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Durban advocate commits suicide

Publish date: 14 May 2012
Issue Number: 3033
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: General

Durban Advocate Mvuseni Ngubane has been found dead at his home in Pinetown, according to a report on the News24 site quoting Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge.

He said Ngubane was found with a gunshot wound to the head. 'Police found a suicide note near his body.' Ngubane handled high profile cases, including that of convicted drug dealer Cheryl Cwele, the wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele. Ngubane served on various boards and committees. He was a former president of the Durban branch of the Black Lawyers' Association and co-chaired the Law Society of SA in 2005. Full report on the News24 site

The president of the Law Society in KZN, Mxolisi Nxasana, described Ngubane's death as shocking and painful. 'We have lost a dedicated member who contributed immensely to the organisation and the law practice in general,' said Nxasana. Ngubane was MD and founding partner of Durban-based Ngubane and Partners. According to a report in The Times, he was one of the JSC members perceived to favour Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe during the controversy that surrounded Hlophe's alleged attempt to influence Constitutional Court judges in favour of Zuma when the court was considering the legality of raids carried out by the now defunct Scorpions. Full report in The Times

People who knew him are baffled. 'We are not sure what could have pushed him to do this... It had been business as usual and he was handling high-profile matters,' Thami Thembe, a director at Ngubane's law firm, is quoted as saying in a report in The Mercury. The national president of the BLA, Busani Mabunda, who visited the Ngubane home yesterday, described the death as a 'big loss for the legal profession in the SA... He could have easily become a judge.' JSC spokesperson Dumisa Ntsebeza SC was equally shocked. 'I had spoken to him a few weeks ago and I joked about when the arms deal commission was going to get off the ground and he laughed it off and said they were putting it together.' He said Ngubane had been a 'master reconciler' and good leader. 'He had the distinction of being the president of the BLA for two consecutive terms. In that position, he had to get lawyers... to work together and he seemed to do this with effortless ease. He was an unassuming person who led by example.' KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize, speaking in Newcastle at the provincial ANC congress, said he was saddened to hear about the death of the 'seasoned activist lawyer'. Ngubane is survived by his wife, daughter and son, Smanga (24), who is studying at Wits University. Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)