South Africa: DA Clarifies 'Communication Breakdown' About SMS

A farmhouse in Free State, South Africa (file photo).

The DA said on Sunday the confusion around an SMS suggesting the ANC and EFF intended to take over private homes was a case of miscommunication.

Mabine Seabe, national director of communication for the DA, said the SMS sent out was an official DA message.

He said there "was a bit of a communication breakdown" on the side of the party.

"Yes, it is our communication where we wanted to effectively show the importance of registering to vote because ultimately we have an election coming up," he said.

Mabine said the SMS was a means to show that the DA had the policy to effectively address the question of land reform in line with the constitution.

The miscommunication came after the DA's national spokesperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe told News24 she was unaware of the SMS.

"It's not an official national message of the DA, definitely not," she said earlier.

"We never said the EFF is taking land from your homes; we said with regards to land, we must be careful because [the EFF and ANC] are saying it will be owned by the state and we support individual ownership of the land," she said earlier.

However, Nt'sekhe said on Sunday afternoon that initially she was unaware of the SMS because she was "on the ground" busy with voter registration.

"It's not backtracking. I was not aware of it going out," she said.

Nt'sekhe said after she was asked about the SMS, she spoke with the party's communication's team which informed her about the SMS.

The SMS reads: "ANC & EFF working together to take all private land and homes. You can only stop this if you're registered correctly to vote! Check now."

A link to a section where you can check your registration status on the DA's website is then given.


Mabine told News24 that the party had sent the SMS to numbers they had gathered from databases compiled with information of voters who had registered or people who had signed up to petitions.

He further said it could also have been that people's personal information was passed on by friends or family members who had signed up.

"Generally we ask people who we can contact to talk about the DA and so on," he said.

Mabine said people who received the SMS had an option to opt-out by responding with 'stop' to the SMS, or they could opt-out online.

On its website, the DA said: "In order to honour your request to be removed from our systems, we need to ensure we associate your contact information with the correct person and nobody else."

"To do this, our internal unsubscribe listing has an ID number, a cellphone number or email address and information about whether you wish to stop receiving SMS messages, emails or calls."

Source: News24

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