Former KZN DPP Gert Engelbrecht dies after illness

2015-10-20 09:59
KZN deputy DPP Gert Engelbrecht SC.

KZN deputy DPP Gert Engelbrecht SC. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The legal profession in KwaZulu-Natal is mourning the former provincial deputy director of public prosecutions, Gert Engelbrecht SC, who died at the weekend after an illness.

Engelbrecht (67), who retired at the end of March 2014, was hailed as one of the “best legal brains in the country” and an inspiration to his colleagues.

Engelbrecht practised law in Pietermaritzburg for 40 years.

He initially ran a successful private practice as an advocate in Pietermaritzburg before joining the office of the ­Attorney-General (later known as the Director of Public Prosecutions) in KZN.

In 2002 he was awarded the status of senior counsel by then state president Thabo Mbeki.

Engelbrecht told The Witness on his retirement that he had wished to leave his office quietly, but agreed to being interviewed for the benefit of other disabled people. He wanted to illustrate to them that life for a person with a disability could still be meaningful and successful.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams paid tribute to Engelbrecht, saying he would be “forever grateful” they had met and for the contribution Engelbrecht made to his career.

“Gert was not only one of the best legal minds in the NPA, but throughout the legal fraternity. On Saturday we lost a giant of a man, a giant of a husband, a father and a friend. He was a giant of a lawyer and a giant of a prosecutor.”

The NDPP said he had also benefitted from Engelbrecht’s mentorship as a prosecutor. “I will be forever grateful to him for his patience, time, knowledge and experience.”

Abrahams said he met Engelbrecht when he was 17 years old in January 1994. “He was a remarkable man. A champion of skills transfer, transformation and mentorship initiatives throughout his career as a prosecutor. Many prosecutors, in particular those in Pietermaritzburg and KZN, benefitted from his knowledge and experience at some stage during their careers. He always treated people fairly and equally, and wanted prosecutors to excel within the confines of the rule of law and later within our constitutional parameters and prescripts.

“I cannot think of a single person he met in his life who was not positively affected …”

A memorial service for Engelbrecht would be held at Hayfields Church, 51 Dryden Road, at midday on Sunday, October 25.

Engelbrecht leaves his wife Judy and their children, Heidi and Jacques

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