CHOSEN: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is one of the Judicial Service Commission members who will interview hopefuls for deputy judge president in the Eastern Cape High Court’s Bhisho division. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

CHIEF Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says the legal profession must root out corruption.

He was addressing the 17th Sadc Lawyers Association conference‚ hosted by the South African Law Society at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Thursday.

This is the first time the conference has been held in SA. About 250 people made up the international crowd inside the auditorium. Most delegates were from South African Development Community (SADC) countries.

Mogoeng spoke harshly about corruption and the failure to enforce the law in the government and the private sector.

"If there are the people who have the potential and the capacity to help root out corruption‚ it is lawyers‚" he said about tackling corruption on the continent.

"The problem‚ I think I’m repeating is this‚ we allow ourselves to become part — I’m deliberately avoiding a particular word — to become part and parcel of the corrupt system."

Mogoeng said it was an honour to be lawyers. "We need to stamp out corruption and anything that brings the profession into disrepute‚" he said.

"I am appealing for principled‚ centred crafting of laws and the implementation of those laws."

Speaking about lawyers and corruption‚ he said rich clients would come and say: "These are the facts‚ they are damaging but you are a lawyer and I’m going to pay you. Use your experience and wisdom to get out of trouble.

"And I would say: ‘Look for a crooked lawyer‚ I’m not one of them’. Maybe it’s about time that we adopt that attitude‚ if only for the sake of our countries‚ our region‚ the continent and the global village in which we find ourselves, and more importantly‚ for the sake of posterity," Mogoeng said.

"It does not help‚ making as much money as possible now which nobody in your lineage will be able to inherit‚" he said.

He added that there were many unqualified people in the judiciary and closer attention needed to be paid to how they were appointed and whether the process was transparent.

TMG Digital