Johannesburg - Trade union Cosatu, the SACP and the South African BDS Coalition have welcomed the Judicial Conduct Appeals Tribunal’s ruling ordering former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to apologise for his pro-Israel comments.
Mogoeng received a public backlash in June 2020 when he said, during a webinar with the Jerusalem Post, that he had an obligation as a Christian to love Israel and pray for peace in Jerusalem.
Despite the enormous public backlash and pressure piled on him to retract his comments, Mogoeng refused to retract his comments.
Sonia Mabunda-Kaziboni, Cosatu International Secretary, said that the trade union unconditionally supported the conclusive finding and commended their pro-Palestine allies, Africa4Palestine, the SA BDS Coalition, and Women's Cultural group for taking Mogoeng to task and criticising his failure of responsibility.
“The former Chief Justice committed gross negligent breaches of the code of judicial conduct, in that he had become in extra-judicial activities.
“We salute you, Comrades, for not allowing the former Chief Justice to ’get away with murder’ through his unclearly thought of comments,” Mabunda-Kaziboni said.
She added that along with being subjected to state and settler violence daily, the people of Palestine were suffering from a dire economic situation and that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands meant that many people do not have any employment and live in poverty.
“The continued occupation of Palestinian land and the suffering of the Palestinian people demonstrates damage to the conscience of humanity.
“Therefore, Cosatu strongly urges the former South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to respect the Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee's decision, which compels him to retract and apologise for his comments on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
“The federation continues to advocate for a free Palestine, unequivocally, and calls upon all progressive forces to act and fight against imperialist opportunists who continue to add fuel to Israeli-Palestine tensions,” Mabunda-Kaziboni said.
In a statement, the South African BDS Coalition said that the Judicial Conduct Appeals Tribunal’s decision demonstrated that not even the Chief Justice is above the law and that ordinary South Africans can hold those in power and supporters of apartheid Israel to account.
“It is a victory for the Palestinian solidarity movement at a time when apartheid Israel is intensifying its outrageous atrocities, implementing forced removals and ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrarh, Silwan and the Naqab,” the South African BDS Coalition said.
Alex Mashilo, SACP spokesperson, said it was advisable for Mogoeng to abide by the ruling and humbly apologise as directed by the Committee.
Mashilo added that despite retiring from the position of Chief Justice, Mogoeng’s apology would help restore public trust and respect for the judiciary, with the knowledge that no one is above the law.
“The SACP reiterates its solidarity with the people of Palestine in their fight against oppression, segregation, expropriation, killings, and other human rights violations by the apartheid Israeli regime.
“The occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli regime has caused untold misery on the Palestinian people over the decades. The controversial utterances by former Chief Justice Mogoeng implied that he could not feel any indignation at the injustices endured by the Palestinian people, the victims of Israeli apartheid,” Mashilo said.