Former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson
FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE ARTHUR CHASKALSON
I learned with great sorrow of the death on 1 December of former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson.
Throughout his career he was a principled campaigner for human rights. Before 1994 he defended many opponents of apartheid - including the Rivonia trialists in 1963. He also played a key role as an adviser in the negotiations that led to the adoption of the 1993 constitution.
However, it was in his role as President of the Constitutional Court - and subsequently Chief Justice - in the crucial years between 1994 and 2005 that he made his greatest contribution to the establishment and nurturing of our non-racial constitutional democracy. In this capacity he played a leading role in developing the independent, non-racial and transformative culture that continues to characterize our highest court.
After his retirement the former Chief Justice continued to oppose firmly and judiciously any attempts to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
Elita and I would like to convey our most sincere condolences to former Chief Justice Chaskalson’s family and friends. He was, indeed, one of the founding fathers of our constitutional democracy.
FW DE KLERK
CAPE TOWN, 2 DECEMBER 2012
Published in: FW de Klerk Foundation