‘Mind your language‚’ Chief Justice tells grants case lawyers


‘Mind your language‚’ Chief Justice tells grants case lawyers

Ernest Mabuza | 2017-03-15 16:24:45.0

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the Constitutional Court. File photo.

Image by: AFP PHOTO

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng issued a warning to lawyers in the grant payment case on Wednesday to mind the language they use when addressing the court.

Mogoeng and several justices of the Constitutional Court had a heated debate with counsel for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini‚ Andrew Breitenbach SC‚ on a number of occasions when judges questioned the conduct of his client.

Mogoeng and other judges were trying to understand Dlamini’s oversight role and that her admission that she was negligent was not a good explanation.

Mogoeng had asked Breitenbach to assist in understanding the minister’s position and whether the South African Social Security Agency was in a position to adjudicate on a new tender for the payment of grants.


Breitenbach told the court that it must “not jump” to adverse conclusions about the minister.

After an adjournment‚ Mogoeng said it was incumbent upon counsel to mind their language.

“We remain bound by an oath of office to do the right thing. Decorum of the court does not permit counsel to warn us. We are very responsible people. We are not warned by officers of the court‚” Mogoeng said.

The chief justice requested counsel to always be alive to where they were‚ what language was acceptable and what language was unacceptable to be used by counsel in addressing the court.

TMG Digital

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