The ANC has expressed concern about chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s apparent support of “apartheid Israel”.
Mogoeng, during an interview with the Jerusalem Times, apparently endorsed the state of Israel.
According to the ANC, Mogoeng had now entered dangerous ground that may bring into question his credibility when presiding over human rights related cases in his job in the judiciary.
The governing party says though Mogoeng had pointed out that his support for Israel was not necessarily the stance of the South African government, which is opposed to Israel, he should not have ventured into that territory in the interview.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement: “We are deeply concerned with the remarks by the chief justice during an interview with the Jerusalem Times.
“The esteemed chief justice entered the arena of political commentary which may make him vulnerable should he have to adjudicate a human rights matter in the future.
“He also openly supported the actions of the State of Israel, actions condemned by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on numerous occasions and contemptuous behaviour towards the human rights of the people of Palestine.
“It was rather unfortunate for the chief justice to state that ‘South African government policy was binding upon himself and that he was not seeking to reject it’ but then clearly and openly opposing it ‘as a citizen’.”
Mogoeng might have a right to his opinion as a citizen, said Mabe, but his primary role, because of the position he holds in the judiciary, was to protect the constitution of the country at all time.
But by backing Israel, he had failed to do so, something that was “of grave concern” to the ANC.
Mabe continued that their chastising Mogoeng was not an interference with the judiciary.
“South Africa is a secular state and officials of the state, which include our esteemed judiciary, are bound by the constitution to respect this.
“The ANC has consistently expressed courageously through its successive resolutions that the contemporary state of Israel is an apartheid state.”
Mogoeng is no stranger to controversy when he comments on politics.
Some have previously accused him of subtly having ambitions for political office.
This is because he has never shied away from tackling political issues of national importance in public lectures he makes as guest speaker.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)