KwaZulu-Natal Judge President, Achmat Jappie, has paid tribute to senior member of the KwaZulu-Natal judiciary, Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni, who passed away earlier this week.
Mnguni - who served at the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg – passed away on Tuesday after falling ill a few days earlier.
"Judge Mnguni was a dedicated and astute jurist, who was known for his dedication to the rule of law, and will be remembered fondly for his kind and welcoming spirit.
"His untimely death robs us of the opportunity to experience his future contribution to the Judiciary," Jappie said, adding that judges and judicial officials at the division were shocked to learn of his passing,
"Judge Mnguni’s loss will be deeply felt by his colleagues and the staff in the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court," said Jappie.
According to a statement from the Office of the Chief Justice, Mnguni was a permanent member of the High Court since 2009, following a 14-year career as an attorney.
"At various times throughout 2007 and 2008, he was appointed as an Acting Judge in the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court. During his tenure as a Judge of the Division, he acted as a Deputy Judge President of the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court in 2016. Earlier this year, he was appointed as the Acting Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court," the statement said.
Mnguni presided over former president Jacob Zuma’s urgent bid to fetter his imminent arrest and 15-month jail term for contempt of court on Tuesday at the KwaZulu-Natal high court.
In October 2019, Mnguni and two other judges of the same court denied Zuma a stay of prosecution in the arms deal corruption trial. In May 2021, Zuma was charged with corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering to which he pleaded not guilty.