About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Langa, Pius Nkonzo

Pius Nkonzo Langa was born in the Eastern Transvaal on 25 March 1939. He is married to Thandekile and they have six children.

Langa matriculated through private study in 1960. He obtained his B Iuris from the University of South Africa in 1973 and his LLB in 1976.

Langa worked in a shirt factory from 1957 to 1960 but then found employment as an interpreter and messenger for the Department of Justice. He worked his way up to serving as a prosecutor and a magistrate.

He resigned from the department in April 1977 and was admitted as an advocate of the Supreme Court in Natal in June 1977. He practised at the Durban Bar and became senior counsel in January 1994.  He took on civil and criminal matters, but political trials dominated. He appeared in most of the more significant political trials - mostly in Natal, the Eastern Cape and Cape Town.  His practice reflected the struggle against apartheid: his clientele included the underprivileged, civic bodies, trade unions and people charged under security legislation.

Langa was a member of the Democratic Lawyers Association and served on its executive. In 1987 he served on the steering committee that preceded the formation of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel); he became a founder member of Nadel and served as its president from 1988 until his resignation in 1994.

Langa was appointed a Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in October 1994, became Deputy President of the Court in August 1997 and was appointed Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa in November 2001.

He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees by the University of Zululand, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town. He was appointed honorary professor in the department of procedural and criminal law at the University of Natal in June 1998 and has served as the distinguished visiting professor at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, in the United States. In October 1998 he was installed as the chancellor of the University of Natal.

He still serves as a trustee of the Clermont Women's Organisation. He was a trustee and the chairperson of the Henk van Andel Bursary Trust, served as a trustee in the Fundani Trust and was the chairperson of the Phambili School Interim Committee.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.