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Mogoeng to face JSC complaint over Israel comments

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Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng under fire for supporting Israel

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. File picture

CHIEF Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has come under fire for supporting Israel ahead of its annexation of Palestinian land, with his former colleague, retired Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob calling for a Judicial Services Commission investigation.

The ANC wants National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to talk to the country’s top judge.

Justice Mogoeng also faces a JSC complaint to be lodged by human rights organisation #Africa4Palestine, but director Muhamed Desai told Independent Media on Friday afternoon that its lawyers were still drafting the complaint.

Yacoob said: “We call on the JSC to investigate the statements with the possibility of censuring him for breaching the official code of conduct by appearing in public in his capacity as chief justice and making comments that are in contradiction with South African foreign policy.”

The judiciary’s spokesperson, Nathi Mncube, said it would not be commenting on the matter.

The ANC expressed concern about Justice Mogoeng’s statements and demanded high-level talks with him regarding his political commentary.

Speaking during a webinar organised by The Jerusalem Post that emerged this week, Justice Mogoeng claimed 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.

The EFF condemned Justice Mogoeng, saying he was trying to delegitimise the international human rights against Israel, which it described as an “apartheid state”.

According to the country’s third largest political party, Mogoeng would never have been chief justice without the Boycott Divest Sanctions movement against apartheid.

The EFF has demanded Justice Mogoeng retract his comments
on Israel, which it said oppressed
Palestinians.

“We call on him to retract his position and subdue himself to the collective wisdom and call by the oppressed in Palestine,” the EFF stated, adding that he should instead unequivocally condemn Israel.

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) described Justice Mogoeng’s comments as unfortunate and repugnant to the values and precepts of the constitutional democracy, international law and basic human rights.

“The chief justice should do the honourable thing and withdraw his inflammatory, offensive and divisive statements, which are inconsistent with South African foreign policy, human rights and international law.

“Indeed, his statements are inconsistent with the ethos and office of the chief justice and the oath of allegiance to the constitution that he swore to uphold,” Nadel said.

The South African Friends of Israel (Safi) backed Justice Mogoeng and claimed those denouncing him were mischievously misinterpreting his statement towards their “hateful agenda”.

“Attacking the chief justice for expressing his Christian views is a direct attack on freedom of religion and expression in this country. Safi objects to this fundamental right being undermined,” Safi said.

The organisation said Christians in South Africa would not be silenced and applauded Justice Mogoeng’s convictions.