Judge Hetisani laid to rest

Retired judge Godfrey Ntsanwisi Khetomthandayo laid to rest

Benson Ntlemo

Limpopo High Court Judge President Chief Justice Ephraim Makgoba has said retired judge Godfrey Ntsanwisi Khetomthandayo Hetisani lived life to the full and people should celebrate his life rather than mourn.

“He bade us farewell when he retired as a judge but like everybody else this is his second and last farewell,” said the chief justice at the funeral service held at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church at Giyani Section E on Saturday.

Offering condolences to the family, he said he was also offering condolences from Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and also from the former Judge President of the Limpopo High Court Chief Justice Bernard Ngoepe and whom the late Hetisani worked.

“I knew him from 1978 and we worked together in different committees including at Edupark when we helped newly trained lawyers to improve their careers,” said Chief Justice Makgoba.

Former Limpopo provincial leader Edgar Mushwana who served the province in different portfolios spoke representing the friends of the late legal eagle.

He hailed him as a leader who was selfless and was pro development.

“He had started a shopping complex in Nkowankowa and I was one of the tenants,” Mushwana said.

Greater Giyani mayor Basani Agnes Shibambu said as the municipality they are proud of the role that the late Hetisani played nationally.

“It is something remarkable that he played a part in the negotiations for a new South Africa in Kempton Park and also his role in the Ralushai Commission,” she said.

Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, known nationally as a political analyst featured in another role as a pastor at the funeral.

Chief Justice Makgoba was accompanied by Chief Justice George Phatudi and Chief Justice Khami Makhafola.

Born on April 2 1935, Hetisani died on September 27 2020 the age of 85.

He had been appointed to the bench in 2000 and retired in 2010 at the age of 75.

Born in Prospect Township Johannesburg on 02 April 1935, his family relocated to Alexandra Township during 1938.

 He started his primary schooling at the Swiss Mission School at 9th Avenue in Alex.

. During 1942 his parents decided that the family should return to their roots in Limpopo where they were coming from.

He then attended St Mary’s Primary school situated at Maungane, called the Beuster Mission Station School. He later went to the well-known Mphaphuli High School which has produced many top figures.

In 1977 he was admitted as an Attorney and started a Legal Practice in Tzaneen. In 1985, after receiving the Sandton Town Council Bursary awards, he proceeded to Washington D.C in the USA to do research at the Library of Congress.

In August 1993, he became one of the delegates at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa that ushered a new order in South Africa and was one of the representatives of the Ximoko Progressive Party that later swelled its ranks with  the ANC in the 1994 democratic elections.

After the Codesa negotiations held at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park, he was appointed a member of the sub-committee on foreign affairs of the Transitional Executive Committee and travelled extensively worldwide.

In 1994, he was appointed non-executive Director of Transnet Limited and also served as political analyst for SABC Radio Tsonga. He was also appointed Chairman of Appeal Commission of the Northern Disciplinary Board under the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs.

 In the same year, he attended the International Atomic Energy commission in Vienna, Austria as one of the leaders who were supposed to be of assistance to the then upcoming democratic government.

He also became a member of the South African institute of International Relations in 1995.

In 1996, he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Ralushai Commission of Enquiry that looked into traditional leadership disputes and claims in Limpopo.

In 1996 he became one of the first black lawyers to become a member of the Transvaal Law Society, now known as the Law society of the Northern Province.

He also served as a member of its society’s commission on company, and on its standing commission on legal education.  

Hetisani also became a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Human Rights Institution during 1997. He was also a member of   National Executive Committee of the Ximoko Progressive Party. In the same year, he became a member of the Institute of Directors.

In the year 1998, Hetisani was appointed a member of the council of the University of Limpopo and a tutor at Edupark Law School.

This was followed by his appointment to the bench in 2000.

The hardworking man has amassed different qualifications.

He boasted of a diploma in journalism from Transafrica College, a Bachelor of Law, BProc degree and a Bachelor of Arts honours degree from the University of South Africa.

He had also a Post graduate diploma in Company Direction, Advanced Diploma in Road Transport from (RAU) now University of Johannesburg and Certificate in MCR from the University of Pretoria.

 As a result of his interests in commercial farming, he was appointed as Chairman of NERPO (National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation) for Mopani District in 2010. During these years he was elected as Chairperson of AFASA in Mopani District as well as a member of its National Executive Committee.

Godfrey was married to Leah Mafanele ne Mathebula, a prominent business woman. The couple was blessed with 5 children, 4 daughters and a son. He is survived by his wife, 3 daughters Fiona, Renee and Mavila, 11 Grandchildren and 5 Great grandchildren.

The retired judge was sent to his final resting place at Giyani cemetery.

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