The Film and Publications Board (FPB) says it will be receiving a detailed report from the appeals tribunal – appointed by the communications minister in response to complaints about "Inxeba (The Wound)" – to explain why the tribunal decided that the film's rating had to change from 16 to X18 last Tuesday.
"We had rated it a 16, and we had argued for it. There was clearly a different perspective by the tribunal. We respect their role, and we have to give them the space to explain their reasons, then we see how to take it further," the board's acting chief operations officer, Abongile Mashele, told HuffPost on Monday.
Mashele also explained that the board was independent of the appeals tribunal, but that their job is to follow instructions from the tribunal once a matter is escalated to that level.
"Our act [the law governing the FPB] is very clear – that once the tribunal makes a determination, we have to implement it immediately. As the FPB right now, we are constrained," Mashele explained.
The movie was given an X18 rating, meaning it is now classified as pornography and people can no longer view it in cinemas – it can only be viewed in "licensed adult venues". This follows complaints by traditional leaders, who believe that it does not portray Xhosa culture accurately.
'Our act is very clear that once the tribunal makes a determination, we have to implement it immediately. As the FPB right now, we are constrained.'
She says that although there has been conflict around "Inxeba (The Wound)", this has been a "good thing" for the FPB, because it has prompted the public to "engage with the work of the FPB and the importance of the FBP to every household in South Africa".
"How I look at this 'Inxeba' thing is it has created a platform to be able to engage with South Africans more and say if you want to get your views known," she said.
She believes this could attract more people to engage in the public consultations regarding ratings of movies. The FPB was launching its classification-guidelines public-consultation workshops on Monday at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
"If you want more reflection of your own societal views and norms in our guidelines, this is the opportunity to do so – and at least we do it every five years," Mashele said.
"People take it for granted that when they go and hire a DVD, or when they download something form ShowMax, that age ratings just comes randomly – and they don't see how they have a role in informing that age rating," she said.
She explained that South Africans can also be involved in legal processes.
"There is recourse even for ordinary South Africans – you can approach the courts if you want the decision to be reviewed, because if a decision is contrary to the constitutional framework, any ordinary South African has that right."