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- Pretorius and Others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others 2018 (2) SACR 501 (GP)

Three applicants, who are all members of the same family, were involved in this application before the High Court in Pretoria. All three are incarcerated as sentenced offenders in the Zonderwater Correctional Centre near Cullinan in Gauteng. All three were convicted of serious charges ranging from high treason to conspiracy to commit murder. They have all been sentenced to long periods of incarceration of between 20 and 30 years.

All three the applicants are registered students at either Unisa, or the University of Pretoria. The first applicant is studying theology, the second applicant is studying biblical and ancient studies, while the third applicant is an honours student of political science. Despite limitations placed on them, all three applicants are excellent students who have passed various modules, mostly with distinction.

After considering the three applications, the court made the following order which is self-explanatory regarding the nature of the issues involved:

“1. The Policy Procedures on Formal Education Programmes, as approved by the second respondent, insofar as it relates to the use of personal laptops without a modem in any communal or single cell, is declared to constitute unfair discrimination in accordance with the provisions of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000, as against applicants;

2. The first, second and third applicants shall be entitled to use their personal computers without the use of a modem in their cells, for as long as they remain registered students with any recognised tertiary institution in South Africa;..

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[This is an extract of the discussion of this court case that is published in Servamus: October 2020. If you are interested in reading the rest of the discussion, contact Servamus’s offices by sending an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phoning (012) 345 4660. Ed.]

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