Prominent judge Willem van der Linde, 63, died on Saturday after collapsing at gym, according to SA judiciary spokesperson Nathi Mncube.
Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court Dunstan Mlambo also passed his condolences along to the family and friends of Van der Linde.
“The judges and staff of the Gauteng division were shocked to learn of the sudden and untimely death of Judge van der Linde.”
Commenting on his passing, Mlambo commended Van der Linde and said: “He was a committed jurist, a pillar of strength at the court.”
Van der Linde was appointed to the high court in 2015. At the time, it was reported that he conceded to joining Ruiterwag – the youth wing of the Afrikaner Broederbond – when he was a student.
He said it took him too long to absorb the fact that it was only white and male and stayed in the group for 14 years.
“I stayed too long in it. I should have resigned,” he said at the time.
Prior to his elevation to the Bench, he served as an advocate from 1983, taking silk in 1996.
He was a graduate of the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University), where he obtained his law degrees.
He had extensive experience as a commercial litigator, including in the specialist areas of insurance and construction-related litigation.
In a statement, Mncube said that as a judicial officer, Van der Linde was described as “well-prepared – someone who listened patiently and politely, but also dealt decisively with counsel on both sides appearing before him”.
“He had a commanding judicial presence and demonstrated an acute grasp of the issues. Judge van der Linde’s loss will be deeply felt by his colleagues and the staff in the Gauteng division. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Isabella, his children, family and friends.”
Mncube said details of his funeral will be released in due course.