Poster about-turn ’shows breakdown in DA leadership’

By Siyavuya Mzantsi, Odwa Mkentane, Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Oct 8, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The DA’s claim that its controversial posters in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, "were unsanctioned by the DA leader, party structures and party campaign leadership" indicates a breakdown in leadership.

This was the reaction of a political analyst after DA KZN chairperson Dean Macpherson, apologised when announcing the removal of the posters on Thursday.

This followed pressure from South Africans and opposition parties after the DA election posters “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes” placed next to each other, sparked a stir across the country and on social media platforms.

DA leader John Steenhuisen had publicly defended the posters when journalists asked questions on Wednesday only for Macpherson to make an about turn on Thursday, saying: “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.

“As these posters were unsanctioned by the DA leader, party structures and party campaign leadership, I am arranging the removal of these posters today. Sometimes in politics our words may be poorly chosen, but I wish to assure the public, without contradiction, that my intentions are always sincere.”

“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,” he said.

Political analyst, Keith Gottschalk said all political leadership should avoid race-baiting, and racial provocation, especially in a rainbow nation aspiring to non-racialism.

“Not a moment too soon, the DA is taking down this poster. While all big parties hire marketing and public relations firms to brainstorm election slogans, the DA claims that these posters ‘were unsanctioned by the DA leader, party structures and party campaign leadership’ indicates a breakdown in leadership.

“Since the DA routinely criticises the ANC for using ’collective leadership’ to avoid accepting individual responsibility, the DA will be judged here by its own standards,” said Gottschalk.

When a party promotes racism to get people to vote for it, it has already “lost the cause” said ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

Duarte’s comment, made during a visit to Phoenix in Durban yesterday, was in response to the DA’s controversial elections poster campaign in the township.

Duarte said the ruling party has decided to lodge a complaint against the DA with the South African Human Rights Commission.

Meanwhile ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said the party might go into coalition with other parties if it did not win the Cape metro.

Mashatile campaigned in different areas, including Happy Valley, Mfuleni, Delft and Atlantis.

“We have said to them we are promising to do a lot of infrastructure projects building houses, roads and electricity.”

On electricity, DA mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis said they were ready to end load shedding when he announced the party’s fifth of seven pledges in Cape Town yesterday.

“We are ready to prove to the people of this city – and to the rest of the country – that load shedding is not some fact of life that we must just quietly accept. Instead, it is time for us to stand up and protect our city from the failure of Eskom,” he said.

Cape Times

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