DA removing controversial ‘heroes’ posters in Phoenix

The posters, which were put up on Tuesday, read: 'The ANC called you racists. The DA calls you heroes.'

A DA poster in Phoenix. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance on Thursday said it was in the process of removing its controversial election posters in Phoenix.

The posters, which were put up on Tuesday, read: “The ANC called you racists. The DA calls you heroes.”

The DA said that the posters were to honour those who stood up to protect their properties during the July unrest.
But the posters have been largely criticised for fueling racial tension.

Thirty-six people were killed in the area during the looting in July, with a number of residents standing trial for murder.

DA KZN chairperson Dean Macpherson said they had "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.

He also apologised: “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.”

He said he wanted to assure the public without contradiction that his intentions were sincere.

"At no point did I, nor 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 itention to cause any other perception."

However on Wednesday, Macpherson defended the posters, insisting that those who stood up to protect their homes during a week of unrest should be celebrated.

"They weren't racists but they were actually heroes," Macpherson said.

He defended the banners, which have shocked some, as they labeled the party as tone deaf and racist.

"In fact, those people that looked after themselves and their communities were the blue line between total anarchy and chaos that we went through," the KZN DA chairperson said.

Mcpherson said that those who criticised the DA on this matter were not there and had no idea what took place in the province.

He blamed the ANC for playing the race game: "They saw it on a movie screen and the ANC's response to people who looked after themselves for an entire week was that they were racist."

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