Cape Town – Outspoken Chief Justice (CJ) Mogoeng Mogoeng’s term ends at midnight on Monday.
He became a Constitutional Court judge in 2009 after Justice Sandile Ngcobo’s term of office ended, and was later nominated for the position of CJ by former president Jacob Zuma in 2011.
Mogoeng will not only leave office as CJ but his 12-year non-renewable term as a Constitutional Court Justice also comes to an end.
According to SABC News, he leaves his post amid almost as much controversy as he entered it, with eyebrows raised over his absence from the judicial centre stage since he went on leave in May, leaving his deputy, Raymond Zondo, acting while also bogged down with the state capture inquiry.
Controversial statements uttered
The first years of Mogoeng’s tenure were marked by a sense of relief that the darker fears about his appointment proved unfounded as he stood up to the then-president Jacob Zuma, who overlooked then-Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke in his favour, reports the M&G.
Many shifted uncomfortably when Mogoeng said on the job, “God wants me to take it”.
But he showed the humility to seek the views and wisdom of more seasoned colleagues at the court and, on their telling, an ability to cut to the heart of complex matters. No one has complained that he tried to shoehorn his religion or conservatism into court debates or rulings.
Mogoeng faces a second complaint for decrying Covid-19 vaccines as evil. The public view is diametrically opposed. But his argument to the tribunal finding in complaint on Israel, that freedom of religion offered him cover for the remarks, suggests a stung man who has chosen the personal realm over public restrictions when pride dictated.
In December, Mogoeng held a prayer and said the following: “If there be any [Covid-19] vaccine that is the work of the evil meant to infuse 666 in the lives of the people, meant to corrupt their DNA… may fire destroy it.”
So long… Chief Justice
Social media has been abuzz, with tweeps declaring their gratitude by tweeting messages of farewell to the outgoing CJ.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng made us proud by not dancing to the tune of those who think only those approved by them can rise to excellence. As an African I support CJ Mogoeng with passion as he spoke his mind openly and never sold our judiciary to the US funders https://t.co/NZo4diuILD
— phillip mhlongo (@phillip_mhlongo) October 10, 2021
One thing i Love about the OutGoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is that He always stand by His Own Words.He served us well and he deserved to be honored 🎖We Love you Chief Justice MM ❤🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/fqvMj9q5CZ
— Lufuno vanessa🇿🇦 (@LufunoMuchachi) October 11, 2021
Best wishes Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on your new journey and future endeavours! pic.twitter.com/QhuEqX2pWc
— Nsikayezwe Shabane (@Nsikayezwe11) October 11, 2021
Public to have a say on next chief justice
In a first for the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the public to nominate South Africa’s next chief justice to promote transparency.
A nomination should be accompanied by an endorsement and support of at least one professional body of legal practitioners or NGO’s working in the field of human rights or other legal areas.
All nominations will be made public on the Presidency’s website, and any objections should be sent in writing by October 15.
Picture: Getty Images
Compiled by Reginald Nhlapo