Mogoeng slams personal attacks on female judges

Mogoeng slams personal attacks on female judges

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng speaks at a press briefing after he presented the judiciary annual performance report, 23 November 2018. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Responsible South Africans should criticise a judgement based on their points of disagreement, not by making derogatory remarks, said Chief Justice Mogoeng.

Chief Justice Mogoeng has spoken out against personal attacks against female judges, adding that it should never be open to anyone to mock them.

Justice Mogoeng was addressing the media in Midrand, Gauteng, on Friday.

“It should never be open to any of us to mock judges, particularly female judges, in this era where people seem to think it is open season to treat women as they please,” he said.

“Regardless of who the attacker is, we are opposed to any attack against women and our other colleagues.”

News24 previously reported EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had criticised Judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa moments after her ruling on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s application to postpone remedial action against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, until the review of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the Ivan Pillay pension case was heard.

Pillay was a former deputy commissioner at SARS.

Ramaphosa was successful in his application.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the judgment, Ndlozi said Gordhan was treated as though he was above the law, adding the EFF was worried the Public Protector’s office was being stripped of its “bite”.

In May, Mkhwebane ordered Ramaphosa to discipline Gordhan for “unlawfully and improperly” authorising Pillay’s early retirement.

But Judge Molopa-Sethosa found the president had acted reasonably by not immediately disciplining him.

In her ruling, she said: “It is mind-boggling why, in this matter, the Public Protector did not even consent to at least … have the remedial action stayed, pending finalisation of the review application.”

Ndlozi said the judgment was “poorly argued”, tweeting the judge could not even read her own judgment.

On August 9, EFF leader Julius Malema threatened to “take up arms” if judges do not do their jobs properly.

Malema said if judges judged according to who appeared before them “they must know we will be left with no option but to take up arms because there is no neutrality in SA”.

He added a biased judiciary would force South Africa into the “bush”.

But on Friday, Mogoeng said: “As a matter of principle we are opposed to any derogatory remarks against judges – females or males – regardless of where they come from.

“Even if it were proven that in a particular judgment a judge was wrong, all responsible South Africans have to do is to criticise that judgment based on their points of disagreement with it.”

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