why it’s not ok that the media was barred
AN historic event: the first sitting in the Supreme Court of Appeal’s brand new main court attended by the lords and ladies of the law not to mention South Africa’s leading justice officials. So what was I doing in a marquee outside, mixing it up with other hacks, bodyguards and drivers?
Turns out that the court ceremony was ‘closed’ to the media but reporters could attend the subsequent official opening at the nearby Sand du Plessis theatre. I was informed of these arrangements the night before when I asked for details of the programme, but I did not believe it could be true that the media was to be excluded. So when the judges were called into the new court for the opening session, I joined the spouses and partners in the public benches. Ten minutes later a polite justice department official asked me to leave – surely the first time in the long history of the appeal court in Bloemfontein that the media were barred from a sitting of its judges.