Prof Reddi in support of Mogoeng

2013-08-10 00:00

CHIEF Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had as much a duty as the heads of other state organs to ensure the creation of a truly equal South Africa, UKZN’s dean of law Professor Managay Reddi said yesterday.

Opening a conference of women judges and officers in Durban yesterday, Reddi came out in support of Mogoeng, who is the subject of a complaint to the Judicial Service Commission by Advocate Paul Hoffman SC.

Hoffman believes Mogoeng should be impeached, among other things, because of hard-hitting comments he made at an Advocates for Transformation dinner in Cape Town about transformation in the profession.

Mogoeng was a guest speaker at yesterday’s conference.

Reddi was critical of the slow pace of transformation, saying that this was why the “elated cheers” of the majority of South African women during the dawn of democracy had turned into “whimpers of pain, despite every constitutional right still being in force and effect”.

The founding of a truly equal society in which all persons, including women, were able to meaningfully enjoy the rights conferred by the bill of rights was not possible without transformation, Reddi said.

“Yet, shockingly in some sections of South Africa today, discussions around ‘transformation’ cause such egregious consternation that persons from those sections of our society feel compelled to resort to such drastic steps as calling for the impeachment of the chief justice for publicly discussing matters of transformation.”

The current composition of the judiciary was hardly reflective of a new order that was “in conspicuous contrast” to its composition under apartheid, Reddi said.

To expect Mogoeng — who because of his position as the country’s top judge was answerable for the slow pace of transformation in the judiciary — to refrain from discussing the challenges to transformation was “to emasculate him in the performance of his constitutionally mandated functions”, she said.

“This inherent conservatism and refusal by some culprits of apartheid in the legal profession to share in the responsibility for transformation is one of the biggest challenges to transformation and undeniably accounts for the slow pace of transformation in our country, especially in the legal profession and the judiciary.”

Reddi urged those gathered at the conference “who recognise that if it had not been for the transformative dictates of our Constitution, we would not be where we are today”, to raise their voices and speak out “against those who are attempting to subvert the transformation project”.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng addresses delegates at the International Association of Women Judges conference at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus in Durban yesterday.

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