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#Africa4Palestine says Mogoeng Mogoeng was forced to apologise, kicking and screaming

Bust shot of a man in red tie

FORMER chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has apologised over his controversial pro-Israel remarks. File Picture

Published Feb 5, 2022


Pretoria – Palestine solidarity organisation, #Africa4Palestine said the “forced by the law apology” made by former chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is a victory over fanaticism, ego and the rule of law.

A few hours before the deadline given to him, Mogoeng apologised yesterday, for his controversial pro-Israel comments, which he made during a webinar in June last year.

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In the comments made at a webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post in 2020, Mogoeng said that he was under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel and pray for Jerusalem’s peace, which means that country’s peace.

“If I curse Abraham and Israel, the almighty God will curse me too. I cannot do anything, as a Christian, other than love and pray for Israel because I know hatred for Israel by me and for my nation can only attract unprecedented curses,” he said at the time.

But the judicial conduct committee ordered Mogoeng to apologise for his remarks, citing him for misconduct, stating that he had, among other things, involved himself in political controversy by commenting on, criticising and proposing changes to the official policy of the South African Government towards Israel.

The committee also found that Mogoeng had participated in an extra-judicial activity which was incompatible with confidence in or the impartiality or independence of judges. He expressed a view on the diplomatic relations between South Africa and Israel, and accepted an appointment that was inconsistent with an independent judiciary by agreeing to participate in the webinar.

While Mogoeng appealed the ruling, #Africa4Palestine, which had taken Mogoeng to task over his remarks, lodged its submission with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in a bid to oppose the appeal.

It described the appeal by the former chief justice as a “classic case of a straw man argument”.

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In his apology released yesterday, Mogoeng said: “Individually and together with my judicial colleagues, I have over the years made orders and expected all, including presidents, to comply with them and they did.

“I am now forced by the law – the order of the lawfully constituted appeal panel of the judicial conduct committee to apologise unconditionally in terms of the prescribed apology. And because I am not above the law, I hereby apologise as ordered.”

He said following his appeal on other aspects of the ruling by the committee, he had not maintained that he would not apologise.

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Reacting to Mogoeng’s apology, Tisetso Magama, #Africa4Palestine spokesperson said the former chief justice was forced to the apology table – kicking and screaming.

“The apology is even more significant given that he was compelled. He was forced, kicking and screaming to the apology table. We see this as a victory over fanaticism and ego,” Magama said.

“We see this as a victory for the rule of law and an indication of the strength of our judiciary. It is a landmark apology which shows that even the chief justice is not above the law. It is a good day for the South African judiciary.”

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Magama said Mogoeng’s apology is a victory for Palestinian activists.

“The message is clear, South Africa and South Africans are in support of international law and human rights, and to suggest otherwise is incorrect,” he said.