Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2004-10-12 Reporter: Nicola Jenvey

Broadcasters Want Slice of Shaik Trial Action



Business Day

Date 2004-10-12


Nicola Jenvey

Web Link


Durban - The fraud and corruption trial of business tycoon Schabir Shaik will get under way in the Durban High Court only tomorrow as free-to-air broadcaster seeks permission for live transmission of proceedings.

If the court grants the plea it will set a precedent in South African legal history.

The case-within-a-case consumed the opening day of the trial, whose central character allegedly paid Deputy President Jacob Zuma more than R1,3m to secure lucrative arms contracts.

Earlier in the morning the state withdrew charges against Thint, acknowledging the French group had adequately answered questions relating to the arms deal and its relationship with Shaik's businesses.

Live television and radio broadcasts within courtrooms have raised constitutional and privacy issues.

Armed with pens and notebooks, the print media can access court cases via the public gallery, but their TV and radio counterparts may not take recording equipment into the proceedings.

Judge Hillary Squires adjourned the case yesterday afternoon following a day of intense debate for and against live broadcasting from the courtroom.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) had tagged on its application on Friday, and counsel Gilbert Marcus argued the merits were identical except that the SABC also sought to transmit radio coverage from court.

This did not cut ice with Squires, who blamed the state broadcaster for leaving its application so late it had to become part of the one. He ruled the SABC would have to plead its own case for live broadcasting.

With acknowledgements to Nicola Jenvey and the Business Day.