IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi says it’s sickening to see some political parties using the killings in Phoenix, north of Durban, during the July unrest to gain votes. Buthelezi’s statement comes after other parties criticised the DA and accused it of fueling racial tensions.

More than 30 people died in the allegedly racially motivated attacks.

The IFP took its election campaign to Phoenix, where it unveiled its poster, following the controversy over DA posters with regard to violence in the Phoenix area during the July unrest.

Buthelezi joined the party’s election campaign for the first time, as they launched the part own posters on the topic.

The IFP posters read: Real Heroes Unite Heroes.

The DA took down posters that read: The ANC called you racists; the DA calls you heroes. The DA backtracked after criticism that it was fueling racial tension in the area.

Buthelezi says it is disappointing that some political parties are now using the Phoenix incidents for their own political gains.

“There is a debate raging in Phoenix right now about heroes and racists. It’s a debate that seeks to divide and that uses scare tactics and hatred to pit south Africans against one another. I know how propaganda is involved as I myself became a victim of propaganda on social media when I publicly praised the community of Phoenix for standing against lawlessness and destruction.”

The IFP is contesting 111 wards in the highly-contested Ethekwini Metro.

For the first time, the party has candidates in all five wards in Phoenix.

Buthelezi says the party is ready to take back the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“We have fulfilled the role of official opposition with integrity and strength. Indeed, the IFP’s strength as a voice of reason and a leadership of integrity saw us unseat the second largest party in South Africa to serve you here in KwaZulu-Natal as the biggest opposition to the ruling party. We are ready and able to take back this province.”

Residents of Phoenix and nearby townships say all they want is peace and stability.

“What we have seen with these election campaigns with political parties who have started to use this type of electioneering to build in on unkind and nasty things that have taken place in our city in this towns in particular is uncalled for,” says one resident.

β€œWe want to see change Phoenix. Political parties need to understand that all we want is progress and peace. People make mistakes but we do not dwell on the negative. There are so many things that communities are struggling with. We can only go forward if we are united.”

The IFP says it’s working towards reclaiming its strongholds, which include hostels in Durban and Gauteng.

LGE 2021 I Mangosuthu Buthelezi spreads message of unity in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal: