By Anne Sewell
While several locations in the world are legalizing marijuana, or cannabis as it is sometimes known, South Africa is tending to lag behind in the trend.
In fact, the smoking of marijuana, cannabis, or “dagga” as it is called in South Africa, is still illegal despite attempts to have it legalized in any form.
However, this didn’t stop André Du Plessis, head of the Cannabis Working Group in South Africa and a cannabis activist, from lighting up a “doobie” or joint live on air during a televised debate.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) didn’t take too kindly to his stunt and has strongly condemned his actions.
According to IOL, the debate was aired on the SABC show The Newsroom, and Du Plessis was shown on a large TV screen at the back of the studio while the interview progressed.
The marijuana activist was obviously upset by the interviewee’s excuses for not working on the legalization of marijuana, especially when David Nayever, deputy chairman of the Central Drug Authority, tried to blame the recent xenophobia attacks in the country for delaying the process of legalization.
To clearly show his disappointment and disbelief in the statements in the ongoing interview between the host, Annine Dormehl, and Nayever, Du Plessis then casually lit up live on the show, as can be seen in the video above.
A spokesman for the SABC, Kaiser Kganyago, did say they were unable to confirm whether it was actually marijuana that the cannabis activist was smoking, but they condemned his actions anyway — smoking is not allowed in the studios in any form.
“He took advantage of a live show and we do not condone any kind of smoking. Smoking of any kind is not shown on any of our platforms and is not even allowed to be advertised.”
Kganyago went on to say that admittedly he was not aware of any complaints received over the on-air stunt by the cannabis activist, but said that if the show had not been live, they would have edited the blatant display of “lighting up” out of the show, adding that it would have been disruptive to try and stop the show during live taping.
“He is not a member of staff at the SABC, but we will look into the matter and see how we can take it forward. If it was not live we would have been able to edit it out, but he took advantage of the fact that it was a live show.”
According to News24, while the SABC was unable to confirm whether the cannabis activist was actually smoking marijuana, Du Plessis was interviewed by a rival TV news channel, eNCA and during that interview he admitted that it was, indeed, marijuana that he was smoking.
“I’m going to admit it. During the live interview [on SABC News] you saw the pictures of people smoking it in Cape Town”.
“The only thing I could do was really sit back and smoke a joint.”
When asked by Dormehl for his closing comments, the cannabis activist merely lit up the marijuana joint and blew the smoke at the camera, saying, “I think that is all I have to say.” He then stood up, removed his earpiece and microphone and left the studio.
While South Africa continues to discuss the possibilities of legalization, as reported on the Inquisitr, access to medical marijuana and the legalization of the drug is gaining support across North America.