The SABC refused to air the DA’s political advertisement. Image: X/@our_da

ICASA recommends R500 000 fine against SABC over DA advert

ICASA says the SABC’s decision to refuse to air the DA’s controversial advert for the upcoming elections had no legal basis.


The SABC refused to air the DA’s political advertisement. Image: X/@our_da

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has recommended that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) be fined R500 000 for refusing to air the DA’s controversial advert, which depicts a burning flag across its platforms. 

Following the SABC’s decision, the DA filed a complaint with ICASA. The advert, which depicted the burning of the South African flag, was heavily criticised, and the government is considering taking action against the opposition party. 


On Friday, ICASA said SABC’s decision to refuse to air the DA’s advert had no legal basis under the Electronic Communications Act No. 36 of 2005. 

Equally, the authority said the public broadcaster contravened several sections of the act mentioned above and Elections Regulations by refusing to broadcast by refusing to air the ad without any lawful justification. 

Additionally, Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) has recommended that the SABC be fined R500 000 for breaching the Regulations. 

“The CCC further recommended that the authority direct the SABC to cease its conduct of refusing to broadcast the DA’s political advertisement. Direct the SABC to fulfill its obligations under the ECA and air the advertisement.”

On 9 May, the SABC said it had been monitoring the outcry from South Africans of all races who condemned the advert. 

“Likewise, the SABC believes that the advertisement encourages damage of treasured national symbols. The national flag is a symbol that represents diverse elements of the country and national unity. 

“Additionally, it is expected that the national flag should be accorded with dignity and respect. Thus, the flag represents not a political party, but the nation at large,” SABC complaints specialist Nyiko Shibambo said.

“As a responsible broadcaster, the SABC will not want to be part of fuelling the outrage evident on divergent media platforms. The SABC persuades the DA to amend the advertisement,” Shibambo added. 

Following the decision, DA leader John Steenhuisen said deployed ANC cadres at the SABC have banned the DA’s latest advertisement from the air to hide the truth of how the ANC has burnt our country to the ground. 

“The DA will fight to the highest court in the land to defend our constitution,” Steenhuisen affirmed.