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Television channel SABC3 is refusing to air a video calling on South Africans to take a stand against certain ANC policy proposals, AfriForum said on Monday.
“SABC3 has rejected a video that civil rights group AfriForum wanted to air on the channel as a paid advertisement,” said spokesman Ernst Roets.
“Last week we got a message from a staff member at the office of the operations manager (that) the advert is putting the ANC down and the SABC doesn't want to be seen putting the ANC or any other party down,” he said.
The video entitled “ANC, the conmen” alleges that the ANC plans to make fundamental changes to the Constitution.
AfriForum approached SABC3 on April 13 to ask if the video could be aired as a one-off during the 7pm news on a Tuesday, Roets said.
The broadcasting of the two-minute video would have been paid for by AfriForum.
Roets said the SABC initially agreed, but three days later told AfriForum it could not show the advert and would not give its reasons.
After AfriForum complained, it was told last week it was not the SABC's policy to broadcast adverts criticising political parties, Roets said.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said AfriForum was “just climbing on the Nando's bandwagon”.
He was referring to the public broadcaster's refusal to air an advert by fast-food outlet Nando's that mocked xenophobia.
The SABC said it contravened the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act and the Advertising Standards Authority Act.
Kganyago said AfriForum had not spoken to anyone in the central SABC sales division which dealt with all advertising sales for the broadcaster.
“I realise that they don't even know how the SABC works. There is no ways SABC would talk to them about sales. We have a central sales division...
“They are using the SABC to publicise their own issues.”
Roets said AfriForum was disappointed by the SABC's decision, but would use social media to get its message across.
“The video is not hate speech and it's a paid for advert. If the SABC is advertising something, it doesn't mean it has their stamp on it, they are offering a service for advertisers.
“It may be controversial, but there is nothing wrong when it comes to freedom of expression,” Roets said.
The video suggests that the ANC plans to amend the Constitution to remove the right to private land ownership. It contains selected excerpts from ANC policy documents to make its point.
A number of the references refer to ANC discussion documents to be debated at the party's policy conference later this month.
If adopted at the policy conference, they would then still need to be ratified at the ANC elective conference in Mangaung in December.
AfriForum hoped the video would put pressure on the ANC from civil society.
“It's an awareness campaign to make people aware of what the ANC national democratic revolution is all about,” Roets said.
He said people should be aware that the ANC was considering changing the Constitution.
“It's more than just a Constitution, it's an embodiment of an agreement.
“If the ANC were to change the Constitution, not just small changes but drastic and fundamental changes... it amounts to a breach of the peace agreement.” - Sapa