PAY-TV broadcaster DStv has lifted its ban on fast-food chain Nando's new advertisement that broadcasters initially refused to air due to its "xenophobic" undertones.
The commercial had been banned by both DStv and e.tv after they initially flighted it earlier this month, days after the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) rejected it on the grounds that it could be misinterpreted and perpetuate xenophobia and even violence.
Satellite television network TopTV, however, said this week that it would air the controversial advertisement. Its decision came after the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) dismissed complaints it received from viewers and ruled that the advertisement did not contravene any of its codes.
The commercial opens with foreign nationals illegally crossing the South African border, followed by a voice-over that says: "You know what's wrong with South Africa? It's all you foreigners."
It then shows foreign nationals including Chinese, Indians and even Afrikaners disappearing in puffs of smoke. Finally, the only person left is a traditional Khoisan man who says he's not going anywhere.
The ASA said the advertisement was within the parameters of hyperbole or harmless parody. According to the Code of Advertising Practice, "obvious untruths, harmless parody or exaggerations, intended to catch the eye or amuse, are permissible provided that they are clearly to be seen as humorous".
"This is also in line with the respondent's reputation for poking fun at topical issues and current affairs," it said, adding that the commercial clearly contrasted the "voice of xenophobia" with the "voice of reason", which explained that "real South Africans" loved diversity.
"This carries the implied message that the initial voice of xenophobia does not speak for real South Africans," the ASA said.
In addition, the ASA ruled, if one viewed the entire commercial, it was apparent that the xenophobic voice and opinion was ridiculed and made to be irrational.
Chris Hitchings, CEO of media sales at DStv, said on Friday that the broadcaster had reversed its decision not to air the advertisement following the ASA's ruling.
"We respect the ASA processes and the ruling on the commercial. We will reinstate the flighting of the commercial shortly," he said.
TopTV said this week that its decision was based on its desire to push the envelope, promote freedom of expression and encourage debate.
Nando's, the SABC and e.tv were not immediately available for comment.