Political party flag-burning election ad sparks controversy in South Africa

The Democratic Alliance (DA), a political party in South Africa has released a controversial television advertisement featuring the burning of the South African flag

In a bold move for the 2024 elections, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has released a controversial television advertisement featuring the burning of the South African flag.

The ad, which emphasises the theme of survival, suggests that the African National Congress'(ANC) potential loss of majority and its efforts to remain in power could lead to a detrimental coalition, risking the nation’s future.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at the inauguration of new Home Affairs facilities in Limpopo, criticised the advertisement. He labeled it “treasonous” and an assault on the nation’s unity and identity.

“The flag of our country is sacred, a symbol that unites all of us,” Ramaphosa expressed, condemning the DA’s choice to use such imagery as a political tactic.

The ad’s narrative warns of worsening conditions, “under a coalition involving the ANC, the EFF, and the Zuma faction,” portrayed through the visuals of a burning flag. The DA’s campaign concludes with a call to “Unite to rescue South Africa,” urging a vote for change.

In a little over  two weeks on 29 May, South African citizens will vote in national and provincial elections. The impact of this ad on the DA’s campaign and public sentiment remains to be seen.

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