Mogoeng not a devil’s advocate


It’s Day 262 of the Covid-19 national lockdown. 

My final paper of an awful year is well under construction. I’ve just 800 words to contribute and then I’m done. 

There’s no money to go anywhere.

Even if there was, I wasn’t going anywhere. We’re in the second wave of a deadly pandemic, so I’m staying pozi.

I’m still alive, employed, with a roof over my head. A couple of weeks of not having to channel my inner Patrick Vieira every morning lie ahead, before the grind starts all over again in January, so I’m feeling pretty blessed.

Happy birthday, Jesus Christ.

Durban is a boiling, sweating hell. The humidity is way past tolerable. The only hope of relief lies in the ocean, which I’d better get myself into if I want to drop my body temperature before the beach ban kicks in. 

The new set of Covid-19 regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night were nowhere near as harsh as I had expected. 

I thought the cooperative governance minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the health minister, Zweli Mkhize, would have taken out the big stick in response to the outbreak sparked by — among other things — imbeciles allowing their spawn to attend matric Rage parties in the middle of a pandemic.

Clearly, Dabs, Khabazela and their colleagues on the National Coronavirus Command Council have mellowed since March: no ban on gwais. Four days a week access to takeaway booze. Sit-down drinks seven days out of seven. 

There’s still time, I guess.

The head of state had been left with no option but to cancel Christmas. Ramaphosa had to torpedo New Year’s Eve celebrations with the 11pm national curfew. The beach ban in KwaZulu-Natal on December 16 and the other Big Days announced at Thursday night’s family meeting was pretty fair. So was the total ban on going to the beach in the Eastern Cape — where things are far worse — until after the festive. 

There are thousands of pissed off would-be beach-goers all along the east coast — and heading for it, despite the beach ban — but that’s the way it has to be.

But I’m less convinced by #Ratherstaypozi’s announcement that unfettered beaching will be permitted in the Western Cape throughout the jolly season. Wall-to-wall wine testing.

It’s not just the fact that the water is far too cold to swim in. 

Ramaphosa gave KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape premiers Sihle Zikalala and Oscar Mabuyane what they asked for — shut the beaches. 


Giving Premier Alan Winde what he wanted by keeping the Western Cape beaches open throughout the festive season was more of the same, but it’s likely to turn out to be a fatal decision.

Like many of my fellow South Africans, I’m a tad relieved to hear that Mogoeng Mogoeng, our Bible thumping, proudly anti-vaxxing, 666-waddawaddawadda-spewingchief justice, is close to ending his term of office as the apex jurist of our fine, secular, republic.

Praise the Lord and pass the pipe.

Right now, as a nation, we need the country’s top judge abusing his office to launch a future career in the theological world at our expense like we need a hole in the collective head.

Whatever the reason, this cat is well out of order, chief justice or not, and a threat to public health. A menace, paid for by the public purse.

Perhaps Ramaphosa should make an example of Prophet Mogoeng. 

Get Dlamini-Zuma to bend him over the bench at the Constitutional Court while Mkhize force-Pfizer his fake-news spewing ass live on national TV, all SABC channels and DStv to undo the damage he may have caused.

Perhaps Prophet Mogoeng is just Karen from Facebook, in an epidemiological and theological sense, a loose cannon with unlimited data and way too much privilege, demanding to speak to the manager, while the rest of us cringe.

Perhaps the CJ has identified a Prophet Bushiri-sized gap in the pay-for-prayer market and is making his move for Major  1 constituents, given that Banda jumped the border.

Deeper, CeeJay. 


Perhaps there’s a plum post going in a continental — or intercontinental — theological organisation just after Mogoeng hangs up his robes next year and his performance is purely cynical, a means of marketing himself among the faithful ahead of trading the Batman cloak for a white collar.

It’s like Instagram marketing, but with potentially deadly consequences.

For others.

Perhaps the CJ is just an irresponsible, selfish man; a deluded, emboldened zealot, who couldn’t resist abusing his office to force his beliefs down the rest of our throats, despite the damage this could do to the national effort to fight the Covid-19 virus.

I pray nobody takes him seriously.

Mogoeng has the national flower on his upper left arm, just like you, me and everybody else who grew up in our republic.




Mogoeng has been crossing international borders for decades, up-to-date immunisation card in hand, grinningly, so this sudden onset of 666-anti-vaccinationitis is puzzling, to say the very least.

Yellow fever, Bruv?

Measles, Your Honour?

Perhaps I’d have taken Mogoeng more seriously if he’d started speaking in tongues at the beginning of his term, when it could have cost him, rather than at the end of it, when it’s too late for him to face any real sanction, pay any price for it, and it’s time to move the hustle on.


Perhaps I should be grateful to the soon to be former chief justice.

After all, Mogoeng won’t be ahead of me — or anybody else — in the queue for the 666 Covid-19 vaccine, when it finally gets here.

Or will he?

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…