EFF statement on the passing away of former Deputy Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission Priscilla Jana
13 October 2020
The EFF sends its sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Commissioner Priscilla Jana on her untimely passing on the 10th October 2020.
She was a mother and a sister to many detainees in the decades of the liberation struggle providing comfort, hope and counselling at times of despair at the peak of the viciousness of the apartheid military junta.
We will remember her for her commitment to upholding the values of human rights in the dark days of Apartheid when it was not fashionable to do so by many in the legal fraternity.
She is well known for the legal defence of Comrade Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu amongst many famous briefs she held for free. She is also known for drumming up of international pressure against the Botha-Malan apartheid regime policy of hanging freedom fighters.
She provided legal representation to many anti-apartheid activists across the length and breadth of South Africa regardless of political affiliation in the liberation and mass democratic movements.
Apartheid security special branch cohorts trembled in the mention of her name when she would insist on seeing political detainees, men and women, children and youth during the state of emergency of the 1980s.
She played a pivotal role in the Detainee Parent Support Committees counselling families and detainees and using every opportunity of consultation to bring detainees the most needed conveniences and food against the insistence of apartheid police not to do so.
Many such detainees, still alive today have fond memories of her as the People's Lawyer and a mother.
Her stint in the South African Human Rights Commission was characterised by meaningful, constructive engagements with all stakeholders without fear or favour in the midst of adversaries who would coerce SAHRC into an anti-black institution.
Selfless and humble, soft-spoken but decisive, she fought the hard battles against racism and journeyed her race with humility and bravery.
May Her Soul Rest in Perfect Peace and Power
Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, 13 October 2020