Msimang given send-off befitting a king

2011-04-18 00:00

SHARP-WITTED, with a “mischievous” sense of humour, a people’s person and a man with a character larger than life who made laughter his trademark — that was how KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Herbert Qedusizi Msimang was affectionately remembered by friends and family, who gathered at Hilton College on Saturday to pay him homage in a send-off befitting a king.

Msimang received a state funeral and among the mourners were President Jacob Zuma, Premier Zweli Mkhize, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe, Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, members of National Assembly and senior government officials.

Msimang died on April 7 after suffering from a heart condition. He would have turned 60 in November.

Zuma, whose trial over corruption allegations was halted by Msimang, said South Africans live in an environment where “slander, rumour-mongering and trials by media dominate our public spaces”.

But as a way of paying homage to Msimang, he said people need to be educated in aspects of the law and justice, which would make them fully appreciate the totality of democracy. He therefore encouraged the youth to follow in the footsteps of this “gallant fighter for justice and human rights” by considering careers in the judicial field.

Mkhize, who knew Msimang when they were young and who was once his doctor, said that even in his youth Msimang was a gifted student, as well as a very sociable person.

Mkhize described him as a principled man of integrity who understood the role of the judiciary and its need to serve ordinary people.

Radebe was a close friend of Msimang and they were awarded their law degrees together at the University of Zululand. He remembered Msimang as being the focal point in their circle of friends.

Msimang’s daughters described their father as their hero, someone they could always count on and an involved parent who played games with them. Even while in hospital, they said, he forgot his pain and made them laugh.

•Judge President Herbert Qedusizi was born in Edendale in 1951.

•He graduated with a Bachelor of law degree from the University of Zululand in 1973.

•Two years later, he received his masters from Louisiana University in the United States of America.

•His official initiation to the law sector was as an advocate in Lesotho in 1978.

•He ran his own law firm in Witbank from 1981, the same year he was admitted as an attorney of the Supreme Court of the then Transvaal Provisional division, before practicing under the partnership of Msimang, Rutsch & Company in Pietermaritzburg for 10 years.

•In 2002, he was appointed as full-time judge in the Natal Provincial Division, a position he had been acting on since 1998.

•In 2006, he was appointed as one of the commissioners of independent electoral commission of South Africa until his passing.

•In 2009 he was appointed as the deputy judge president of the KZN provincial division before moving to Judge President, a position he held from April last year.

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