Johannesburg - The FNB “You Can Help Campaign” is an attack on the ruling party and its leadership, the African National Congress said on Monday.
“The African National Congress is appalled by First National Bank (FNB) advertisements in which the ANC, its leadership and government, is under attack on an commercial masqueraded as youth views,” said spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
“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.
The FNB campaign features children reading their hopes for the country.
One of the children reads:” The challenges before us cannot be solved by money, petty politics, protests or violence. All the great things we've done, we've done by helping each other.”
Mthembu said it was evident from the advert that the views presented had been “engineered and doctored”.
He said the ANC leadership would engage FNB management to seek a better understanding of the advertisement and its intended objectives.
There was mixed reaction from political parties on Monday on the “You Can Help Campaign”.
The ANC Youth League called the campaign “treacherous”.
“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',” spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said in a statement.
The Democratic Alliance said the ANC and its Youth League's objections were reminiscent of apartheid censorship.
“One can only surmise that the ANC felt threatened by the school girl’s references to greed, corruption, crime and illiteracy,” DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
Maimane thought the advert was inspirational and positive.
The SA Communist Party said the advert was a “regime change” agitation.
“The SACP strongly condemns this action as highly irresponsible, reckless and unbecoming of any institution calling itself a bank,” spokesman Malesela Maleka said in a statement.
FNB said it never intended to attack government or the ANC, but to call on South Africans to help create a better country.
“The allegations of treason are particularly tasteless and we strongly deny that FNB has acted in any manner which gives rise to such malicious allegations,” FNB said.
The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) demanded an apology from FNB.
"We are pleased FNB acted swiftly once the advertisements' offensive natures were highlighted. However we further demand an apology as well as an explanation from FNB, more especially for the most offensive video clip, where the president of the women’s league was said to be without brains," said spokeswoman Troy Martens.
"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."
She said it was insulting for a child to be seen reading a script insulting an elder. - Sapa