President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his condolences to the friends and family of former human rights advocate and former president Nelson Mandela’s lawyer George Bizos.
Bizos passed away on Wednesday afternoon. He was 92.
“We extend our condolences to his family. George Bizos was a well-known figure in our politics and in our liberation struggle. He had an incisive legal mind and was one of the architects of our Constitution. He will be sorely missed,” said Ramaphosa.
Bizos celebrated his 92nd birthday in November last year. According to South African History Online, Bizos was born in 1927 in Kirani, Greece, and arrived in South Africa as a World War II refugee with his father at the age of 13 in 1941.
Bizos, already well-known as a defender of the downtrodden in apartheid abuses, became famous as part of the team that included the Afrikaner Bram Fischer — a descendant of an Orange Free State Boer President — that defended Mandela in one of the most important court cases of the 20th century, the Rivonia Trial.
In a recent interview, Bizos said he and Mandela had no secrets from each other, even when it came to their personal lives.
‘With his second marriage to Winnie, about a month after the marriage he phoned me and said, “George, I’ve married trouble. Winnie has been arrested, she is alleged to have assaulted a policeman.”‘
Bizos replied: ‘Let her come and see me.’
Bizos says Winnie Mandela came to his office the next day ‘dressed to kill’. She became his client, and he eventually defended her in 22 cases.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)