Durban - It takes an enormous amount of hard work, determination and passion to earn a successful conviction in a court of law, and for senior advocate Kelvin Singh this combination worked well to earn him the Prosecutor of the Year award.
Singh was one of three prosecutors in the country to be recognised at an awards ceremony at Scottburgh on Friday.
Born and bred in KwaZulu-Natal, Singh has been involved in delivering justice in some of the province’s toughest criminal cases.
The tears of joy that come with every successful conviction are what keep him motivated, he says.
The successful conviction of Sibonelo Mkhize, 39, for the murder of 9-year-old Sadia Sukhraj was a highlight.
Mkhize was convicted of murder even though there was undisputed evidence that he had not fired the shot that killed Sadia on May 28, 2018. The bullet that killed the girl was fired by her father in an attempt to stop hijackers.
Following Singh’s argument, Judge Esther Steyn sentenced Mkhize to 15 years in prison for robbery and life imprisonment for two counts of murder, including the death of his accomplice.
The Bianca Parsons trial, in which Singh also secured a conviction, was also difficult as the case relied heavily on CCTV footage with poor quality visuals.
Singh says the case involved a lot of hard work, hours of preparation and sleepless nights to prove that the murder was planned.
The top prosecutor also secured convictions and life imprisonment sentences for the killers of retired principal Gona Pillay, who was attacked in her home along with her husband in 2017.
The murder sent shock waves around the country. Having worked as a defence lawyer for the Legal Aid board for nine years before joining the Director of Public Prosecutions four years ago, Singh says he does not regret crossing the floor.
“It was the best decision I took for my career.
“The reason I studied law in the first place was because I believed in justice, and having grown up in the apartheid era, my main objective was to correct what went wrong and be part of change.
“Prosecution gives me the platform to do that,” he said.
Singh, a married father of two, says although he spends a lot of time working, he tries to spend time with his family.
“I speak to my daughters about the careers they’re interested in and I motivate them to follow their passion because I believe success is not achievable without passion.
“My youngest daughter wants to study law. I must be doing something right to have that influence on her.
“My eldest daughter wants to study engineering and I make sure that I give her the support she needs,” he said.
Paul Schutte from Gauteng and Maria Snyman from the North West were also recognised at the awards ceremony.