Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng took everyone by surprise when, during the swearing in of the new Cabinet ministers on Tuesday, he departed from his planned remarks to remind the ministers of the seriousness of their oath of office.
Mogoeng said he would be "failing in his duty" if he did not "underscore" the importance of the oath of office.
Chief Justice Mogoeng's lamentation&words of hope. Lord knows we've seen this oath taken4naught by some who've uttered it in the recent past.May no1who dares violate it henceforth be spared the wrath of those who fought,bled&even died4this hard won democracy✊ #CabinetReshuffle pic.twitter.com/bpcRKXvqli— Asanda Magaqa (@asandamagaqa) February 28, 2018
He said that the oath of office could not be treated as inconsequential, and said that the assumption is that "only people who have a measure of credibility and integrity" and "some character to write about" should be elected as public servants.
Mogoeng: It's not about assuming power so that you can look important, it's not about having resources distributed to your department or section so that we can now begin to look like we owe you something; it is to become a servant of South Africa.— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) February 27, 2018
"I'm not here because I have nothing to do, I could easily have designated this to the judge president of the high court. I came here because... it is absolutely necessary that we conscientise ourselves as deputy president, deputy ministers and ministers about the profundity of the responsibility we are about to assume," he said.
He added that if there was anyone who felt like they could not agree with these sentiments, they should leave the room.
Mogoeng: I could say more but time does not permit. I'm just saying ... if after reflection you consider yourself disqualified, I'm sure the president won't mind if you pull out.— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) February 27, 2018
Those in the room commented that Mogoeng seemed "gatvol" with public servants who did not take their oath of office seriously.
Chief Justice Mogoeng's incisive ministerial swearing in "deviation" was not just a warning to new office bearers. It was a reminder that JZ ignored his oath of office & trampled on the Constitution; that all the ANC MPs & ministers, by supporting him, were equally guilty of this— Terry Bell (@telbelsa) February 27, 2018
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's prefacing of today's swearing in gives you a sense of how gatvol he has been with constitutional breaches. "You are swearing allegiance to the republic! Conscientize yourselves about the profundity of the responsibility you are assuming!"— Bongani Bingwa - Host of 702 Breakfast. (@bonglez) February 27, 2018
Mogoeng's swearing-in speech was a clear protest against ministers who take the oath of office as a mere ritual other than a hearty commitment to the people of South Africa. Like all citizens, he's tired of having to mediate avoidable problems by gov. #OathOfOffice— Khulani Qoma (@KhulaniQoma) February 28, 2018
Mogoeng. The Adult in the room. Always.— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) February 27, 2018
Mogoeng said those who betrayed their oath of office should be judged "most brutally".
Mogoeng: And may the oath or the affirmation judge most brutally any of us who is here for a show or any of us who will betray the constitutional aspirations of the people of South Africa after having an oath or affirmation administered to him or her.— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) February 27, 2018