Last week, the chief justice filed an appeal against the JCC finding of misconduct and stated in reply that none of his statements were 'anti-Palestine or anti-anybody'.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has hit back hard at the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) with a 30 something-page appeal against apologising after he was criticised for “controversial political comments” made during a webinar.
Last week, Mogoeng filed an appeal against the JCC finding of misconduct and stated in reply that none of his statements were “anti-Palestine or anti-anybody” during a webinar hosted by an Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post in June 2020.
Political analyst Daniel Silke said there was a danger in personal opinions that have a religious foundation.
“I think, however, Mogoeng does certainly have a legitimate right in the sense that expressing a view that is spiritually or religiously defined should indeed be possible, despite his high standing and sort of impartiality of the position that he holds.”
Silke added Mogoeng had a fair point to make.
“If we attempt in South Africa to silence issues relating to spirituality and people’s religious beliefs, we are looking at to silence all sorts opinions which will not be favourable towards a broad multi debate.”
Tristan Kapp, who has a master’s degree in theology and is currently a PhD student for religion studies, said there was a fine distinction between Israel and the church.
“For dispensationalist Israel is an ethnic nation consisting of Hebrews beginning with Abraham continuing into the existence into the presence.
“The church on the other hand consists of all faiths, individuals in its presence from the birth of Christ until the time of the rapture.”
Kapp added it seemed Mogoeng was referred to Israel which is uplifted as compatible with the church as the body and not just as an ethical nation.
Executive director of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FRSA) Michael Swain said as a legal advocacy organisation that is faith and politically neutral, FRSA did not support or oppose Mogoeng’s statement on Israel.
“We do support Mogoeng’s constitutional right to religious freedom and freedom of expression, which rights belong to everyone regardless of profile or position,” said Swain.
“Mogoeng is therefore following the due process to which he is entitled to protect and promote his constitutional rights.”
Hilde Eksteen, an attorney in Gauteng, said Section 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 states that everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
“One should, however, take into regard that your constitutional rights can be limited in terms of Section 36 of the constitution by taking into regard the nature of the right, the importance, and purpose of the limitation, the nature and extent of the limitation, the relation between the limitation and its purpose, and less restrictive means to achieve the purpose,” Eksteen said.
The department of international relations and cooperation spokesman, Clayson Monyela, confirmed yesterday that the policy on Israel has been the same for years.
“The South African approach to the Israel policy is we believe in a two-state solution, the state of Israel and the state of Palestine living side by side in line with the UN resolutions on the matter.”
Monyela added that the matter must be discussed and pronounced in court.
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