National Press Club

South Africa's criminal justice system is topic of May 21 Newsmaker

May 13, 2014 | By Herb Perone |

With global attention focused on the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa, criminal justice advocates in the country are concerned that the plight of hundreds of thousands of people locked up for long periods in the South Africn prisons while they await trial is being overlooked.

Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi, project coordinator of the Wits Justice Project, will speak about problems in the South African criminal and prison systems at a Newsmakers news conference at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21, in the Bloomberg Room.

The Wits Justice Project, a program of the journalism department of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, was started in 2008 to investigate systemic problems in South Africa’s criminal justice system and “creatively and effectively combine the use of journalism, advocacy, law and education to achieve its mission” of improving the system.

According to the project, “a third of the South African prison population is locked up awaiting trial, many for years. Yet approximately two out of five of these people will eventually be acquitted. This means that a staggering number of innocent people are being deprived of their freedom.”

Like all Newsmaker events, this news conference is open to credentialed media and National Press Club members. It is free of charge, and no advance registration is necessary.

For information, contact Myron Belkind, National Press Club president, at or Herb Perone, Newsmakers Committee chair, at, 301-512-7636