Shock rippled through the legal community on Sunday as news spread on social media of the death of well-known Pietermaritzburg district magistrate Mumsi Boikhutso in hospital.
While the cause of her death has not been formally announced, it was known that she tested positive for Covid-19 more than a week ago and was hospitalised.
Chief Magistrate Mpho Evelyn Monyemore on Sunday said she could confirm only that Boikhutso had died in hospital in the early hours on Sunday and said she was “devastated” and expressed condolences to the family. She added that more information will follow during the week.
Meanwhile, word spread quickly via legal WhatsApp groups and telephonically on Sunday. “It is with great regret and sadness that we have learned of the death of our friend and colleague Mumsi Boikhutso this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family in this time of sorrow,” her colleagues on the magistrates’ bench shared on Sunday.
Boikhutso is survived by her husband and three children.
It was confirmed last week that a magistrate had tested positive, apparently after being on sick leave.
Bheka Kweyama, from the Department of Justice, said last Monday the department “have done their part as far as disinfecting the court where the magistrate was working”.
This was after some members of the public, staff and attorneys were seen milling around outside the court and indicated that they were afraid to enter the building until the matter had been formally addressed and decontamination done.
Later in the week chief prosecutor Nonhlanhla Dlamini told The Witness that there was “no go-slow” at the court that day as initially reported. She said at the time she had directed NPA staff not to enter the court building as it was high risk until she had more information. — WR.