Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters has declared war on the SABC for refusing to flight one of its adverts.
The party has reported the SABC to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa). EFF leader Julius Malema warned on Tuesday that his members would march on the corporation’s Auckland Park, Joburg, headquarters next Tuesday.
This is the third scrap involving the embattled broadcaster following its decision not to flight a DA advert, only to be forced to by a court order and having its editors submit a memorandum of editorial independence to head of news Jimi Matthews last week.
The SABC, Malema claimed on Tuesday, had adopted a campaign “to keep the EFF out of the public eye”.
It had been supposed to flight the EFF party political broadcasts on radio and TV on April 20, as it did for the other parties contesting the elections.
“The SABC wrongly and illegally banned this advert because of the EFF’s decisive position shown in the advert, that in an instance when it takes on government, it will physically destroy the undemocratically imposed e-tolls on Gauteng motorists and commuters. The SABC refuses to air this advert, arguing that it incites violence.”
This, he said, was a clear indication of the ANC’s refusal for e-tolls to be part of the elections agenda.
The EFF has lodged an urgent complaint with Icasa.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the public broadcaster had decided not to use the advert because it promoted violence and criminal activity, which was in breach of the SABC’s broadcasting regulations.
The broadcaster used a similar defence to justify not flighting the DA election advert.
Malema also lashed out at the ANC, repeating his claims that EFF posters had been defaced by “hooligans of the ruling party” shortly after the IEC had declared the May 7 election date.
“This demonstrated a clear and widespread campaign to disrupt EFF meetings and destroy advertising material from billboards to posters hanging in different parts of South Africa.
“What has become clear is that the EFF is the only party whose posters and billboards are an endangered species in the elections.”
Malema said his party would collect all the evidence and hand it over to the IEC for the commission to investigate and rule on.
ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said his party was not aware of the claims, but encouraged the EFF to lodge its complaints with the IEC.
The ANC, Khoza said, was against political intolerance and the creation of no-go areas.
“We are signatories to the electoral code of conduct,” he added.
Meanwhile, Icasa confirmed late on Tuesday that it had received a complaint from the EFF.
“Yes, indeed the authority has received a complaint from EFF,” spokesman Paseka Maleka said in a text message to Sapa.
On whether there would be a hearing on the complaint, Pakesa said the Complaints and Compliance Committee was “still looking into the matter”.