19 March 2019

South Africa: AfriForum Takes On MTN Over Stance On Apartheid Denialist Steve Hofmeyr

Lobby group AfriForum has declared a dispute and launched a public campaign against MTN over its alleged "racist action" after the company pulled out of Afrikaans is Groot (AIG) due to Steve Hofmeyr's involvement in the show.

MTN announced its withdrawal of sponsorship from the Afrikaans music festival following an outcry at the inclusion of apartheid denialist Hofmeyr.

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said while the company had withdrawn sponsorship because it "does not support the personal views of one of the artists performing at the music festival", it "does not hesitate to act as [a] sponsor for the political gatherings of the ANC and the EFF".

Roets said MTN's "criteria for sponsorship, therefore, boils down to them having to support the personal views of those who are involved with a project".

"It can, therefore, be concluded that MTN, with its sponsorships to the ANC and EFF, supports the views of both these parties," he argued.

"The ANC threatened that white farmers' land would be forcefully taken away if they did not willingly hand it over to black people and the EFF incites crime against people based on their race. Both parties are also guilty of hate speech against minorities. As it were, MTN admits with this step that they condone the ANC and EFF's racism," charged Roets.

Jacqui O'Sullivan, executive for corporate affairs at MTN South Africa, told News24 sister website Channel24 last week that the Afrikaans is Groot music festival was a great platform to appeal to speakers of Afrikaans from all walks of life.

"MTN believes in supporting and showcasing South Africa's musical talent and promoting music that exposes more South Africans to the many different genres that exist across our diverse nation," she said.

"South African local music is rich with talent but it is tough to break into the music industry and any platform that promotes access to music-loving audiences should be encouraged and preferably not undermined by the racist rants of one performer."

However, she said at the time that MTN is currently reviewing its bouquet of sponsorships and its association with AIG, which began in 2015, is part of that consideration.

"We are looking at all relevant sponsorship criteria such as awareness, exposure, brand engagement and risk and unfortunately, this platform's continued association with Hofmeyr remains a significant concern to our future involvement with AIG," said O'Sullivan.

Source: News24

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