The human rights organisation that took Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to task over his comments on Israel says he has declined a meeting with them, and are now accusing him of intimidation.
Africa4Palestine says it reached out to Mogoeng after the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) ruled that he should apologise for his comments pledging love Israel.
In a statement on Monday, Africa4Palestine spokesperson Tiisetso Magama said in a statement that the meeting was meant “to try and engage, as well as have a dialogue with him over his pro-Israeli utterances and anti-Palestine views”.
Africa4Palestine, the SA BDS Coalition and the Women’s Cultural Group laid complaints with the JCC following Mogoeng’s comments last year, saying they were political statements. Mogoeng is appealing the ruling that he must apologise, but Magama said they were confident he would lose the appeal.
In a response to an email asking for a meeting, Sello Chiloane, the chief of staff in Mogoeng’s office said: “Kindly note that the Chief Justice is not available for the proposed meeting.”
The organisation has also accused Mogoeng of intimidation, “without any shame, fear or dignity and is, we feel, further bringing our judiciary and the office he occupies into gross disrepute”.
They accuse Mogoeng of saying “anybody from today, who is plotting to disgrace me, they will die before they can even do it”, during a webinar last week.
Magama said it was disappointing that Mogoeng was willing to meet with Israeli organisations, but not local ones.
“We reached out to the Chief Justice with pure and sincere intent in the genuine interest of engagement, but we are saddened that the Chief Justice has declined our invitation.”
On Monday morning, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) held a picket at the Constitutional Court in support of Mogoeng. They said his comments formed part of his right to religious expression.
The ACDP said “the church was under attack” and called for a stop to attacks on Mogoeng.
News24 Wire. Additional reporting by Nigel Sibanda and Vhahangwele Nemakonde