Praise for Mandela defence attorney
The Presidency has lauded the late Lord Joel Joffe, one of the team of lawyers who defended Nelson Mandela and his co-accused at the 1963 Rivonia Trial. Joffe died on 18 June 2017. He was 85 years old.
“We have learned with sadness of the passing of one of our most respected legal minds, Lord Joel Joffe, who played a critical role during the liberation struggle for our freedom and democracy when he represented political prisoners, including the late father of our nation, president Nelson Mandela and other liberation icons,” the Presidency said in a recent statement.
Joffe worked alongside Vernon Berrange, George
Bizos and Arthur Chaskalson, led by Bram Fischer, in the team of lawyers defending Mandela and his comrades.
The Rivonia Trial began on 9 October 1963 when the 11 accused – Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Rusty Bernstein, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Bob Hepple and James Cantor – appeared on charges that included conspiracy and sabotage.
Joffe once said his work at the Rivonia Trial “was perhaps the most important and most invaluable I have ever done”.