DA apologises for controversial elections posters in KwaZulu-Natal, removes them

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DA posters put up in Phoenix ahead of the municipal elections.
DA posters put up in Phoenix ahead of the municipal elections.
PHOTO: RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP
  • The DA has begun removing its controversial posters in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • KwaZulu-Natal DA chairperson Dean Macpherson apologised for the unsanctioned posters.
  • The posters caused ructions in the DA, with Macpherson being accused of going rogue.

The DA has begun removing its controversial posters in KwaZulu-Natal.

The posters, which read: "The ANC called you racists," and: "The DA calls you heroes," referred to alleged racial tension in Phoenix, which surfaced during the civil unrest in July and left many people dead.

"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," the DA's KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson said.

"As these posters were unsanctioned by the DA leader, party structures and party campaign leadership, I am arranging the removal of these posters today (Thursday)," he said.

READ | Phoenix election posters cause DA revolt, guns blazing for Macpherson

The ANC called the posters fascist while other political parties called on the DA to remove the posters.

Speaking in Phoenix, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said it was good that the DA was taking the posters down.

"We will go ahead with the Human Rights Commission complaint," she said.

Duarte said the posters caused a lot of damage and condoned racism and vigilantism.

DA leaders too publicly disagreed with the posters.

Macpherson said: "My intended message was that in the massive void created by a failing state, unable to secure South Africans' homes and businesses during the riots, some heroic residents were forced to stand up and do what the police and army were unable to do. This action was met with allegations of racism from the ANC.

"At no point did I, [or] 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 non-racialism and it was never my intention to cause any other perception," he added.

News24 reported that KwaZulu-Natal DA leaders, including provincial leader Francoise Rodgers, were in the dark about the posters.

On Thursday, the DA City of Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams was the latest DA member to openly criticise the party's handling of the election posters placed in Phoenix.

Williams said the posters should be taken down and MacPherson should apologise.

"I think it is just blatantly wrong and they must take down the posters and apologies. There is no debate about it. He (Macpherson) is wrong, and he must take it down and apologise. It is racist. I do not know why he cannot see it," Williams said.

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