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Icasa says parties are allowed to buy airtime with broadcasters

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) says according to its regulations political parties are allowed to buy airtime to flight their adverts with broadcasters as soon as the date for elections has been proclaimed.

Icasa’s clarification comes in the wake of a dispute between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the SABC where the latter refused to air a DA election advert earlier in the week, saying it was still waiting for Icasa’s confirmation to allow it to organise slots for all political parties.

The DA accused the public broadcaster of trying to censor their political advertisements as election time draws closer and has lodged a complaint with Icasa.

The authority’s Deputy Chairperson,  Rubben Mohlaloga, says, “The broadcast elections period will only kick in at the time at which Icasa would have allocated the contesting political parties what we call PEB’s which are which are Party Elections Broadcast minutes. So, at that time, the free minutes that will be allocated to political parties will be flighted at that time once that process has been concluded. So, where we are now, we are in an elections period because the minister of Local Government has already proclaimed the elections date.”

The SABC says that no political parties’ adverts have been aired on its platforms at this stage.

SABC Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says, “There is a process that is why I was saying we have been using these processes all the years up until now. We have now clarified all of those issues with ICASA.”

Meanwhile, DA leader Mmusi Maimane says, “We had a history with the SABC were in fact they banned our advert the last time its prejudicial behaviour against the official opposition in this country and we not going to accept that.”

The SABC says all adverts will be aired after the corporation has looked at them.

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