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Justice Department clarifies misunderstanding in relation to media access at the Prophet Bushiri court appearance

04 February 2019

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development would like to categorically state that it is untrue that media was refused access to the courtroom during the court appearance of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his co-accused at the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria today, Monday 4 February 2019.

Access to court rooms is ordinarily given on first come first served basis depending on availability of space. Our observation is that members of the media were waiting outside the courtroom to capture the arrival of the accused and the courtroom was already filled to its maximum capacity by the time they wanted to go inside. 

In order to avoid similar mishaps in future, the department appeals to members of the media who would like to cover the second court appearance of Prophet Bushiri to arrive early before the start of the proceedings.

Those who would like to use audio visual cameras are requested to make application to the Presiding Officer. Based on the application, the Presiding Officer will independently decide whether or not to grant permission.

The department would like to reiterate its respect for media freedom as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. We continue to enjoy cordial relations with the media at the national level and various courts around the country.

Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development          
Enquiries: Steve Mahlangu
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
079 878 7587
Mediaenquiries@justice.gov.za