Tributes pour in for Langa

2013-07-24 18:37
Pius Langa (Picture: Sapa)

Pius Langa (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Former chief justice Pius Langa played a crucial role in laying the foundation for South Africa's democracy, former state president FW de Klerk said on Wednesday.

"During his tenure at the Constitutional Court, but also after his retirement, he worked tirelessly to help build - in a balanced and fair manner - a non-racist, non-sexist and just society founded on the values of human dignity, equality, supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law," said De Klerk.

"Justice Langa's legacy as constitutionalist and jurist will continue to serve as a sterling example of independence of mind for generations to come."

Langa died at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg at the age of 74.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu described Langa as "servant leader".

"Former chief justice Pius Nkonzo Langa was among a group of exceptional men and women honed in the crucible of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle who, when liberation came, were willing and able to selflessly serve their country and their people," said Tutu.

"We thank God for Pius Langa, and send our deepest condolences to his children and grandchildren. His was a life well lived. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said South Africa had lost a legal stalwart who dedicated his life to human rights and law.

"His commitment to human rights and the rule of law was demonstrated through his relentless participation in various organisations and structures advocating for the practice of government regulated by a Constitution," he said.

He played a major role in the transition from apartheid to a constitutional and democratic era and contributed immensely in strengthening the independence of the judiciary and asserting its role as the cornerstone of the country's democracy.

"The country will miss his cogent contribution to the transformation of the judiciary," said Radebe.

'A remarkable legacy'

President of the National Freedom Party (NFP), Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi, said Langa ensured during his tenure that the judiciary was independent from the control of the state, and congratulated him for not being influenced by the "powers that be".

"The whole world’s justice fraternity needs judges like him, who, despite coming from the background of political activism, managed to be impartial when appointed to hold such an important office as the chief justice," she said.

The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said his work on the Press Freedom Commission and jurisprudence while he was at the Constitutional Court for protection for freedom of speech and media, was greatly appreciated.

"Justice Langa helped to articulate the crucial role of a free media in sustaining other constitutional rights and democratic values, and to cement a legal framework that will secure it in years to come," Sanef chair Nic Dawes said.

"We celebrate that remarkable legacy even as we mourn his passing."

Read more on:    sanef  |  nfp  |  jeff radebe  |  fw de klerk  |  nic dawes  |  pius langa

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