“BEN WAS NOT AN INFORMANT,” ZUMA PROCLAIMS
By: Given Jama
President Jacob Zuma told mourners at former Justice Pius Langa’s funeral service that Ben Langa was not an informant.
Zuma was addressing hundreds of mourners who filled Durban’s City Hall to bid Langa their final farewells.
“Compatriots, let me reiterate and re-emphasize here and now, that Comrade Ben Langa was never an informer. He was a loyal and disciplined cadre of the ANC who happened to be a victim of a ruthless regime that sought to sow confusion, pain and mistrust,” Zuma said.
Ben was the now late Chief Justice’s elder brother. He was killed at his flat in Pietermaritzburg in what Zuma called a sophisticated hit engineered by the apartheid security police. His two assassins, Sipho Xulu and Lucky Payi were later arrested, sentenced to death and hanged in Pretoria in September 1986.
Zuma praised Langa for helping put this ‘painful past behind us in 1994 in order to promote reconciliation and build a new nation’.
The former chief justice died of a long illness at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. He was aged 74.
His daughter, Phumzile Langa, assured all the mourners that their family had accepted Langa’s passing.
“It is indeed well with our souls,” she said after the hymn with the same words was sung. “Tata was to us a father and not the greatest jurist that people refer to him as.”
Advocate Marumo Moerane described Langa as the best friend who represented those who were down-throdden.
“He represented people amongst us here today who were called ‘terrorists’,” Moerane said.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said that Langa was bothered by the lack of the judiciary’s independence and corruptness of judges in other countries.
“If you are beholden to the executive, media or opposition, you are a corrupt judge,” said Mogoeng.
Meanwhile, Zuma said that government will re-commit themselves to work harder in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment. He added that this was the type of a society Langa had dedicated his life to from when he was a young activist up to his retirement.
“This is a type of a society outlined in the Freedom Charter and also in the National Development Plan,” said Zuma. “We want to achieve the ideal society where the poor and the working class would be able to declare that. We have water, we have food on our tables and we listen to the rain on the roof.”
His wife, Beauty Langa, died on 30 August 2009. They had six children and a growing number of grandchildren.
Langa’s body was laid to rest at the Redhill Cemetery.