DA's burning of SA flag a disgrace – political leaders

'We should build respect for our national symbols after our painful past'

Koena Mashale Journalist
The DA party logo.
The DA party logo.
Image: Gallo Images

The DA's election campaign advert showing the burning of SA flag has been described as distasteful and unsettling.

The advert, launched on Sunday, shows the SA flag in the background, with the opening title “This election is about survival”. With the flag burning in the background, a voiceover says: “The ANC will lose the majority vote for the first time in 30 years but will do anything to stay in power." 

As the flag goes into flames, the voice says the coalition of the ANC, EFF and Zuma faction will lead to worsened corruption.

Social media users took to X to bash the advert saying it was in bad taste. Former public protector Prof Thuli Madonsela said the burning of the flag was ill-advised. 

“In some countries, it’s even a crime to burn the flag. I fully understand the intention but there could have been other metaphoric symbols to communicate the message. I just can’t help a nagging feeling that the designer of the campaign may be harbouring unconscious rage against our flag and what it symbolises,” wrote Madonsela.

The DA responded to Madonsela through its X account, saying it was "all or nothing". 

"That is the choice voters have for this election. This advert sets out the critical choice that our country faces in this election. Under this coalition of corruption, life will only get worse. And the very fabric of our nation, as symbolised by the burning of the South African flag in this latest advertisement, will be destroyed."

ActionSA leader, Herman Mashaba said he finds the advert deeply unsettling.

"We should all work to build respect for our national symbols after our painful past," he said. 

Mashaba's colleague and the patrty's interim national chairperson, Michael Beaumont, said: "In @Action4SA we love the South African flag, the hard-won freedoms that it represents and the idea that our electoral democracy is predicated on contestation of ideas on how political parties can #FixSouthAfrica."

One Twitter user MbekezeliMB wrote: "Burning the South African flag is a protected form of protest and free speech but it’s a terrible image in an election campaign. It’s sad to see the DA leading such a dark, negative campaign when they’re such an effective party in parliament. They could’ve led with that.” 

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