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SABC, DA clash over ad ‘ban’

Helen Zille and Kaizer Kganyago came to blows over the latest campaign advert on live radio.

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 South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has officially disputed claims that a second Democratic Alliance (DA) campaign advert has been banned.

Talk Radio 702's Xolani Gwala held a joint interview with DA leader Helen Zille and SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago a short while ago, with the two coming to blows over the matter.

Listen to the interview below:

Zille explained that an email written by the SABC's Head of Broadcast Compliance Fakir Hassen had been sent to its advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, who quickly forwarded it on to the party.

In the email, Hassen notes concerns over some of the sentences spoken by DA Gauteng Premier candidate Mmusi Maimane, which he believes are factually inaccurate.

The opposition party says Hassen refers to the opening line, "So, they tried to silence us," as being false, and quotes his argument, "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 lines both relate to the banning of the DA's first 'Ayisafani' advert by the SABC earlier this month.

Hassen apparently implied that whatever content was banned could obviously not be used in subsequent adverts, thus making the commercial's claim false.

The first advert was taken off air on the grounds that the phrase, "We've seen the police force killing our people," could incite violence against officers, particularly in the run-up to the elections.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) soon ruled the advert should not have been banned, but changed step after the South African Police Service (SAPS) laid its own complaint.

Zille's belief that the latest advert has also been banned is based on the document received by Saatchi & Saatchi as well as the fact that the commercial was not aired during its booked slot this morning.

But Kganyago disagrees.

He says the email does exist, but was never sent to the agency or the party by the SABC.

"Mr Fakir [Hassen] has not written to the DA. What they are using is an internal email communication between two SABC employees who were evaluating this ad."

Kganyago challenged Zille to reveal her copy of the email to the public to prove whether or not there was any mention of any banning and whether it was ever meant for receipt by the party.

He says the advert has not been banned at all and explains that the DA does not have any booked slots as yet because it has not yet been approved for broadcast.

Kganyago noted that there was a five-day approval period and said the advert would also not be aired this evening.

The spokesperson says the ad has only just been approved and the process of finding slots is still underway.

But Zille says if the advert does not air at 9pm on SABC 2 tonight, the party will head to court on Thursday.

She also hit back at Kganyago on Twitter:

Will the real SABC please stand up. Spokesman Kaiser Kganyago says DA ad will NOT be flighted tonight. COO Hlaudi Motsoaneng says it will.

The SABC has never invoked the "5-day" pre-booking system b4. Always worked on 72 hours. They want to "kill" the DA ad without banning it.