In her final days, slain senior State advocate Addelaid Ann Ferreira-Watt took to social media and expressed her desire to head back home, spend time with family and even possibly retire.
Ferreira-Watt, who was fierce in the courtroom and a familiar name in the South African art community, was killed in a freak shooting in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
A firearm, thought to be a shotgun used for evidence in a house robbery, somehow went off, injuring the 51-year-old on her hip. She died later in hospital.
The police said they were investigating a case of culpable homicide.
In one of her final Facebook posts on November 12, just days before her death, she was down and seemingly unhappy about travelling to work. Her tone was that of frustration.
“Dispirited here in the valley of Ixopo and Umzimkhulu. Difficult to get things going. Think it’s time to hang up my boots.”
Between her many musings and sharing of art pieces, Ferreira-Watt posted again, this time a day before her death.
In this Facebook post, she lamented her return to the area.
“Back to Ixopo and Umzimkhulu to go on with a farm murder case.”
But she was looking forward to the year-end. She described herself as a real homebody. “Love it. Beautiful week for everyone,” she said.
Tributes poured in for the well-loved prosecutor on Tuesday from the art world, legal fraternity and general public.
Her final Facebook post – of a young girl holding a red balloon that floats away as she lets it go – was filled with mourners expressing their shock at the loss of such a valuable advocate.
“[She was] always encouraging us and making us feel our best. She managed to enter the hearts of our homes and touched each of our lives in a very specific way,” said Sonja Nel of Sonja Nel Paintings.
“We salute you our dear friend. Our hearts are very sore and heavy today as we are saying our goodbyes. Words are too few to express our loss. May you rest in peace.”
Adriaan Boshoff Junior commented on her final Facebook post that Ferreira-Watt was a “wonderful friend over the years and will be dearly missed by myself and the South African art community”.
“She was a passionate and fiery soul. Her enthusiastic light will burn in our hearts forever. Condolences to her daughter, family and friends.”
‘Pending criminal investigation’
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Kholiswa Mdhuli, who confirmed the circumstances surrounding her death on Monday evening, said in a statement that Ferreira-Watt had served approximately 27 years as a senior State advocate.
“There is a pending criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the discharge of the firearm in court. “At this stage, due to the investigations proceeding in the matter, we are unable to provide further details about the incident.”Mdhuli said the NPA staff in KZN were mourning the passing of their friend and colleague.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker, who was also scant on details, said the case was still being investigated.
He said investigations were at a “sensitive stage”.