Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng (inset)
and the Constitutional Court
Members of the LGBTI community have been urged to attend the upcoming public interview of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, the controversial candidate for Chief Justice of South Africa in Cape Town, this weekend.
On Tuesday, the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP) called on LGBTI people “in all our colourful, militant and activist expression” to “come out in massive numbers to attend and observe the interview of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)”.
Mogoeng has been nominated by President Jacob Zuma as the only candidate for the post of Chief Justice. In this position, he would also be the head of the country’s Constitutional Court.
The selection of Mogoeng, who is currently a judge in the Constitutional Court, has been roundly criticised by civil society groups – not only because of his lack of experience but also due to past judgments that suggest that he has a conservative stance towards LGBTI equality and women’s rights.
“In essence, these decisions and omissions could mean that if Mogoeng were to become the Chief Justice our Constitutional Court would be led by someone with questionable commitment to gender equality and the rights of LGBTI people to live freely without discrimination and oppression,” said LGEP.
It claimed that in his judgments concerning violence against women “Mogoeng reached for arguments akin to ‘she asked for it’, ‘she wasn’t really hurt’, ‘he was understandably sexually aroused’ and ‘it wasn’t really that bad because he was not a stranger'”.
In a case earlier this year, Mogoeng disagreed with a majority decision by his fellow judges that there is nothing wrong with being gay or lesbian and thus being depicted as gay is not grounds for defamation.
Civil rights groups are also concerned by his membership of Winners Chapel South Africa. This Nigeria-based church believes that homosexuality is a disease that can be cured.
LGEP has been joined by other organisations, including the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Section 27 and the Sonke Gender Justice Network, in submitting these concerns to the JSE.
“We have no confidence in his ability either to dispense justice in accordance with the values of the Constitution or in his ability to address the complex gender questions that arise in the judiciary and in the legal profession appropriately,” said LGEP.
In their submission to the JSC, the groups asked that it secure the following public commitments from Mogoeng:
1. A public commitment that he will not take part in the activities of any organisation that practices discrimination inconsistent with the Constitution; and
2. A public commitment that he will uphold and protect the Constitution and the human rights entrenched in it including the rights of LGBTI persons to equality before the law, equal protection and benefit of the law and freedom from unfair discrimination – whether public and private – on the basis of sexual orientation.
Mogoeng’s JSC interview will be held this Saturday, the 3rd of September, from 9.15am at the Westin Hotel, Lower Long Street (Convention Square next to the Cape Town International Convention Centre), Cape Town.
Members of the public attending the interviews are not allowed to bring placards or make statements during the interview. However, they can wear t-shirts with slogans.
For more information, contact Busi Kheswa on 083 460 2942 or on firstname.lastname@example.org.