Judge Steenkamp described as a courteous man at his memorial service

June 12th, 2019
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Judge President of the Gauteng Division in Pretoria, Dunstan Mlambo and Judge President of the Labour and Labour Appeal Court, Basheer Waglay, at the memorial service of Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp held on 29 May, at the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The Labour and Labour Appeal Court in Johannesburg held a memorial service, for Labour Court Judge, Anton Steenkamp, who died on 20 May. Judge Steenkamp passed away while he was touring Africa with his wife Catherine. He died after he was bitten by a black mamba in Zambia. Speaking at the memorial service on 29 May, Judge President of the Labour and Labour Appeal Court, Basheer Waglay, said that Judge Steenkamp was an able and conscientious judge.

Judge President Waglay pointed out that Judge Steenkamp was a valued colleague, friend, and in all accounts a devoted husband and father. He added that the floods of tributes through the media since Judge Steenkamp’s passing is testimony that he was a remarkable person. He said that the organisations and people who paid tribute to Judge Steenkamp indicates the esteem he was held in by society. Judge President Waglay noted the family of Judge Steenkamp could not attend the memorial service held in Johannesburg, as the family found it difficult to travel at the time.

Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria, Dunstan Mlambo, said he met Judge Steenkamp when they were youngsters entering the legal profession. ‘What struck me about Judge Steenkamp was the fact that he was a white man who was stepping out of his position of privilege to practice public interest law,’ Judge President Mlambo said.

Member of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates, advocate Andrew Snider, spoke at the memorial of Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp.

Judge President Mlambo added that Judge Steenkamp was planning to serve in the Gauteng Division from the third term onwards. He said when he heard about Judge Steeknamp’s death he was saddened by the news, as he and the other judges of the Gauteng Division were looking forward to working with him.  Judge President Mlambo sent his condolences to the Steenkamp family.

Member of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates, advocate Andrew Snider, recalled the experiences he had with Judge Steenkamp. He said that Judge Steenkamp was a man one could rely on to be friendly and courteous. It was a pleasure to appear before him in court and he added that one had a sense that there was not any animosity towards legal practitioners from the Bench at all.

Black Lawyers Association representative in Gauteng, Chris Mamathuntsha, said Judge Steenkamp made a good contribution to the labour jurisprudence in the country.

Black Lawyers Association (BLA) representative in Gauteng, Chris Mamathuntsha said Judge Steenkamp made a good contribution to the labour jurisprudence in the country, especially to the Labour and Labour Appeal Court. He added that the manner in which Judge Steenkamp carried himself, represented what the BLA stands for. Mr Mamathuntsha said he hoped that the legacy of Judge Steenkamp will live on through his judgments.

House of Constituents member of the Law Society of South Africa, Denise Lenyai, said Judge Steenkamp played a role in the legal practitioner she is today. She pointed out that she first met Judge Steenkamp, when she was a young candidate legal practitioner and shared the story of her first encounter with Judge Steenkamp.

Executive Committee Member of the Law Society of South Africa, Denise Lenyai, said Judge Steenkamp played a role in the legal practitioner she is today. Ms Lenyai spoke at the memorial service held in Johannesburg for Judge Steenkamp.

Ms Lenyai said she was meeting a friend who was a candidate legal practitioner at Cheadle Thompson and Haysom where Judge Steenkamp worked. One day during her lunch she went to meet her friend for coffee when, Judge Steenkamp found her outside the building. Judge Steenkamp asked her what she was doing waiting outside, and she told him she was waiting for a friend. She added that she had forgotten her friend’s name because of how nervous she was at the time. She said Judge Steenkamp invited her for coffee since she had forgotten her friend’s name and was waiting outside. She noted that while they were having coffee, Judge Steenkamp gave her words of encouragement and told her to find her passion in law and pursue it and be the best she can be. ‘He told me to make a difference, so that wherever I go, when people remember me, they will smile,’ she said.

Another memorial service for Judge Steenkamp was held at the Labour Court in Cape Town on 3 June.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.