Tributes have poured in for astute legal mind and distinguished Judge Essa Moosa, who has died aged 81.
Johannesburg – Well-respected struggle icon and humble servant of Judiciary, Judge Essa Moosa was revered globally for his peace initiatives and for his track record as an outstanding human rights activist, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Monday, sending his condolences to the passing of Moosa.

"This notwithstanding, he remained a humble servant of the people, especially the marginalised and the forgotten people all over the world. His death is not only a loss to South Africa but also to the global community," Mogoeng said in a statement.

"Prosperity will probably smile at the mention of his name because of the enormous contribution and selfless advancement of the fundamental rights of others. On behalf of the Judiciary, I hereby express our condolences and wish Judge Moosa’s family and friends comfort and strength during this difficult period."

Moosa was born in 1936, in District Six, Cape Town, he was admitted to practise as an attorney by the Cape Town High Court on June 1, 1962. He died on Sunday.

He was a judge of the Western Cape Division of the High Court from May 1999 until his discharge from active service in February 2011 at the age of 75.

Mogoeng said Moosa acted for many oppressed people including prominent leaders of political and community based organisations, like late former President Nelson Mandela. He was a founding and executive member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers which campaigned for the transformation of the legal profession and the Judiciary.

"His unquenchable passion for human rights is borne out by his selfless and indefatigable defence of many political activists in matters relating to basic human rights like detention without trial, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, security and emergency legislation and regulations," Mogoeng said.

He also served as a member of the Constitutional Committee of the African National Congress that played a pivotal role in shaping South Africa into a non-racial and non- sexist constitutional democracy. 

During his retirement, he has been serving as a Judge in the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) and was appointed to investigate complaints from members of the public against the Hawks and from the members of the Hawks against members of the public including politicians and civil servants.