Defend Truth


Mogoeng says he’s neither inexperienced nor ethically impaired

Mogoeng says he’s neither inexperienced nor ethically impaired

New Constitutional Court judge Mogoeng Mogoeng hadn't even tried out his chair before he came under attack – from us, among other quarters. He's got something to say about that.

Mogoeng is clearly irritated at claims he’s inexperienced, and doesn’t have the highest sense of ethics. On the weekend both the Democratic Alliance and the Inkhata Freedom Party said, on the record, they felt he didn’t have the necessary constitutional law experience. There was also a claim he didn’t recuse himself from a Truth Commission case in which his wife was a prosecutor.

Well, once given an opportunity to set the record straight, he ran with it. He explained it was not a TRC case (we got it wrong too – sorry Judge, please don’t hold it against us should we ever appear before you), but rather an appeal case he oversaw. His wife did appear as a prosecutor, but there was no request for him to recuse himself. He also pointed out that he wasn’t sitting alone, as it was an appeal, and so he wasn’t the only judge hearing the case.

As far as the experience charge goes, he pointed to several cases he’d heard that had constitutional implications. He explained how he’d told all of this to the Judicial Service Commission (he’s right, we were there) and they’d clearly accepted that.

What surprised us was how quickly he responded to the request for an interview.  Once we were able to get through to him, he accepted our request with alacrity.

The other new Constitutional Court judges weren’t nearly so easy. Judge Sisi Khampepe is sitting at the Labour Court this week, and her assistant said that he just couldn’t get through to her. Judge Chris Jafta is at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, which is in recess. So if you don’t have his cell phone number, there’s no interconnection with him. And Judge Johan Froneman’s assistant said simply: “the judge says no”. His judgments are likely to be short.

But Mogoeng was always the most likely to speak in public. His performance at the JSC resembled that of a Baptist preacher; there’s a bit of Martin Luther King Jnr about him, the same cadence and flowing manner of speech, with a bit of a dream thrown in.

We’re going to miss Albie Sachs as he goes off to into the sunset to design buildings, write books and bring up his youngest son. Mogoeng doesn’t have quite the same backstory, but he might bring the same heart to the court.

Stephen Grootes
(Grootes is an Eye Witness News reporter)


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz