Milky Way over Lions Head
Kyle Goetsch (left) Freedom Front Plus (right).
  • A South African landscape photographer has hit back at the FF Plus after discovering they expropriated his photo without compensation.  
  • The extraordinary image shows the Milky Way over the Lions Head mountain.
  • It now has an FF Plus "thank you" message plastered over it.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

This story was updated on 13 May 2019 - to include FF Plus' apology*  

A Cape Town-based photographer claims that political party Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has stolen a photo he took, using it in a "thank you" message following the election. 

The FF Plus has shown unprecedented growth in this year's elections. By Thursday night, with almost 60% of votes captured, the party was the fourth largest in the country. By the latest count, the party had more than 240,000 votes - or 2.6% of the national vote.

But while the FF Plus was thanking South Africans for its support, Kyle Goetsch, a South African landscape photographer, has hit back at the party after discovering his photo on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.  

Freedom Front Plus. Source Facebook.
Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus. Source Instagram.

An angry Goetsch says the party clearly had specialists running their social media account, "so they knew they stole it”.

Goetsch said he made several attempts to call the FF Plus head office, but has not been able to get through to representatives. He also claims the party did not attempt to contact him for consent to use the image on their posts.

The posts do not attribute a credit to any photographer. This ignores conventions for publishing an image under a creative commons licence agreement, when an agreement is made between two parties and an image is not paid for but credit is given. 

Kyle Goetsch
Kyle Goetsch, Milky Way over Lions Head. Supplied

The photograph captures a clear view of the stars, which is rare as extreme light pollution from the city centre and surrounding suburbs usually makes it difficult to see. It took Goetsch several climbs up Table Mountain to look for the right conditions to capture the Milky Way over Lion's Head.


“The perfect conditions require a new moon and low fog rolling over the city from the Atlantic Ocean to help reduce the light pollution so that the milky way is visible. I have attempted this shot several times which includes hiking part way up Table Mountain and more often than not just sitting in the fog,” said Goetsch.

*The FF Plus released an official apology on social media on Monday, 13 May 2019. 

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