Mogoeng Mogoeng: 'I hate corruption'

2019-07-26 20:04
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. (Photo: MARY-ANN PALMER)

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. (Photo: MARY-ANN PALMER)

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If South Africa is to root out corruption, every form of this scourge should be tackled, whether in the public or private sector, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has said.

South Africa's most senior judge was interviewed by SAFM's Bongi Gwala on Friday. 

Asked if South Africa was at a crossroads, Mogoeng said the country was being confronted with very serious challenges that it hadn't faced before.

"Because, watching from afar, you can see that there are divisions that are disturbing at the very high level in our society - I choose to be as ambiguous as all that – which does not seem to augur well for stability, which does not augur well for the much-needed leadership, focused leadership that the investor community requires and that a nation requires." 

Mogoeng added that he was "disturbed" by retrenchments, the fact that the economy was not growing, and the level of crime. 

He said the root cause of most crime – excluding corruption – was poverty. 

"Ordinary, day-to-day crime is escalating, and it is those who are poverty-stricken who commit crime most of the time. And the reason is not hard to find. There's a reason why you and I are not involved in crime," he said.

"The worst that can happen to us is to be corrupt out of greed, but an average South African who is involved in crime is trying to survive. And I'm worried the loss of dignity drives you to kill, to do all sorts of unthinkable things that most of our people that are poverty stricken tend to do.

"The one way I think, the only way actually, to uproot corruption is to make sure that every form of corruption, wheresoever it may be found, is uprooted. But if you're just going to scratch the surface, as I think we tend to do, for many, many years to come, and unemployment will persist, poverty will persist. This contentment will persist and the instability will be a feature of South African society, unfortunately.

"I love South Africans, regardless of their colour or gender, but I hate corruption, regardless of who the practitioner of corruption is. And I think we have got to target all institutions, government institutions and the private sector. Remember, if you trace corruption without fear or favour, you'll realise that the private sector is involved in offering corruption."

'There are those who are treated well'

He said, as citizens South Africans should be uncompromising when dealing with corruption, but that we were not there yet. 

"There are those who are treated well. We are not even willing to investigate whether allegations against them are well made or not. There is this bombardment, when you try to touch certain institutions or certain people.

"You will be investigated for the rest of your life, until they finish you off. You'll be besmirched with anything negative about you, even if it has to be manufactured... will be found, so that you are put in a bad light. How different is that from what the apartheid system was doing?

"I think we've got to embrace justice, stop this favouritism and not confront corruption partially, but confront it wholly. That's the only way we'll get our country in order."

Mogoeng didn't want to comment on the Constitutional Court's judgment on the Public Protector delivered on Monday. He wrote the minority judgment and said commenting on the matter might create the impression that he was promoting his judgment at the cost of his colleagues' judgment.

He did, however, encourage South Africans to read the high court's judgment on the matter, as well as the Constitutional Court's majority and minority judgments.

Read more on:    mogoeng mogoeng  |  corruption
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