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113 S. African L.J. 685 (1996)
In Memoriam: Etienne Mureinik

handle is hein.journals/soaf113 and id is 701 raw text is: NOTES AND COMMENTS
Professor Emeritus of Law, University of the Witwatersrand,Johannesburg
At about 9.45 on the morning of Wednesday 10 July, Etienne Mureinik, a
professor of law in the University of the Witwatersrand, parked his motor car
in the garage of the Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein. He had inspected the
building the previous day on leaving the Constitutional Court, where he
was representing the Association of Law Societies in submitting its objec-
tions to the text of the final Constitution as passed by the Constitutional
Assembly. According to Mr Peter Leon, leader of the Democratic Party in
the Gauteng legislature, who was the other member of the team representing
the Association, Etienne had quietly told him 'in the dying sunlight of a
mid-winter afternoon ... that he was unlikely to make Thursday's session of
the Constitutional Court'. He appeared tired and withdrawn.'
Having parked his car, Etienne booked in at the hotel. According to the
receptionist, he appeared 'normal'. He requested a room on one of the top
floors, and that the computer should state that the room allocated to him must
not be changed.
Having paid R375 by credit card for accommodation until the following
morning, he caught the lift to room 2301 on the twenty-third floor, carrying
with him a canvas bag containing clothing and toiletries. On the bed he placed
a plastic folder, in which were a copy of his identity document, a medical
certificate and doctors' and pharmacists' accounts. Also he placed on the bed
his keys and R400 in notes. Thereafter he took off his brown slip-on shoes.
At about 10:30 he jumped out of the window.2
The suicide of this brilliant academic, conducted with an efficiency that
made one's blood run cold, caused widespread shock and grief. That he had
been deeply depressed for some time was known to his family and some
colleagues, though I was not aware of it. He had seen three psychiatrists and
been treated with drugs; but they did not release him from the fell clutches
of his depression. No one, however, believed that he was in a suicidal
frame of mind.
He was buried on the following Friday at West Park Cemetery in
Johannesburg before members of his family and some 250 colleagues, friends
See Sunday Times 14July 1996 p 9 and p 5.
2 See Nicola Koz in Sunday Times 14July 1996 p 5;Johan Kuus in Rapport 14July 1996 p 5.

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