Office of chief justice, not Mogoeng, 'responsible for judges' security'

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's office has said he is not personally responsible for assigning security to members of the judiciary.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's office has said he is not personally responsible for assigning security to members of the judiciary.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Mary-Ann Palmer

The office of the chief justice (OCJ), a national department, has moved to clarify that chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is not personally responsible for assigning security to members of the judiciary.

The office said this after media reports suggested Mogoeng was personally responsible for providing security to Western Cape deputy judge president Patricia Goliath after an alleged plot to assassinate her. Western Cape judge president John Hlophe's attorney, Barnabas Xulu, issued a statement at the weekend in which he alleged Mogoeng had beefed up security for Goliath.

Xulu was responding to reports that Hlophe was named in an investigation into an alleged plot to assassinate Goliath.

In the statement, Xulu said Mogoeng's receipt of the report involving allegations that Hlophe had plotted to kill Goliath, followed by his alleged decision to beef up her security, required a proper investigation.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the OCJ said it deemed it prudent to clarify certain issues relating to its role regarding judges' security.

“Security provided to members of the judiciary facing a threat is an OCJ administrative function which does not require any involvement by the chief justice. The chief justice does not commission any investigation into threats to members of the judiciary, and this matter was no exception,” the department said.

Assassination plot

The department said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretariat, whose responsibilities are limited to rendering administrative support to the JSC, received information telephonically on June 4 from a member of the Makhanda bar about an alleged plot to assassinate Goliath.

The department said this information was immediately relayed to the OCJ head of security.

“It is necessary to mention  the secretariat did not at any given time send any investigators to investigate the alleged plot. Neither the secretariat nor the JSC has the mandate to investigate such allegations.”

The head of security, as per OCJ standard protocol, requested Western Cape police to conduct a threat and risk assessment with a view to providing security to Goliath, if necessary. As an interim measure, while waiting for the outcome of the assessment, a contracted security service was provided to Goliath.

The department said the outcome of the assessment was later verbally communicated to the OCJ's head of security and to Goliath.

The department said it was the responsibility of OCJ officials, under the leadership of the secretary-general as the head of the OCJ as a national department to request police to conduct threat and risk assessments for the judiciary where necessary.

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