SABC wins EFF advert battleComment on this story
Johannesburg - Icasa's complaints and compliance committee ruled in the SABC's favour on Saturday by upholding the broadcaster's decision not to flight the EFF's advert.
“The CCC ruled that the (advert) may be perceived as condoning or lending support to unlawful acts, in that, it talks about destroying e-tolls which would be perceived as damage to property,” Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) spokesman Paseka Maleka said.
He said the committee made its ruling on Saturday around 11.30am.
The Economic Freedom Fighters rejected the ruling and said it would march to the SABC offices in Auckland Park on Tuesday.
“Icasa by its ruling has confirmed that it is working together with all undemocratic interest groups that imposed e-tolls on the people of Gauteng,” spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
“These interest groups do not want e-tolls to be on top of the agenda for the elections out of fear of costing the ANC votes.”
On Friday night, Terry Motau, for SABC, told the committee that the broadcaster had advised the party on April 16 that its advert had been rejected. The EFF lodged a complaint on April 22.
Motau asked the committee to dismiss the EFF's complaint for being late, and on the merits of his case.
He said the language used to discuss e-tolls in the EFF's manifesto was not the same as that used in the advert.
The advert, mostly in black and white, is entitled “Now is the time for economic freedom”. It was posted on YouTube a week ago and had been viewed over 159 033 times by Saturday afternoon.
It starts with a woman, identified as Mrs Zameka Nungu, talking in Xhosa about how she was left heartbroken when her husband was killed during the Marikana shooting in August 2012.
This is followed by a slideshow of photos of police officers pointing their guns at mineworkers in Marikana, and at Bekkersdal residents.
Malema then introduces himself and urges people to vote for the EFF.
“I know your pain and suffering. Let us vote against empty promises of the last 20 years, vote for economic freedom in our lifetime. Let us restore the dignity of the African child. Vote EFF,” he says.
The advert ends with images of posters with Malema's face on them and slogans such as “lets stop Nkandla corruption” and “destroy e-tolls physically!”.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said on Saturday that SABC rejected the advert because it contravened section 4(12)(b) of Icasa's regulations on party election broadcasts (PEB) in that the advert contained words which were likely to provoke or incite unlawful, illegal or criminal acts.
“The SABC, in terms of the regulations, gave the EFF the opportunity to remove the offending words from the PEB, the EFF refused to do so but instead elected to refer a complaint to the CCC.”
The SABC had also presented its case to the CCC last week on why it had rejected a television advert by the Democratic Alliance stating that an image used in it would incite violence against police. The broadcaster then changed its legal team and asked that the matter be adjourned until further notice.
On Saturday, Kganyago said the broadcaster would no longer pursue its case against the advert.
He said the CCC's ruling on Friday between the DA and the South African Police Service (SAPS) had dealt with the issues which were the basis of the SABC withdrawing the advert initially.
CCC chairman Wandile Tutani decided to uphold the SAPS's complaint on Friday night.
The SAPS contended the advert would incite violence against the police.
The televised advert shows DA's Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane standing in front of a mirror talking about the current state of the country.
At one point he states that “the police are killing our people”. This is accompanied by a photo of a police officer firing rubber bullets at two unarmed people.
“The election period tends to bring about a lot of volatility. The police should not be seen as a threat to the community,” Tutani said.
“The offending part of the advert 1/8must 3/8 be excised. That is our decision.”
Maimane, who was present at the ruling, disagreed, stating it was not right that conversation and commentary be restrained.
“It's an injustice and in fact we will be taking this decision under review at the high court.”
SABC's Acting Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said in a statement he was pleased with both rulings.
“These decisions nullify the allegations made that the SABC was not partial in its decision making and was not compelled by external parties.
“This is also an indication that the SABC upholds its editorial independence and editorial policies,” Motsoeneng said.
The broadcaster urged both parties to amend their adverts if they wished to have them flighted.