The Democratic Alliance (DA) has denied the existence of racial tensions in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, after more than 20 people were killed during violent protests in the area.
The party has since accused the leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC of pushing a sinister narrative against the Indian community in the province.
The party said there had been a growing narrative in the digital space “pushed relentlessly” by the EFF and ANC leaders through the #PhoenixMassacre hashtag.
“A quick look through social media platforms will reveal that many of these Twitter and Facebook accounts are linked to the ANC and EFF,” the party said.
“The fuelling of racial intolerance by the ANC and EFF is evident in the persistent pushing of a narrative that a massacre took place in a Phoenix during the week of looting.”
The DA said Police Minister Bheki Cele was also to blame, as he had also claimed that there was racism by Indian people towards black South Africans, in a generalised, broad-sweeping statement.
“Under no circumstances will we allow ANC and EFF leaders to scapegoat the Indian community to shield the government of its failures to prevent and contain the looting, and drive its quest for division and hatred,” read the statement.
The party said it condemned any alleged racial vigilantism that may have taken place during the recent period of protests, which resulted in the loss of lives.
“Now is the time to rebuild KZN and come together. We call on all residents of the province to reject the tactics of the ANC and EFF aimed towards the Indian community of KZN.”
The DA also lambasted EFF leader Julius Malema’s remarks on Twitter and his radio interview, where he said the EFF would take the law into its hands if the police failed to arrest the “Indian thugs.”