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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Bird-brained politics hits South Africa
Chicken man
The 'chicken man' is not the DA leader
South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) is trying to outfox its rival New National Party (NNP).

A man dressed up as a chicken now follows NNP leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk around during his public engagements because the DA accuses him of being too scared to face elections.


Actually it's Mr van Schalkwyk, the New National Party and the ANC who have trivialised democracy

Anthony Hazell
Democratic Alliance
DA spokesman Anthony Hazell told the BBC's Network Africa programme that t hounding of Mr van Schalkwyk was frivolous "but humour is one of the methods of getting a message across".

More than 200 DA councillors have recently defected to the NNP, handing it control of Cape Town municipality.

The DA wants fresh elections, which the NNP has refused and so the DA accuses Mr van Schalkwyk of being too scared to face the voters.

Floor-crossing

After the NNP announced a new alliance with the ruling African National Congress, the law was changed so that politicians who changed parties while in office no longer automatically lost their seats.

The "chicken man" holds a placard in Afrikaans, which translates as "Short pants is a scaredy pants".

Chicken man holding a placard
The placard means 'short pants is a scaredy pants'

"Kortbroek" or "short pants" is Mr van Schalkwyk's nickname due to his youth.

"People have said that we're trivialising it but actually it's Mr van Schalkwyk, the New National Party and the ANC who have trivialised democracy."

Mr Hazell said he did not know if the chicken man was being paid.

"Chicken man is anonymous but he represents the voters," he said.

He said that DA leader Tony Leon was not dressed up as the chicken man.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Anthony Hazell on BBC Network Africa
"Chicken man represents the voters"
See also:

29 Oct 01 | Africa
17 Oct 01 | Africa
24 Jun 00 | Africa
13 Sep 00 | Africa
18 Jun 01 | Africa
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
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