Date: 9 September 2020
Issued by the LRC, the Bizos Family, and the George Bizos SAHETI Scholarship and Bursary Fund
The Bizos family, the Legal Resources Centre, and the George Bizos SAHETI Scholarship and Bursary Fund are sad to report the passing of Advocate George Bizos SC at 17.30 on Wednesday 9 September. George, 92 years old, died peacefully at home of natural causes, attended to by family.
The LRC salutes George, who made an enormous contribution to the ongoing work of the Centre. From its inception in 1978 he assisted in the background while pursuing his illustrious career, then joined the LRC in 1991, using our Centre as a base in key litigation including leading the team for the government in passing the Constitution in 1996, representing families of apartheid atrocities at the TRC, leading the LRC team at the Marikana Commission, seeking justice for the Timol and other families of people murdered in detention, and of course many other lesser known cases, always seeking justice for victims of injustice. George played an enormous role in mentoring many in the legal profession inside and outside the LRC, some of whom have progressed to very senior positions in the profession and the judiciary.
Outside of the LRC George had a well-established practice as an Advocate from 1954, mostly defending opponents of apartheid, and held many other appointments including serving on the Judicial Services Commission (1994 - 2009), an Acting Judge in the High Court of South Africa, and a Judge on the Appeal Court in Botswana, to name a few. He was the recipient of numerous Honorary Doctorates, and national and international awards. Notably, he was awarded an Order for Meritorious Service Medal by President Nelson Mandela in 1999. He also played an instrumental role in the negotiations for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and together with Arthur Chaskalson and others, assisted in the drafting of our democratic constitution, which he then defended vigorously.
George was a lifelong campaigner against the use of the death penalty, and led the team that successfully acted for the Government arguing that the death penalty was unconstitutional.
George had a passion for education and was, with a cohort of others, instrumental in establishing SAHETI School more than 45 years ago with a vision - even during the dark years of apartheid, and sometimes in defiance of the apartheid regime - of having a Hellenic School open to all that has come to full fruition. In support of that George established the George Bizos SAHETI Scholarship and Bursary Fund many years ago. He was an avid member of the work of the Committees for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, both in South Africa and in the UK.
There are many other institutions with which George has been associated such as the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Freedom Under Law, and Lawyers for Human Rights. We celebrate the life of George, lived so well, and with boundless energy, optimism and selflessness. He served so many in the cause of justice.
George is survived by his three sons and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon.
You are welcome to share your condolences and tributes here.
George Bizos either held positions in, contributed and gave his wise counsel to, or was a friend of the following institutions:
The LRC established the George Bizos Human Rights Award in 2018. George Bizos was the first recipient and Dikgang Moseneke was the second.
Kindly note that a family Greek Orthodox funeral service for the late George Bizos will take place at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday 17 September 2020. This will be followed by the Special Official Funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Strict Covid-19 restrictions apply. The family requests that the public participate remotely by following these services online or on television. Both services will be streamed live via the SABC and online here.
The Bizos family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations are made to:
Legal Resources Centre
If you would like to make a contribution to the memorial, please make a deposit into the following account:
Account number: 2957473763
Reference: GB Memorial
Donors may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
should they require a section 18A certificate.
The George Bizos SAHETI Scholarship and Bursary Fund
Branch: Bedford Gardens
Branch Code: 252155
Account number: 62842065155
Account name: The George Bizos SAHETI Scholarship and Bursary Fund
Reference: GB Memorial
Should you require a Section 18A certificate for your donation please send an email to email@example.com.