Mogoeng Mogoeng on how leaders stoked fear during Covid-19 pandemic
“Even the people of faith where boldness is supposed to be found, suddenly the faith that they used to have in the almighty God is not there any more. People are fear-stricken.”
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng used these words in an analogy to describe how the power of messaging by leaders had caused fear around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
He was speaking during a webinar discussion with the Chief Rabbi of SA, Warren Goldstein, hosted this week by The Jerusalem Post.
Mogoeng has drawn criticism from the ANC for appearing to support Israel during the discussion. During the discussion he was asked how issues that divide people, according to race or religion for example, could be stripped away.
Mogoeng said words spoken to family, the community, a nation and the global community were immensely powerful. To demonstrate the power of words, he cited the pandemic.
“It took three months to have the whole world wallowing in fear because of words that are spoken by leaders in the political sector, leaders in the media, leaders in the private sector.
“Leaders saying so many people are affected by coronavirus, so many people are going to die. They are even prophesying they know how many people are going to die. I don't know how they know that,” he added.
“So many people are going to die, so many people are going to be affected by this thing. Now because of those words that are consistently pumped into the media platforms, they enter the heart of the people, they enter the minds of the people. So everybody is trembling, even the people of faith where boldness is supposed to be found, suddenly the faith that they used to have in the almighty god is not there any more. People are fear-stricken.”
Then he said imagine if leaders consistently put out positive messages. “Imagine now if we were speaking hope ... to the hearts and the minds of the people as consistently as leaders have been doing in the past three months.
“If we were speaking healing, if we were speaking restoration and economic revival, if we are speaking unity, if we are speaking love ... imagine what kind of people we would be only after three months.”