South Africa row over Julius Malema election advert

Julius Malema speaks as he launches his Economic Freedom Fighters party in Johannesburg, South Africa on 11 July 2013 Julius Malema was once a close ally of President Jacob Zuma, but launched his own party in July last year

Related Stories

South Africa's public broadcaster has said it refused to broadcast a campaign message from the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) as it incited violence.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) denied that it was banned because it came from the EFF.

The advert calls for people to "destroy e-Tolls", a controversial new road tolling system.

The EFF, set up by ex-ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, is contesting an election for the first time next month.

'Unfair coverage'

Mr Malema likened the SABC's actions to those used by the apartheid government, which censored messages with anti-government sentiment.

Who is Julius Malema?

  • Born 3 March 1981 in Limpopo province
  • Mother was domestic worker and single parent
  • Joined ANC aged nine and elected leader of its youth wing in April 2008
  • Convicted of hate speech in March 2010 and September 2011
  • Expelled from ANC in April 2012 for sowing divisions in party
  • Toured mines following the shooting of 34 miners in Marikana by police in August 2012, urging workers to make the sector "ungovernable"
  • Set up the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) party in 2013

"Once you suppress the people contesting elections it means you not ready to give us free and fair elections because unfair coverage leads to unfair elections," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

However, SABC spokesman Kaiser Kganyago said it was to do with regulations, not politics.

"They submitted it, we looked at it, and we found that we couldn't put it on air," the South African Press Association news agency quotes him as saying.

"The EFF, like any other political party, signed the code of conduct with the IEC [Independent Election Commission] that says it will not incite violence.... [the advert] goes against the code."

The SABC has reportedly written to the EFF telling them to amend the advert, but the party has refused to do so.

Earlier this month, the SABC also rejected an advert from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country's main opposition party, saying it used language that promoted violence and amounted to a "personal attack" against President Jacob Zuma.

But it was eventually aired after the Independent Communications Authority of SA's (Icasa) complaints and compliance committee ruled in the party's favour.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlovu said their party had also lodged an Icasa complaint.

A supporter of the leader of South African opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) which one of their posters - 16 April 2014 The DA initially had one of their adverts rejected by the SABC
ANC supporters sit by a campaign truck as people leave after listening to President Jacob Zuma delivering a speech at a rally at Umasizakhe stadium in the Eastern Cape city of Graaf-Reinet on 10 April 2014 Jacob Zuma became president five years ago

Its advert, which has been posted on YouTube, starts with a widow of one of the striking miners killed by police in August 2012 in what is called the Marikana massacre.

It is followed by a message from Mr Malema asking South Africans to vote against the "empty promises of the last 20 years", then several slogans appear across the screen, one of which says: "Destroy e-tolls physically!"

Mr Malema was once a close ally of Mr Zuma but was expelled from the governing African National Congress (ANC) in 2012 for sowing divisions in the party.

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says opposition parties have in the past accused the SABC of a bias towards the ANC and censoring messages, which the broadcaster denied.

However, the refusal by the SABC to air these adverts plays into that perception, our correspondents says.

After a hotly contested election campaign, South Africans go to the polls on 7 May.

It will be the first time that the ANC is contesting a general election without Nelson Mandela, its former leader and South Africa's first democratically elected president who died at the age of 95 in December.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • WomenBling and bags

    From luxury goods to expensive fundraisers - discover how the mega-rich in Indonesia spend it big

Programmes

  • Narrow boats on Regent's Canal, LondonThe Travel Show Watch

    Explore London’s industrial past on a narrowboat trip along the atmospheric Regent’s Canal

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.