Media release: FMF tribute to George Bizos

11 September 2020
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FREE MARKET FOUNDATION MEDIA RELEASE  
        
   

Media release
11 September 2020

Free Market Foundation (FMF) tribute to

George Bizos

lifelong anti-apartheid activist and defender of human rights

and

FMF Luminary

We mourn the death of George Bizos, anti-apartheid icon and lifelong human rights advocate, who died on 9 September 2020 at the age of 92. He had a long association with the Free Market Foundation, particularly its CEO, Leon Louw. He received the FMF’s 5th Luminary Award on 19 February 2014 from the FMF’s then Chairman, Herman Mashaba, and conducted a riveting interview with Professor Mervyn King, noted for the “King 4” governance principles (link below).

Greek-born Bizos was honoured by the FMF "for his fearless defence of South Africa's struggle heroes, his tenacious fight for freedom and justice and his dedication to upholding the Constitution and the rule of law".

FMF CEO Leon Louw said, “I pay humble tribute to one of SA’s heroic human rights lawyers during and after apartheid. He never stopped fighting for justice regardless of how old and frail he had become. I was deeply honoured to know George Bizos personally. Although I can’t claim to have known him well, we occasionally sat on his veranda and discussed the state of SA and its uncertain future which concerned him. He respected the FMF’s commitment to economic and individual freedom and civic rights. Every meeting with him over many years was inspirational. I was honoured during his older years to drive him to some events usually followed by long conversations.”

Speaking at his Luminary award ceremony in a packed auditorium at Weber Wentzel Attorneys, George said, “War and security are the worst enemies of freedom. Countries, which pretend to be democratic, use the threat of ‘terrorists’ and national security to justify the breach of individual rights and the disregard of the Constitution.”

He continued, “The greatest deterrent to crime and criminals is the probability that they will be caught and punished, not the death penalty”.

He was influential in drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and fought for freedom of the press and of speech.

Bizos said he met former president Nelson Mandela while studying at Wits University during apartheid’s darkest days. He later represented Mandela, fellow anti-apartheid activist Walter Sisulu, and other “Rivonia” trialists. His defence was widely regarded as decisive in saving the accused from the death penalty.

Louw continued, “George was a flag bearer for principles of good law throughout his life, for over 25 years into the post-apartheid era. We shall all miss him and his passion for good law and human rights. Not only did he represent Mandela and Sisulu, but whilst in his 80s he represented the victims of the Marikana shootings, and members of the Zimbabwean opposition. He lamented the failure of our new democracy to meet his human rights aspirations.”

Bizos: "I told people if wanting equal treatment for black students makes me a leftist, then I am proud to be one. At that time, my father was asked to rein in the young Bizos to which he answered: 'It is not for me to tell him what to do'. And the rest is history."

Bizos described himself as someone who strove for freedom. "I became radicalised at Wits as a lover of freedom. Freedom has always been part and parcel of my life," he said.

VIDEO: George Bizos receives the Free Market Foundation Luminary Award 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_JbrBH4klU

Ends

ENQUIRIES  

Media enquiries
Jayne Boccaleone
082 904 3616
jboccaleone@gmail.com

ABOUT the FMF  

The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa. As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.

The FMF has a wealth of information in papers, articles and opinion pieces available on the website which can influence the public debate and present alternative policies to the people of South Africa. Please look at our website www.freemarketfoundation.com. Also see Facebook and Twitter.

SUPPORT the FMF
You can sign up as an individual or corporate member or make a donation online through our website http://www.freemarketfoundation.com/Donate or email your contact details to accounts@fmfsa.org.

The FMF relies on financial support from corporate and individual members and donors. All individuals and companies can donate and deduct a maximum of 10% of their taxable incomes to Section 18A approved public benefit organisations. The minimum annual payment we require is R300. All payments of R300 or more will be treated as a donation for which you will receive a Section 18A certificate for SARS.  (The FMF is a Section 18A approved Public Benefit Organisation / PBO Exemption No 930 017 343).

CONTACT us  

TEL +27 11 884 0270 | FAX +27 11 884 5672 | EMAIL fmf@mweb.co.za
  PO Box 4056, CRAMERVIEW 2060
  Bryanston Gate, Block 5, Ground Floor, 170 Curzon Road, BRYANSTON

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