The Film and Publication Board is disappointed at a perception given to the public that it is a discriminatory organization.
We have noted with disappointment the article published in your newspaper on Sunday, 27 August titled ‘I was sacked cos I’m gay’. A number of issues are raised in the article and this is not an attempt to respond to all of them due to space limitations. However, we wish to state the following:
- The former CEO, Mr Wakashe was an employee of the FPB who was subjected to an internal disciplinary process as a result of investigations that were undertaken. The FPB has labour relations and governance policies that ensure the organisation does not discriminate on the basis of race, culture, sexual orientation and all other rights as espoused in the Bill of Rights. We can therefore assure your readers that the principle of fairness and justice were upheld throughout the process.
- The FPB wishes to place it on record that the mutually agreed upon decision to suspend and terminate Mr. Wakashe’s contract had nothing to do with his sexual orientation, as he never declared his status as LGBTIQ. We are not at liberty to state the reasons for agreeing to part ways with him due to a non-disclosure agreement signed by both parties. As the organization, our track record speaks for itself when it comes to working with LGBTIQ community; we have and continue to support a number of initiatives including the Feather Awards and related outreach initiatives. We are disappointed that during his time with us, he could not be an ambassador for the values we hold in such high regard. We lost an opportunity to make a greater positive impact in the LGBTIQ community and the entire citizenry. As the FPB, we will continue to rollout awareness campaigns in the LGBITQ community, as we have been doing over the years. We wish Mr. Wakashe well in his future endeavors.
Lastly, the Film and Publication Board has a responsibility to classify films, games and certain publications in line with South African values and norms. The FPB prides itself in being guided by the values as espoused in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. These, as adopted in our corporate strategy include the values of respect for human dignity, equality and social justice. Furthermore, these are a fundamental cornerstone of the content classification system applied when rating content. Over the twenty years of its existence, the FPB has developed a technically sound content regulation system that ensures the public interest mandate of the organisation is adequately responded to. City Press and media at large are welcome to further engage and learn about this system.
This regulatory system ensures that all decisions remain in-line with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and other applicable legislation. Working with our internal appeals mechanisms, all classification decisions have been reached without necessitating a judicial review process as they have been within the prescript of the law. These include the ‘Of Good Report’ classification decisions your article refers to. We are confident that the FPB has developed solid institutional arrangements that continue to function optimally despite the challenges the organization has faced in recent times. We are still able to receive and classify content from industry with no substantive complaints received in the form of appeals.
Ms Thoko Mpumlwana
FPB Council Chairperson
Ms. Manala Botolo
Acting Manager Communications and Public Education
082 860 6748
Notes to the editor
The objective of the Act of 1996 is to regulate the creation, production, possession and distribution of films, games and certain publications, and more recently certain online content. This is done to provide consumer advice to enable adults to make informed viewing, reading and gaming choices for themselves and children in their care; to protect children from exposure to disturbing and harmful material and from premature exposure to adult experiences, and to make the use of children in, and the exposure of children to pornography, punishable.