Condolences are still pouring in for one of the province’s most extraordinary judges, Anton Steenkamp, who was killed when he was bitten by a black mamba on Monday, May 20.
Steenkamp who was an outstanding labour court judge from the Western Cape was highly regarded by many and has left a gaping hole in the hearts of many more following his sudden death. He was not only regarded as a man of high caliber in a professional light but also as a father and a husband.
The honourable judge reportedly died in Mpika a remote part of Zambia after he was bitten by a deadly snake during a holiday with his wife, Catherine.
Steenkamp was 57-years-old and reportedly died before anti-venom could be administered after he was bitten. The African Snakebite Institute says while details of 57-year-old Steenkamp’s death are still unclear, it appears that he was several hours away from the nearest major town when the incident.
“He died before anti-venom could be administered,” Johan Marais of the African Snakebite Institute said in a statement on Wednesday.
Marais added that it appeared Steenkamp had been bitten on his lower leg, Marais says that the black mamba is by far the largest venomous snake in Africa, reaching close to four metres and is rated as one of the deadliest snakes in the world. This dangerous species can be found throughout South Africa, including Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the North West, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Steenkamp and his wife were on a tour through Africa, when he was bitten and he leaves behind two children.
A statement issued on behalf of the family said,”A memorial service will be held shortly and further details as to the date and venue will be released once finalised. We take this opportunity to thank everyone for their incredible support in this time of grief.”
The judge’s ashes will be brought home shortly after his cremation by his wife. Since his passing tributes have poured in, especially from those who were familiar with Steenkamp in a professional manner.
“He was an extraordinary judge, both firm and gentle in his court manner, courageous in his judgments, erudite and always committed to the highest standards of ethics. Anton brought his humanity to bear on every aspect of his professional life with unrelenting clarity,” a close colleague told the Daily Maverick.
Cape Town has lost a truly amazing individual whose absence will be felt long after his ashes are laid to rest.