What you said about whether the DA should remove its controversial election posters in Phoenix

07 October 2021 - 08:30
The DA has landed in hot water over its election posters put up in Phoenix, where 36 people died during unrest.
The DA has landed in hot water over its election posters put up in Phoenix, where 36 people died during unrest.
Image: Gallo Images

Readers have weighed in on whether the DA should remove its controversial election posters in Phoenix, Durban, after it was accused of further inciting racial divisions in the community.

According to the party, the posters, which read “The ANC calls you racists, the DA calls you heroes”, were to honour those who stood up to protect their property during the July unrest that resulted in 36 people losing their lives in the area.

DA provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson said the posters were going up all over the city and it was not the intention to create further division among residents. 

 DA leader John Steenhuisen said those who stood up for themselves “deserve” to be called heroes and denied the DA was using those who lost their lives in Phoenix as a political tool.

“The politicking started when Bheki Cele, the ANC [former eThekwini mayor] Zandile Gumede and the EFF went into Phoenix and started painting an entire community with one brush,” said Steenhuisen.

But a backlash to the poster came from even within the party, with sources telling TimesLIVE senior leaders in KwaZulu-Natal are pushing for their national leaders to concede that the posters sent the wrong message to voters about race and should be taken down. 

DA provincial leader Francois Rogers did not sign off on the posters, and apparently only found out about them with the rest of SA. 

DA mayoral candidate in Johannesburg Mpho Phalatse also called for the party to take down the posters.

“Lives were lost in Phoenix, innocent people died and we did not look at that when we put up those posters. As an individual, I do believe we should acknowledge that it was a blind spot. Yes we did not intend to offend, because we would never defend lawlessness and murders and that is not what the posters are saying, but that is what people are reading.

“And because of the offence that has been caused, I would push for the party to apologise, take the posters down, come up with a catchy campaign message and we all move on in the interest of building the nation,” Phalatse told Sunday Times Daily. 

We ran a poll asking readers if the DA should take down the posters, with 46% saying they should not because it told “the truth”. 

At the time of publishing, 37% said it had “done more harm than good” in the community, while 17% questioned why the party had put up such controversial posters in the area in the first place.

On social media, opinions were split.

“So disappointing. No regards for human life,” wrote Thulani Ndlovu.

“It's an own goal to the DA,” added Fikile Nozombile.

Jacqueline De Boer questioned why the posters were put up in the first place.

“To be honest why go down this route? I don't think they should have printed this, seriously. I know it was not cool that the whole Phoenix community got labelled but we are not going forward by playing this game. No party that has brought race into their party's wording has succeeded in this country. I do believe DA can do good, but this was not right,” she wrote.


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