A commercial for fish and chips which depicted President Jacob Zuma and his family having dinner was not aired because it implied presidential endorsement of the product, the SABC said on Tuesday.
"We are of the view that the advert implied an endorsement of the product sold by the Fish and Chip Company," spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement.
He said the SABC was concerned about media claims that it had banned the advertisement.
"The SABC reserves the right to exercise editorial control over all content, as per our trading terms, licence conditions, and public broadcast mandate."
The animated commercial begins with the words "Dinner time at Nkandla" appearing over a picture of a mansion.
The next frame is indoors. A woman, seated at one end of an extremely long dining room table lined with children and several women, says in isiZulu: "Oh Zuzulicious, we're having fish and chips from Shabba today."
The huge family enjoys the fish and chips dinner.
An animated Zuma responds: "Eat up honey bunch, there is a lot of good food here. It's from the Fish and Chip Company. There are many of you in this house, at only R25 even Pravin will approve this."
Kganyago said the advert was not submitted to the SABC in time for it to check the quality and other technical aspects of the clip.
The material needed to be received five working days before broadcast, but the advert only arrived on Friday just after 2pm and was supposed to be aired the next Monday.
The Star reported that the SABC had banned the commercial and that it was pulled just two hours before it was scheduled to be broadcast.
Paul Warner, the creative director at Metropolitan Republic Group - the agency which made the ad - said it was told the commercial had been banned because it was "degrading to the president".
"They said our [SABC] bosses have made the decision not to flight it," he was quoted as saying.
Warner reportedly told the newspaper that there was nothing wrong with the ad, and he did not understand how it could be pulled on the basis of being offensive without anyone having complained about it.
Carlo Gonzaga, the chief executive of Taste Holding, under which the company falls, said it was "astounding" that the SABC would take a unilateral decision on behalf of the public.
"I think it's presumptuous."