Legislature apologises for gallery error
The Gauteng provincial legislature (GPL) apologised on Tuesday to the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) regarding journalists being barred from the media gallery during premier David Makhura's state-of-the-province address.
Sanef requested on Tuesday an "urgent meeting" with the legislature following reports of journalists being barred from gallery, the legislature and Sanef said in a joint statement.
"Led by the honourable speaker Ntombi Mekgwe, GPL's delegation acknowledged the unfortunate incident and provided reasons for yesterday's challenges."
The legislature delegation informed Sanef of the legislature's venue capacity challenges, which were a result of increased media interest in the work of the institution.
"This has been the main cause of space challenges currently experienced at GPL galleries," they said.
"The legislature apologised profusely to Sanef, assuring the forum that efforts would be made to avoid similar inconveniences in future."
Drawing lessons from what happened, the legislature undertook to consult Sanef regarding all potential challenges that could affect the media in all of the legislature's future events.
"Honourable Mekgwe further assured the forum that the GPL fully recognised the right to 'freedom of press and other media' as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa," they said.
"She added that the legislature had always maintained good relations with the media, and the unfortunate events of yesterday [Monday] were by no means an act of censorship."
The legislature valued its relationship with media stakeholders and would continue making all efforts to ensure that relationship lasted.
"For its part Sanef accepted the explanation and apology and offered to assist the legislature in future where increased public and media interest could lead to difficulties for the media.
"Sanef has done this with other state institutions for major events such as the funeral of the late President Rolihlahla Mandela and the Oscar Pistorius trial."