Praise for Pius Langa

2013-08-27 12:37
Nomgcobo Jiba (Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld)

Nomgcobo Jiba (Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Former chief justice Pius Langa had ensured prosecutorial independence from the executive, acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba said on Tuesday.

"As the leader of that institution [National Prosecuting Authority] I can confirm... that it discharges its functions without any interference by the executive, contrary to media reports," she said at a special sitting of the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg to pay tribute to Langa.

"The Constitution that the late chief justice fashioned required that we discharge our functions without fear, favour or prejudice."

She said the NPA remained "true" to this constitutional imperative.

"It is unfortunate that some uninformed media houses... sometimes make unfounded statements that seek to undermine and erode public confidence in such an important institution," said Jiba.

"I am sure that those comments do not serve to deepen the ideals that the former chief justice would have liked to see."

A gentle giant

Jiba said the NPA would always treat each person fairly and equally, regardless of whether they were rich or poor, a politician or not.

"Any attempts to pressurise the NPA into taking decisions... will not succeed."

National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu said Langa was a gentle giant, brilliant jurist, and a principled and modest man.

"I personally got to know him as a person with a sharp and brilliant mind and a keen sense of humour," said Sisulu.

"He made such a significant contribution to our country that it is not surprising that so much praise has been attributed to Pius."

Sisulu regarded Langa as his older brother, through a friendship with Langa's younger brothers.

He said Langa was a great listener, who chose his words carefully.

"Pius lived up to his name. He was Pius by name, but also truly pious in life."

Great love

Langa had exhibited great love for his people and used law to make his greatest contribution to uplift and protect the oppressed.

"During the apartheid era, his legal practice reflected his deep-seated conviction to protect the oppressed from a brutal system that used the law as a sword to cut down the rights and freedom of its people.

"Again during the transition to democracy, Pius played a key role in shaping our constitutional dispensation," Sisulu said.

Langa died on 24 July at the age of 74 after a month-long hospital stay due to a long illness.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng thanked the Langa family for sharing him with the world.

"You had a precious gift. Thank you for sharing that with the world... even in circumstances where his health was fading."

Mogoeng said the judiciary would never betray Langa's legacy, and was working on communicating more effectively with South Africans, possibly through social networking sites.
Read more on:    npa  |  constitutional court  |  pius langa  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  judiciary

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