STUDENTS across the country are adding their names to a petition urging President Jacob Zuma to prevent Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng from becoming chief justice.
The petition raises concerns about Mogoeng’s approach to gender-based violence.
It states: “Women already have great difficulty negotiating the justice system and the appointment of Justice Mogoeng as chief justice will not instil confidence in women that the justice system will become more receptive and sensitive to their needs.”
Organisations behind the petition include the Sonke Gender Justice Network, the Treatment Action Campaign and the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project.
The petition is calling on the president to re-open the nomination process to new candidates.
Final year LLB student Daniel Barnett said students need to refrain from apathy on this particular issue.
“I have gladly endorsed the petition as I believe strongly that Justice Mogoeng is a below-par candidate for this vitally important role in our constitutional democracy.
“If my signature can make a small difference, then I’m proud to have made that small difference,” he told Vuvuzela.
Barnett has been using social networking sites to urge other students to sign the petition.
“The more young voices that are expressed, the more likely our voices will be heard,” he said.
He said Mogoeng’s appointment doesn’t only affect law students but each and every South African who has interests protected and advanced by our Constitution.
“We do not deserve a chief justice who only pays lip service to the values of the
Constitution,” he said.
Fourth-year Wits law student, Nombulelo Nyathela, expressed disappointment at Mogoeng’s appointment.
“As a gender activist, who happens to be a law student, I think people are being unfair if they expect us to overlook his careless judgment on the man who was a woman abuser,” she said.
Nyathela said she was further disappointed by his response in the Judicial Service Commission interview where “he showed very little remorse”.
“His immense experience can’t even overshadow the fact that he at one point didn’t take seriously the plight of women and abuse,” she said.