Chief Justice Mogoeng calls on public to expose corruption in judiciary

October 3rd, 2019

Gauteng Division of the High Court, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and Free State Division of the High Court, Judge President Cagney Musi, at a media briefing on 13 September.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng held a media briefing at his offices in Johannesburg on 13 September, amid allegations of corruption levelled against the judiciary. He told members of the media that it is no exaggeration to assert that the judiciary of South Africa (SA) is the custodian and guarantor of the constitutional democracy.  He added that in relation to upholding high ethical standards and compliance with the values foundational to our democracy, society has a legitimate expectation that the judiciary would not be found wanting.

Chief Justice Mogoeng said: ‘As one privileged to be Chief Justice of this great country I am here to reiterate what I have said many times before, that virtually all measures necessary to insulate judges from corruptibility and secure our fierce independence have been put in place and are constitutionally entrenched, all the way into our retirement. Our spouses and partners would also be well looked after past our passing onto another life.’ Chief Justice Mogoeng pointed out that it would take a thoroughly bad individual completely bereft of legal, professional and judicial ethics, to embrace corruption.

Chief Justice Mogoeng said allegations have been made, not only that some judges have received money from CR17 (President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2017 African National Congress presidential campaign) or Bidvest, but also that the judiciary is corrupt. He added that the spokesperson of the judiciary, Nathi Mncube, showed him a tweet by a social media user who claims to have informed him (Chief Justice Mogoeng) of certain judges in the Free State Division of the High Court who have allegedly been captured by Ace Magashule, and he did nothing about it. Chief Justice Mogoeng pointed out that his office never received such information.

Chief Justice Mogoeng added that he has been assured by all the provincial leaders of colleagues against whom allegations have been made, that the allegations are false. He said that in the absence of concrete proof to the contrary, he believes his colleagues. ‘Anybody with evidence to support these confidence-damaging allegations that any judge is corrupt or has been captured, must stop hiding behind fictional identities or names in media platforms,’ Chief Justice Mogoeng said.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng held a media briefing on 13 September in Johannesburg to address allegations of corruption levelled against the judiciary.

Chief Justice Mogoeng pleaded that anyone with evidence should –

  • make their true identity and make their contact details known to his office;
  • give the name of the judge that has been captured or corrupted and by whom they have been captured;
  • inform the office of details, such as, if money or benefit was given, how much, when, and the complainants should produce the verifiable documentary or electronic proof; and
  • for the sake of the South African public that deserve a corruption-free judiciary, the complainant must be prepared to give evidence in a court of law or commission of inquiry.

Chief Justice Mogoeng added: ‘We are dead against corruption and capture. South Africans need and deserve a credible, independent and truly transparent judiciary, to root out these injurious practices. Gratuitous allegations of corruption can only delegitimise the judiciary and imperil our constitutional democracy.  I have asked the Secretary-General of the Office of the Chief Justice, Memme Sejosengwe, to ask the National Commissioner of the Police, General Khehla Sitole, to use all relevant capacities at his disposal to uncover the real forces behind the mask(s) making apparently gratuitous allegations of corruption or capture against the judiciary.’

Chief Justice Mogoeng said only a sworn enemy of the constitutional democracy would make allegations so grave against the judiciary without the evidence to back them up. He added that it bears repetition, that if one loves SA and its people and they have credible evidence of capture or corruption against the judiciary, they must share the evidence with his office and with the public and they must be prepared to testify to its veracity.

A media representative asked Chief Justice Mogoeng how he felt about attacks and remarks made about judges from individuals, such as the Economic Freedom Fighter President, Julius Malema, and if he had any idea of who the person – who had allegedly posted on social media that some judges are corrupt – was and whether Chief Justice Mogoeng was suggesting that the people or person who perpetuated these narratives, was committing treason?

Chief Justice Mogoeng responded that as a matter of principle the judiciary is opposed to any derogatory remarks against judges, be it a female or male judge, regardless of where the comment came from. He added that he did not know what provoked some of the attacks across the media and he did not want to speculate.

Another question from the floor was whether there have been any investigations done by the judiciary or the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) about the so-called ‘judicial capture’? Chief Justice Mogoeng said the JSC, needed somebody who is in a position to support whatever allegations they make against judges to come out. He said it would be unfortunate to confront judges who allegations are made against, especially because the judiciary does not even know who the accuser is.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.