ANCYL slams ‘treasonous’ bank advertisement
JOHANNESBURG - The Youth League of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress on Monday accused the commercial bank FNB of launching a “treacherous attack” after it released an advertisement addressing the problems of greed, poor education and security facing citizens.
First National Bank’s ad campaign “How can we help you?” features a speech by a 17-year-old student lamenting a multitude of problems that plague the country nearly 19 years after the end of apartheid.
Student Kelly Baloyi urges South Africans to overcome “greed, mistrust” as well as “petty politics” and rampant illiteracy.
But the campaign, released via the website, youcanhelp.co.za, was met with fierce criticism by the ANC Youth League, which claimed it “agitates for an overthrow of our government.”
“We call upon South Africans to close ranks against what is (a) treacherous attack on our country,” the league said in a statement.
“Where there are challenges the ANC government continues to work with the people to resolve their problems.
The league called the advertisement “treasonous” and labelled it a “lame attempt to recreate an Arab Spring of some sort in South Africa.”
The advert’s creators and FNB said the campaign was designed to have a positive impact.
“We want to participate in the social dialogue of the country and we want to have something meaningful and positive to say that can hopefully have an impact,” Brent Tollman of agency MetropolitanRepublic said.
Meanwhile, thousands of South Africans burnt tyres and vehicles, barricaded streets and looted shops in the industrial town of Sasolburg 90 km south of Johannesburg on Monday, the worst social unrest this year around the commercial hub of Africa’s biggest economy.
“It is critical now in Zamdela. We have police officials injured and they are being attacked by the mob,” said Constable Peter Kareli.
Residents, who were protesting against municipal demarcation plans, were throwing stones and had barricaded the road.
A police Nyala (armoured) vehicle had become stuck in mud and protesters had attacked the officers inside.
“Water cannons have been used and some rubber bullets. The helicopter is also firing rubber bullets,” said Kareli. “The situation is volatile.”
The protests started on Sunday when residents came out of a meeting about municipal demarcation.
They were apparently unhappy about plans to merge Sasolburg into the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls.
Nearly 90 people were arrested and charged with public violence on Sunday when they ran amok and looted shops in the township.
“More people were arrested at around 03h00 this morning [Monday] as they continued to loot shops,” Kareli said.
Some of the crowd were armed with knives, machetes and firearms and police had made at least 130 arrests since the violence broke out on Sunday, he added.
Sasolburg is home to the 108 000 barrels-per-day Natref refinery, owned by petrochemicals group Sasol and oil major Total. Kareli said the refinery was not in danger.
It is believed that over 3 000 protests took place in the past four years. According to News24, there is a service delivery protest in South Africa - either violent or peaceful - at least once every two days.
Violent protests erupt periodically in South Africa’s predominantly black townships, which have seen little improvement in living standards since the end of apartheid in 1994.