Friday, 12 July 2013

South African Contradictions

Two stories from South Africa this week.

And the arbiter of truth in SA is... the Advertising Standards Authority
In a bid to hold local government accountable for what he sees as poor service delivery (measured against standards never seen in Africa, ever, but never mind), a South African man has laid a complaint against the City of Johannesburg with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The complaint relates to an ads claiming that Johannesburg is "A World Class African City". South African advertising law is pretty specific: you can get away with saying or implying quite a lot provided it's true. In this case, the ASA ruled that "the commercial appears to be communicating a misleading message". Because in South Africa advertising has to be true. The same rules, unfortunately, do not apply to news, reality programming, things people say in parliament or politician's speeches.

Corruption allegations lead to resignation.. but only if you're the tax man
South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner, Oupa Magashula, has resigned with immediate effect after he was accused of giving a chartered accountant a job. SARS is a super-efficient tax service and has won numerous internationally awards. They have succeeded in making paying taxes really, really easy, including, this year, the option to file tax returns via smart-phone or app. Apparently they're not taking any chances with their reputation. This comes in the same week that a leading SA newspaper breaks the story that dealings with a company that scooped a large portion of the R270m (USD27m) upgrade to the current president's residence were...er... not entirely above-board. The company, it turns out, also holds several other lucrative contracts with the government. 

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