Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng will take long leave just a month before the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) convenes to decide his appeal against a ruling that ordered him to retract and make a public apology for his comments on the Israel-Palestine dispute.
The judiciary on Thursday released a statement that Mogoeng’s leave came into effect on 1 May 2021.
It said that this was because Mogoeng could not take his long leave back in 2018 due to his judicial and extrajudicial commitments.
“Judges leave is not cumulative and therefore had the Chief Justice not taken his leave it would have been forfeited as has happened on previous occasions,” reads the statement.
“He accordingly informed the minister and the president about his intention to take long leave and requested that Justice Khampepe be appointed Acting Deputy Chief Justice, which the president has duly done.”
Last week the JCC said that it would meet on 11 June to consider the appeal lodged by Mogoeng against Deputy Judge President Phines Mojapelo’s ruling in a complaint by Africa4Palestine, Women’s Cultural Group and the South African Boycott Divestment and Section Coalition.
This came after Mogoeng told a webinar organised by The Jerusalem Post that he was under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel and pray for Jerusalem’s peace, which means that country’s peace.
Mogoeng was found to have contravened the Judicial Services Commission Act and directed to retract his remarks and apologise.
A defiant Mogoeng said that the Palestine-Israel dispute was peripheral and not inherently South African, in response to complaints against him.
Pressure has been mounting on Mogoeng to comply with Mojapelo’s decision. He has since insisted that there was no constitutional value he undermined in his utterances.
”The Israeli-Palestine politics or issues are not an integral part of South African politics. They are peripheral and not inherently South African in character, although they deserve the attention of South Africa,” said Mogoeng.