Johannesburg - Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has broken his silence after growing calls for him to apologise for his pro-Israel remarks, saying emphatically on Sunday during a prayer meeting, that he will not apologise even if millions marched against him.
The Chief Justice was speaking during a prayer service, which was posted on the Christian News Website, Gateway News.
Mogoeng said he had been targeted - by politicians and professors in the US - for his faith. He said personal attacks aimed at him started in 2009 when he was shortlisted to become Chief Justice and they had persisted throughout the years.
On his comments about Israel, Mogoeng said he loved Israel and the Palestinian people and harboured no hate for anyone, and would not be apologising for his comments.
“To everybody that is angry about my remarks and the position I take, ask God. He is the God who listens. He is the God who speaks.
“I will never say I hate anybody or any nation. I will never. I love everybody. I love Israel. I love the Jews. I love the Palestinians. I love everybody, every nation... I don't hate anybody,” he said.
Mogoeng said politicians who had condemned him, were infact condemning prayer.
“So people, even politicians, want to tell me what to pray for. How can you condemn prayer? I said I must pray, meaning I must ask God. How can you condemn me for asking God for peace?”
“I will not reject my God, I will not apologise for believing in my God. I will not apologise for being a Christian. I will not apologise for praying.
“I will never, even if 50 million people can march everyday for the next 10 years, for me to retract or apologise for what I say, I will not do it,” he said.
“I said in that webinar those that are plotting against me right now, even to kill me; those who will plot to destroy and kill me even in 10 years to come — they are already forgiven. I meant it.
“Everybody who is insulting me. Everybody who is lying about me — whether Christian or not Christian — I love you and I forgive you. May God have mercy on you. May God reveal the truth to you, in the name of Jesus.
“There will, therefore, be no retraction. There is nothing to retract. There will be no apology — not even this political apology that ‘in case I have offended anybody without meaning to offend them, for that reason I …’ I will not apologise for anything.
“There is nothing to apologise for. There is nothing to retract. I can’t apologise for loving. I cannot apologise for not harbouring hatred and bitterness. I will not.
“If I perish, I perish. Like Esther said: ‘If I perish, I perish’,” said Mogoeng.
The Chief Justice said the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would sustain him and He had released five prophecies since June 23 (the day of the controversy), saying that the battle was won and that He will personally fight it.
Mogoeng's comments were widely condemned by the ANC, EFF, BDS and other formations, with calls for the Chief Justice to apologise for the remarks.
The ANC also called for National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and President Cyril Ramaphosa to talk to the country’s top judge.
He had said: “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.
Jewish formations, including the Friends of Israel in South Africa and the South African Zionist Federation, have backed the Chief Justice.
In closing his prayer, Mogoeng said he was praying to God to defeat the coronavirus and that he was praying for South Africa, Africa, Jerusalem, its people and against the coronavirus.