Probe into call for exclusion of Indians from BEE deals

2014-01-15 14:11

A task team has been formed in KwaZulu-Natal to deal with a call to exclude Indian businesspeople from BEE deals.

Premier Senzo Mchunu’s spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said today that Mchunu had formed the task team last year. This happened after organisations, mostly in Phoenix, had marched against Indian businessmen saying they had benefited from apartheid and were still dominating the business sector.

They felt Indians should be excluded from BEE dealings.

Mchunu said: “The MEC for human settlements in KZN, Ravi Pillay, and Umgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee are leading the team.”

He said the government was taking the matter seriously and called on people to use the structures provided to voice their concerns about socioeconomic development.

“There are regular interactions between the task team and the premier and they will be meeting again in the next few weeks.”

City Press reported on Sunday that the Imbumba Business Group and Mazibuye African Forum (MAF) were leading the action and had threatened to stop supporting the ANC if their demands were not met.

Read: ‘No more tenders for Indians’

MAF spokesperson Zweli Sangweni said Indian businessmen dominated the retail, transport, wholesale, fruit and vegetable markets and benefited from tenders. He added that the wealth gap between Durban’s black and Indian people continued to widen.

“We are calling for an urgent economic transformation in this province. A lot of black people who work for Indians are still underpaid and are enslaved,” said Sangweni.

Sibiya said people with grievances should not use divisive tactics to deal with socioeconomic issues, but rather use available structures to resolve these matters.

Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Andrew Layman said the views expressed by the opposing organisations were shameful.

“The views ... are contrary to those on which the South African Constitution and democracy are based,” Layman was quoted as saying.

Ashwin Singh of the SA Minority Rights Equality Movement agreed. He said the Indian community had not built its wealth on tenders, but from family businesses which had been around for generations.

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