Law on election ads clear, Icasa is told

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The DAs Gauteng premier candidate and spokesman, Mmusi Maimane, stars in the party's Ayisafani advert. Screengrab: YouTube

Johannesburg - The DA insisted on Thursday that the SA Police Service (SAPS) had waited too long to complain about the party's election advert.

“The law is clear, the regulations are clear... that should be the end of this complaint,” Nick Ferreira, for the Democratic Alliance, told Icasa's complaints and compliance committee in Johannesburg.

“The law expressly demarcates the time period in hours... Election adverts are urgent.”

The Independent Communications Authority of SA's (Icasa) committee was holding public hearings on the matter.

The 'Ayisafani' (It's not the same) advert shows the DA's Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane standing in front of a mirror talking about the current state of the country.

The police argue the part of the advert where Maimane says “the police are killing our people” with images of a policeman shooting at a person, would “invite violent acts against the members of the SAPS”.

In terms of rules governing election advertisements, all complaints should be lodged 48 hours after the advert was initially aired.

The DA said police were “hopelessly out of time” to lodge a complaint because the advert was originally aired on April 8 and 9.

William Mokhari, for the police, told the hearings that they only became aware of the advert on April 11 and lodged a complaint on April 20.

“We acknowledge that we are out of time, but we are not hopelessly out of time.”

The advert was previously banned by the SABC after it was flighted on April 8 and 9. The public broadcaster said the advert incited violence.

The DA laid a complaint with Icasa, after which a public hearing was held on the matter. The DA and SABC came to an agreement on April 16 and the broadcaster aired it again.

Ferreira told the hearings the police deliberately decided not to take part in the initial hearings. After these hearings were resolved on April 16 and the advert was aired the same day, the police were required to lodge a complaint by April 18, said Ferreira. The police however lodged a complaint some five days later, he said.

The commission adjourned until 2pm for the committee to decide whether it would accept the police's complaint. - Sapa


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