On Friday night, 14 October, I had the opportunity to listen to the recently appointed South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on SA FM addressing the University of Western Cape. The Chief justice’s address was themed Advocate for transformation in the judiciary. I should add that at first I found the Chief Justice quite lazy that I even wondered if I was going to listen to his address throughout.
His somewhat laziness resulted in my writing this on my Facebook status: “Mogoeng’s address on SA FM now makes me quite sleepy. No offense, but he sounds like a father reading a book to his child(ren). Worse, he sounds like [Jacob] Zuma reading his speech. I hate those pauses, hey.”
Here’s what Mogoeng said:
- Deliver to all South Africans, says Mogoeng.
- Mogoeng said appointments to the judiciary shouldn’t be about salaries, but that it should be about commitment to the service delivery. “Good people charity begins at home”.
- Don’t appoint judicial officers for the sake of it, said Mogoeng in his first address at the University of Western Capeon 14 Oct 2011. He further said that as much as background checking was done on black judicial officers and their commitment to transformation questioned and scrutinized, the same should be done to/on white judicial officers.
- Mogoeng said people always complained about the number of judicial officers’ judgments, and that he had with him figures of “lamentation” but didn’t have the time to dwell on them. He further said small claims courts shouldn’t be confined to the big cities only. Mogoeng said city courts and traditional courts should be looked into and properly structured. And by properly training traditional leaders who will be heading such courts, they are likely to serve rural communities.
- Mogoeng also raised a concern of courts postponements which was problematic. He said this was worrying because postponements happened unnecessarily so even when all witnesses where available. “I think it is time we deal with issues of backlocks”, said Mogoeng on his first public address.
- Mogoeng also touched on the “mistakes” done by some judges and the effect they have not only on other judges but on the judiciary at large.
- ”We do more harm to our people than we realise [with these unnecessary court postponements he gave an example of]”, said Mogoeng.
- Concluding his address and acknowledging his lack of flowing on his address as lecturers often do – something I first mentioned in my status earlier that he made me sleepy and sounded just like Zuma reading his speeches, and with the unnecessary pause in between – Mogoeng said the Cape Town weather was to blame for his funny voice which somewhat made him ill.
- And I managed to stay awake throughout the address such that I even Facebooked his comments live.
But of course the reaction to the Chief Justice’s address from many quarters in the country will be critical while others will be ill-informed and unfair and not reasonable.