/ 5 October 2021

Sparks fly over DA’s ‘racist’ Phoenix posters

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Community members hold pangas as they stand at a road block in Phoenix Township, North Durban, on July 15, 2021 to prevent looters from reaching the community. (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP) (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP via Getty Images)

A war of words has broken out between the ANC and the Democratic Alliance over the opposition party’s Durban election posters in Phoenix calling residents involved in defending the area “heroes”. Thirty-six people were killed in the July riots. 

The DA posters, which read “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes”, went up on Monday in Phoenix, northwest of Durban, where racial tensions have been inflamed since the week of death and destruction in July.

A total of 100 sets of the posters are, according to the DA, also to be put up in other parts of the city.

DA KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairperson Dean McPherson defended the posters, saying that the message had been approved by the municipality.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the posters were “shameful and fascist in nature” and showed that “the DA promotes and supports the heinous murders committed by a few racists in Phoenix during the violent protests in July”.

Ntombela said the “disgusting” election posters were aimed at pitting people against each other and showed that the DA “has no respect for human life.”

He said the DA was “spreading lies to gain votes” and that the ANC had been attempting to promote social cohesion between Phoenix and areas surrounding it since the riots.

“The ANC will never shy away from the truth in calling for all involved in the despicable killing of innocent African people in Phoenix to face jail terms.  We must all reject criminals and the massacre of innocent people,” Notmbela said.

“It is opportunistic of the DA to perpetuate crime and support people accused of murders. What the DA has done in Phoenix is indisputably undermining our goal of building a united society,”’ he said.

Ntombela called on the DA to “stop its blatant racism when campaigning for votes.”

McPhereson said: “The posters will be going up in communities all around the city. They do not speak to race or identity at all. They speak to the fact that the ANC has spent the past few months since the riots — which were caused by their internal battles spilling over into the streets — calling anyone who defended their homes, their businesses and their families racist.”

“That is what the ANC has been saying since July. They cannot walk away from that,”’ McPherson said. “People who did what the state should have done are not racist. They are in fact heroes.”