‘They should have stood their ground’: Mixed reactions to DA removing its Phoenix posters

11 October 2021 - 12:00
By Unathi Nkanjeni
The DA landed in hot water over its election posters in Phoenix, where 36 people died in recent unrest. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images The DA landed in hot water over its election posters in Phoenix, where 36 people died in recent unrest. File photo.

TimesLIVE readers have mixed opinions about the DA’s decision to remove its controversial election campaign posters in Phoenix, Durban. 

Last week, the DA came under fire for the posters, which read “The ANC calls you racists, the DA calls you heroes”, with many accusing the opposition party of fuelling racial tensions in Phoenix after 36 people were killed in the area during unrest and looting in July. 

The DA later took the posters down and issued an apology.

“In my sincere effort to honour the bravery and heroism of law-abiding citizens who were left to fend for themselves during the July riots and insurrections, the posters have regretfully caused hurt to some people. I am deeply sorry and apologise for this,” said DA KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson. 

According to the opposition party, the posters were meant to honour those who stood up to protect their property during unrest.

TimesLIVE ran a poll asking readers what they thought of the DA’s decision to take down its Phoenix posters. Most, or 42%, said the party should have stood its ground and not removed them.

32% said the damage was already done and called for heads to roll, and 26% said it was the right move.

On social media, many said the posters were a bad idea.

“They only took those posters down because they felt the heat from all corners of the country and it made them look bad – not because of their conscience,” said Kabelo Diseko.

“Even if the posters are removed, the message is already delivered,” said Tshepo Modika.

“The DA must do the right thing and recall John Steenhuisen, whose leadership raises eyebrows by running a political campaign that causes racial division,” said Lukhs.

“The DA slogan on those posters was a childish, tasteless and very thoughtless attempt to be relevant. Who on earth approved them?” said Glynis Higgins.

Others said the party should have left the posters up, despite the controversy. 

“DA, you had my respect. Now you’ve lost my vote. Backing down after poking the hornet’s nest is just spineless. You knew the posters would elicit polarising responses, but you did it anyway. Now you’re backing away from a fight of your own making,” said Anthony Pearce.

“They should have left them. It’s so typical of the ANC to make something racist out of something. They have been doing this for years. They should have stuck to the poster and not been bullied,” said Neville John Bohmer.