21 January 2013

South Africa: ANC Response to FNB Commercial Reminiscent of Apartheid Censorship

Photo: SAnews.gov.za
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga (left).

press release

An ANC spokesperson, Keith Khoza, today commented that FNB had launched an "attack on the president, his ministers and the government as a whole" for airing a commercial wherein a school girl talks about a hopeful future for South Africa. One can only surmise that the ANC felt threatened by the school girl's references to greed, corruption, crime and illiteracy.

It is most ironic that the ANC would brand this commercial an attack on anyone, since the advert actually calls on South Africans to unite for a better future. Indeed, this is not the first time FNB has funded a commercial that drew a rebuke from a governing party. I have seen this commercial, and believe it to be inspirational and positive - calling on us all to cooperate for a better future.

It is in fact patriotic for a company to have spent money to motivate South Africans to work together and achieve great things - notwithstanding the ANCYL's even more extreme accusation that the commercial is "treasonous". The ANC and ANCYL objections to the commercial are reminiscent of the apartheid government's approach to dissent. During apartheid, whenever opinions were raised that questioned the actions of government those opinions would be branded as "treasonous".

The ANC seems to have adopted the same approach now - harshly attacking anyone who it might have disagreements with. We must foster a culture of open debate where all South Africans can put forward their opinions without fear of retribution. No one has a monopoly on what people are allowed to think or say. The truth and relevance of FNB's commercial is plain for all to see: The National Planning Commission's diagnostic report identified corruption and service delivery as some of our greatest challenges.

Have ANC leaders themselves not acknowledged that corruption and service delivery are serious problems? The DA agrees with FNB's advert. South Africa faces massive challenges in the form of corruption, ineffective service delivery and harsh poverty. South Africans must unite to combat these challenges. This is not a political message - it is a common sense argument that every patriotic South African instinctively knows to be true. Where we govern, we will do everything in our power to combat these challenges.

Mmusi Maimane, DA National Spokesperson

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