Cape Town – Shortly after the deaths of former judge Essa Moosa and Struggle hero and lawyer Peter Williams, South Africa has lost another hero from the legal fraternity in Ramesh Vassen.
He died on Thursday, surrounded by his family after a short illness following a stroke he suffered a week ago.
Former colleague Judge Nathan Erasmus said on Thursday Vassen, 70, was in the same mould as Dullah Omar and Moosa.
“I met him for the first time in 1982 when I was a client of the firm I was a young student full of fire."
“I can recall the day I met Ramesh, Dullah called him to introduce him to my mother and I, the day after I was released from prison.”
They would become colleagues years later and Erasmus described Vassen as a humble servant.
Judge Siraj Desai worked alongside Vassen in the late 1970s, a period he described as “the heat of the Struggle”.
Judge Desai described his former colleague as a capable and committed lawyer, a lawyer at all times.
Another former colleague, advocate Denzil Potgieter, said he had the privilege of working closely with Vassen as an attorney in the 1980s and later when he went to the Bar.
“He was a humble, highly skilled attorney."
"Never one for the limelight or material gain."
"He was committed to the liberation Struggle and pulled his weight during the difficult era of political trials when he acted for many high-profiled activists."
"His passing leaves a void which would be hard to fill.”
Vassen will be cremated on Friday at 3pm at the Maitland Crematorium.
His memorial service will be at 7pm on March 31 at the Samaj Centre in Rylands.