dean macpherson phoenix massacre

Phoenix massacre: DA’s Dean Macpherson supports armed civilians

Andile Sicetsha - 15.07.2021

DA leader Dean Macpherson believes armed residents in Phoenix should not stand down.

Dean Macpherson, a ‘centralist’ political leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), tossed his two cents into the furore surrounding the Phoenix massacre and in his opinion, civilians bearing arms to shoot suspected looters is well justified.

Phoenix massacre: Racial tensions spill in mass killings

Wednesday was the bloodiest in the days of violence and unrest that broke out in the Durban North suburb. Police have yet to provide an official statement with a confirmed death toll but it’s believed rioters who swarmed into Phoenix from the direction of Mandela Park were gunned down by armed residents.

Video footage of the carnage has spread across social media, fuelling rage that could potentially motivate racially charged clashes in other parts of the country.

According to Phoenix community police forum (CPF) chairperson Umesh Singh, residents looked to this resort as a means to protect their private property after days of confrontation with shutdown rioters.

“Community members set up barricades to stop looters ruining the area. The looters were going into homes and burning cars. They were trying to protect the community. The situation is still tense,” Singh claimed.

WARNING: The video content embedded below contains imagery of a very graphic nature. Viewers’ discretion is strongly advised.

Dean Macpherson supports armed civilians

At the time this article was published, local authorities had not yet issued a statement on the violence. It also remains unknown what the course of action against residents who fatally wounded the unconfirmed number of demonstrators will be.

Macpherson, who serves as the DA’s shadow minister of trade and industry, didn’t appear to support the notion that civilians carrying firearms and using them to kill suspected looters was a gross act of criminality.

Reacting to Durban Metro Police spokesperson Parbhoo Sewpersadh’s plea for Phoenix residents patrolling and protecting entry and exit points in their areas to stand down, Macpherson claimed that “it is impossible for communities to stand down.”

“It’s what I have informed communities and support such an approach. Once the situation improves with more police and army then we can talk,” he wrote in a tweet.

Swisher Post News contacted Macpherson to gauge his views on the tweet he posted. These are the responses the DA leader gave to our questions:

Regarding the tweet

“I meant exactly that. It is a lawless situation in many communities. I’ve been on the ground, myself, in Phoenix. I have witnessed the utter chaos that has taken place and the immense destruction and the only thing that stands between anarchy and some form of order is what the communities have put together themselves.

“It would be a terrible situation if the communities were to withdraw at this point, without a stabilisation of the situation on the ground and without that massive deployment arriving in those communities. So, it was completely full-hard of the mayor and the metro police to call for that because it would just totally expose the communities at the moment.”

Regarding the implications of racial profiling linked to armed private citizens conducting stop-and-search operations

“Well, the SAPS are fully supportive of the measures the communities have taken to defend themselves. That’s the short answer. If SAPS have supported the communities and their endeavours to protect and defend themselves, then I think that they have every right to do so.”

Regarding the Phoenix massacre deaths

“Of course, any death is tragic and every unnatural death has to be investigated and I would simply say that we must be very careful in enflaming the situation to suggest or impart that certain communities are responsible for certain deaths. There are deaths that may be attributed to police action. We just don’t know because there is not enough information available on the ground.”

Machperson’s stance on private citizens bearing arms

“I’m saying that private citizens have every right to defend themselves in the face of lawlessness and anarchy.”