The ANC and FNB: Treason for some, freedom of speech for others

by The Editor


ANCChinaFEATURE: Here follow two 2009 election adverts. The first is from the Freedom Front Plus, the second from the African Christian Democratic Party. Both are harrowing and aim to induce much fear in the viewer about the state of South Africa, in an attempt to win their support. Compared to the FNB advert, they are extreme and make no attempt to allude to a problem in inspirational language. Rather they are cut-throat, highly provocative and damning of the government. One is forced to ask, given that there is so much unhappiness on the ANC’s part about the mild FNB ad, why neither of these two parties were ever labelled as ‘treasonous’?

The ANC and FNB: Treason for some, freedom of speech for others

By: Gareth van Onselen


24 January 2013

Here follow two 2009 election adverts. The first is from the Freedom Front Plus, the second from the African Christian Democratic Party. Both are harrowing and aim to induce much fear in the viewer about the state of South Africa, in an attempt to win their support. Compared to the FNB advert, they are extreme and make no attempt to allude to a problem in inspirational language. Rather they are cut-throat, highly provocative and damning of the government. One is forced to ask, given that there is so much unhappiness on the ANC’s part about the mild FNB ad, why neither of these two parties were ever labelled as ‘treasonous’?

The obvious answer is that the ANC does not see business as a legitimate role-player in our democracy. It exists, in the ANC’s mind, to support the government of the day and, whether through silence or consent, tow the party’s line. That attitude, dictatorial at best, was most prevalent under Thabo Mbeki, when business and civil society alike cowered before the ostensible philosopher king. With the disintegration of the ANC and the advent of a more independent, robust civil society, however, business too is beginning to find its voice. That is a welcome development; for it makes for a healthier democratic order and enlivens debate. With those things comes not just accountability, but progress too.

Here, then, are the three adverts, compare for yourself.

The Freedom Front Plus Advert

 

The African Christian Democratic Party Advert

 

The First National Bank Advert

 

  • Gareth van Onselen (@GvanOnselen) is the Editor of Inside Politics (@insidepols), Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

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