Former Johannesburg mayor Thapelo Amad says his online post containing images of himself with a rifle and expressing his support for Hamas was "to incite public reaction", and he challenged the public to figure out whether the weapon was real or fake.
"You can determine if the rifle is a toy or not," he told News24.
On Tuesday morning, Amad posted two images of himself carrying a rifle, on his X profile, with the caption: "We stand with Hamas. Hamas stands with us, together we are Palestin and Palestin will be free. With our souls, with our blood, we will conquer Al AQSA (sic)."
By the afternoon Amad appeared to have removed the post.
Defending his post, Amad added: "Seeing a silent picture incites a reaction depending on what lenses you are wearing. One is able to make a determination of violence (sic)."
"… I hope you can determine if the rifle is a toy or not since it's okay for the selected public to see violence in the picture of a protest(ing) person. People should not be told how to protest in South Africa."
When asked about ownership of the weapon and whether his post might incite violence, Amad instead declared his support for Palestine and Hamas.
He called on people who stand for the liberation of Palestine to protect themselves against those inciting violence against them.
"We do not condone violence. We will never condone violence. We understand that we have an obligation to continue the fight against apartheid. When political parties in South Africa openly declared war against Hamas, that was never interpreted as violence," he said.
In April this year, Amad resigned from the mayoral position hours before a planned motion of no confidence could be tabled against him.
He was succeeded by Kabelo Gwamanda.