Obituary: Advocate who helped draft Constitution dies

Advocate Nathaniel Masemola who helped draw up the first draft of the Constitution has died in Cape Town. He was 95. Born on 1 April 1927 in Marishane, Limpopo, he was educated at St Peter’s Secondary School in Rosettenville where Oliver R Tambo was one of his teachers. At the University of Forth Hare, he registered for a BA in history, English literature and linguistics and became chairperson of the ANC Youth League (Fort Hare and Eastern Cape branch), and editor of the student newspaper. City Press reports that he obtained his LLB at London University and transferred to Gray’s Inn Court where, in 1964, he obtained the degree of Utter Barrister-at-Law, which meant he then would be allowed to practice as an attorney in the UK. In 1964, the ANC sent him to its headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia.

Between 1977 and 1987, Masemola was employed by the UN as a senior legal and economic affairs officer, based in Addis Ababa. In 1986 he was recruited into the ANC Legal and Constitutional Committee which was tasked with coming up with a constitutional framework for SA. Between 1998 and 2000 he was CEO of Lebowa Mineral Trust and vice-chairman of the SA Diamond Board. However, notes City Press, the following year Masemola was convicted on several counts of fraud and sentenced to five years in prison. He applied for and was granted a presidential pardon, which he then used in his fight to have his record expunged and his pension restored. His legal battle continued until 2019 when his pension was finally restored. He is survived by his wife Thelma and three children.

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