ANC hammers FNB

22 January 2013 - 02:31 By NASHIRA DAVIDS and TJ STRYDOM

FNB has, once again, made the government see red. Its campaign You Can Help has been sharply criticised.

The bank agreed to withdraw all online clips of youngsters used in the campaign. Some of the youth were "voluntarily" recorded hauling the government over the coals.

In 2007, FNB pulled a R10-million advertising campaign urging former president Thabo Mbeki to do more to fight crime.

Yesterday, ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said FNB made unsubstantiated allegations against the government and the party in its latest campaign.

"But what we find disingenuous is the use of young kids to make a political statement.

''And if you listen to some of [the clips] it borders on disrespect.

"Can you imagine a 16-year-old calling a mother, who is also a minister, brainless?"

He said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga contacted the bank yesterday morning because "it made serious allegations against her". She was assured that the clips would be removed.

Khoza was particularly perturbed by a statement made by a girl called Tiara.

"Tiara was the worst!" he said.

According to the Mail & Guardian, Tiara reportedly said: "Stop voting for the same government in hopes for change - instead, change your hopes to a government that has the same hopes as us."

The ANC Youth League said the campaign bordered on treason.

The bank commissioned a survey of more than 1300 children in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Kelly Baloyi, 17, addressed people at the launch in Soweto on Thursday. This was broadcast live and was featured as the advertisement for the campaign on a blog site, along with the research report.

FNB chief marketing officer Bernice Samuels said it found 70% of the respondents to be positive about the future.

"We undertook the exercise as we strongly believe children have an important voice and are critical to the country's future success," said Samuels.

"Every interview was unscripted and uncensored."

Samuels said FNB was "disappointed" at the youth league's reaction and "gross misinterpretation" of the campaign.

She said the decision to remove the clips for now was "in the best interest of the children, until the misunderstanding is resolved".

Other parties weighed in on the drama.

The SACP said the campaign was "nothing but propaganda aimed at playing on the emotions of our people".

The DA, however, agreed with the advert.

"I have seen this commercial and believe it to be inspirational - calling on us all to cooperate for a better future," said DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane.