A group of medical experts say the call for the dismissal of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is motivated by his breach of professional and ethical standards. The group, called the Progressive Health Forum, wants the head of South Africa’s judiciary to be dismissed following statements in which he suggested that there may be some companies manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine with a satanic agenda.

“I lock out any vaccine that is not of you,  if there is any vaccine that is of the devil meant to infuse triple six in the lives of the people,  meant to corrupt their DNA any such vaccine Lord God may it be destroyed by fire Lord Jesus,” said Mogoeng.

It is this prayer while paying tribute to nurses at Tembisa Hospital in Ekurhuleni last week that has landed Chief Justice Moegeng Moegeng in hot water. While he says he has been misunderstood as he never said all vaccines are meant to support a satanic agenda, some medical scientists will hear none of it.

“This is not a matter of the rights of Mr Mogoeng to free speech or belief or even the right to profess the same,  this is a matter of professionalism and ethics in our view of his office. The office of the Chief Justice is one of the three pinnacle offices of the state. The others being the Head of State and the Speaker of Parliament. As such these offices are invested with a Code of Conduct which we believe he has breached egregiously in this instance,” says convenor of the Progressive Health Forum, Dr Aslam Dasoo.

Mogoeng defends his prayer: 

This is not the first time Mogoeng has ruffled feathers. In 2013 the Institute of Accountability in Southern Africa (Ifaisa), now known as Accountability Now, laid a complaint of gross misconduct with the Judicial Services Commission against him based on an address he made at a formal dinner of the Advocates for Transformation. The Chief Justice had made a veiled reference to organisations who challenged the way the JSC  recommends candidates for appointment to the Bench.

In this instance, Dasoo says Mogoeng’s stance could have a negative impact on the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

“In this pandemic, we have only one instrument to get us to the other side and that is an effective vaccination. If sufficient numbers of people are vaccinated we get to a position of herd immunity where the virus is sufficiently suppressed. If his words cause many thousand perhaps even millions who follow him to avoid getting vaccinated we may not reach herd immunity and that is a danger to the country because transmission, disease and death will continue for us.”

Meanwhile, leadership expert Dr Mazwe Majola says that the Chief Justice showed poor judgment.

“If he was invited there as a pastor I would understand that he would preach and pray for the nation but if he was invited there as the Chief Justice he should have stayed in his lane. It was a mistake for him to use that platform for his faith-based benefit but I wonder if that really warrants an impeachment for him.”

In the event that the forum proceeds with action to remove Mogoeng, it will be a steep mountain to climb. It would need a recommendation following a disciplinary process presided over by five judges, and thereafter a resolution by the National Assembly supported by two-thirds of its members.