mixed messages

South Africa: DA poster row exposes divisions in the party

By Carien du Plessis

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Posted on October 14, 2021 06:36

Federal leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) John Steenhuisen poses for a photo with an election poster of DA during a party gathering in Cape Town, legislative capital of South Africa, on Sept. 14, 2021. (Xinhua/Lyu Tianran)

Internal party rows over a controversial set of election posters have laid bare infighting in South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance ahead of crucial local government elections on 1 November.

It has pitted the party’s top leadership against its provincial leaders, after the latter were unanimous that campaign posters with messages that could further stoke race tensions in the predominantly Indian neighbourhood of Phoenix, in Durban, should be taken down.

Race troubles

A number of people died in this neighbourhood following a week of unbridled looting, arson and violence in the city in July. Some residents formed armed vigilante groups due to fears that looters would invade their homes once all the malls had been ransacked.

There were, however, accusations that some of these groups targeted black people passing through the neighbourhood, and that a number of innocent people were murdered and their corpses were left lying on the streets. Some ANC leaders accused the Indian residents of racism, but the DA said these residents were only acting in self-defence.

The DA’s set of

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