ANC, FNB bigwigs to thrash it out over ad furore

2013-01-24 22:26
Screen grab of the controversial FNB ad. (Picture: Supplied)

Screen grab of the controversial FNB ad. (Picture: Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The ANC will meet with First National Bank on Friday about its "You Can Help Campaign".

"This meeting is in response to the online adverts... that have led to the ANC raising its objection to the content of the adverts," African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement on Thursday.

"The ANC delegation will be led by the secretary general comrade Gwede Mantashe and the FNB delegation will be led by Sizwe Nxasana, the chief executive officer of First Rand, which is the holding company to which FNB belongs."

The meeting is scheduled to take place at Luthuli House.

The campaign features a number of videos of children in school uniform reading their hopes for the country.

On Monday, the ANC released a statement saying the campaign was an attack on the ruling party and its leadership.

"The African National Congress is appalled by First National Bank (FNB) advertisements in which the ANC, its leadership and government, is under attack on a commercial masqueraded as youth views," Mthembu said at the time.

"What is of concern to the ANC is that the advert content is undisguised political statement that makes random and untested accusations against our government in the name of discourse."

The ANC said the bank should not use children to make political statements in a manner disrespectful to elders that disregarded sacrifices made in the 18 years of democratic government.

Mthembu said it was evident from the advert that the views presented had been "engineered and doctored".

On Tuesday Business Report published quotes from some of the videos.

"The country is being overrun by poverty... while [President] Jacob Zuma is renovating his home," said a youth from KwaZulu-Natal.

A Gauteng university student said: "The government is only thinking for themselves... I'm from a rural area and the government doesn't see what's happening."

A KwaZulu-Natal high school pupil said: "... Politicians tend to be the most destructive and eruptive (sic) aspect of our country... We need motives and a clear vision...

"We must not depend on our leaders. Each person must become their own hero."

A Western Cape student said: "I was born in an epic era... We need to stop relying on government and rely on ourselves."

Hatred

Both the ANC Youth League and the Women's League also took great exception to the campaign.

"FNB, in an obviously lame attempt to recreate an Arab Spring of some sort in South Africa, uses children to make unproven claims of a 'government rife with corruption'," ANCYL spokesperson Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said in a statement, calling the campaign "treacherous".

"We call upon South Africans to close ranks against what is [a] treacherous attack on our country," the league said.

The ANCWL demanded an apology an an explanation from FNB for what it described as "the most offensive video clip, where the president of the women’s league was said to be without brains".

"President Angie Motshekga is a highly educated woman who has lectured at a University level and holds a number of degrees related to education.

"To have a school child slur scripted insults over an international platform is unacceptable and FNB should be ashamed of themselves," spokesperson Troy Martens said.

She said it was insulting for a child to be seen reading a script insulting an elder.

The presidency also weighed in on Wednesday, expressing disappointment and surprise over the campaign.

"Frivolous adverts which display hatred of government or the ruling party will not help us to achieve the country's developmental goals," it said in a statement.

"The presidency is disappointed and surprised by the one-sided First National Bank campaign."
- SAPA

Read more on:    fnb  |  anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  jackson mthembu  |  sizwe nxasana  |  advertising  |  politics
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