The 2nd George Bizos Human Rights Award – Gala Dinner


The 2nd George Bizos Human Rights Award – Gala Dinner


The 2nd George Bizos Human Rights Award is proudly presented by the Legal Resources Centre. This award celebrates the career and contributions of George Bizos SC and pays homage to his legacy of advocacy and social justice in South Africa. It recognises his outstanding contribution in the pursuit of freedom, justice and democracy.

The award is not only a celebration of a historical legacy, but represents everything that George Bizos SC stands for today. In keeping with George Bizos’ remarkable qualities, the award seeks to exemplify the works of those that display leadership in their communities and who further justice by advocating for the universal recognition of basic human rights.

We hope this award will serve as further inspiration for human rights lawyers and those who have worked tirelessly in the public’s interest, who display impartiality, make sacrifices for what they believe in and continue to be a voice of hope for South Africans.

In 2018, the year of its inauguration, the LRC presented the award to George Bizos SC at an awards ceremony at the Houghton Golf Club on the 14 March 2018.

This year (2019) we will be celebrating the contributions of Former Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa – Justice Dikgang Ernest Moseneke

Before his appointment as Justice of the Constitutional Court, in November 2001 Moseneke was appointed a Judge of the High Court in Pretoria. On 29 November 2002 he was appointed as judge in the Constitutional Court Court and in June 2005, Moseneke was appointed Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa.

His exceptional contribution to the field of law and the administration of justice in democratic South Africa. Through his leadership our fledgling democracy has continually administered justice without fear, favour or prejudice. –Justice Moseneke shares a history with the Legal Resources Centre in that he delivered the 4th Bram Fischer Lecture in 2002 entitled “Transformative Adjudication” in which he remarked of “progressive constitutional jurisprudence true to the over arching constitutional enterprise of transforming our society into a democratic, non-racial, non-discriminating, egalitarian and socially just and caring society” 

George Bizos and the Legal Resources Centre

George Bizos SC officially joined the Legal Resources Centre in 1991 at the request of his longtime colleague and friend, Arthur Chaskalson. George was no stranger to the LRC. Since the early 1980s, George had worked on cases in conjunction with the LRC; but as independent counsel. Examples of some of the cases he worked on in this capacity include the Delmas Treason Trial and the second inquest into the Craddock Four.

George humorously describes how he was “tricked” into joining the LRC by Arthur. In the early 1990s, it became increasingly clear that Arthur would eventually join the new judiciary. As such, Arthur was looking for someone to join the LRC and ensure that its work continued. He approached George and asked him if he’d like to work for the LRC in an official capacity. George was hesitant at

first as he was reluctant to be involved in the administrative tasks involved in working for a non-profit organisation. Arthur suggested George join the LRC for 7 months to see what he thought. Additionally, Arthur explained that George could also take on private work while he was at the LRC. George agreed to this arrangement and those 7 months turned into over 25 years at the LRC.

Since joining the LRC as a senior member of the Constitutional Litigation Unit, George has maintained an open door policy. He has provided mentorship, guidance and advice to young attorneys and candidate attorneys with regards to case strategy and litigation. As Senior Counsel for the LRC, George has appeared before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the massacre at Marikana. More recently, he appeared before the reopening of the Ahmed Timol inquest, as a witness this time, and not a lawyer.

In his private capacity, George has undertaken a variety of cases. He states that he only takes cases which represent the spirit and values of the LRC, even if done in a private capacity. For example, he represented the late Morgan Tsvangirai when he was accused of treason against the government of Zimbabwe. He also acted in the Chinese Association of South Africa matter, pertaining to whether Chinese South Africans qualified as previously disadvantaged groups under the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Act and the Employment Equity Act.

George is able to reflect fondly on his time at the LRC. He believes that the organisation embodies a sense of comradeship and that working in a team has allowed him to continue to dedicate his life to the advancement of social justice, human rights and the rule of law in South Africa and abroad. In addition, it has given him the opportunity to work with a new generation of lawyers who embody these same values, and who will take these values with them into the future.

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