THE Presidency weighed in on First National Bank (FNB) much-debated video campaign yesterday‚ expressing disappointment over the "frivolous” advertisements and calling for business to keep focus on constructive responses to SA’s economic challenges.
FNB’s series of online videos were pulled on Monday after the videos – some depicting pupils calling for‚ among other things‚ an end to corruption and people voting for the "same government” while hoping for change – sparked a furore in the ruling ANC.
The ANC has accused FNB of orchestrating an attack on the party and government. Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said yesterday the business’s focus should be on job creation‚ rather than on "the dangerous campaign of talking the country down during an economic crisis globally”.
"Frivolous adverts which display hatred of government or the ruling party will not help us to achieve the country’s developmental goals‚” he said, adding that high-level talks on the economy between government‚ labour‚ business and the community were ongoing.
"That dialogue is now more urgent given the continuing challenges in the mining sector‚ which have been exacerbated by the announcement by Amplats to put some shafts under care and maintenance‚ leading to the loss of 14 000 jobs. Those are the issues we should focus our attention on – how to hang on to the jobs we have‚ while creating new ones.”
FNB’s campaign has been attacked by the ANC‚ the ANC Women’s League and ANC Youth League‚ as well as the South African Communist Party. Some structures lambasted the advertisements as being "one-sided political statements” and "treasonous”.
FNB maintains the videos were not meant to be critical‚ but aimed at "galvanising the nation into helping to build a stronger‚ unified values-based nation”.