Case: South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) v State, Gumede and Others (CCD 31/2021) (Urgent application for media access)
Court: Kwazulu-Natal Division of the High Court, Durban
Date of hearing: 1 August 2022
Last updated: 1 August 2022
Case overview: On 28 July 2022, Balton J, the judge presiding over the criminal trial in State v Zandile Gumede and Others, issued a letter directing that “no cameras and television recordings will be allowed during the proceedings” in the criminal trial of Ms Gumede and others. Ms Gumede and others face criminal charges arising from allegations of corruption that allegedly took place during Ms Gumede’s tenure as mayor of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. As a result of the letter, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) instructed Power Singh Inc. to launch an urgent application which was heard on 1 August 2022, the day on which the pre-trial was set to commence.
SANEF successfully argued that in terms of the Constitution and existing case law, the public has a right to open justice and the media have a right of access to court proceedings. As a result, Balton J set aside her decision reflected in the letter, and granted an order directing that representatives of the media seeking to photograph, film, record, or live broadcast the judicial proceedings may lodge an application with the Court for such permission by Friday, 5 August 2022.
- The letter of Balton J issued on 28 July 2022 is hereby set aside.
- Any interested members of the media seeking to photograph, film, record, or live broadcast the judicial proceedings in the matter:
- Must lodge an application with the court for such permission by no later than Friday, 5 August 2022;
- With any opposing respondent to deliver opposition by Friday, 12 August 2022; and
- With the applicant to reply by no later than Wednesday, 17 August 2022.
Max du Plessis SC and Toni Palmer, instructed by Tina Power and S’lindile Khumalo from Power Singh Inc., appeared on behalf of SANEF.