Langa hailed ahead of funeral

Former Chief Justice Pius Langa will be laid to rest at a special official funeral in Durban.

Constitutional Court Chief Justice Pius Langa died after a long illness on 24 July 2013. Langa briefs journalists during a news conference at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, Monday, 19January 2009. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Former Chief Justice Pius Langa has been hailed as one of the country's finest legal minds.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday paid tribute to Langa, who died at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg last Wednesday at the age of 74, after a long illness.

He will be laid to rest in Durban on Saturday after a special official funeral.

After a moment of silence, speakers highlighted the former Chief Justice's determination to succeed despite having to leave school at the age of 14.

The African National Congress (ANC)'s Nzimande Lewis said, "He made an indelible contribution to the development of South Africa's jurisprudence."

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Velly Manzini said, "South Africa has lost one of its best legal minds."

During a memorial service held at the Bryanston Methodist Church on Monday evening, Langa's children remembered him as a caring and loving father.

His eldest daughter Phumzile Langa said he would be sorely missed.

"My sisters, brothers and I would like you to know we're grateful for the blessing that God had given us in our father. He could make you feel loved. You would walk into the room and the smile on his face would just be enough."

Langa's family has described him as a "wise man, who lived his life with humility".

President Jacob Zuma will deliver the eulogy at the former Constitutional Court judge's funeral.