Justice Kenneth Mthiyane, Chairperson of Presidential Remuneration Review Commission addresses the Presidential Remuneration Review Commission Roundtable Discussion at teh University of Pretoria's Main Campus. South Africa. 08/09/2016. Siyabulela Duda
Justice Kenneth Mthiyane, Chairperson of Presidential Remuneration Review Commission addresses the Presidential Remuneration Review Commission Roundtable Discussion at teh University of Pretoria's Main Campus. South Africa. 08/09/2016. Siyabulela Duda

Judge Mthiyane’s role remembered

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Feb 1, 2021

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Durban - JUDGE Khayelihle Kenneth Mthiyane made a significant contribution to the cause of justice in South Africa through his work, including his contribution to jurisprudence, as well as through the various roles he played in various committees of the judiciary.

These were Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's comments when he announced the death of Mthiyane, 77, who died on Thursday. Mthiyane’s wife, S’thandiwe, also died a week ago. Both deaths were Covid-related.

Mthiyane obtained the BJuris degree from Unisa in 1972. He obtained an LLB in 1984 and an LLM in 1994, both from the University of Natal in Durban.

In 1997, he headed the three-person Mthiyane Commission which investigated corruption, racism and other irregularities in 22 provincial hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal with a view to establishing clean governance.

The report and the recommendations of the commission resulted in the abatement chaos that had threatened to destabilise service delivery in the province and a number of dismissals and prosecutions followed.

Leading up to the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, Mthiyane participated in providing legal assistance and voter education to the (until then) disenfranchised communities.

He was appointed as a judge of the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court in 1997. He was later appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeal. After serving for some years in that court, he was appointed its deputy president, which position he held until he retired in 2014.

“He was part of the team of judges and magistrates that accompanied me on a fact-finding mission in various jurisdictions abroad to study the best practices for the enhancement of access to justice, an all-inclusive court automation system or court modernisation, judicial education, judicial case management and, in some, effective and efficient court operations,” Mogoeng said.

Mthiyane served on the judicial case flow management committee which recommended the case-flow management system. Mogoeng said Mthiyane single-handedly drafted the court-annexed mediation report on behalf of the judiciary.

“That report is about the most effective court mediation system that has enhanced access to justice and the expeditious finalisation of cases in all the countries where it has been used,” Mogoeng said.

Justice Edwin Cameron said Mthiyane’s contribution and service to the country would reverberate through the ages.

“Kenneth was a treasured, generous and deeply principled colleague. His death seems too soon, far, far too soon ... I fondly called him Khayelihle; he fondly called me Lekgowa. We have lost a most treasured human being and colleague, and our country is poorer for it,”Justice Cameron said.

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