Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2004-10-14 Reporter: Krisjan Lemmer

Keeping Tags on the Press



Mail and Guardian

Date 2004-10-14


Krisjan Lemmer

Web Link


With capital punishment thankfully consigned to the scrap heap of our history, the Mesdames Defarges of our era have to make do with a metaphorical drawing and quartering of the upper classes. Which is why seats (bring your own knitting) at the Shaik trial are in such hot demand.

Apparently, on the first two days of the trial, media accreditaton was merely a card handed out to members of the fourth estate. But, by day three, the cards had been replaced by blue plastic bracelets (reminiscent of the ID tags attached to hospital patients) that cannot be removed without cutting them off — and then they're useless.

No official reason was given for the change, but an anecdote recounted by Jeremy Gordin of The Star might go some way to explaining things. Apparently the former Playboy editor was struggling to secure a press pass for the trial, so he turned to the star of the show — Schabir Shaik, not the deputy prez — for assistance.

Shaik promised to "sort that out" — then promptly took the accreditation off Business Day editor-at-large Tim Cohen and tried to pass it on to Gordin. Unnerved, Cohen remarked: "Eh, Schabir ... Maybe your way of ‘sorting things out' is precisely ... " He was interrupted before he could add: "... what got you into trouble in the first place."

Now Oom Krisjan has long been an admirer of Cohen's quick wit, but that comment earns him lifetime membership of the Dorsbult.

With acknowledgements to Krisjan Lemmer and the Mail & Guardian.