Did FNB do the right thing?

2013-01-27 10:00

The fallout between the ANC and First National Bank (FNB) over the bank’s advertising campaign was a sign of lurking tensions between government and business.

This is the view of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry after FNB issued an apology to the governing party on Friday.

The ANC criticised the bank’s You Can Help campaign, which featured young people expressing their views on the state of the country, saying it would spawn resentment for the government and its programmes.

Chamber chief executive Neren Rau said business had difficulty reading signals from government.

“It is difficult to know what we should do. We are told to be more outspoken, but when we are, we are criticised. I didn’t see the advert. I don’t think FNB would have done it to cause tensions. They were responding to the call (for business) to be more outspoken,” he said.

However, Rau said the outcome of Friday’s meeting between the bank and the ANC exemplified the cordial way in which business and the government should deal with issues “before things got worse”.

Last year, Nedbank chairperson Reuel Khoza also drew flak from ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe for remarking in the bank’s ­annual report that the country’s leadership could not lead because of their “sheer incapacity to deal with the complexity of 21st-century governance and leadership”.

University of the Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen yesterday expressed his disapproval of FNB’s apology on social media.

“I am deeply disappointed by FNB for running to apologise/explain to a political party for airing the voices of children. Does FNB realise how much blood was spilt for the right to say what you think? I fear for my country,” he wrote.

Former Old Mutual CEO Kuseni Dlamini said the ANC-FNB saga raised a number of questions about the manner in which issues that concern “the state of the nation” were communicated.

“We need a degree of consensus and understanding about how best to articulate such issues, and to safeguard the right of individuals to raise their views in a carefully considered way, given that some issues can be sensitive,” he said.

Dlamini said the lesson from the FNB saga was that business had the right to articulate its views, but at the same time the challenge was how to manage the reaction.

“The crucial thing in any advertising campaign is to carefully consider not just the intended, but also the unintended consequences,” he said.

Asked if such a fallout between the ANC and the bank over the campaign would not harm the country’s image in the eyes of potential investors, Dlamini said it was important for an emerging economy to project itself in a positive way.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

All Blacks batter brave Tonga
Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
As it happened: New Zealand 47-9 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal scenario...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.