IT WAS an unprecedented move. Probably a first for local journalists.

IT WAS an unprecedented move. Probably a first for local journalists.

When other media people and I arrived for the screening of the latest Leon Schuster movie, Schuks Tshabalala's -Survival Guide to South Africa, in Johannesburg, yesterday, we were asked to hand in our cellphones!

Standing on guard were a number of police officers, just in case there was trouble.

This heavy-handedness surprised everyone. But Ster-Kinekor, the distributors of this fun-filled movie, explained that the drastic action was to avoid piracy that seems to be spiralling out of control.

"Because of the piracy we had to ask you to hand over your cellphones, for which we are grateful. And, please do not forget to collect them on your way out," explained Ster-Kinekor's Trisha Downing. This left us stunned.

The paranoia of those behind the cellphone banning move may be be justified, considering that Schuster's movies have been pirated, with copies flogged at next to nothing on the streets even before the legitimate DVDs were released.

Schuks Tshabalala's, like others before it,is hilarious. Its main theme is soccer with politicians and race jokes in the mix.

Running for 90 minutes, it makes fun of politicians, comedians and ordinary people such as beauticians. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, Alan Boesak and comedian Rob van Vuuren fall victim to Schuster's candid camera. Sparks fly as Schuster's jokes bite and the targets lose their cool, threatening violence.

And, off course, the stars of the movie are Schuster and his accomplice in this funny game of ridicule Alfred Ntombela.

The launch was attended by the film's producer, Lance Samuels, its director, Gray Hofmeyer, and actors Ntombela and Maria Velanac. The movie opens in theatres fromMay 28.