The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - Parliament is “deeply indebted” to former chief justice Pius Langa for his contribution to democracy, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu said on Tuesday.
“Pius Langa ensured that the law promoted equality and helped instil people's confidence in our judicial system and ultimately, our constitutional democracy,” Sisulu said in Johannesburg.
“We moved from parliamentary supremacy to a democracy based on the supremacy of the Constitution where both the substance and the processes of Parliament can now be subjected to scrutiny for compliance.”
Sisulu was speaking at a special sitting at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg to pay tribute to Langa.
Guests heard that Langa played a key role in shaping South Africa's constitutional dispensation.
Sisulu quoted one of Langa's judgments, which read: “It is a necessary component of the doctrine of separation of powers that courts have a constitutional obligation to ensure that the exercise of power by other branches of government occurs within constitutional bounds.”
Sisulu added: “For Pius, the establishment of a truly equal society and the provision of socio-economic rights to all are a necessary part of transformation, but that was not an end in itself,” he said.
Langa exhibited great love for his people and used law to uplift and protect them, said Sisulu.
He described Langa as a gentle giant, a brilliant jurist and a principled and modest man,
Langa died on July 24 at the age of 74 after a month-long hospital stay due to a long illness.
National Prosecuting Authority acting head Nomgcobo Jiba used the sitting to address media reports about the NPA.
“It is unfortunate that some uninformed media houses... sometimes make unfounded statements that seek to undermine and erode public confidence in such an important institution,” said Jiba.
“I am sure that those comments do not serve to deepen the ideals that the former chief justice would have liked to see.”
She said any attempts to pressurise the NPA into taking decisions would not succeed.
Jiba said Langa was someone who had ensured prosecutorial independence from the executive.
“As the leader of that institution (NPA) I can confirm... that it discharges its functions without any interference by the executive, contrary to media reports.”
“The Constitution that the late chief justice fashioned requires that we discharge our functions without fear, favour or prejudice.”
She said the NPA remained true to this constitutional imperative, and would always treat each person fairly and equally, regardless of whether they were rich or poor, a politician or not.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng thanked the Langa family for sharing him with the world.
“You had a precious gift. Thank you for sharing that with the world... even in circumstances where his health was fading.”
Mogoeng said the judiciary would never betray Langa's legacy, and was working on communicating more effectively with South Africans, possibly through social networking sites.