Icasa allows SAPS case against DA advert

The communications regulator will now hear the merits of the case before making a ruling.

A screenshot of the DA's Mmusi Maimane in his party's 'Ayisafani' advert which was banned by the SABC. Picture: YouTube.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Thursday ruled the South African Police Service (SAPS)'s complaint about a Democratic Alliance (DA) campaign advert is valid.

This despite the grievance being submitted after the 48-hour deadline.

The regulator will now hear the merits of the case before making a ruling on whether the advert can continue to be broadcast.

In the advert, DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane claims "police are killing our people", which the SAPS says incites violence against officers, particularly in the run-up to the 7 May elections.

The legal team representing the SAPS also say the image of a police officer pointing his firearm at unarmed protestors is inflammatory.

Officers are concerned about what message this sends to members of the public who will be voting in less than two weeks, especially as police will be working throughout the country to maintain peace and order.

The advert was first broadcast on 8 April.

But the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) soon banned it, also noting concerns about inciting violence against police.

The broadcaster said the DA's language with regards to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home was uncalled for as he had not been convicted of any crime.

However, the DA managed to convince Icasa soon afterwards that the advert did not exceed the limits of freedom of expression.

The advert was reinstated from 17 April after the SABC asked for an indefinite postponement.

The police's complaint was only laid three days later and 11 days after the advert first aired.

SAPS only became aware of the advert on 11 April, when the advert had already been pulled off air.

Icasa accepted this and allowed to case to move forward.

Committee members have been urged to make a decision on the matter as soon as possible.

EFF ADVERT BANNED

Meanwhile, the SABC has also refused to air an advert by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), causing the party to lodge its own complaint with Icasa.

In the one-minute advert, a woman describes losing her husband at the hands of police.

EFF leader Julius Malema then tells viewers he understands the pain faced by South Africans and a series of written statements are shown at the end, including one which says, "Destroy e-tolls physically."

The SABC says the threat to destroy e-tolls is an incitement of public violence.

But the party says it's perplexed by the SABC's decision, calling the move illogical.

Icasa has since responded to the EFF's complaint, but no ruling has been made.