SABC censors DA radio adverts
The Democratic Alliance has learnt that the SABC has now also removed DA election advertisements from radio stations across South Africa. This is in addition to the SABC's decision to censor our television adverts.
The fact that the SABC is now censoring the DA's radio adverts too, further confirms the true motive behind this unconstitutional, illegal and illegitimate decision. The SABC is deliberately hindering the DA's election campaign to help the ANC's campaign and to protect President Jacob Zuma from accountability.
This is now clearly a deliberate and co-ordinated attack on the DA, and indeed on free and fair democratic elections in South Africa. We will not tolerate this censorship.
It comes in the context of Gwede Mantashe's rallying call on all in the ANC to protect Jacob Zuma to protect themselves. He said the ANC was like a snake. If its head was crushed, the rest could not survive. The same applies to all the deployed cadres in state institution who should be independent and protect the people's interests. They were cadres deployed there by President Zuma to look after him. The deal is that he looks after them and they look after him. If he goes, so will they. That explains SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's actions.
The DA has submitted an application to ICASA today, as regulations require us to do, to have the SABC's decision overturned. ICASA has 48 hours to decide on the matter, which means they will need to reach decision by Monday afternoon. We are confident they will see right through the SABC's clear attempt to undermine these elections and protect the ANC. But if they do not, we will take further legal action immediately.
Our application argues that the SABC's decision is unlawful, unconstitutional and irrational. The effect of their censorship is to undermine the free choice of voters in a democratic election by preventing the DA from communicating with voters through television and radio. Both television and radio are critical means of reaching voters. We believe this is a profound infringement of the right to freedom of expression and the right to campaign for a political party, both of which are constitutionally enshrined.
The reasons provided by the SABC for their decision are utterly illegitimate. They do not pass the test of basic reason, and make clear the SABC's real intention of protecting the ANC and President Zuma from legitimate criticism or political competition.
The DA's heads of argument submitted to ICASA today, can be read here.
Statement issued by DA leader, Helen Zille, April 12 2014
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