JCAC upholds decision that Mogoeng must apologise for Israel comments

The Judicial Conduct Committee Mogoeng Mogoeng had breached a section of the Judicial Code of Conduct by getting involved in a political controversy.

FILE: Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Picture: @NelsonMandela/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee (JCAC) on Thursday directed former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to apologise for his comments regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

The committee also confirmed an earlier finding that Mogoeng had breached a section of the Judicial Code of Conduct by getting involved in a political controversy.

The decision comes after Mogoeng appealed an earlier finding, written by Judge Phineas Mojapelo following a complaint by three organisations: Africa4Palestine, SABDS Coalition and Women’s Cultural Group.

In a majority ruling, the JCAC decided: “to confirm Mojapelo DJP’s findings that Chief Justice Mogoeng breached Article 12(1)(b) of the Judicial Code of Conduct, in that he, through his utterances, involved himself in political controversy. The Committee further found that Chief Justice Mogoeng breached Article 14(2)(a) of the Code of Judicial Conduct in that he was involved in extra-judicial activities which are incompatible with the confidence in and the impartiality of Judges”.

Judge Mojapelo sits in the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC). The JCAC, however, upheld some parts of Mogoeng’s appeal against the JCC.

“The Committee did uphold Chief Justice Mogoeng’s grounds of appeal against Mojapelo DJP’s findings that he had breached Articles 12(1)(d), 14(1) and 14(3)(a) of the Code,” said the JCAC in a statement.

But in the end, it directed Mogoeng to apologise.

“The Committee, by a majority, directed that Chief Justice Mogoeng should issue an unconditional apology for becoming involved in political controversy through his utterances at the online seminar (webinar) hosted by the Jerusalem Post on 23 June 2020. A copy of the apology must be released by Chief Justice Mogoeng to the Office of the Chief Justice and the media within 10 days of this decision.”

The three organisations complained that Mogoeng’s utterances, in support of Israel, were unbecoming of a person holding his position.

Mogoeng retired from the Judiciary last year.