Judge killed by black mamba lauded: 'Wonderful human being', 'man of integrity'

2019-05-21 15:52
Judge Anton Steenkamp. (Supplied)

Judge Anton Steenkamp. (Supplied)

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International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has sent her condolences to family and friends of the late Cape Town Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp, who died after being bitten by a black mamba on Monday while on holiday in Zambia.

News24 reported that the 57-year-old was touring with his wife Catherine when he was bitten by the snake.

Sisulu has also requested that the South African High Commission in Zambia provide all the necessary support to the Steenkamp family who are already in Zambia to prepare for the repatriation of his remains.

Speaking on behalf of the South African Judiciary, Judge President of the Labour and Labour Appeal Court, Judge Basheer Waglay hailed Steenkamp as someone who "had a deep love for his country and a zest for life".

"He will be remembered for his independence, integrity and significant contribution to labour law jurisprudence in South Africa as a practitioner, scholar and judge," said Waglay.

He added that Steenkamp’s loss will be "deeply felt by his colleagues and the staff in the Labour Courts. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Judge Steenkamp’s wife Catherine and his two children", added Waglay.

Close friend Charles Leonard, the arts editor at The Conversation Africa, said Steenkamp was his comrade from the 1980s, when they were students. Leonard described Steenkamp as an "exceptional" person.

He said Steenkamp was kind, generous, loyal and committed to bettering more than just society. He also had an exceptional brain, and was one of the finest on the bench.

People have taken to social media to express their condolences following Steenkamp's untimely death.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi described him as a "wonderful human being".

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) lauded Steenkamp as a "man of integrity who contributed immensely to the South African labour market".

"The labour court has played a major role in transforming our labour market and Judge Steenkamp contributed immensely to this cause," the union said in tribute.

Veteran journalist and columnist Max du Preez mourned his "special friend", calling him a "clever, kind, progressive man of great integrity". 

One Twitter user commented on the news, saying Steenkamp was a "gentleman" and that it was always a pleasure to appear in his courtroom.

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