South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday criticised the country’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng over the latter’s apparently favourable remarks concerning Israel.What caused the ANC angry was an article in Israeli’s Jerusalem Post which said the “Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng has lamented his country’s adoption of a lop-sided attitude toward the Israel-Palestinian conflict and said that it (Pretoria) would have greater influence if it displayed a more balanced approach.”
The ruling party also accused the top judiciary official for openly supporting the actions of Israel, “actions which have been condemned by the United Nations Security Council on numerous occasions and contemptuous behaviour towards the human rights of the people of Palestine.”
The party said it was “rather unfortunate” for the Chief Justice to state that “South African government policy was binding upon himself and that he was not seeking to reject it” but then clearly and openly opposed it “as a citizen.”
By expressing these views, the ANC said, “the esteemed Chief Justice had entered the arena of political commentary, which may make him vulnerable should he have to adjudicate a human rights matter in the future.”
South Africa is a secular state and all its citizens, including members of the judiciary, are bound by the constitution, the party said.
“While it has respect for the independence of the judiciary, the party has consistently expressed courageously through its successive resolutions that the contemporary State of Israel is an Apartheid State,” the party said.
It added: “We support human rights and we stand with the oppressed Palestinians who include Christians of the Holy Land, the residents of Jerusalem and Bethlehem who are living under Israeli Apartheid.”
The ANC reminded the Chief Justice that on 24 June the UN Secretary-General stated that the annexation of 30 percent of the West Bank settlement by Israel was a gross violation of international law.
“The annexation is nothing more than a land grab and theft,” the ANC said in its staunch support of the oppressed people of Palestinian who have been under a harsh occupation by Israel since 1967.
The governing party said it would continue to work with all sectors of South Africa in opposing the occupation, annexation and colonisation of Palestinian land by the Jewish state.
The Chief Justice is yet to respond to the claims by the ANC.