'We are witnessing our police officers' homes being burnt to the ground, police officers are being attacked and murdered, police stations are being attacked and this will serve only to fuel such attacks on our officers,' the sound bellowed over the radio, as I listened.
A Democratic Alliance voice responded, claiming it was mere news footage, and said of it that were they in the wrong to it use it to gain votes, then much of what appears on the news should be barred from air. What was not news footage was the clever editing, and the voice over, which police say lie of the context of the scene.
The police dug into the archives before their rather specific, extensive response about context.
This was not a massacre like Marikana. Bekkersdal had erupted into rioting once again, police armed with rubber bullets had attempted desperately to restore order. The men with blue shirts, the Democratic Alliance colours, must have appeared opportune for advertising. If only they had really been shot, this complaint might never have been made. Perhaps if the Democratic Alliance had taken footage from Marikana, all would be okay. They attempted to use that tragedy also, although the surviving miners booed and bellowed for them to leave and be gone back then.
The police were not given a chance to respond to the politician's asserting it as mere news in the advert, on the radio news show. Instead, the announcer of news mentioned that the South African Police Service, had filed late to have the advert banned, that the police claimed to have been previously unaware of the advertisement. The South African Broadcasting Corporation had banned the piece by the Democratic Alliance candidate for Gauteng, along with an advert by the Economic Freedom Fighters advocating damaging property. After the Democratic Alliance threatened the SABC, the public broadcaster put the anti-police message upon their airwaves. The Democratic Alliance anti-police piece had already gained many YouTube views, from the curious and their supporters. ICASA, the broadcasting independent regulator has yet to rule whether the advert incites violence, but Yesterday it was to determine whether it could condone the SAPS late filing of their complaint.
The police complaint will be heard. Yet, what fascinates me most is the apparent subterfuge of the DA's news footage claim, and how different it happens to be from the police version.
The SAPS said Yesterday:
'The “Ayisafani” advertisement depicts the DA’s 2014 election candidate for Gauteng’s Premiership, Mr Mmusi Maimane in which among other things he said: “We’ve seen a police force killing our own people”. The advertisement’s footage depicts a police officer allegedly shooting at two apparently unarmed people who are cowering away from the police.'
'In fact, the advertisement’s footage is inaccurate and misleading as the two people shown in the image were never killed or shot at and no live ammunition was used. The footage was carefully selected from one of Bekkersdal’s illegal and violent protests where the police had to restore public order to protect the life of law abiding citizens and their property.'
Yet, with a media so keen to echo the message of the face that did not launch a thousand battle ships, but which certainly has had enough plastic surgery to attempt such a feet, will this police version make the front of many a news publication?