Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
- An NPO has urged Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to not apologise and retract comments he made about Israel.
- The NPO, called Defend Embrace Invest(In) Support Israel (DEISI), was founded by ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe.
- This after the Judicial Conduct Committee found Mogoeng had breached sections of the Code of Judicial Conduct with his utterances.
An NPO founded by ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe has urged Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to not apologise and retract remarks he made about Israel, despite being ordered to do so by the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC).
Last year, Mogoeng expressed his support for Israel and spoke about South Africa denying itself a chance to get involved in the Israel-Palestine situation.
He later stated he would not retract nor apologise for his comments.
The JCC investigated the comments to ascertain whether they contravened the Code of Judicial Conduct after several complaints about Mogoeng’s comments were received.
News24 reported the committee found Mogoeng had involved himself in political controversy or activity.
Judge Phineas Mojapelo said Mogoeng might criticise the policies of the executive and legislative arms of the state, but “he cannot do so publicly without raising controversy, that is, involving himself and his office in political controversy”.
“The offending utterances made by the respondent CJ [chief justice] at the virtual prayer meeting and repeated in his response 2 are particularly aggravating. They are brazenly defiant. It is important that those utterances must be unreservedly retracted and withdrawn to return and maintain the public image of the judiciary to its rightful place,” Mojapelo said.
It was also found Mogoeng had contravened the Judicial Code of Conduct when he prayed that any Covid-19 vaccine, which was “of the devil”, should be destroyed.
He was given 10 days to apologise and retract the remarks.
Defend Embrace Invest(In) Support Israel (DEISI), an NPO established by Meshoe, said it noted the JCC decision with regret as Mogoeng’s comments were not wrong.
“The JCC’s finding that the chief justice contravened several sections of the Code of Judicial Conduct is tantamount to trampling his right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion as found in the Bill of Rights of South Africa’s Constitution,” it said in a statement.
“This is very disturbing and unsettling. DEISI views this finding as a threat to the religious freedoms of all South Africans, particularly members of the Judeo-Christian faith.
“We strongly disagree with Judge Mojapelo’s siding with the complainants that in expressing his position on Israel, in accordance with the tenants of his faith, Chief Justice Mogoeng became involved in political controversy.”
The NPO added the complainants were known for their contempt for Zionists and disdain for the existence of Israel as a nation.
“The vast majority of South Africans are not anti-Israel. They are pro-Israel just as they are pro-Palestinian, just like the chief justice expressed.
“We have been silent for far too long, and we refuse to be silenced. We refuse to be bullied by organisations disguised as human rights activists whose primary existence is to demonise Israel and her supporters.”
It said it would support the chief justice and urged him not to apologise or retract any statement.