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SABC denies banning EFF ad, says it was rejected

Genevieve Quintal

The SABC says it has not banned the advert of the Economic Freedom Fighters but rejected it because it "incited violence".

The SABC has denied banning an advert of the Economic Freedom Fighters. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The SABC has denied banning an advert of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

"We did not ban the advert, we rejected the advert; there is a difference," public broadcaster spokesperson Kaiser Kganyago said on Tuesday. "They submitted it, we looked at it, and we found that we couldn't put it on air."

Among other things, the slogan "destroy e-tolls physically" used on the advert incited violence, Kganyago said.

The SABC informed the EFF by letter last week of this decision. The party was given the opportunity to amend the advert, but it did not do so.

EFF leader Julius Malema said on Tuesday the SABC should allow people to judge for themselves which party to vote for instead of banning advertisements. "Once you suppress the people contesting elections it means you not ready to give us free and fair elections because unfair coverage leads to unfair elections," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"Let people judge for themselves, Hlaudi [Motsoeneng] can't judge for them."

Free slots
Malema said the SABC had banned the party's advert. The public broadcaster allocated free slots to political parties contesting the general elections on radio and television.

Malema said his party submitted its advert, which was supposed to be aired on April 20, but was not.

Kganyago denied claims that the SABC rejected the advert because it came from the EFF. "It's not true that it's about them, we just being consistent with regulations," he said.

"The EFF, like any other political party, signed the code of conduct with the IEC that says it will not incite violence ... [the advert] goes against the code."

The advert titled "Now is the time for economic freedom", which was posted on YouTube, starts with a woman, identified as Mrs Zameka Nungu, talking in Xhosa about how she was heartbroken when her husband was killed during the Marikana shooting. This is followed by a slideshow of photos showing police officers pointing their guns at mineworkers in Marikana and at people in Bekkersdal. The video then shows Malema, who introduces himself and urges people to vote for the EFF.

"I know your pain and suffering. Let us vote against empty promises of the last 20 years, vote for economic freedom in our lifetime. Let us restore the dignity of the African child. Vote EFF," he said.

The advert ends with posters with Malema's face on them and different slogans, such as "let's stop Nkandla corruption" and "destroy e-tolls physically".

'You're hurting South Africans'
Malema said the EFF would not amend its advert and would not be told by the SABC what it could and could not say. "You're not hurting us, you're hurting South Africans by depriving them of information so that when they vote they make an informed decision. 

"The SABC is playing the same role it played in apartheid—suppressing the struggle," he said.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlovu said the party had lodged a complaint with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's complaints and compliance committee on Tuesday morning.

Kganyago said the SABC would wait for Icasa to write to it about the EFF matter.

According to Icasa regulations, the authority had 48 hours to reply to any complaint.

Earlier this month, the Democratic Alliance also lodged a complaint with Icasa after the SABC had banned its advert, also giving incitement of violence as the reason. – Sapa

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