Shock over top lawyer's death

2012-05-14 08:26

 Durban - The suicide of a top KwaZulu-Natal attorney over the weekend has sent shock waves through the legal community, as his peers struggled to understand why he took his own life.

Respected Durban attorney Mvuseni Ngubane was found dead at his home in Kloof on Saturday.

Police were called to the scene when neighbours reported hearing a gunshot before 15:00, and found him dead with a single gunshot wound to the head.

He was found in the back seat of his Mercedes Benz and the gun had apparently been fired into his mouth.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said Ngubane’s 9mm pistol was found at the scene and police confirmed that the gun was registered to him.

There was also a suicide note at the scene, but this was partially illegible because it was covered in blood.

Mdunge could not confirm if there were any members of the family at home at the time of the incident.

Arms deal commission

Ngubane was a successful lawyer who was recently appointed to the president’s new arms deal commission of inquiry.

He was highly respected among colleagues who twice elected him as president of the Black Lawyers’ Association (BLA).

He hit the headlines in recent years when he represented Sheryl Cwele, the then-wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, in her drug trafficking case.

She was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for drug trafficking. She has appealed against the sentence.

Cwele told The Witness she had been informed of Ngubane’s death on Saturday night by one of his colleagues.

“It was very shocking to me. I respected him and he was very professional.

“I never had any suspicions that he had trouble in his personal life,” she said.

She said it was too early to make any decisions regarding her court case.

A source who did not want to be named told The Witness that Ngubane had been under financial strain because many of his clients were not honouring their debts.

“He was always a man for smiles and jokes, so he wasn’t hard enough on those who owed him,” said the source.


Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, former president of the BLA, said: “It is tragic Mvuseni Ngubane had to die in these circumstances. He did not deserve this.

“He had a distinctive personality that endeared him to people.

“I spoke to him a few days ago and even then I had no idea anything was wrong.”

Former judge president of KwaZulu-Natal, Justice Vuka Tshabalala, said: “As the leader of the BLA he did a good job and he was chosen to be on the Judicial Services Commission to help appoint judges to the bench.

“I chatted to him the evening before he died and we were supposed to meet on the Saturday evening.”

Ngubane’s brother, Boy Ngubane, said the suicide note found in the car did not shed light on what pushed him to commit suicide. “There was nothing significant on the note and as a family we have taken a decision not to talk about it.

“He was not a person who suffered from any form of depression, when we were together, he was a bit tired but I just assumed that it was because of his training schedule as he was the kind of person who enjoyed training and often ran short-distance marathons.”

The deputy speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Mtholephi Mthimkulu, said Ngubane’s death was a huge blow to the legal fraternity.

He is survived by his wife and two children, a son, 24, and a daughter, 13.

  • Msika - 2012-05-14 08:36

    So tragic! May his soul RIP!

      Iceberg - 2012-05-14 09:18

      Rudi, this is not the space for your rant. Have respect please

      Chris - 2012-05-14 09:19

      @Rudi, wrong place to raise that debate. Condolences to the family.

      E=MC2 - 2012-05-14 09:37

      just a quick question: All the people "sending their condolences"... did you know him or the family? Aren’t condolences normally sent by people who actually mean it? It’s a sad story, but seriously, stop looking for "thumbs up" by sending fake condolences to someone you didn’t know.

      Bryan - 2012-05-14 09:38

      Condolences to his family but must say that there is definitely something fishy here... It smeels of more than just a rat..!!!

      Mark - 2012-05-14 10:34

      Rudi do you have to publicly display your lack of culture (if you have one) and respect for a deceased person.

      Shadho - 2012-05-19 22:16

      DRUG CARTELS are known to use this type of assassination / MO. Its nothing new to them!! The police are well aware of this so yup very suspicious circumstances. A really sad day for the legal fraternity ,family and all of us who knew him. RIP buddy..

  • Christopher - 2012-05-14 08:45


  • Matthew - 2012-05-14 08:51

    It wasnt Suicide for those that are interested. Just made to look like it was.Wether or not the truth surfaces,who knows. Its a setup.

      E=MC2 - 2012-05-14 09:38

      i smell a well excecuted hit...

      Dawie - 2012-05-14 12:46

      The timing is certainly suspicious. People commit suicide when they have irretrievably lost - or when they have finally won and there is nothing more. People do not commit suicide when they're squaring up for a fight.

