The deputy secretary-general of the African National Congress (ANC) Jessie Duarte has said that the election campaign posters erected by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, advance the opposition party’s “colonial mentality of divide and rule”.
The DA has since removed the posters which made reference to the civil unrest witnessed in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, including Phoenix.
The DA’s posters claimed that the ANC had called the residents of Phoenix “racists” when at the time of the destructive riots they took it upon themselves to defend their area of residence when it, the DA, considers them to be “heroes” for their actions.
During a campaign trail in Phoenix on Thursday, Duarte said the ANC’s most important focus is transformation and the eradication of unemployment, inequality and poverty.
“And in order to do that, we have to unite the people of South Africa. We have to make sure that all the people of South Africa have an understanding that you cannot do that unless we all work together,” Duarte said.
Duarte further said the DA’s posters were disappointing, adding that for the ANC it was “not actually anything new”.
“Over the last 30 years the DA has in every campaign had a fight back campaign, and they have brought forward their colonial mentality of divide and rule as they have done in the Western Cape and they are hoping that they can use race as a mechanism to get people to vote for them as a better option than any other option,” Duarte said.
Using the poster to promote racism was a clear indication that the DA has lost the cause, Duarte said, adding that the poster wrongly promotes vigilantism and criminality when people died at Phoenix.
Duarte said all perpetrators of criminality during the unrest, including people accused of burning and looting malls and other establishments, should be arrested so they can face the law.
The ANC intends to formally lodge a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission over the DA’s posters, Duarte said.
Duarte said social cohesion is crucial in KwaZulu-Natal and that racial divisions should be consigned to history.
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