SABC bans political TV ad critical of ANC

Cape Town – The SABC has banned a political TV commercial critical of the ANC ruling party which was paid for by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the month before the country’s next general election.

The DA now says it will be taking legal action of the refusal of the South African public broadcaster to show the commercial.

The SABC's famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng apparently ordered the advert off the air.

In February the Public Protector's report found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications and having a matric, made up matric certificate symbols and "should never have been appointed at the SABC".

He was also implicated in abuse of power, maladministration, several irregularities and being directly connected to the dismissal of everybody who testified against him in a disciplinary hearing years ago.

The SABC has since not taken any actions against Motsoeneng or suspended him.

The DA's hard-hitting "Ayisafani" TV commercial – in the same style as American pre-election adverts – slams the ANC for the R200m Nkandlagate scandal, police members  killing civilians and rampant corruption, and asks: "Where are the jobs, president Jacob Zuma?"

In November 2012 the SABC banned the Fish and Chips TV commercial, "Dinner Time at Nkandla" which the SABC unilaterally pulled just hours before it was supposed to be shown on the public broadcaster.

The DA says it will fight the banning of the political TV commercial by the SABC.

"The reasons advanced by the SABC are spurious, and almost certainly illegal. This is a transparent attempt by the SABC to protect Jacob Zuma from any public accountability for the Nkandla scandal," says Mmusi Maimane, the Democratic Alliance's national spokesperson.

"The DA will fight this censorship. We have already briefed our lawyers this morning, and will begin legal proceedings to overturn this decision immediately".

"Political advertising regulations require us to approach the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa). We confident Icasa will dismiss the SABC's censorship and reinstate the commercial immediately".

The SABC responds:

The SABC claims the TV commercial "incites violence". The SABC says it is the public broadcaster's view that the TV commercial "advertising to police killing our people is cause for incitement to action against the police services".

The SABC also says the ad is false. The SABC says the Nkandlagate scandal "has not yet been tested and confirmed in a court of law".

The SABC also says "the Code of Advertising Standards of South Africa (ASA) does not permit attacking another product to promote your own".

The SABC says it banned the political TV commercial because the SABC "will not permit personal attacks on any party member or leader by any other party, as is being done in your advertisement in respect of President Jacob Zuma".

The SABC says that as a public broadcaster "we do not have any concern about generic statements regarding matters such as corruption or service delivery but do not believe that is correct to pin such issues on any specific person, whether the preside tor anyone else".

The SABC says the DA needs to submit an amended version of the TV commercial.

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