Gauteng govt 'intrigued' about ads probe

2013-11-29 08:48
Johannesburg (File)

Johannesburg (File) (Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng government is intrigued about reports that some political parties have approached the public protector and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) about its advertising billboards, it said on Thursday.

They claimed the colours used on the billboards showed that the provincial government was supporting the ANC's election campaign, department spokesperson Matlakala Motloung said in a statement.

"However, the criticism exposes the parties' little understanding of the provincial campaign, and, importantly, the reasons behind it," she said.

She said the provincial government's corporate identity allowed it to use both its primary colours of gold, blue and grey, and secondary colours.

"The usage of the colour green in our current campaign is also based on logic, not any political affiliation," said Motloung.

‘A bun fight over colours’

Many people associate the colour green with growth, and our message at the end of this term is that Gauteng has grown in leaps and bounds over the past years, as the Census 2011 and Gauteng City-Region Observatory's Quality of Life Survey attest."

The colour yellow was also used in the campaign.

"Having failed to challenge our story of service delivery facts; the debate has degenerated into a bun fight over colours," Motloung said.

On Wednesday, the Freedom Front Plus called the adverts "a threat to democracy".

"The advertisement campaign, which carries out government successes, will cost more than R2m a month," said FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder.

"Propagandist advertisements in the colours of the governing party which is displayed during an election and paid for with taxpayers' money would never be allowed in any mature democracy anywhere in the world," he said.

Govt has 51 advertising boards in Gauteng

Opposition parties' voters were in effect paying for what he called ANC propaganda during an election.

Beeld newspaper reported that Gauteng was spending more than R2m a month of taxpayers' money to advertise the province's ANC-led government's successes.

According to the newspaper, the provincial government had 51 advertising billboards around Gauteng in the ANC's colours of green, black, and gold.

Gauteng provincial spokesperson Thebe Mohatle reportedly told the newspaper the advertising was part of a government campaign to make South Africans aware of good service delivery. He declined to give information about the budget for the campaign.

Continental Outdoor Media said it cost between R40 000 and R50 000 a month per billboard.

ANC denies links

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza asked how the advertising billboards could be linked to the party when there was no party logo on them.

"Government is celebrating 20 years of democracy and it's using colours that attract people. There are no restrictions on what colours to use."

Mulder said the FF Plus would ask Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and the IEC to investigate the "abuse" of taxpayers' money.

He said the billboards needed to be removed or the ANC had to be forced to pay for them with its own funds.

On Thursday, Motloung said claims that the party was paying R2m a month were false.

"We are using various service providers and the cost depends on duration, location of site and the size of the billboard."

She said the campaign's final costs would be reflected in the province's annual report.
Read more on:    ff plus  |  anc  |  iec  |  thuli madonsela  |  pieter mulder  |  politics

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