The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has referred a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Committee against Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng over his Covid-19 vaccine remarks.
JSC secretary Sello Chiloane confirmed to News24 it had received a complaint against Mogoeng from health advocacy organisation the African Alliance.
“We can confirm that the complaint will be forwarded to the Judicial Conduct Committee that deals with judges for further handling,” said Chiloane.
The African Alliance said it had filed a complaint following Mogoeng’s “false and dangerous vaccine claims”.
Addressing a government event in Tembisa last year, Mogoeng prayed that “if there be any vaccine that is of the devil, meant to infuse triple-six in the lives of the people, meant to corrupt their DNA, Lord God Almighty may it be destroyed by fire, in the name of Jesus”.
The founder and head of the African Alliance, Tian Johnson, said Mogoeng’s comments, which he has repeatedly defended, implied vaccines could be dangerous with no factual basis.
“By doing this, his statements, as a highly visible civil servant, undermine the public’s confidence in life-saving and scientifically tested vaccines. Let’s be clear, vaccines are not made by the devil and do not change your DNA.”
Johnson added the real danger was that statements such as Mogoeng’s, decreased the public trust in vaccines and were hurting.
“The chief justice should be aware that national regulators such as [the] South African Health Products Regulatory Authority exist to ensure that products like vaccines are safe, effective and of high quality.
“Today, hundreds of people will die from Covid-19. When South Africa gets access to a vaccine, we need as many people as we can to take those vaccines,” he said.
The African Alliance said it believed the more people were vaccinated, the less chance they had of becoming infected with the virus.
Johnson added misinformation about vaccines only put that goal farther out of reach.
“In making unfounded claims about vaccines, the African Alliance believes Mogoeng acted in a manner incompatible with or unbecoming of a holder of a judicial office and violated the Code of Judicial Conduct in relation to the Judicial Services Commission Act.
“We now call on the Judicial Conduct Committee to urgently review and deal with the complaint to protect the public investments made in a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The African Alliance is also concerned that Mogoeng is just one of several prominent public leaders and political figures that have peddled misinformation during the outbreak,” he said.