Statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the death of former Chief Justice Pius Langa – 24 July 2013

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.

He began his working life in a clothing factory, studied law by correspondence, was admitted as an advocate, helped found the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, was appointed in 1994 as one of the 11 judges on the newly established Constitutional Court, and went on to serve with distinction as the third Chief Justice in our new democratic dispensation.

Pius Langa was a servant leader. As an advocate, he represented the underprivileged, civic associations, trade unions and people charged with political offences. He was involved in the founding of the South African Legal Defence Fund (SALDEF), served on the structures of the UDF and was a member of the ANC’s advisory team in early talks with the then-apartheid government.

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.