Pop culture critic Charl Blignaut says the sex scenes on "Inxeba (The Wound)" are similar to many other movies that have not been rated X18.
"That is every movie ever made," Blignaut told HuffPost on Monday.
This comes after the Film and Publications Board's (FPB) appeals tribunal's justification of how they made the decision to classify the movie as pornography.
The tribunal on Friday said the movie contained "explicit sexual scenes" that have a "moderate impact, therefore harmful, distressing and pre-exposing the 16-year-old child to adult experiences".
Previously the movie was rated 16 – however, religious leaders appealed this rating.
"The reasons given do not relate to the rating. No reasons are given that relate to sex that involve simulated or actual sex, with close-ups of genitals – no genitals are shown in the movie," Blignaut said.
"What happened here the pressure from the traditional leaders – they did not have to give it an X18 rating; they could have given it 18," he said.
"Porn has no dramatic value, with Inxeba sex is implied, you do not see genitals. In porn, you see genitals." Niq Mhlongo
Former classifier and acclaimed writer Niq Mhlongo says "Inxeba" cannot be compared to any pornographic films.
"There is no movie that has to be banned that can equate to 'Inxeba', because 'Inxeba' is not porn – it is a movie," he said.
He slammed the tribunal for its decision, saying it was "not logical" and "unreasonable".
"Porn has no dramatic value – with 'Inxeba', the sex is implied – you do not see genitals. In porn, you see genitals," he said.
Mhlongo says the process was done by "people who do not understand the principles of the FPB, because it does not even draw from the legislation transcripts – it is just wrong and horrendous".
The tribunal also stated that the following scenes would cause "tension" in society:
An anal sex scene between Vija (Bongile Mantsai) and Xolani (Nakhane Toure), who are initiation nurses, as well as a scene implying oral sex.
They criticised the movie for showing initiates being circumcised with a single tool. The tribunal believes this undermines the work that the government is doing in the initiation space by regulating healthy practices.
According to the tribunal, there is "deliberate omission of condom use" by the caregivers during a scene of heated intercourse, which they believe would have an adverse effect on viewers who are minors.