The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has explained why a woman removed documents during court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court where prophet Shepherd Bushiri, his wife Mary Bushiri, Willah and Zethu Mudolo and Landiwe Ntlokoane appeared on Monday.
Video clips have been circulating on social media showing a woman removing the magistrate’s documents, with some asking if it was the docket being stolen.
Bushiri's docket stolen, live on television 🙅♂️🙆♂️😱 pic.twitter.com/RtK4oIyk4O
— Ghost (@Ghost_zw) November 2, 2020
Following the social media speculation, the department said it conducted a full investigation and confirmed that the bench notes of the magistrate are in possession of the relevant court officials.
“It is standard practice for the clerk of the court to retrieve the charge sheet, as the custodian of the court records, for further processing and storage. The interaction between the clerk of the court and the journalist seen in the video/images was based on the journalist requesting to have sight of the charge sheet. This is allowed and does not imply that any documents were removed from the courtroom.
“Further, it should be noted that all dockets are held by the National Prosecuting Authority after they have received same from the investigating officer in the South African Police Service. The docket never get transmitted to a magistrate or judge hearing a matter. Therefore, the docket was not part of the documents that were exchanged between the court officials seen in the videos/images,” said the department.
The Bushiris are facing charges of fraud, money laundering, and theft amounting to R102 million, and are also accused of contravening certain provisions of the Immigration Act. They were arrested last month.
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