'No more tenders for Indians’

2014-01-12 10:00

Black businesspeople in KwaZulu-Natal threaten to boycott the ANC if they don’t get their way

Black businesspeople in Kwa­Zulu-Natal want the ANC to stop awarding tenders to Indians. They say they’ll boycott the party at the polls if they don’t get their way.

The Imbumba Business Group, which says it has 700 members, is planning a march in Durban on Friday to present its grievances in a memorandum to eThekwini ­municipal officials.

Meanwhile, the Mazibuye African Forum has distributed pamphlets in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Newcastle that stop just short of ­inciting violence against Indians.

Imbumba counts among its members high-profile businesspeople and politicians, who it insists are die-hard ANC supporters.

Although both groups say they stand for economic transformation in Kwa­Zulu-Natal, they are not linked.

Mazibuye, a group that wants ­Indians to be ­excluded from ­affirmative ­action and BEE programmes, says it has more than 10?000 members in the province.

It says it welcomes anybody who shares the same sentiments, irrespective of their political affiliation or socio­economic status. Some of its members belong to the Economic Freedom Fighters and the National Freedom Party.

Imbumba is made up mostly of disgruntled businesspeople and professionals who believe that they are being short-changed by the provincial government when it comes to tenders.

Some of Imbumba’s members, many of whom are involved in the construction industry, were in Mpumalanga this week, hoping to lobby ANC leaders to address issues of economic transformation.

Both groups say that KwaZulu-Natal’s economy is controlled by a few elite Indians.

The two groups are threatening to convince the masses not to vote for the ANC in the elections.

Mazibuye’s pamphlet was printed in isiZulu and distributed late last year. City Press has seen a copy of the pamphlet, and the ­forum:

»?Asks why black people vote for “the congress” but Indians get rich;

»?Says “the congress makes empty promises” when it is ­engaged. “We are not fools, but time will tell.”; and

»?Says it “loves the congress, but as black businesspeople, we are fed up with your Indians”.

In an interview with City Press on Friday, the founder of ­Mazibuye, Zweli Sangweni, said he was aware the pamphlet could spark a war ­between Indians and black people in Kwa­Zulu-Natal, ­especially in Durban, “where people were growing impatient with the lack of economic transformation”.

Sangweni, a young professional who was relatively unknown in the political scene until launching Mazibuye about a year ago, confirmed that “the congress” referred to the ANC.

“If the ANC does not ­address this issue, a civil war could break out in KwaZulu-Natal because people are very angry,” he said.

“They are tired of being enslaved by Indians in their own land. They are saying the ANC sold them out and gave the economy to the Indians to control at the expense of their constituencies.”

Sangweni said Indians in KwaZulu-Natal don’t vote for the ANC, but for the Minority Front and the DA, “yet the ANC favours them and forgets about us”.

ANC provincial spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the party’s members were not allowed to participate in Mazibuye, which he ­described as racist.

Durban Chamber of Business CEO Andrew Layman described the pamphlet as shameful.

“This reflects views which are directly contrary to those on which the South African Constitution are based,” he said.

Responding to the organisations’ complaints against it, the eThekwini Municipality said that as a “transparent organisation”, it invited dissatisfied people “to ­formally present such information [about tenders for ­investigation]”.

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