Heads of court support Mogoeng Mogoeng
Johannesburg - The heads of court on Sunday said they had full confidence in Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and would support him in his duties.
They were reacting to reports that Mogoeng raised serious concerns about the separation of church and the judiciary by ordering top judges to attend a leadership conference by American evangelist and leadership guru, John Maxwell.
"The heads of courts have noted some of the allegations in the media about Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in the wake of the invitation to them to attend a conference," they said in a statement.
"The invitation was not to a religious event but to a leadership conference, which nobody was ordered or compelled to attend."
In an e-mail sent on behalf of Mogoeng, heads of court judges were "requested to be available" for an evangelical leadership conference held in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, the Mail & Guardian Online reported on Thursday.
These included Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Lex Mpati, Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, and KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Chiman Patel.
Mogoeng, a lay preacher at the Winners Chapel International Church, told the Business Day on Friday he did not compel any judge to attend the course. He said the reports were doing a "disservice to our country" to "take things out of context and to sensationalise".
Since 2005, a committee looking into allegations of racism in the judiciary, headed by former chief justice Pius Langa, had identified a need for leadership training for heads of court, he said.Liberals
On Saturday the Christian Democratic Party said that liberals and atheists were keeping their eyes on Mogoeng.
"It would appear that the liberals and atheists are keeping their beady eyes on Mogoeng, just waiting for him to do something they can object to," party leader Theunis Botha said in a statement.
"Had he been a devout atheist adhering to a liberal value system, that is as much ‘religion' as Christianity, he would have been able to act according to his convictions with impunity," said Botha.
He said liberals demanded fair judgements from the chief justice, but then doubted him, suspicious of his Christian stance.
The heads of courts includes the president and deputy president of the Supreme Court of Appeal.