A DA billboard with the slogan ‘The ANC is killing us’ has received heavy social-media criticism. It lists the names of the victims of the Marikana massacre, the Life Esidimeni tragedy and the children who’ve drowned in pit toilets – just ahead of the elections.
The huge billboard was unveiled in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning, complete with images of blood spatter and dramatic music. The DA portrayed it as a ‘memorial’ to the 34 miners shot in the 2012 Marikana massacre, to the 144 people who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy due to neglect, and to the children who drowned falling into pit latrines across the country. DA leader Mmusi Maimane then proceeded to read the victims’ names, blaming the ANC for the tragedies as marchers knelt on the road. Other politicians present at the unveiling included DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and MP Phumzile van Damme.
You can watch video footage, recorded by EWN, of the unveiling below:
With only four months to go before elections, it seems to be a rather shameless move, and South Africans have expressed their views on this billboard. There has been social-media backlash, with many calling it insensitive and distasteful in that it exploits these tragedies and uses people’s pain in order to get votes. Questions were posed as to whether these victims’ families were consulted before the DA chose to publish them as part of their electoral campaign.
Rapper Casper Nyovest took to Twitter to express his disdain and called for the billboard to be taken down:
This ain’t it. VERY INSENSITIVE!!! TAKE IT DOWN!!!! https://t.co/IY29UP9OHT
— R.M Phoolo (@CassperNyovest) January 16, 2019
So did many others:
I find this disturbing. Using people’s death for political capital. This is in poor taste. Maybe it’s just me. https://t.co/K3fBm9TEfM
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 16, 2019
Please remove this billboard before we take you to court. Our family was never consulted about this mockery ???
— Cedda Bosman (@CeddaB) January 16, 2019
I think it is so wrong and despicable to use the names of the deceased on the billboard. It is opening up the wounds of the tragedies for their families and loved ones. All this for political gain? I think this will backfire badly.
— Herman Bok (@hermanbok) January 16, 2019
There’s something about the music in this video that makes it sound like @Our_DA is making a mockery of such tragic incidents in our country.Yes ANC gov killed ppl& I’ll always criticize them.But there’s something demeaning about using this as a campaign tool
— Unathi Kwaza (@Unathi_Kwaza) January 16, 2019
The Billboard gets Torn Down and the DA is Criticised by Families Committee and NGO
Two men have been recorded tearing down the ‘ANC is Killing Us’ billboard one day after its unveiling, following social media outrage at the list of victims’ names. The footage has been circulating on Twitter while the DA receives more criticism, this time from a group representing the families of the patients who died in the Life Edisimeni tragedy and from an NGO.
The Life Esidimeni Families Committee has called the billboard “offensive to those who have lost their loved ones”. NGO, Section 27 (a public interest law centre), has also criticised the DA over this billboard for not getting permission from the affected families before displaying the names of their deceased loved-ones.
A family member of someone who died through #LifeEsidimeni are seen removing names from the @Our_DA billboard of #ANCIsKillingUs which was unveiled by DA Leader @MmusiMaimane yesterday. pic.twitter.com/RzKhhJKJyt
— Samkele Maseko (@samkelemaseko) January 17, 2019
Ngqabutho Mpofu of Section 27 says that this “happened first during Human Rights Day last year and now again, despite families actually coming out and saying that they are very uneasy about this and that they have not been consulted.”
The ANC has since lodged an official complaint with the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) over the billboard.
What are your thoughts on the billboard? Tweet us @CosmopolitanSA
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