Mvuseni Ngubane

A top Durban attorney and secretary of the commission of inquiry into the arms deal was found dead in the back seat of his car at his Pinetown home on Saturday afternoon, in what police believe was a suicide.

Mvuseni Ngubane was shot once in the head.

Ngubane had been involved in several high-profile cases, including representing convicted drug dealer Sheryl Cwele recently.

He was the managing director and founding partner of Durban-based law firm, Ngubane and Partners Inc.

Ngubane also served on various boards and committees, and is a former president of the Black Lawyers’ Association (BLA). He had also co-chaired the Law Society of South Africa, as well as being a former member of the Judicial Service Commission.

He was appointed secretary of the commission of inquiry last year. This meant that he would have been responsible for the management of its R40 million budget for the provision of administrative support to the commission.

His brother, Boy Ngubane, said the family was shocked because he had not shown any sign of unhappiness or that something might had been bothering him.

“Although it has been said that he complained of not getting that much work (in his law firm), we do not believe that was the case,” he said. “Perhaps he had other problems, but we do not believe they could be work related”.

Ngubane said his brother’s body was found by his wife and domestic worker who had gone out.

“They returned and were trying to park in the garage. That is when they discovered he was dead,” he said. “We are very shocked and hard hit by his death. He was a very humble man and a hard worker. We got along very well; we spoke every day. We don’t know how to make sense of his death.”

BLA president Pritzman Mabunda described Ngubane as a “measured person” and a voice of reason. “We are shocked and saddened by his untimely death,” he said. “He has offered a lot in the legal fraternity in various capacities. He did a lot for the profession.”

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said Ngubane’s family found him on the back seat of his Mercedes Benz in the garage.

“It appeared that a 9mm pistol was used. Police found a suicide note near his body. Some parts of the letter were not readable due to blood stains,” Mdunge said.

“We have no suspicion of foul play. An inquest docket has been opened.”

During the ongoing Mpumalanga taxi conflict, Ngubane was appointed last year as a mediator by the Department of Transport to assist in resolving the conflict.

Ngubane is survived by his wife and two children.

Boy Ngubane said that funeral arrangements would be finalised once an autopsy had been performed.