Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Senior journalist
3 minute read
4 Mar 2022
06:02

KZN police detective sentenced for accidentally shooting and killing Pietermaritzburg advocate

Sakhiseni Nxumalo

The family of Pietermaritzburg senior state advocate, Addelaid Ann Ferreira Watt (62), who was accidentally shot and killed, believe that justice has been served.

The family of Pietermaritzburg senior state advocate, Addelaid Ann Ferreira-Watt (62), who was accidentally shot and killed, believe that justice has been served.

This comes after a police detective, Muzi Euchalystius Mkhize (57), was handed a six-year suspended sentence in connection with Watt’s death.

Mkhize was sentenced by the Scottburgh Regional Court after pleading guilty to culpable homicide.

Watt’s daughter Lindsay Ann Hawkins said now that the case has been concluded, she was hopeful that it would provide a sense of closure for her, although at this stage, it seems like a foreign concept.

Hawkins said the absence of her mother and the void it has left in her life is massive and irreparable.

She said in the wake of the legal proceedings, she will commit herself to ensuring that her mother’s legacy lives on and her memory never fades.

“Justice has run its course in this matter. We all feel her absence, it has not been easy,” said Hawkins.

Her laugh, loving and compassionate nature and zest for life will never be forgotten, she said.

Firearm not made safe

Watt died in November 2019. At the time, she was prosecuting a farm robbery matter in the uMzimkhulu regional court. During court proceedings, one of the exhibit firearms went off while in the possession of Mkhize who was the investigating officer in the case. Watt was shot and died.

In his plea statement, Mkhize agreed that he failed to check whether the firearm was loaded or safe, as he believed that the firearm was not working, said Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority. The firearm was handed to the owner after the robbery and he returned it to the investigating officer because it was an exhibit in the case.

Ramkisson-Kara said:

“He said that during court proceedings he had dozed off and was startled when the court suddenly adjourned. This caused him to lose control of the shotgun and in an attempt to regain control of the gun, a shot was discharged. Watt, who was sitting diagonally across from him, was struck on her left hip and subsequently died due to a loss of blood.”

Mkhize conceded in his plea that his conduct was negligent and said he never intended to shoot or injure Watt as they had shared a fruitful working relationship.

Fine to suport shelter for abused women and children 

As part of the sentence, Mkhize has to pay a fine of R20 000 to a shelter for abused women and children in Pietermaritzburg on or before March 11.

In a victim impact statement handed to the court, Hawkins described the loss and devastation she felt after losing her mother, said Ramkisson-Kara.

“She described her mother as a kind and vibrant woman who lit up the room when she walked in. Hawkins said that she has suffered psychological, emotional and physical trauma as she and her mother were inseparable,” said Ramkisson-Kara.

Watt was stationed at the Pietermaritzburg office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal.