Busy day in South Africa courtrooms as Pistorius, SABC journalists, cases come up

TODAY (Thursday), courtrooms in South Africa have their hands full as two high profile hearings took place.

A group of four journalists were fired by their employers, the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), for their stance against the SABC’s policy not to cover protests that involve the destruction of property. The policy was perceived as censorship of news in favour of the ruling party.

The four journalists – Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp – want the Labour Court in Johannesburg to set aside their dismissals and revoke their disciplinary proceedings.

Judge Robert Lagrange postponed the matter to 12:30 on Friday (today) to allow the respondents (SABC) time to file court papers.

Also, in another courtroom in South Africa, the High Court at Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), filed appeal papers against the six year jail sentence awarded to Oscar Pistorius for fatally shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

There was public outcry over the sentence, which was seen to be too lenient for a crime of that nature. The minimum sentence according to South African law for murder even with indirect intent is 15 years.

A statement in the “Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal In Terms Of Section 3168(1) Of The Criminal Procedure Act 51 Of 1977” filed by the NPA reads: “We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years’ imprisonment does not adequately reflect the seriousness of the crime of murder and the natural indignation and outrage of the public.”