SACP calls on Mogoeng to 'humble himself and unreservedly apologise' for Israel comments

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Mary-Ann Palmer

The SACP has urged Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng help “restore the rule of law” by obeying the ruling of the Judicial Conduct Committee’s (JCC) which found him to have violated the Code of Judicial Conduct over his controversial pro-Israel remarks and criticism of SA foreign policy on that country.

On Thursday, the JCC ordered Mogoeng to unconditionally retract and apologise for the remarks he made during a webinar hosted by an Israeli newspaper in June last year, where he expressed love for Jews and Israel.

The SACP called Mogoeng to “humble himself, and unreservedly apologise for and retract the utterances” which generated controversy and infuriated Palestine solidarity groups.

“By complying with the decision, Chief Justice Mogoeng will help restore public trust and respect for the judiciary, with the knowledge that no-one including the head of the judiciary is above the law,” the SACP said.

The SACP’s calls come as former president Jacob Zuma is refusing to abide by the order of the Constitutional Court completing him to attend the Zondo commission and answer allegations of corruption and state capture against him.

Mogoeng  had said hatred for Israel by him and by SA would attract “unprecedented curses'' and took a swipe at SA’s foreign policy decision of downgrading its embassy in Israel over its occupation of Palestine as well as Palestine’s campaign for divestment in Israel by the global community.

“Have we cut diplomatic ties with our previous colonisers? Have we embarked on a disinvestment campaign against those that are responsible for untold suffering in SA and the continent of Africa? Did Israel take away our land? Did Israel take away the land of Africa? Did Israel take the mineral wealth of SA and of Africa?” Mogoeng asked at the time.

Mogoeng has previously indicated that he would never apologise for his views.

In the JCC ruling, Judge Phienas Mojapelo found Mogoeng to have involved himself in political controversy, which is against the code.

Mojapelo pointed out that while Mogoeng had insisted that he had a right as citizen to criticise SA’s policies like any other citizen, he was not ” any other citizen”

“He is the head of the judiciary and is subject to the restraints of that office, including the ethical rules which govern the conduct of each and every judge. He is the first among the judiciary and thus represents the entire South African judiciary in several instances, nationally and internationally,” Mojapelo said.

 Mojapelo said Mogoeng must within ten days read the apology and retraction before a meeting of serving Constitutional Court justices and issue a written and signed copy to the media.

Palestine solidarity groups Africa 4 Palestine and the SA BDS Coalition, who were among the complainants against Mogoeng, have welcomed the ruling.

The SACP also reiterated its support for Palestine and opposition to its occupation by Israel.

“All justice and peace-loving people across the world should intensify their strong condemnation of the occupation and the illegal construction of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land,” the party said.

 

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