The DA makes another u-turn on Phoenix

On Tuesday, DA KZN leader Francois Rodgers said the party stood by its words.

A DA poster in Phoenix. Picture: Supplied.

DURBAN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal insists that those linked to the July violence in Phoenix are heroes.

The party has been largely criticised for its election campaign posters in the township, which read: "The ANC called you racists. The DA calls you heroes".

Thirty-six people were killed in the area during a wave of unrest. It was sparked by the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison after he disregarded a Constitutional Court ruling that instructed him to appear and testify before the state capture commission. Zuma has since been released.

At the time, looters went on a rampage, damaging infrastructure, disrupting food production and threatening water security.

Several people were arrested following the Phoenix killings and are currently on trial.

The township, which is dominated by Indian communities, later became a highly contested political territory. The Democratic Alliance put up its controversial election posters ahead of the municipal elections but quickly removed them, following a public outcry.

Its former MP and party campaign manager for Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, Mike Waters, lashed out at national leadership, describing them as “spineless” and “weak” after they ordered that the posters be taken down.

Waters lambasted the DA leadership in a letter he sent to, among others, party leader John Steenhuisen and federal council chair Helen Zille in October, in which he informed them he was quitting as their campaign manager for Ekurhuleni.

On Tuesday DA KZN leader Francois Rodgers said the party stood by its word. He made the remarks to journalists at the Independent Electoral Commission results operation centre in Durban.

"I think we need to look at the history of Phoenix, and I think the history of Phoenix is quite simple, that the government failed the community of Phoenix, eThekwini and the rest of the province during the unrest, and I think we all need to acknowledge that there were heroes and there were villains across our province."

Rodgers further said that their numbers indicated that they would win Phoenix.

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