No fish and chips at Nkandla

In fact, the broadcaster's acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is not shy to admit that he personally took the controversial decision to take the commercial off air shortly before it was due to be flighted on Monday.

"We are saying freedom of speech comes with responsibility and accountability," said Motsoeneng. "It was the right thing to do. We need to respect the citizens of this country and their rights and dignity."

Motsoeneng, who has been praised for his fight against corruption at the SABC and criticised by some for not having a matric, said the advertisement gave the impression that the Fish and Chip Company's food was endorsed by Zuma. Anton Heunis, sales and marketing group executive, had come to him to get his approval to pull the advert, he said.

As Nkandla has been at the centre of a media storm around a security upgrade that amounted to more than R250-million, the banning of the ad has been a boon for the ad agency, as the commercial is now a massive hit on YouTube and news web sites.

In varied explanations for its banning of the advertisement, nobody at the SABC mentioned that the ad's fountain in front of Nkandla is shaped like a showerhead. Cartoonist Zapiro has been depicting Zuma with a showerhead Fever since his rape trial. Zuma caused a stir when he told the court he had unprotected sex and showered afterwards to prevent himself from contracting HIV.

The advertisement also refers to Nkandla as "a compound", a word SABC's head of news Jimi Matthews recently banned from use as it was considered to be "racist".

Motsoeneng said the public broadcaster was simply following its own editorial policy. "I would be offended if they associated me with fish and chips. Especially if I don't

associate myself with this," Motsoeneng said. "There are different views about whether you eat horse or don't eat horse. If I don't eat horse meat, and you do an advert about me eating horse, then you offend me."

The company Taste Holdings, the franchise that manages the Fish and Chip Company, had booked R1-million in advertising time at the cash-strapped SABC. As a gesture of reconciliation, it has now offered the presidency R100 000 for Zuma's favourite charity, according to Paul Warner, the founder of the ad agency Metropolitan Republic Group. However, by late Thursday Taste Holdings was reported to have voluntarily canned the advert and it was removed from the ad agency's website.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he would not be commenting on the advertisement and would not be drawn on whether the donation of charity funds would be accepted.

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Glynnis Underhill
Glynnis Underhill has been in journalism for more years than she cares to remember. She loves a good story as much now as she did when she first started. The only difference is today she hopes she is giving something back to the country.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

New era of health science for Africa as NantSA launches...

The first locally manufactured Covid-19 vaccine from the new facility, which is based in Cape Town, is expected within the next year

SAA to revive Durban route

The beleaguered national carrier resumed flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town last September after exiting business rescue

‘Partygate’: A timeline of Boris Johnson’s latest scandal

The UK Prime Minister defended some of the events — quickly dubbed "partygate" since they were reported in newspapers from late last year —  as work gatherings.

Freedom of speech wins over right to privacy in court...

The supreme court of appeal says an animal rights activist had the right to ‘out’ a farmer on Facebook.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×