Mike Waters has resigned as the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) regional campaign manager.
In a letter addressed to DA regional chairperson Senzi Sibeko, and also sent to leaders Helen Zille, John Steenhuisen, Fred Nel and Greg Krumbock on Saturday, a “shocked” and “horrified” Waters said he was not impressed with how the party handled the Phoenix posters matter.
The DA announced on Thursday that it was in the process of taking down its controversial local government election posters put up in Phoenix recently, after the party was accused of stirring racial tension in the area.
The posters read: “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes”.
Phoenix has been a hotbed of racial tension since the looting and riots in July. More than 30 people died and over 50 were injured in the area during violent unrest and looting that occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, ostensibly triggered by the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.
On Thursday, DA KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson apologised for the posters which “inadvertently caused offence”.
“In my sincere effort to honour the bravery and heroism of law-abiding citizens who were left to fend for themselves during the July riots and insurrections, the posters have regretfully caused hurt to some people. I am deeply sorry and apologise for this,” Macpherson said.
But Waters says the decision to apologise and take down the posters was “appalling”.
“As a founding member of both the Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance, I am shocked and horried by the weakness displayed by my party this week over the Phoenix poster matter. The party’s grovelling apology and decision to take down these posters is appalling and a betrayal of the heroes who defended lives during the period of violence and looting,” he wrote.
“I am unable to continue to defend and promote a party that is capable of such spineless treachery and therefore am resigning as a regional campaign manager of the DA in Ekurhuleni. I cannot in good conscience fight for votes for a party that crumbles in the face of manufactured hysteria about it stating the truth. I will remain a member of the DA as it is the only party whose principles and values I support.
“For as long as I and other muscular liberals can raise our voices above the bleating of the sanctimonious wokerati undermining the direction of the party, I will continue to be a vocal member. Sorry about the inconvenient timing of this resignation, but I simply cannot carry on with my voluntary service to the party any longer.”
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell