It's getting more extreme as South Africa's municipal elections approach; Police Minister Bheki Cele was almost giddy on Wednesday after delivering his answer to the political squabble raging in Phoenix, KZN. John Steenhuisen, the DA's regional head, has justified his party's billboards in the area, which refer back to the July Riots - but this has infuriated Mzansi's police commissioner.
For long, Bheki Cele and the DA were at odds. The ministry and the opponents are at odds over everything from lock-down plans to the competence of the hat-wearing lawmaker. Cele, on the other hand, has unabashedly ratcheted up the emotions by calling Steenhuisen a "brainless thug."
"The ANC labels you racists, the DA calls you legends," reads one of the billboards in Phoenix.
When vigilante groups struggled with looters, at least 20 people were slain. The DA's choice to bulldoze into Phoenix with that kind of a controversial statement has many political adversaries spewing nails. The social media backlash has also been ferocious.
Although Steenhuisen's finest theories to understand their intent, the DA is reportedly on the brink of deleting these objectionable billboards. He argues that the pieces of art only relate to Phoenix residents who followed the rules, but the harm has already been done — and this apparent interference has unnerved Bheki Cele:
“For him to throw in a dash of racism into the mix... Steenhuisen has always piqued my interest. I'm no longer in any question; I'm astounded. To me, he is a hooligan, a political criminal that the country must address simply put; he has no conscience, no brains – for him not to see an issue with what occurred in Phoenix."
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