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LOBAMBA – Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Sibusiso Shongwe has alleged that unknown entities are funding the media in a bid to discredit the courts or the Judiciary.

He has since challenged Members of Parliament (MPs) to, as soon as possible, come up with legislation that will regulate the media.
Shongwe made these accusations yesterday during the debate of his ministry’s second quarter budget performance report by the House of Assembly Portfolio Committee, which is chaired by Mbabane East MP Esther Dlamini.

“The media has an agenda to fight the courts and I wonder who is funding it,” said Shongwe.
He said there was nothing wrong with the Judiciary, stating that the media was just creating uncertainty, which would lead to the rest of the citizens not trusting the courts yet everyone depended on the justice system.

Shongwe made an example of a story which was published citing that judges of the Supreme Court were paid E1.8 million in allowances in one month. This was after Manzini North MP Jan Sithole said such an amount was too high and was hitting very hard on the taxpayer.
In response, Shongwe said it was regulated how much Supreme Court judges would be paid for their April and November sittings and they were paid according to that schedule.

“However, this publication only highlighted two of the judges yet it is not just two people and further if we do not want to pay the judges, does it mean the citizens should bear the costs?” he wondered.   
“The problem in the judiciary is perpetrated by the media,” said the minister. 

The minister said the media got away with a lot and published whatever they pleased because they knew that all they had to do was just issue a small retraction in the corner of page two.
“The police, for example, are punished if they have wrongfully beaten up a person, but the media, just like lawyers in some instances, gets away with a lot,” said Shongwe.

He said the ongoing agenda by the media to discredit the Judiciary would create a decay of the society because it would erode trust in the courts.
Shongwe said he was grateful to the MPs who had treated him with respect and not come to the sitting with an attitude because that was the reason the country would not prosper and get to 2022 because of unnecessary infighting.

He said the media should improve the country’s image and not be on an agenda to discredit the courts.
“I would not be surprised to read a headline which states that I said ‘lawyers are stupid’ yet in essence all I have advised is that they should ensure that they try and resolve their cases out of court,” said Shongwe.

This was after the minister had been asked to address the backlog of cases and said his advice to lawyers would be to ensure that courts were approached as a last resort as was the case in his former law firm.  

Comments (3 posted):

Burns Dlamini (Lobhoncela) on 11/11/2014 08:52:24
Talking of regulating when in fact we mean muzzling themedia is mischivious to say the least. If the media is abbarent and defames people the courts are there to make a determination, buy advocating for muzzling it is offside coming from a justice minister
Manggwangu Dlamini on 11/11/2014 12:24:16
Minister Shongwe is missing the point. The Media has one mandate to inform the public what is happening. If kunemsangano etinkantolo talelive its the responsibility of the Media to inform the public without fear and favor.
Shongwe must be objective and show that he is an intellectual and Learnant. The country is facing the Judicial crisis because of Him (Shongwe) and his cohorts,
I wonder what criteria was used when he was appointed a minister of Justice because this man by his very nature is controvertial, fortunately his boss makhundu phela has already seen that in the Cabinet ungumkhuhlane.
Unskinator on 11/11/2014 14:07:45
Maybe if the judicial system started delivering justice in loyal and unbiased way and making judgements without consulting the "boss" first media would change the way it reports. There is no smoke without fire.

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