- Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has defended his controversial prayer about Covid-19 vaccines that are "of the devil".
- Mogoeng said, if there is any vaccine manufactured to advance a "satanic agenda", God must destroy it.
- He said it was his constitutional right to express his religious beliefs and others had the right to disagree with him.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has defended his controversial prayer that any Covid-19 vaccine that was "of the devil" be destroyed.
"I lock out any vaccine that is not of you," he said on Thursday, during a closing prayer.
Mogoeng was speaking during a thanksgiving ceremony at Tembisa Hospital, which was also televised by SABC.
On Friday, Mogoeng was holding a media briefing to unpack the 2019/20 Judiciary Annual Report, but was instead peppered with questions about his views on vaccines and the social media fallout following his prayer.
An irate Mogoeng said he didn't follow trends on Twitter.
"I honestly pay very little attention to the media. I don't know if people honestly misunderstood what I said, or deliberately misunderstood what I said."
'God must destroy it'
"I said, if there is any vaccine manufactured to advance a satanic agenda, of the mark of the beast, 666, or if there is any vaccine manufactured for the purpose of corrupting the DNA of people – that vaccine must be burnt. God must intervene and destroy it!" Mogoeng said.
"If people are supporting a satanic agenda, they must tell us why. If they want us to have the 666 mark, they must tell us why."
Mogoeng said he acknowledges that "not all vaccines advance that agenda".
He further described himself as an independent thinker who didn't need affirmation and who had the right to freely express himself.
Mogoeng said there was no reason his judicial responsibilities should be separated from his religious beliefs.
In terms of the vaccine, Mogoeng said he was not "asserting it as a fact" that a "666 vaccine" exists.
"But if there is [such a] vaccine, I don't want it. This is the end times according to us Christians. If there is any 666 vaccine, I want God to destroy it."
He added that if there was any "clean" vaccine, "they must produce it quickly because people need it".
South Africans aren't idiots
Mogoeng said South Africans were "not idiots" and would not accept anything he says just because it's in the public domain.
Mogoeng said people were intelligent enough to separate fact from fiction and didn't need to accept everything he said.
"I'm not a scientist, I'm a prayer warrior."
Judicial complaint against Mogoeng
The human rights organisation #Africa4Palestine blasted Mogoeng's comments, saying it intended to lay a complaint with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).
"We believe that the Chief Justice's latest comments undermine medical science and South Africa's position on the distribution of vaccines," the organisation said in a statement on Friday.
The organisation said:
"We are confident that such outlandish fanatic speech and denial of medical science during a pandemic is a violation the JSC's Code of Conduct which explicitly urges judges to refrain from such controversies.
"While we acknowledge Justice Mogoeng's previous judgments and the important role that he has played in our judiciary, we are of the firm opinion that his position asks of him to uphold international law, respect medical science, not interfere in South Africa's national and international relations as well as health policies."
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