Pretoria – President Cyril Ramaphosa has added his voice to those paying tribute to renowned anti-apartheid struggle lawyer and deputy chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Priscilla Jana, who died at the age of 76 on Saturday.
South Africa has lost a human rights icon and a formidable legal intellect with Jana’s death, Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the presidency on Sunday.
“Ms Jana was an outstanding and fearless human rights lawyer who devoted her practice to fighting the apartheid regime, defending a broad range of struggle leaders, and asserting the rights of marginalised South Africans,” he said.
Ramaphosa extended his condolences to the family, friends, and comrades of Jana as well as to the leadership and staff of the South African Human Rights Commission.
Jana was a former Member of Parliament and South African ambassador to the Netherlands and Ireland.
“Our nation and our legal fraternity has lost a champion of the struggle we waged for justice, freedom, and democracy,” Ramaphosa said.
“Priscilla Jana was at the side of Solomon Mahlangu, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many other leaders as they waged their fight for freedom on our streets and in the courts of the unjust apartheid legal system.
“She helped to focus global attention on apartheid South Africa and went on to fly the flag of a free and democratic South Africa by representing our country in the Netherlands and Ireland.
“We will always be indebted to Priscilla Jana for her contribution to our freedom and for her championing of equality and of the causes of vulnerable South Africans in our democratic dispensation.
“May her soul rest in peace at the end of the extraordinary life she has led in service to our nation,” Ramaphosa said.