In a firm letter addressed to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Friday, 12 March 2021, the President of Liberty Fighters Network (LFN), Reyno De Beer, accused the regulatory body of religious discrimination and gave it until Wednesday, 17 March 2021, to retract all references made to religion in it’s decision involving Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng or face a challenge in the Equality Court.
“The approach followed by Mojapelo J in formulating his decision was to simulate a judgment. In doing so, the learned judge was not mindful that hardly any member of the public, as laypersons, would be able follow the legal jargon contained in his decision. It follows that the reasonable man would, in consequence, interpret the [JSC]’s administrative decision as being a judgment when, in fact, it is not,” De Beer wrote.
The judge not only opted to politicise the Christian scriptures referred to by the CJ; he completely ignored that the expression of religious beliefs very often carry political connotations. While same may be sometimes unfortunate, incorrect or controversial, they remain expressions of belief. Any spoken word may evoke criticism, rightly or wrongly, yet it cannot become the “involvement” as envisaged in the Code of Judicial Conduct. In this context, LFN notes that the learned judge omitted to provide his definition or interpretation of the term “involvement”.
If the administration officer, Mojapelo J, would have, in fact, taken the time to read the references in the Bible as quoted by the CJ, he would undoubtedly have ascertained that those references were reaching out to both the Palestinian and the Jewish people alike who had been trapped within the politicising of a religious dispute.
If it was the intention of the JSC to conduct an inquiry into the CJ’s alleged breach of the Code, such inquiry should never have concluded that the stated religious principles could be in contravention of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers. Compelling a “guilty party” to apologise for his or her religious beliefs is not only discriminatory towards, in this case, the Christian religion but also encourages animosities between religions, and specifically, religions of the Abrahamic faith.
LFN shall immediately proceed to challenge the JSC’s decision in the Equality Court in the event it refuses to retract all connotations, suggesting that the religious remarks were implicating an involvement in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
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