Mogoeng Mogoeng apologises for Israel comments

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Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
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  • Mogoeng Mogoeng has apologised for his comments regarding South Africa's policy on Israel.
  • The Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee dismissed his appeal.
  • It was found that Mogoeng had involved himself in political controversy.

Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has apologised for his comments regarding South Africa's policy on Israel.

"I, Mogoeng Mogoeng, the former Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, hereby apologise unconditionally for becoming involved in political controversy through my utterances at the online seminar (webinar) hosted by the Jerusalem Post on 23 June 2020, in which I participated," he said in a statement.

The apology comes after the Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee dismissed Mogoeng's appeal against the Judicial Conduct Committee's findings that he had involved himself in political controversy over South Africa's policy on Israel.

According to Justice Phineas Mojapelo's judgment, Mogoeng participated in an extra-judicial that is incompatible with confidence in or the impartiality or independence of judges, by expressing a view on the diplomatic relations between South Africa and Israel.

READ | Mogoeng's appeal dismissed, must still apologise for Israel comments

He added that he also accepted an appointment that was inconsistent with an independent Judiciary, by agreeing to participate in the Jerusalem Post webinar.

As part of the remedial action, Mogoeng was ordered to retract the vow to not apologise for what he believed to be just and right even if 50 million people were to march daily for 10 years.

He was also ordered to apologise and retract in the presence of the media and his Constitutional Court colleagues. 

Mogoeng said:

I am very thankful that: I have not been ordered to renounce God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and my faith in Him; I have not been ordered to renounce the Holy Bible; I have not been ordered to renounce prayer; and I have not been ordered to renounce my love for Israel and Palestine and my love for the Jews and the Palestinians as well as my love for all people.

"For I said during the webinar, as correctly quoted at para 122 of the decision of the Judicial Conduct Committee Appeal Panel: 'Some possibly then expect of me to be very hateful of Israel and the Jews, I [am] not. I love [the] Jews, I love Israel. I love Palestine. I love the Palestinians. I love everybody'."

He further clarified that, under no circumstances, did he say that he would not apologise.

According to Mogoeng, this is what he said: "I would never refuse to apologise for or retract what I believe to be wrong, however correct I might have initially believed it to be. Even if it is a 10 years old child who would have helped me to so understand. I would apologise to him or her for the wrong I would then be convinced I have done to him or others.

"But, I will never apologise for or retract what I believe to be correct. I would never, no matter how many millions, how many presumably or actually, influential people say so. I would never, unless forced by the law, align myself with principles or values repugnant to my sense of what is just, right or wrong. I would be happy to stand alone no matter the consequences."

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