COSATU slams Mogoeng nomination

2011-09-03 12:48

Johannesburg - Cosatu is calling on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to recommend against Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s appointment to the position of Chief Justice.

Although Mogoeng met the minimum criteria for appointment, his judgments showed a mindset and values that were inconsistent with the Constitution, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said in its submission sent to the JSC on Saturday.

He also showed a lack of sensitivity to a court’s role in protecting vulnerable groups, including minors.

Cosatu asked President Jacob Zuma to re-open the nomination process in order to identify more suitable candidates.

Mogoeng was nominated to be the country’s next chief justice following the retirement of former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo after his term of office expired on August 14.

He was being interviewed in a special sitting of the JSC in Cape Town on Saturday, to assess his suitability for the position.

Cosatu said the controversy around Mogoeng’s appointment was indicative of a broader underlying problem, namely the need to democratise and ensure more inclusivity in the judicial appointments process as well as in respect of other decisions affecting the judiciary.

“Judicial accountability receives far too little emphasis.”

It said Mogoeng had made contradictory statements in his judgments and reflected a trivialisation of rape and sexual offences, and an insensitivity to gender-based violence. He also lacked awareness of criminal law on rape and appeared to disregard the rights and interests of minors, who are a vulnerable group.

The JSC should as a minimum enquire as to Justice Mogoeng’s commitment to the Constitutional rights to equality and freedom of unfair discrimination on all grounds, including that of sexual orientation, and enquire why Mogoeng had not provided reasons for some decisions, Cosatu said.

It should be an inherent requirement that judges show their full commitment to the protection of Constitutional values and the rights contained therein.

The JSC should also enquire whether Mogoeng was involved in prosecuting any politically motivated cases while working for the homeland of Bophuthatswana and whether he had prosecuted any death penalty cases.

His role as a state prosecutor for Bophuthatswana between 1986 and 1990 raised serious concerns about his role under apartheid.

“It is disturbing that even if not successful Justice Mogoeng will remain on the bench as an ordinary Constitutional Court judge,” Cosatu said.

“This highlights the need to ensure a process that will seek democratise the way judicial appointments are made.”

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