Mogoeng Mogoeng reveals why he turned down R600m offer: ‘That is how capture starts’

Someone made chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng  an offer of R600 million to assist in modernising the court system, but he said no because “that’s how capture happens”.

South Africa’s  chief justice says that despite funding being an issue, the modernisation of the courts will take place.

At a press briefing to announce the release of a Judiciary Annual Report by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, South Africa’s top judge spoke of plans to modernise South Africa’s courts.

This will included electronic filing so that you don’t have to drive to deliver papers and to simplify the judiciary’s admin, as well as allowing people to use smartphones and iPads to obtain information about what is happening in any of South Africa’s courts at any given time, Mogoeng said.

He also mentioned that someone made him an offer of R600 million to assist in modernising the court system, but he said no because “that’s how capture happens”.

“I may have mentioned it to some that I was approached by somebody, offering R600 million so that we can modernise, but I know that person, I know that institution, I rejected it with the necessary contempt because that’s how capture happens.

“We don’t want to be funded in the middle of the night however people may posture as benevolent givers of assistance,” he added.

Which specific person or institution offered him the large sum of money is anyone’s guess, as Mogoeng didn’t spill the beans.

He did, however, say that “we have done a lot of work to develop a court automatisation system, based on what we have seen in the US, in China and other jurisdictions”.

Mogoeng did admit lack of funding was a problem, saying at times the courts “are not provided with library material, computers in order to modernise courts”.

“Funding has been the major frustration, but Judge President [Dunstan] Mlambo and other colleagues in our modernisation committee will tell you, good progress has been made.”

According to Mogoeng, “a system that deals with case lines is now in place,” and “a pilot project is underway in the Gauteng courts under the supervision of Judge President Mlambo”.

The chief justice also said that our court system was often placed against ones in other countries which had had the benefit of functioning for a longer period of time.

“We tend to be compared to jurisdictions that have been well organised for well over 100 years, and I think unfairly so,” he said.

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