Pietermaritzburg - The DA’s provincial deputy leader, Mergan Chetty, has come under fire for allegedly using a xenophobic slur in a recorded phone call that was leaked on social media this weekend.In a recorded phone call between Chetty and former DA councillor Lungisani Sikhakhane, Chetty can be heard using the word “makwerekwere”, a derogatory term for foreign nationals.Sikhakhane defected from the DA to the ANC before the recent local government elections, and according to the phone call, is still a friend of Chetty’s. DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said it was wrong of public representatives to use such language, but questioned the timing of the release of the clip.“From what I am hearing, this clip is old. Why release it now? Is it because there is a by-election in Woodlands? They are trying to dent the image of the DA and that of Mergan Chetty,” he said.CriticismIn the early minutes of the 11-minute phone call, Chetty can be heard saying, “There is life after politics. We cannot become like f****g makwerekweres and fight over stupid things all our lives.”Chetty is also a Member of Parliament in the National Council of Provinces.The voice note was shared by Teboho Molotsi on Facebook on Saturday morning. “After what we’ve been through as a country with xenophobic violence, here is a prominent DA MP and KZN DA deputy leader making racist and xenophobic comments. “This guy doesn’t deserve to be a public representative,” wrote Molotsi, who was the first to upload the voice clip.Molotsi also shared the clip with new ANC member Clive Lotz.Lotz was recently criticised after he was appointed as manager of the Speaker’s office in Msunduzi Municipality a few weeks after he had defected from the DA. In the voice clip, Chetty is heard saying he does not have a relationship with Lotz and questioning Sikhakhane on Lotz’s new position. “How come they are giving him a job and not you?” Chetty asks. 'He likes joking'Mncwango said he had not heard the clip, but said he is sure Chetty was just joking.“I know Mergan, he is my deputy. He likes joking.”He said he will make sure the matter is investigated if they received any formal complaint.“At the moment, I have not received any complaints.”The African Diaspora Forum has since criticised Chetty for allegedly using the word “makwerekwere”.Marc Gbaffou of the forum pulled no punches in condeming Chetty’s use of the word, describing it as irresponsible.“This [use of derogatory terms] can destroy the entire nation. “SA cannot afford to lose another to divisions. We have already lost so much time during apartheid.“Public figures should be careful because they are talking to a broader audience. They must be role models,” he said.Gbaffou said he was not surprised that another prominent KZN public figure had said something that could fuel xenophobic attacks.“It happened in 2015. We are not surprised that it is re-occurring. “Definitely people will continue using [the term],” he said.Gbaffou said foreign nationals in SA were being treated as “second category” human beings.“If Penny Sparrow calls black people monkeys, there are consequences,” Gbaffou said.