made at the webinar in June 2020 and utterances made at a prayer meeting, contravened the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Chief Justice must now issue an apology and a retraction, as worded in paragraph 243 of this decision.”
We won!! South Africa’s top judge Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng found guilty and ordered to apologize for Pro-Israel comments. Thank you to incredible legal team🙏👊👊👊 pic.twitter.com/mNNkH9vFa0
— #Africa4Palestine (@Africa4Pal) March 4, 2021