Pius Langa

Pius Nkonzo Langa SCOB (25 March 1939[1] – 24 July 2013[2]) was previously Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.[1] He was appointed to the bench in 1994 by Nelson Mandela, he became Deputy Chief Justice in 2001 and was elevated as Chief Justice in 2005 by Thabo Mbeki. He retired in October 2009. He died in 2013, aged 74, following a long illness.

Pius Langa
Chief Justice of South Africa
In office
June 2005  October 2009
Appointed byThabo Mbeki
DeputyDikgang Moseneke
Preceded byArthur Chaskalson
Succeeded bySandile Ngcobo
Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa
In office
November 2001  June 2005
Appointed byThabo Mbeki
Succeeded byDikgang Moseneke
Deputy President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
In office
August 1997  November 2001
Preceded byIsmail Mahomed
Succeeded byHimself
(as Deputy Chief Justice)
Personal details
Pius Nkonzo Langa

(1939-03-25)25 March 1939
Bushbuckridge, Transvaal, South Africa
Died24 July 2013(2013-07-24) (aged 74)
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
RelationsBheki Winston Joshua Langa (brother) Mandla Langa (brother) Thandekile Mncwabe (wife)
Alma materUniversity of South Africa

Pius Langa was born on 25 March 1939 in Bushbuckridge, in the then Transvaal Province.[1] He obtained his B. Iuris law degree from the University of South Africa in 1973[3] and his LLB in 1976.

He 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 was admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa in June 1977, practised at the Natal Bar and attained the rank of Senior Counsel in January 1994. He was a founding member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the African National Congress Constitutional Committee, where he worked on its draft bill of rights,[4] which later formed part of Chapter Two of the Constitution of South Africa.

When the Constitutional Court of South Africa was established with the advent of a post apartheid constitutional and democratic era in 1994, Justice Langa was appointed together with ten others as the first Judges of the new Court. He became its Deputy President in August 1997 and, in November 2001, assumed the position of Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa. He was appointed as the country’s Chief Justice and head of the Constitutional Court with effect from June 2005 until his retirement in October 2009.[1]

Justice Langa died on 24 July 2013 (age 74) at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, following a long illness.[2]

Honours and awards

In April 2008 Justice Langa was awarded the Order of the Baobab in Gold for "his exceptional service in law, constitutional jurisprudence and human rights."[5]


  1. "Constitutional Court of South Africa - Judges". Constitutionalcourt.org.za. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  2. "Pius Langa dies aged 74". News24. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  3. "Pius Langa profile at Who's Who SA". Whoswho.co.za. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  4. Roux, Thunis (2013). The Politics of Principle: The First South African Constitutional Court, 1995–2005. Cambridge University Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-107-32839-6.
  5. "National Orders awards". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
Legal offices
Preceded by
Arthur Chaskalson
Chief Justice of South Africa
Succeeded by
Sandile Ngcobo
Preceded by
Office established
Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa
Succeeded by
Dikgang Moseneke
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