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S.Africa state TV bans fish and chip advert satirising Zuma

South Africa’s state broadcaster refused to air an advert for a fish and chips firm depicting President Jacob Zuma feeding his family on a budget meal, the company and its agent said Tuesday.

“You won’t get to watch the new television advert… for The Fish and Chip Co. on SABC because they have banned it,” said agency MetropolitanRepublic on its website.

The 31-second long clip titled “Dinner time at Nkandla” (the president’s rural homestead) depicts Zuma having fish and chips with his wives and children.

He says at 25 rand ($3, two euros) a plate even the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will approve.

CEO of the company Carlo Gonzaga said it was “quite presumptuous that they (SABC) are exercising such a censorship role.”

“We don’t believe it’s offensive, it’s a parody, it’s satirical. We think the ad is in good taste,” he told AFP.

“The message of our ad is if you have lots of mouths to feed and you don’t have a budget, (go for) the Fish and Chips Co.”

The 70-year-old Zuma who has four wives and 21 children, is often a subject of caricature by the South African media.

The advert opens with the sketch of a mansion, supposedly the president’s residency, with a front fountain in the shape of a shower head.

After his rape trial testimony where he said he had showered after sex to prevent HIV infection, cartoonists often throw in a shower head when parodying Zuma.

Early this month the SABC ordered its journalists to stop referring to Zuma’s controversial state-renovated Nkandla rural house as a “homestead” or as “Zumaville.”

His home in Nkandla, a village in rural KwaZulu-Natal, is at the centre of a storm over a security upgrade costing around $28 million.

“We had to find a way to communicate the message of our brand and we chose something that is currently topical, it’s not about violence, it doesn’t express a political view about anything, it doesn’t express a view about Nkandla, it’s not marginalising minorities, … there’s no sex,” said Gonzaga.

An SABC spokesman did not respond to calls for a comment.