Icasa orders SABC to air DA’s burning flag advert, R500,000 fine sanctioned

The SABC building, Auckland Park. Picture: Karen Sandison/IndependentNewspaper

The SABC building, Auckland Park. Picture: Karen Sandison/IndependentNewspaper

Published May 25, 2024


The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has ordered the SABC should be fined R500,000 for its “unlawful” refusal to air the Democratic Alliance’s TV election advertisement depicting the South African flag burning to ashes.

The SABC rejected the DA’s advert about two weeks ago, stating that it encouraged damage to treasured national symbols.

This is after the DA submitted an urgent complaint with ICASA against the SABC under regulation 6 (6) of the national and provincial party elections broadcasts and political advertisement regulations.

The matter was referred to the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC), where the DA argued that the SABC unlawfully rejected its electioneering advert.

In brief, the DA released the contentious advert, portraying a burning South African flag to symbolise the nation's deteriorating state and warning of further decline unless the party is supported in the upcoming elections.

The advert received widespread criticism from the likes of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Human Rights Commission and Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa said they were considering legal action against the party.

Icasa’s CCC found that the SABC's refusal to air the DA's political advertisement had “no legal basis” under the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) or the regulations.

According to the communications authority, the SABC breached regulations, ordering a fine of R500,000.

In a statement, Icasa said the recommendations to the Authority, made under section 17 (e), took into account the prejudice caused to the DA due to the SABC's refusal to air its political advertisements.

Icasa said it approved the recommendations of the complaints and compliance committee at a meeting on Friday.

Icasa has since directed the public broadcaster to air the DA’s advert.

[email protected]

IOL Politics