South Africa’s New Chief Justice Is Lenient On Child Rape


Last week I wrote about the appalling record that Mogoeng Mogoeng, the South African constitutional court judge who has been nominated to become the country’s new chief justice, has on issues of gender violence, marital rape and homosexuality. Well, it gets worse.

As journalists and organizations dig further into Mogoeng’s history as a judge, they are uncovering more and more unsavory details. The latest public outrage revolves around statements and judgments he made during a number of appeal court cases involving the rape or attempted rape of children.

A report released by the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) highlights some of these instances:

• In 2004, Mogoeng reduced the jail term of a man convicted of raping a seven-year-old girl from life to 18 years, the legal minimum, without providing any compelling mitigating circumstances.

• In 2005, he reduced the sentence of a man convicted of attempting to rape a seven-year-old girl from five to three years. In mitigation, Mogoeng acknowledged that her vagina had been penetrated, but found that it was not clear whether this happened with the man’s finger or his penis, as her face had been covered by her dress and she could not see. In response to Mogoeng’s statement that “the complainant is seven years old and the injury she sustained is not serious,” the SALC report notes that “it is hard to see how an injury to a seven-year-old which results from sexual abuse … can ever be classified as ‘not serious’”.

• In 2007, while Mogoeng upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl, he made the startling statement that “ 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.” Replying that “comments like this have no place in cases of child rape,” the SALC report charges that Mogoeng “fails to acknowledge that victims react to rape in different ways and that rape is not always a violent crime, especially in relation to children” and that he appears to view non-violent cases of rape as less serious.

The SALC report is one of many submissions objecting to the appointment of Mogoeng made to South Africa’s Judicial Services Commission (JSC). The JSC, which is the constitutional body charged with assessing and accepting or rejecting his appointment as the country’s new chief justice, interviewed Mogoeng in Cape Town on Saturday and Sunday.

Despite the numerous objections, legal insiders have suggested that his formal appointment was a foregone conclusion and on Sunday afternoon news sources reported that the JSC had voted in favor of Mogoeng after deliberating for several hours.

Andreas is a book shop manager and freelance writer in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @Andreas_Spath
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Photo from: Stock.Xchng


Sharon H.
Sharon H6 years ago

I want to know where Dawid is....he's from South Africa, Catholic and always very vocal on threads about gays and how sick and horrible they are. OK Dawid...come here and let us know what you think of this....or, if I'm correct, you'll stay silent...just like you do when it's about pedophile priests.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

This is totally outrageous, to allow such a man to be chief justice, or a judge, or ANYTHING! My words are too pitiful to express the outrage at this. What is wrong with him?! What is wrong with the JSC of this country to appoint him?!!! More children's lives ruined. I hope this isn't one of those "cultural" things the west isn't supposed to meddle in.

Maarja L.
Maarja L6 years ago

This person seems to be really awful.

David Anderson
David Anderson6 years ago

Marie W.

8:01PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Absolute nutjob- South Africa must be drinking some of the Right wing wine.

Marie, nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing these miscreants have in common with conservatives is breathing air. Please recall whose ideal it was to create the situation that allowed these thugs to rise to power.

Kim Rivers
Kim Rivers6 years ago

Rapist Should be put to Death !!!

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

Disgusting, this man is a monster and not far from a child molester himself if he thinks crimes like these are OK, what a tool...:-(

Sandra Lang
Sandra Lang6 years ago

This government is what the rest of the world forced us accept - this is what they petitioned for, what they marched for, and what they behaved like raving lunatics in the streets for .... and now??? Now they are beginning to realize that we knew about this "MENTALITY" deficiency MANY years ago - and were trying to prevent it from infecting the entire African continent at that time. We were labeled "racists" and "apartheid" supporters - and were ostracized by every single 1st world nation. What we have running this country is the same mentality that believes it's OK to rape babies as young as 6 months old because this will cure AIDS in the population - as will the rape of a virgin - of any age - this is the same mentality that believes "corrective rape" on lesbians and gays is acceptable - even if the victim dies from the injuries suffered therein - as most of them do. This same mentality encouraged the eating of garlic, beetroot, and the African potato to cure AIDS in the human body, and believes certain human and animal bodily parts acquired whilst the victim is still alive can cure ANY disease known to man-kind. Their culture is to burn alive any woman thought to be a witch - and if the whole family are in the house at the time - so what? Let them burn. The White genocide being practiced on a daily basis is ignored - and the increasingly brutal methods employed whilst performing this genocide is barbarically referred to as "justice" - and deserved retribution. Xenophobia

Demian v.
Wendy V6 years ago

When this farce of a government took this country over they ignored everything... Decided that 'they' would re-write history and change all the rules. Unfortuantely there was no thought given to the fact that the existing laws in respect to child rape and abuse and many other things were more than adequate... But as with everything in this country, if it was associated with whites it had to be thrown out...

If 'they' would just stop for one second and think, yes think... I know it's a difficult concept for a government of this nature to understand but if they could do this then I'm sure 'they' would come to their senses. Instead they are so busy chasing power and greed and spending all 'their' time enriching themsleves to the demise of this beautiful country... OH! Yes lets not forget how they are setting an example for Africa... "We'll get the whites back"... Big Deal, 'they' had better hope this does not backfire on them... lol.

End of the day if anyone thinks that raping or having sex with a child does not deserve the highest penalty/punishment then he must get his head read. I wonder how this pathetic example of a judge would behave if it was his 'little girl' that got raped?

Gary W.
Gary Walker6 years ago

South Africa is a bizarre country run by brazen criminals. The ANC is so secure in their position that they don't give a hoot about public opinion, local or foreign. It's all about enriching themselves and their buddies at the expense of the country. And if you think apartheid in SA is dead, think again. The shoe is just on the other foot. Whites in this country have no voice in government, are denied jobs and business opportunities. Whites are prey to criminals and receive no protection from the police. In fact, ANC leaders are known to take the stage at political rallies and urge their followers to kill the whites. The ANC has even gone to court to protect their right to do so.

I read the comments of international contributors on here with interest. Believe me, as horrendous this story is, it is just the tiny tip of an extremely massive iceberg. If you want to see the future of South Africa, look north to Zimbabwe.