Following Judge Azhar Cachalia’s retirement from the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this year, Freedom Under Law is proud to welcome him on its Board. Not only is he, of course, a scion of one of the most respected families in our country’s long history of resistance to oppression, but he himself played a significant role in our transition to democracy: a founder and leading member of the United Democratic Front, its long-term national treasurer, he paid his dues in terms of detentions and banning, and practised as a partner at the fabled activist firm of attorneys Cheadle, Thompson & Haysom.
Post-transition he served as an adviser to the Constitutional Assembly, and as convenor of the team that drafted the new Police Act. As Secretary for Safety and Security he was chief policy adviser to the Minister of Safety and Security. He subsequently resumed legal practice, was appointed to the Bench and served as a judge for 20 years. Meanwhile he was active in the International Commission of Jurists, serving as an exco member and several terms as a commissioner.
We in Freedom Under Law were delighted when Judge Cachalia accepted our invitation to join us and in the brief period of his membership it has become apparent that, quite apart from his eminence as a jurist, we have gained a vastly experienced and wise analyst of the South African socio-political, governmental and legal fields. We look forward to many fruitful years of work with him and trust his wife, Leila Patel, will lend him to us generously.