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Chief justice has a responsibility to protect dignity of his office

'No one is undermining your right to religious views, Chief Justice'

In his book All Rise: A Judicial Memoir, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke tells an awkward anecdote about chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. It was shortly after Mogoeng was appointed to lead the judiciary. Justices of the Constitutional Court, including Moseneke, were still trying to establish rapport with the new head of the court.

Moseneke writes that as was standard practice, lunches in the judges’ common room were safe spaces of casual conversation, even banter about topics of shared interests. Conversations about weekend sport were seemingly a favourite. But there were no-go areas — sex, politics and religion. Until one day, when justice Zak Yacoob had something to say about how Mogoeng usually signed off his e-mails with “God bless you” ...

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