FNB did not apologise for ad - CEO

Johannesburg - First National Bank has not apologised for the online component of its advertising campaign which the ANC objected to, the bank's CEO said on Thursday.

“We have not apologised for the advert,” Michael Jordaan wrote in an editorial published in Business Day.

Kelly Baloyi addresses the audience during the fliming of an FNB advertising campaign at Naledi High School in Soweto. The advert, during which young people share their views about South Africa, has come under attack from the ANC. Photo: Matthews Baloyi. Credit: THE STAR

Some research clips from the bank's “You Can Help” campaign included videos of children in school uniform reading their hopes for the country.

Jordaan said these interviews were not intended to form part of the advert.

“We certainly had no intention of playing politics, and there is no logic in FNB deliberately attacking the government or the (ANC),” he wrote.

Shortly after the release of the footage, the African National Congress said it was appalled by the campaign. The ANC Youth League called it “treasonous”.

During a meeting with FNB on January 24, the ANC reportedly argued the campaign sought to project the party and government in a negative manner.

The following day the party said in a statement that the bank had apologised.

“The CEO of FirstRand, Mr Sizwe Nxasana, agreed that the research clippings that were posted online were regrettable; he apologised for the posting of the research clippings online,” it said.

“He then assured the meeting that this regrettable incident will not be repeated.”

The Democratic Alliance said at the time that the apology signalled it was not acceptable to question or criticise the ruling party.

“In doing so it has shown that it is acceptable to be bullied by the governing party, and it has shown the ANC that its bullying tactics work in suppressing critical voices,” spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement. - Sapa