Big-hearted judge is hon­oured by the bar coun­cil

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - UNATHI KONDILE

“MY FA­THER would of­ten say that we sim­ply can­not wait an­other 20 years to trans­form the ju­di­ciary!”

This was the main mes­sage from Faizel Moosa as he ac­cepted the Syd­ney and Feli­cia Ken­tridge Award on be­half of his late fa­ther, Judge Essa Moosa, from the Gen­eral Coun­cil of the Bar (GCB) of South Africa in Port El­iz­a­beth at the week­end.

“I am sorry if I have of­fended any­one here,” con­tin­ued Moosa to an au­di­ence con­sist­ing largely of white males.

“My fa­ther would of­ten say that if you want to save this coun­try of ours, you have to do much, much more for the poor. Dur­ing my fa­ther’s last days, he be­came in­creas­ingly con­cerned with the poor, stat­ing out­right that if we do not trans­form the ju­di­ciary, poor peo­ple will never have ac­cess to it.”

Judge Moosa died on Fe­bru­ary 26 this year, sur­rounded by his fam­ily.

Known as the peo­ple’s lawyer; Moosa ma­tric­u­lated from Athlone High School in Cape Town in 1954, and worked as a book­keeper.

He be­gan study­ing law at the Univer­sity of Cape Town in 1957 and grad­u­ated in 1960.

He qual­i­fied as an at­tor­ney in 1962 and worked for var­i­ous law firms be­fore es­tab­lish­ing his own prac­tice in Dis­trict Six in 1966.

In 1969, he was forcibly re­moved from Dis­trict Six un­der the Group Ar­eas Act.

He moved to Athlone, where he founded E Moosa & As­so­ci­ates. His firm be­came in­volved in many hu­man rights cases, both high-pro­file and every­day ones.

From the 1980s on­wards, the firm be­came in­creas­ingly known for its work on hu­man rights cases and as­sist­ing po­lit­i­cal de­tainees.

Moosa was also in­stru­men­tal in the for­ma­tion of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Demo­cratic Lawyers, whose ob­jec­tive was to unite pro­gres­sive lawyers un­der one um­brella.

Af­ter a short stint in the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, in 1998, Moosa was ap­pointed a judge in the Western Cape High Court. He re­tired in 2011 and went on to lead the Direc­torate of Pri­or­ity Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The chair­per­son of the GCB, Vuyani Ngal­wana SC, to­gether with ad­vo­cate Ahmed Ca­jee, awarded the hon­our posthu­mously to Faizel.

“His col­leagues de­scribed him as a man who was al­ways avail­able and worked for no money.

“You could even pay him with choco­lates or a ‘thank you’. He was a gi­ant. He had hu­man­ity and com­pas­sion, and was al­ways gen­er­ous,” said Ca­jee as he handed over the award.

The award is made to a per­son or in­sti­tu­tion ad­judged to have made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to law in south­ern Africa.

It has been made an­nu­ally since 2000. This is the fourth time the award was made posthu­mously.

The pre­vi­ous post­hu­mous hon­ourees were Jus­tice Is­mail Ma­homed, Bram Fis­cher SC and Jus­tice Them­bile Sk­weyiya.

‘He was a gi­ant. He had hu­man­ity and com­pas­sion’


FA­THER’S HON­OUR: Faizel Moosa, right, ac­cepts the Syd­ney and Feli­cia Ken­tridge Award on be­half of his late fa­ther, Judge Essa Moosa, from Vuyani Ngal­wana SC, chair­per­son of the Gen­eral Coun­cil of the Bar.

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