Tributes pour in for struggle lawyer George Bizos

10 September 2020 - 11:07 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Advocate George Bizos (middle) died at 91 on Wednesday after a lifetime of fighting for justice in SA.
Advocate George Bizos (middle) died at 91 on Wednesday after a lifetime of fighting for justice in SA.
Image: Gallo Images / The Times / Antonio Muchave

Tributes have been pouring in for former apartheid struggle stalwart and human rights lawyer George Bizos.

Bizos died on Wednesday at the age of 91 after a period of poor health. According to his family, he died at home of natural causes.

Bizos was part of the legal teams of the treason and Rivonia trials, defending the rights of activists against apartheid including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.

According to SA History Online, Bizos also appeared at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), representing families of liberation heroes such as Steve Bantu Biko, Chris Hani and the Cradock Four.

In a statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was deeply saddened by the news.

“This is sad news for all of us as South Africans. George Bizos contributed immensely to the attainment of our democracy. He worked very closely with Nelson Mandela, Arthur Chaskalson and many others. He had an incisive legal mind and was one of the architects of our constitution.

“We have lost a monumental figure in our history, a patriot who marched with us to freedom and laid the foundations for a democratic SA in which the rule of law affirms the dignity, rights and protection of all who live in SA,” said Ramaphosa.

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) mourned the loss of Bizos, saying he spent his life fighting injustice and prejudice.

“We remember him for the critical role he played as SA transitioned to democracy in the 1990s, and for the contribution that he made towards SA’s interim constitution and the bill of rights,” said the university. “Rest in peace Advocate Bizos, knowing that you have left a lasting legacy in gifting freedom to our people, reassured that you have spent your life in the service of humanity, and comforted that you were courageous to pursue the truth and fight for justice when it mattered the most.”

On social media, many, including the EFF and the DA's John Steenhuisen, expressed their condolences.

Here is a snapshot of what they had to say about Bizos.