The Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, John Steenhuisen has dug in his heels after the uproar from the party’s election posters in Phoenix in KwaZulu-Natal saying he will not apologise. The posters read, “The ANC called you racists. The DA calls you heroes.”

More than 30 people were killed in Phoenix during the July violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

In an interview with the SABC on Wednesday evening on the party’s election manifesto ahead of the local government elections, DA leader, John Steenhuisen said he refuses to apologise.

The DA’s mayoral candidate in Johannesburg, Dr. Mpho Phalatse has publicly criticised the posters, saying the party should apologise.

VIDEO: LGE 2021 – DA leader John Steenhuisen on the party’s manifesto and election campaign

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has accused the DA of trying to gain support among the Indian community at the expense of social cohesion.

ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela has called on the DA to stop sowing divisions in communities.

“ANC in KZN condemns in strongest terms the posters issued by the DA portraying those who are arrested in Phoenix as heroes. This is political hypocrisy of the highest order of the party which claims to be a non-racial organisation where it’s garnering the votes of the Indian community at the expense of the justice of the citizens of our province. We call on the DA to stop this as it will not help in harmonising the situation in Phoenix, it will not help in normalising race relations between our communities.”

The ruling party says it will approach the IEC to check if the posters are not a breach of the electoral code of conduct:

Irresponsible actions

Meanwhile, political analyst Dr. Rama Naidu says the DA has acted irresponsibly. Naidu added that the DA’s election posters in Phoenix will only fuel racial tensions that have been simmering in the area since the July unrest.

“I think it is a bit irresponsible to start putting posters like this when the wounds are still fresh and people haven’t yet come to terms with what happened during that period. So irrespective of the fact that the local government elections and the fact that the mixed feelings about that putting that up on the poster and this time there’s nothing more than a plan to mobilise again the ruling party and say the message is very clear that we can do better than that so the thing about hero’s and racist is very blatant and without a conversation, Those statements are very inflammatory.”