THE DA is in the process of removing its offensive election posters in Phoenix in KwaZulu-Natal after a massive outcry and debate over the party’s campaign tactics.
The posters, which read “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes”, were slammed, with claims that they referred to the murder of 36 black South Africans in Phoenix during the civil unrest that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng in July.
In a statement issued by DA KZN chairperson Dean Macpherson on Thursday, the party confirmed it would remove the posters that “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 confirmed that the posters were unsanctioned by DA leader John Steenhuisen, party structures and party campaign leadership and committed to having the posters removed by the end of the day.
“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.
Macpherson said his 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 this action was met with allegations of racism from the ANC. However, at no point did he or the DA 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.
“My singular focus is to continue to guide KZN towards the election in three weeks' time,” he said.
Earlier this week, the ANC in KZN issued a statement describing the posters as “shameful and fascist in nature”.