      Lionel - 2012-05-15 08:34

      Having known him over many years, I would have to agree.

  • Johnnie - 2012-05-14 08:55

    Very sad case with lots of unanswered questions. Sympathy to the family, they are the one's that will really suffer. R.I.P.

  • Michelle - 2012-05-14 08:56

    Unless you have been in that same space; one cannot judge someone who takes their own life. I feel for those who love him and are left behind. Wonder if Ms Cweles bill was paid up to date??

  • ralph.mthethwa - 2012-05-14 09:00

    Whatever it is dat was bothering hm he could nt c a way out he was a good lawyer though nd his expertise nd knowledge in law wil b missed dearly.

  • Sechaba30 - 2012-05-14 09:03

    Is this Cele woman not in Prison?

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-14 09:14

      She is busy developing Shaikalaites.

      Antipoaching - 2012-05-14 14:59

      Out on bail pending her appeal, Sechaba30

      Zighom - 2012-05-15 08:18

      No she's still out on bail pending appeal

  • Malose - 2012-05-14 09:09

    i don"t believe the suicide story. this man was murdered. Police must investigate this case further.

  • Quantronium - 2012-05-14 09:10


  • Quantronium - 2012-05-14 09:11


  • sesom - 2012-05-14 09:25

    Can only be Murder...Check on the Police....Anything to do with Arms Deal..

  • Carry - 2012-05-14 09:27


  • cyanideandhappiness - 2012-05-14 09:55

    He's a damn lawyer, he knows how to get money he is owed... I think this guy was assassinated, he had no reason to take his own life, and he killed himself sitting in his car? And his suicide note shed no light as to why? Nope... The lies guys..... I.. I just can't anymore...

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-14 10:26

    Shame, what would have happened there?.

  • lskosana3 - 2012-05-14 10:33

    Also didn't believe the suicide story at first but if the shot was into the mouth...

  • grant.hide - 2012-05-14 10:37

    Fishy circumstances, I wouldn't rule it suicide yet.

      antionettenener - 2012-05-14 10:57

      Do you think it was murder perhaps?

  • Rudi - 2012-05-14 10:56

    @ Mark - o so now I have to have respect for this person just because he is deceased? How sanctimonious is that!? He is dead! What good will any respect for him do him now? How many of you respected him when he was alive? Did you have any respect for Eugene Tereblanche when he was alive? or dead?

  • Michael - 2012-05-14 11:44

    Blacks only Laywers.....hmmm oh wait they said balck so its ok...sorry im not PC all of the time...I knew him and he was a racist PIG...hopefully he had a split second of pure hell before he died....RACIST PIG!!!!!1

      Lionel - 2012-05-15 08:35

      It seems to me that you're a racist with serious issues.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-14 12:03

    Shooting himself in the back of his 'merc' a suicide note that can not be read? Come on this is not a suicide and it seems that somebody is doing a cover up. It seems like a message has been sent.

  • Kelly - 2012-05-14 13:30

    "that Ngubane had been under financial strain because many of his clients were not honouring their debts" this is quite possible because attorneys are always depicted as a lot of thieving crooks so nobody has to pay them but we still need to pay staff, telephone, rental, TAX and then only can we start taking monies home for our families - and yet we are thieving crooks in society

      Antipoaching - 2012-05-14 15:05

      Agreed Kelly..... the non-payment of fees is especially prevalent in Criminal matter firms. Criminal accused seem to think that, whether they are convicted or not, their obligation to their attorney ceases when jusdgement is handed down. I worked for an attorney who did a fair amount of criminal work and by heavens, if didnt squeeze every cent out of them before trial (preferably when they were keen for you to give your all to get them out on bail)you pretty much knew it was money lost

  • Lionel - 2012-05-15 08:33

    This guy was well liked and successful, and I am not believing it was suicide...

  • esme.collins1 - 2012-05-16 22:49

    Not convinced about the assumed cause of death - I think more will be revealed. However, condolences to the family. They have lost a family member and friend.

  • Shadho - 2012-05-19 22:15

    DRUG CARTELS are known to use this type of assassination / MO. Its nothing new to them!! The police are well aware of this so yup very suspicious circumstances. A really sad day for the legal fraternity ,family and all of us who knew him. RIP buddy..

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