The Notice of Liquidation follows a meeting of creditors, during which SARS, the ASA’s principle creditor, rejected an offer to the creditors, triggering the liquidation.

"Over the last year, the ASA has restructured to reduce operating costs, re-established a funding system, increased its output and reduced its turnaround time," says Gail Schimmel, the CEO of the ASA. "So this was initially a devastating blow."

Schimmel adds, "However, the marketing, advertising and communications industries have made it clear that they are fully committed to self-regulation of commercial speech in order to protect consumers from misleading and potentially harmful advertising – and will do whatever is necessary to preserve it."

"I think we will see a ‘phoenix rise from these ashes’, and I am excited about the future of advertising self-regulation," Schimmel says.

"Marketers are adamant that any lacuna left by the dissolution of the ASA will immediately be filled," says Greg Garden, CEO of the Marketing Association of South Africa. "We will not allow consumers or the industry to be exposed to potentially harmful advertising practices."

Mike Gendel, director on the Board of the Association for Communication and Advertising, says, "The ACA has always been fully supportive of the ASA and self-regulation, and our profession will work together with other like-minded stakeholders to ensure legal, decent, honest and truthful advertising content, in line with international best practice."

"The growth of the digital market has created an important need for self-regulation in this space," says Chris Borain, chairperson of the IAB. "The IAB remains committed to the values represented by the ASA, and will join with industry to ensure the continuation of self-regulation."

"We anticipate exciting developments in this space in the next few weeks," concludes Schimmel. "Consumer protection is at the forefront of all our minds and, as an industry, we will fight to ensure that this endures."

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