Tribute to Langa
I have learnt with great sadness of the passing of the former Chief Justice of SoutAfrica, the Honourable Justice Pius Langa, this Wednesday, 24 July 2103.
After retirement as Chief Justice of South Africa, the late Justice Langa graciously accepted the invitation to serve the people of Namibia as an ad hoc Judge of the Supreme Court. He was first appointed in that capacity on 1 February 2010 and continued to sit in successive sessions of the Court until July 2011. He sat in 15 appeal cases where he made a sterling contribution to our jurisprudence on wide-ranging legal subjects. The late Chief Justice Langa was widely recognized as a distinguished jurist with an unwavering commitment to human rights, democracy, social justice and the rule of law.
On a personal level, he was a relatively quiet and reflective gentleman and giant renowned for his powerful intellect, logical reasoning and clarity of formulation in his many seminal judgements and scholarly work he authored both in his home country and in Namibia.
Not only did he serve his country with distinction through his work, but he stood steadfast throughout his life by the high principles which continue to inspire us as a Court. He is indeed a man worthy of memory in the history of this country.
On behalf of all members of the Namibian Judiciary and on my own behalf, I pay tribute to this great judge and courageous lawyer and extend our condolences to his family and to the people of South Africa on their great loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in these difficult times.
24 July 2013
In a separate tribute published by the Business Day in South Africa, Senior Councillor, Adv Jeremy Gauntlett said Pius Nkonzo Langa was a public servant in the highest sense. Not for him the mansion, or motorcade, or excessive sense of office. He served. He had done so in the legal profession (a founding member first of the Democratic Lawyers Association and then NADEL) and he continued to do so as a judge in a number of university and legal institutions. He took part, too, in structures of the UDF and was involved in CODESA as a member of the Constitutional Committee of the ANC. In retirement, he still served part-time as a judge of appeal (in Namibia) and on several international bodies. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Cape Town and Zululand (of which he was Chancellor). The highest presidential honour – the Order of the Baobab (Gold Class) – was also conferred upon him.