Durban – The Democratic Alliance has scored significant victories in the north Durban township of Phoenix where it has landed five wards in the local government elections. This despite its controversial posters in the area following the July unrest which led to the loss of lives.
The party provincial leader Francois Rodger was elated that the party had won a clean sweep of all of the five wards in the area, north of Durban, following Monday’s local government elections after also taking ward 52 from the ANC.
“Clearly the voters have shown at the ballot box that they have confidence in the DA and that their choice is for the DA to get things right and to get things done in the community in Phoenix.
“We take this opportunity also to thank all those residents of Phoenix that came out in their hundreds, stood in the long queues and cast their ballot in support of the DA,” Rodgers said.
The posters, which were put up on the main road near the Phoenix Plaza read: “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes”, saw opposition parties and South Africans on social media take aim at the DA for its insensitive manner of handling the issue.
The party was slammed on numerous fronts, including by the ANC and the EFF, amid claims that its posters were meant as praise in reference to the murder of 36 black South Africans in Phoenix during the civil unrest that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
To add more fuel to an already raging fire, the DA’s leader John Steenhuisen denied that his party was referring to those of the predominantly Indian community who took the lives of the 36 black South Africans during the unrest.
“There were black, white and coloured and Indian South Africans who stood on those barricades when this government retreated in the face of violence of their own internal making,” Steenhuisen said at the time.
Under increasing public pressure and an intense backlash in October, the party then backtracked and apologised for the posters with the party’s provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson admitting that the posters had “regretfully caused hurt to some people”.