The High Court in Pretoria dismissed with costs an urgent late-night court application to stop the screening of controversial film Inxeba (The Wound) on Thursday night.
According to Dario Milo of Webber Wentzel attorneys‚ who represented the film’s producers and distributor in court‚ the matter was heard at about 10.30pm last night.
The application was filed by the National House of Traditional Leaders to try to stop the movie from being shown in cinemas from Friday morning.
The aim was to stop the film from being screened on the basis that the house should have been added to the initial ratings review application‚ part of which was heard in court earlier this week.
In his judgement‚ Judge Tuchen said filmmakers had the right to show the film and the public had a right to see it.
Milo said the producers of Inxeba were happy with the outcome of the ruling.
"We argued that this was a prior restraint — an attempt to stop the film from being screened at all — dressed up as a complaint that the applicant should have been originally joined in the review application.
"Our law on prior restraints makes it clear that they will only be tolerated in exceptional circumstances‚ so that free speech is allowed to thrive in our democracy."
The court earlier this week temporarily reclassified the film to 18‚ allowing it to be screened in mainstream cinemas‚ after a Film and Publications Appeals Tribunal had set the rating at X18 — the same as hardcore porn. That decision meant the movie could only be viewed at a designated adult venue (such as a sex shop).
The decision over the 18 rating has been postponed to March 28.