Anti-apartheid human rights lawyer George Bizos dies

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Advocate George Bizos at his 92nd birthday celebrations at Saheti School in Bedfordview, Johannesburg.
Advocate George Bizos at his 92nd birthday celebrations at Saheti School in Bedfordview, Johannesburg.
Sesona Ngqakamba, News24
  • George Bizos died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his condolences to the family of the distinguished human rights lawyer. 
  • "We tip our hats in honour of the contribution he made to our democracy," the president said. 

Distinguished human rights advocate George Bizos has died at the age of 92, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has confirmed to News24.

The foundation's spokesperson, Luzuko Koti, said Bizos died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday afternoon. 

Koti said more details would be released in due course. 

Bizos represented Nelson Mandela in both the Treason and Rivonia trials.

President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed his condolences to the Bizos family.

Speaking during an engagement with the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef), Ramaphosa said he had spoken to Bizos about two months ago and his health did not appear to be in good shape. 

"The news about George Bizos' passing is sad news for us as South Africans. George Bizos is one of those lawyers who contributed immensely to the attainment of our democracy.  

"As government, we extend condolences to his family and also send condolences to the rest of South Africans, because George Bizos' name was [a] family name, [a] well-known name. He had [an] incisive legal mind and was also one of the architects of our Constitution.

"He will sorely be missed and we tip our hats in honour of the contribution he made to our democracy, we will forever remember his contribution," said Ramaphosa. 

Bizos celebrated his 92nd birthday in November last year at SAHETI School in Bedfordview, Johannesburg.

As a founding member and life vice president of SAHETI, which was established in 1974, pupils, teachers and parents gathered for assembly in the morning to wish Bizos well. 

The school has also issued a communique announcing his passing.

Pupils entertained him with songs and dance routines as he sat with a smile on his face as his life and contribution to the school and liberation of South Africa was lauded, reported News24 at the time.

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