Pretoria - The presidency expressed disappointment and surprise on Wednesday over First National Bank's “You Can Help Campaign”.
“Frivolous adverts which display hatred of government or the ruling party will not help us to achieve the country's developmental goals,” it said in a statement.
“The presidency is disappointed and surprised by the one-sided First National Bank campaign.”
The campaign features a number of videos of children in school uniform reading their hopes for the country. On Tuesday Business Report published quotes from some of the videos.
“The country is being overrun by poverty... while (President) Jacob Zuma is renovating his home,” said a youth from KwaZulu-Natal.
A Gauteng university student said: “The government is only thinking for themselves... I'm from a rural area and the government doesn't see what's happening.”
A KwaZulu-Natal high school pupil said: “... Politicians tend to be the most destructive and eruptive (sic) aspect of our country... We need motives and a clear vision... We must not depend on our leaders. Each person must become their own hero.”
A Western Cape student said: “I was born in an epic era... We need to stop relying on government and rely on ourselves.”
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the current global economic crisis was threatening jobs and livelihoods.
“Now is the time for all sectors of society to rally together to tackle the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. That is our common enemy as the people of South Africa.”
He said strong partnerships were needed with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), government, labour, business and community sectors to promote shared growth.
He said problems in the mining sector and job losses were what people needed to focus on.
“Those are the issues we should focus our attention on, how to hang on to the jobs we have, while creating new ones, instead of continuing with the dangerous campaign of talking the country down during an economic crisis globally.”
On Monday the African National Congress said it was appalled by the campaign. The ANC Youth League called it “treasonous”.
FNB had since pulled some of the videos, but had not abandoned the campaign.
The SA Democratic Teachers' Union called on the bank to stop using school children to spread its “propaganda”.
“The campaign is nothing more than an attack on the ANC-led government by FNB, using innocent children,” it said in a statement.
“As clients of FNB, Sadtu is embarrassed and ashamed to have business dealings with a bank that has stooped so low and used children in uniform to wage a war against government.”
Sadtu claimed the children's comments in the video were not their own views, but “a regurgitation of carefully written scripts”. - Sapa