PROSECUTORS have condemned the ruling by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Menzi Simelani that they may not speak to the media, writes Siyanta Singh in the Sunday Tribune.

Recently appointed Simelani issued the directive this week that contact with the media should take place only with "prior authorisation".

He said if information was leaked to the media without permission, the relevant director of public prosecutions would be held responsible.

'Again, like any other industry, we have a reputation to uphold'
NPA spokesman Bulelwa Makeke said they were not answering queries about the policy as it was internal.

"We are one of the most accessible institutions for the media because we realise the work of the NPA is in the public interest," said Makeke.

This week prosecutors (on condition of anonymity) spoke out against their boss.

In the past few weeks, the NPA has come under close scrutiny over a high-profile case related to Sheryl Cwele, wife of Siyabonga Cwele, the Minister of State Security.

Cwele was named in a case linked to South African drug mule Tessa Beetge who has been in a Sao Paulo jail in Brazil since 2008.

The NPA has been seen to be dragging its heels on further charges in the case.

An experienced prosecutor said this week the new ruling was reminiscent of the apartheid era.

"Obviously there is a greater reason this ban is in place. We normally speak to the media so that they can carry on with their jobs as the watchdogs of society… especially when we sense there is a move to quash charges or discreetly drop them."

Another said the ban was "ridiculous". "We rely on the media to convey the message that justice is being done. One of the most important aspects of justice is that it must be seen to be done. How else do we get this across?"

Click here to read the full report, posted on