Chaskalson honoured for his contribution

2012-12-03 18:02
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Tributes to former chief justice Arthur Chaskalson continued to pour in from political parties, the legal fraternity and civil society on Monday.

Former president FW de Klerk described him as one of the founding fathers of South Africa's constitutional democracy.

"In this capacity, he played a leading role in developing the independent, non-racial and transformative culture that continues to characterise our highest court," De Klerk said in a statement.

Chaskalson died at the age of 81 in Johannesburg on Saturday, reportedly of leukaemia.

He had been a principled campaigner for human rights throughout his career.

"Before 1994, he defended many opponents of apartheid including the Rivonia trial in 1963."

De Klerk added that Chaskalson had also played a key role as an adviser in the negotiations, which led to the adoption of the 1993 Constitution.

"Elita and I would like to convey our most sincere condolences to former Chief Justice Chaskalson's family and friends."

The ANC said Chaskalson's death left a void in the legal fraternity. "South Africa has lost a sterling and outstanding man who had an immeasurable impact to the country's constitutional democracy and the post apartheid jurisprudence," said ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

"Judge Chaskalson played a pivotal role in opposing apartheid laws and their manifestations," said Mthembu.

Chaskalson was the first president of the Constitutional Court and was chief justice from November 2001 until he retired in 2005.

Legal skills

In 2002 he was awarded the Order of the Baobab, one of the highest accolades the government can give to a South African citizen.

He was buried on Monday in a private, but special official funeral at Westpark cemetery, in Johannesburg.

It was attended by President Jacob Zuma, and was followed by an official memorial service.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said Chaskalson had used his great legal skills to advance the struggle for freedom and democracy.

"Chaskalson will always be remembered and honoured as one of the key role-players in the construction of our world-renowned constitutional dispensation, said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven.

He said Chaskalson would be remembered for his leadership in the Constitutional Court, which had consistently protected and extended the country's democratic rights.

"We owe it to his memory to make sure that we never undermine the democratic foundations he laid down in his lifelong commitment to promote social justice and human rights," said Craven.

The Black Lawyers' Association (BLA) said the role Chaskalson had played in shaping the country's jurisprudence under the constitutional dispensation was well archived, preserved and documented throughout the world.

BLA president Busani Mabunda said South Africans had a duty to closely scrutinise Chaskalson's contributions towards sticky and thorny issues.

"It will, in his legacy and in remembrance of him, be pivotal to apply our minds and digest his views to craft the proper destiny of this country," said Mabunda.
 



 

- SAPA
Read more on:    patrick craven  |  fw de klerk  |  jackson mthembu  |  johannesburg  |  judiciary
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