DA removes ‘racists v heroes’ posters, apologises

A DA poster in Phoenix ahead of local government elections. The community there came under fire in July after 36 people were killed in unrest in the area.
A DA poster in Phoenix ahead of local government elections. The community there came under fire in July after 36 people were killed in unrest in the area.
Image: Supplied

The DA has succumbed to pressure and will be taking down its controversial election street posters in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal.

The party came under a lot of scrutiny this week after it emerged that it had put up posters in Phoenix that were seen as racially insensitive.

“The ANC called you racist. The DA calls you heroes” read the DA posters in the predominantly Indian community of Phoenix where scores of black people were killed during the July unrest.

DA KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson on Thursday apologised and said the party was in the process of removing the posters which “inadvertently caused offence”.

“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,” Macpherson said.

He also admitted that the posters were not sanctioned by the party.

“Sometimes in politics our words may be poorly chosen, but I wish to assure the public, without contradiction, that my intentions are always sincere,” he said.

SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that the party’s provincial committee was not aware of the posters and that Macpherson had taken the decision alone.

“At the meeting today, Dean said the party has to be realistic. We can afford to lose 50% of black DA voters but we cannot afford to lose 50% of the Indian vote who will vote for the DA — whatever that means,” an insider who was at the meeting told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

Macpherson said the intention of the message was to honour “heroic residents” of Phoenix who stood up when the police and the army failed to do so.

“At no point did I, nor the DA, and at no point would I or the DA ever condone or support those who undertook vigilante actions. In fact, I once again condemn those who undertook vigilante actions which cost lives and damage to property.

“The DA is a party of nonracialism and it was never my intention to cause any other perception. I remain steadfastly committed to all people in SA, united in our diversity, and our campaign will continue to show SA that only the DA can and will get things done,” he said.

TimesLIVE


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