DA heads to court over fresh ad ‘ban’

The SABC says the opposition party’s latest claim is a cheap publicity stunt.

The DA’s candidate for Gauteng premier Mmusi Maimane is seen in the party’s ‘Ayisafani 2’ election campaign advert. Picture: Screenshot from YouTube.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday said it will file an urgent interdict in response to the apparent banning of its second 'Ayisafani' election campaign advert.

The opposition party says the application will be lodged in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria this afternoon.

The DA claims the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)'s Head of Broadcast Compliance Fakir Hassen sent a notification this morning that the commercial would be pulled off air.

According to the party, Hassen's written notification referred to the opening line of the advert which said, "So, they tried to silence us", referring to the banning of the first advert.

He allegedly said this statement was inaccurate and untrue as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) had in fact upheld the ban.

Watch the latest 'Ayisafani' advert below:

The DA also quotes Hassen as arguing, "They also cannot say anything like 'this is what they did not want you to see or know,' as it cannot show or refer to the same disallowed content."

The first advert was initially pulled off the air by the SABC on the grounds that it incited violence against police officers by using the words, "The police are killing our people".

Watch the first 'Ayisafani' advert below:

The ban was then lifted by Icasa for a short period before the South African Police Service (SAPS) managed to convince the regulator that it would in fact endanger its officers.

SABC DENIES LATEST BAN

When approached for comment, an SABC official denied that the latest advert had been banned and described the claim as a cheap publicity stunt.

However, he would not provide any further comment.

DA leader Helen Zille has described the alleged banning as "disgraceful censorship", saying the public broadcaster cannot excuse its actions.

She says the removal of the ad will impact on the fairness of the upcoming polls.

"Unless the DA can get its message across, this cannot be a free and fair election."

The DA leader had to adjust her campaign schedule during a planned tour of Alexandra township in northern Johannesburg on Wednesday.

This was to hold an urgent press conference on the matter in Auckland Park.

In a written statement released at the conference, the DA said the alleged banning was a transparent attempt by the ruling ANC and President Jacob Zuma to prevent the DA from gaining support ahead of elections.

"The DA will fight this censorship. We have already briefed our lawyers this morning and will begin legal proceedings to overturn this decision immediately."

South Africans go to the polls on 7 May.