Pretoria - Motorists have been advised to stay clear of Madiba Street from Monday as the North Gauteng High Court in Preroria becomes the focus of local and international attention as Oscar Pistorius goes on trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
Motorists should avoid the streets around the court, especially between 6am and 10am, the Tshwane Metro said.
Media houses that want parking close to the court have been advised to apply for accreditation with the Tshwane metro police department as soon as possible.
City spokesman Blessing Manale said the right side of Madiba Street would be reserved for broadcast vans.
“We sent out requests to media houses last week Thursday to apply for accreditation, allowing them a parking spot within demarcated areas. We have catered for parking of trucks and small vehicles for journalists. We cannot estimate exactly how many media houses will attend, but parking is per application we’ve sent to the media. Only then can we say how many will come,” he said.
The trial is expected to put a strain on city streets which are already congested because of construction.
For months, motorists have had to deal with big traffic jams as the city is busy with the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit system, A Re Yeng. Last week, sections of Helen Joseph and WF Nkomo (formerly Church Street) were closed off to make way for the construction.
Manale said 10 officers would be stationed on the road to ensure that traffic was flowing smoothly. Buses and taxis would continue using the streets as no temporary routes would be made available for them.
For the first week of the trial, emergency services will deploy medical staff to the area.
The metro is adamant that proceedings in the city will be as orderly as possible.
“There will be a presence of SAPS and metro police to ensure the safety of media and to ensure that the area remains safe and secure.
“The city has been in contact with the high court and we are part of a steering committee convened by the judge president of the high court division to continuously assess the logistical and security implications of the trial and how the city roads can be effectively utilised,” he said.
Restaurants around the high court are gearing up for more patrons.
Tribeca Coffee Company’s manager Kim Clement said they would set up a coffee cart outside the Pretoria News building in Madiba Street “so we don’t disturb our loyal clientele”.
She planned to open the restaurant at 6am, an hour earlier than normal, and to close when the rush was over at 4pm. Extra tables and chairs would be brought in for the increased number of patrons.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” she said of the kitchen’s capacity.
She was also planning take-away food options.
Café Flava in Paul Kruger Street said it would stick to its normal business hours of 6.30am to 5pm.
For Café Riche in Church Square it will also be business as usual, from 6am to 6pm daily.