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Global South African News Wrap – 8 February 2013

Global South African News Wrap – 8 February 2013

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Published by glosaf
Global South African News Wrap – 8 February 2013
Global South African News Wrap – 8 February 2013

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Published by: glosaf on Feb 08, 2013
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Global South African News Wrap – 8 February 2013
Join us to ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world’State walks tightrope on mine taxes and jobs as commodity prices fall DA faithful cling to liberal roots as party searches for fresh bloodNUM official warns workers against ‘unreachable’ pay demands ‘No chance’ of ban on teachers’ strikesRamphele ‘party launch’ may steal Zuma’s thunder Labour axed as farmers face soaring wages, costs
 7 February 2013Business DayPage 9Michael JordaanJoin us to ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world’
US AUTHOR Mark Twain used to say that "a lie can travel halfway around theworld while the truth is putting on its shoes". Twain died in 1910, long beforethe era of instantaneous news coverage and social media, but today hiswords are truer than ever.I am, of course, referring to the exhaustive coverage that First National Bank’s(FNB’s) "You Can Help" advertisement has received since it was first aired onJanuary 17.Emotive words such as "treason" from one end of the spectrum, to"cowardice" on the other, were used in the debate. Amazingly (and despite all our best efforts to communicate), there is still a lotof confusion about the simple facts.There are often two sides to a story, and then there’s the truth. Here is afactually correct version of the matter:• FNB believes in the power of help to make a difference;• the TV advertisement seeks to inspire all South Africans to help each other;• there is nothing wrong with the advertisement;• we have not apologised for the advertisement; and• the advertisement is still being aired on TVand is available on YouTube.So what went wrong?To inform the making of the advertisement itself, our marketing teamcommissioned an independent company to conduct research into the opinionsof the South African youth about our country. About 1,300 school pupils anduniversity students were interviewed during this process.While about 70% of interviewees expressed optimism about South Africa,they were also sharp critics about areas for improvement.This is normal in any society and it is their right to express their views.
From these interviews, four video clips were linked to the "You Can Help"blog, including one that carried a negative comment about a Cabinet minister.None of the clips — neither these four, nor any of the other clips gathered inthe research — were ever intended to become an advertisement. We certainlyhad no intention of playing politics, and there is no logic in FNB deliberatelyattacking the government or the African National Congress (ANC).When we were alerted to what was interpreted by the ANC as being "politicalstatements" and "a personal insult" in the content of the four video clips, weimmediately removed them.FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana also apologised to the minister in question viaSMS on January 20. On January 25, we met a senior ANC delegation to"clear the air".We repeated our apology for the posting of the video clips and the ANCexpressed support for the actual advertising campaign and the sentiment of helpfulness that it intended to convey. Admittedly, I am sad that a campaign that was meant to inspire South Africans to make a difference has become so controversial, yet I remainextremely positive about our future and confident in the many well-meaning,hard-working people who want to help make South Africa a better country. As one commentator put it: "If we can come up with the world’s mostinnovative bank, then we can do anything." We just need to believe more inourselves.We live in a truly wonderful country; one that is admired around the world.Yet, as South Africans, we sometimes forget what our great nation is capableof.One needs only look at our astonishing achievements to realise that, despiteour past, we are a country that succeeds by turning adversity into opportunity.Our robust banking system has withstood the harsh pressures of the globaleconomic crisis. SA’s young scientists are positioned at the forefront of discovery with the construction of the Square Kilometre Array in the Karooand surrounds.Our medical academics are now setting the benchmarks in the field of HIV/AIDS research and treatment, and although we may endure frustration attimes, our sporting teams remain a source of national pride.It is clear, then, from these few examples, that we have so much to be proudof.

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