The Democratic Alliance has accused the SABC of censoring its political election ads by refusing to air them.
This is the second election period in which the DA and the SABC have clashed over political ads – the first being similar accusations in 2014, when the broadcaster pulled the DA’s election ads from the air.
According to the DA, this time the SABC is outright refusing to air the adverts, saying that it has no slots available for political ads yet, due to delays with the Independent Electoral Commission’s work on the elections.
“This is nothing but a poor excuse by the SABC in order to censor the DA’s political advertisement as has become standard during election time,” the party said.
“The DA – and indeed all political parties – are well within their rights to air party political advertisements at this time as the election date has been proclaimed.”
In terms of Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) municipal election regulations, political parities are allowed to broadcast political advertisements during the “election period“.
“The election period is defined in the regulations as ‘the period commencing with the date on which the election day is proclaimed…’,” the DA said.
The election was proclaimed by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van Rooyen, on 23 May 2016 meaning that, in terms of the law, South Africa is in election period and political parties are allowed to have their political advertisements broadcast.
The party said that all other television and radio stations have identified this, and will begin airing political ads this week.
“The SABC is the only broadcaster that refuses to air the DA’s adverts,” it said.