Mogoeng Mogoeng

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The Honourable Justice
Mogoeng Mogoeng
Chief Justice of South Africa
Assumed office
8 September 2011
Deputy Dikgang Moseneke
Appointed by Jacob Zuma
Preceded by Sandile Ngcobo
Personal details
Born (1961-01-14) 14 January 1961 (age 53)
Zeerust, South Africa
Nationality South African
Spouse(s) Mmaphefo Mogoeng
Children 3
Alma mater University of Natal
University of South Africa
University of Zululand
Occupation Judge
Profession Lawyer
Religion Christian Pentecostal

Mogoeng Thomas Reetsang Mogoeng was born on 14 January 1961 in Goo-Mokgatha (Koffiekraal) village, north east of Zeerust in South Africa. He is currently Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.[1] He was appointed by President Jacob Zuma on the 8th of September 2011.[2][3]


Mogoeng is a lay preacher in the Pentecostal Winners' Chapel.[4] His nomination and appointment as Chief Justice in 2011 met with public criticism, which Mogoeng attributed to his Christian faith. In an interview aired on a Christian television channel in 2013, Mogoeng said "It looked like there was something about my Christianity that did not go down well with the people in the media and certain sectors of our society".[5] In March 2012, he was publicly criticised for requesting judges to attend a leadership conference hosted by Christian evangelist John C. Maxwell, raising concerns about the separation of church and judiciary.[4]

Constitutional expert Pierre de Vos has referred to Mogoeng as the most conservative member of the court, pointing to ambivalence over gay rights in Le Roux and Others v Dey and a "deferential" approach to the executive in The Citizen and Others v Robert McBride.[6] Mogoeng's appointment led to the role of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in the process being called into question.[7]

Mogoeng has ruled for reduced sentences in child rape trials, stating that the non-violent nature of the rape negates the seriousness of the offense:

"One can safely assume that [the accused] must have been mindful of [the victim's] tender age and was thus so careful as not to injure her private parts, except accidentally, when he penetrated her. That would explain why the child was neither sad nor crying when she returned from the shop, notwithstanding the rape. In addition to the tender approach that would explain the absence of serious injuries and the absence of serious bleeding, he bought her silence and cooperation with Simba chips and R30."[8]

Mogoeng has been accused by the Nobel Women's Initiative of invoking dangerous myths about rape, and of blaming victims.[9]

The 2005 case of State v Moipolai involved the rape of an 8 months pregnant woman by her long-term boyfriend and father of her two other children. Justice Mogoeng reduced a sentence of 10 years imprisonment to 5 years and he stated here that the rape was not as "serious" as it would have been had a stranger committed it.[10][11]
The 2001 case of State v Mathebe saw Mogoeng reduce the sentence from two-years to a fine of R4,000, for a man who tied his girlfriend to his car and dragged her 50m along a dirt road. Mogoeng said the man had been "provoked".[10][11]


  1. ^ "Who's Who SA: Mogoeng Mogoeng". Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Zuma picks Mogoeng as Chief Justice". Mail & Guardian. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Cohen, Mike (8 September 2011). "Zuma Appoints Mogoeng as South Africa’s Chief Justice Ignoring Objection". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Tolsi, Niren (14 March 2012). "Attend Christian course, Mogoeng tells judges". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  5. ^ du Plessis, Charl (19 May 2013). "Mogoeng and the prophet". City Press. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  6. ^ de Vos, Pierre (29 July 2011). "On the Appointment of a Chief Justice". Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Naidoo, Prakash (15 September 2011). "Dissatisfaction grows". Financial Mail. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Ilham, Rawoot (2 September 2011). "Mogoeng's shocking child rape rulings". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Don't appoint Mogoeng, says Nobel Women's Initiative". Mail & Guardian. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Kinama, Emily (8 September 2011). Institute for Security Studies, ed. "Is the Appointment of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as Chief Justice in the Interest of the People?". Creamer Media. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Nobel winners join battle to stop South African judge landing top job". The Scotsman. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2013. "In 2001, Mr Mogoeng quashed a two-year jail term for a man who tied his girlfriend to the back of his car and dragged her for 50 metres along a dirt road. The judge said the man had been 'provoked' and fined him £370. In 2004, he reduced the sentence of a man found guilty of raping his eight months’ pregnant wife in the presence of another person, arguing it was 'not serious'." 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sandile Ngcobo
Chief Justice of South Africa