Dr Pityana was elected chairperson at the inaugural meeting of
the Commission on 2 October 1995. All Commissioners were officially
sworn in by Justice Arthur Chaskalson at the official launch
of the Commission on March 21 (Human Rights Day) 1996.
After sixteen years in exile in both England and Geneva, Dr
Pityana returned to South Africa in 1992. Whilst in Geneva he
served as director of the World Council of Churches' Programme
to Combat Racism. Dr Pityana is an ordained Anglican Priest and
also an attorney. The University of Cape Town awarded him a PhD
in Religious Studies in 1995.
Dr Pityana is the convenor of the Parliamentary and Government
Liaison Committee, serves in an ex officio capacity in the SAHRC
Trust and represents the Commission both nationally and internationally.
He is a trustee in a number of grass-roots development bodies
like the Eastern Cape-based Microprojects Trust and the Maths
Centre for Professional Teachers in Johannesburg and is on the
Board of the Geneva-based International Foundation for Human
Rights Policy. He is also a member of the African Commission.