FIRST National Bank (FNB) has apologised to the African National Congress (ANC) for posting online videos deemed critical of the party and the government.
FNB and the ANC said in a joint statement on Friday that CEO of First Rand Sizwe Nxasana had apologised for the "regrettable" videos, and then gave an undertaking to the party that such an incident would not be repeated.
The statement followed a meeting on Friday between Mr Nxasana and ANC leadership, including secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, to discuss the videos, depicting children in school uniform calling for, among other things, an end to corruption and people voting for the "same government" while hoping for change.
The ANC subsequently accused FNB of orchestrating an attack on the party and the government, as well as acting in a "treasonous" manner.
The videos brought a volley of criticism by the ANC, its women and youth leagues, as well as the South African Communist Party and Young Communist League, while the Democratic Alliance and Freedom of Expression Institute defended the advertisements.
The Presidency also commented on the video, saying that business should refrain from "frivolous" advertising and instead constructively engage with the government on issues such as unemployment.
According to the statement on Friday: "The ANC pointed out in the meeting that the clippings were a deliberate posting on FNB website to attack the ANC and it fed into the opposition narrative that seeks to project the ANC and its government in a negative manner".
The ANC further raised concerns that the videos undermined business confidence, jeopardised investment, as well as to ask FNB why the party "should continue to bank with a bank that has adopted an oppositional stance to it".
"Mr Nxasana explained the objectives of their youth campaign and stressed that it is meant to inspire all South Africans to work together by helping one another. He explained that it was never the intention of FNB to play politics," the statement read.
The ANC accepted the apology, while FNB expressed its commitment to the National Development Plan as well as tackling poverty, inequality and unemployment.
© BDlive 2013