Patriot, brother, activist, socialist Judge Essa Moosa remembered

2017-03-05 22:22
Deputy minister of international affairs Nomaindia Mfeketo speaking at Judge Essa Moosa's memorial (James de Villiers, News24)

Deputy minister of international affairs Nomaindia Mfeketo speaking at Judge Essa Moosa's memorial (James de Villiers, News24)

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Cape Town – The late Judge Essa Moosa will be remembered for his contribution in ending apartheid, his granddaughter said at a memorial service in Athlone on Sunday.

“It’s really unbelievable to conceive that an Indian boy from District Six would grow up and become the champion for human rights throughout South Africa and all around the world,” 15-year-old Lalia Moosa told a crowd of roughly 400 people.

“His efforts contributed to the systematic change in our political system which would benefit all people and generations to come.”

Moosa passed away on Sunday, February 26 at the age of 81. Moosa was a Western Cape High Court judge for 13 years before retiring in 2011.

Judge Seraj Desai said he would remember Moosa for bringing humanity to the justice system.

“Essa told me: ‘If I make this judgement I make a poor man poorer.’ He was emotionally affected by the decisions he made,” Desai said about his former colleague.

“Dispensing justice with humanity is the ultimate objective [of a judge] in a civilised society.”

Throughout the memorial, references were made to Moosa’s contribution to the African National Congress.

“He refused to be engaged in political debate. [He said] ‘I am a congress man, we will decide on the basis of the freedom charter,’” Desai said.

“But that is not entirely correct. His life was that of a socialist, he lived for the poor, he lived for the redistribution of wealth and he resented what was happening in the Western Cape up to his death. The fact that the poor was increasingly becoming marginalised.”

“He lived as a socialist, he died as a socialist.”

A champion

The memorial was attended by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko and deputy minister of International Relations Nomaindia Mfeketo.

Mfeketo said she would always be indebted to Moosa for his assistance to her family while she was a political prisoner and when her son passed away.

“On numerous occasion he risked his own life, but also risked being detained, tortured or even killed as it was the norm in those days,” Mfeketo said.

“Many of us activists in the Western Cape memorised the telephone number of Essa Moosa and Associates office because we knew it will come handy during the clamp down of police.”

Mfeketo promised that she would take Moosa’s concern over the Kurdish people in Turkey to the parliamentary committee on international relations.

“Wherever he finds people who were fighting for their freedom and their statehood, comrade Essa would be a champion assisting them,” she said.

“These are the countries and international community that listened when we cried for help and therefore cannot be silent when they cry for help.”

(James de Villiers, News24)

Letters of condolences were read from members of the United Nations and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Mandela said she hoped Moosa’s family find strength and comfort knowing that he is in a better place

“He doesn’t feel the pain any more,” she said.

During a filmed video address, a frail looking Desmond Tutu said there were few people with Moosa’s grace, dignity, and “cheerful commitment to righteousness”.

“[I will remember the] manner of his availability [and] his skilled utter dedication to justice often without any financial gain,” Tutu said.

Read more on:    nomaindia mfeketo  |  desmond tutu  |  cape town

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