Mogoeng: You’re free to be promiscuous but consider putting on the brakes

2014-06-04 17:57

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has assured South Africans they are “entitled to be as promiscuous as you want” but that we should perhaps slow down when it comes to the topic.

Mogoeng was this afternoon back-pedalling his office out of people’s bedrooms after a contentious speech last week in which he said religion could play a greater role in the law.

In the speech, Mogoeng said a “legal framework that frowns upon adultery, fornication, separation and divorce” could help curb a variety of society’s ills.

Speaking this afternoon, Mogoeng said that his speech had merely been an attempt for South Africans to attempt to find their own solutions to problems.

“Can we put it [religion] on the table, discuss it and reject it if we believe that religion has got nothing to offer,” said the chief justice.

In what was at times a confusing speech, Mogoeng pointed to specific examples where he believed all religions, and even people who weren’t religious, could play a more active role in putting solutions on the table.

“Are we making it too easy for divorces to happen without much regard to possible implications on the lives of children. What do religious principles have to say about this?”

The chief justice also suggested that criminality flowed from divorce.

“Have you reflected on the possible impact on your children? Do you want to see your children being involved in crime because both of you were not available when they needed the counsel you’ve been giving them all the time?” asked Mogoeng.

He also corrected his earlier speech, saying he had omitted the word “promiscuous” from the part that dealt with fornication.

“Have you considered what the impact of promiscuity, what the possible impact of promiscuity is on the spread of HIV/Aids, how many people are suffering because of the tendency to move around without informing your partners about how many other people you’re involved in a sexual relationship with?”

But the chief justice was firm that the high-water mark of his speech had been to suggest that religious groupings organise themselves better to participate in the law-making process.

“I am in no position to make any law, in no position to change any Constitution, in no position to draft any national policy.”

Mogoeng said he took his “oath of office very seriously and I will not give precedence to my faith at the expense of the Constitution of this country and at the expense of the laws of this country”.

Mogoeng also referred specifically to the rights of gays and lesbians, saying it was his duty to ensure that they enjoyed their rights.

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