Human rights lawyer and former Member of Parliament, Priscilla Jana, has passed away. She was 76.
Jana played a significant role in protest politics against apartheid.
Jana represented Solomon Mahlangu in 1978 and played a pivotal role in engineering international awareness and protest against his death sentence and execution.
In another historically significant matter, Jana took the South African Medical and Dental Council on review in 1984 for its treatment of Steve Bantu Biko, who died in police custody.
During legal career, Jana was at the forefront of defending human rights and represented various prominent anti-apartheid activists, including former president Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisuslu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and Archbishop Emiritus Desmond Tutu.
At some stage Jana was also a member of the South African Law Commission and served as a member of the advisory committee to the president. She served as South African ambassador in the Netherlands from 2001 to 2005 and ambassador in Ireland from 2006 to 2011. Jana was a member of parliament from 1994 to 1999.
Jana joined the South African Human Rights Commission on 03 January 2017 as its Commissioner and Deputy Chairperson. She took responsibility for the Commission’s Equality Focus Area, continuing her devotion toward ensuring South Africa’s transformation as a truly equal society irrespective of a person’s race, sex, gender or any other identifier.
She tragically passed away on Saturday, the 10th October 2020.