The BEAT and Die Pos/The Post editorial personnel attended a workshop facilitated by Caxton Group legal expert, Helene Eloff (front row, second from left). Also on the front row are Ronél van Jaarsveld (left), Bea Emslie, and Carina Bester. On the back row is Andries van der Heyde (from left), Lizzy Bapela, Mzamane Ringane, TK Mashaba, Keina Swart, Johnny Masilela and Lorraine Loots.   Photo: Maria Oberholzer

An amazing workshop on the workings of courtroom reporting


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 124

Phew! Where do I start?

There has been so many developments — for better, for worse — around the Waterberg in the past few days.

Mzamane Ringane called on Sunday 6 May, to say he would not make it at the office the next day, Monday 7 May. My foot!

But then my nerves calmed down when the reporter gave genuine reasons why he would not make it.

Mzamane has been talking about rumours of an alleged car-highjack syndicate operating in and around Modimolle.

During the mobile contact he said it had been suggested on social media that a member of the syndicate was recently cornered by residents and handed over to the police.

The suspect was expected to appear in court on Monday, meaning Mzamane had to spend time there observing, among others, possible heightened security at the courts, and the number of residents arriving for the obvious formal remand.

Mzamane said social media also suggested two other suspects, who initially escaped, had also been rounded up.

My advice was for the police and then the courts to pronounce on such.

That takes us to an eye-opening workshop both The BEAT and Die Pos/The Post editorial personnel attended last Friday 4 May.

The workshop was facilitated by Caxton & CTP group legal director, Helene Eloff.

It was a good workshop whereby I, the ol’ man river, was surprised by some print media legal requirements I had no clue about.

For instance, I have always said to the reporters when a matter is scheduled for a court of law, no one is allowed to comment on it. Only the presiding judge or magistrate can pronounce on such.

The truth, according to Helene, is that yes affected parties can comment on a court sentence, as long as both sides — claimant and defendant — are afforded equal prominence.

But then court reporting is like walking the knife edge.

For instance, can ordinary people be negatively critical of a court sentence?

Music lovers across the Waterberg gobbled up The BEAT’s last edition’s front page lead story, which was based on the roaring success of Modimolle’s The Rudiments Virtuoso Live Band’s performances at Johannesburg’s Newtown cultural precinct.

Mzamane has the open-ended assignment to keep an eye on further developments with regards to this collective of home-grown artists.

Other eye-catching developments is the anticipated participation of Thohoyandou’s Black Leopards Football Club, on the occasion of the forthcoming National First Division promotional play-offs.

Black Leopards FC, affectionately known as Lidoda Duvha (day shall come) mesmerised Johannesburg’s Jomo Cosmos 3-0 last weekend, in the Thohoyandou Stadium packed to the rafters.

Our reporters also have an eye on the performances of Premier Soccer League campaigners, Polokwane City FC and Baroka FC, in the final stretch of the season.

Both Baroka FC and Polokwane City face the dreaded relegation axe should they fail to rise to the occasion over the weekend.

Down but not out goes the ambitious Bela-Bela Soccer Academy, who went down 3-0 to the Polokwane City development side last Wednesday 2 May.

15 months ago       10 May 2018