Indian tender inquiry

2014-01-24 00:00

THE SA Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) yesterday welcomed the announcement by KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu that two task teams were to be established to investigate claims that Indians have a “stranglehold” on the province’s economy.

Addressing the media while on an election campaign in Phoenix, Mchunu said the provincial cabinet decided on Wednesday to establish two task teams following threats made by the Imbumba Business Group to boycott the elections unless the ANC stopped awarding tenders to Indians.

Another radical pressure group, Mazibuye African Forum, reportedly distributed pamphlets asking why black people vote for the “congress” when only Indians get rich.

The forum advocates the exclusion of Indians from affirmative action and black economic empowerment.

Samrem convenor Ashin Singh said the task teams were long overdue and his organisation was satisfied with their formation.

“Dialogue is always the best way to resolve issues around the table so that facts can be established and to advise people to be polite and dignified in dealing with any issue,” Singh said.

“There needs to be a way to deal with people inciting violence. They need to be engaged,” he said.

Mchunu said one team comprising of Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu, Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay and Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, would meet Mazibuye and the affected Indian business community.

“They will collect information from both sides and get a report on recent incidents wherein we got information that some business people in Phoenix were targeted,” Mchunu said.

The second team comprising Finance MEC Ina Cronje and Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu would analyse all tenders awarded since 2004 and prepare a report before Imbumba was engaged.

“We say we want solutions where there are problems, but at the same there is no need for violence whatsoever,” he said.

The teams have two weeks to report to the cabinet on their work. “Deadline is two weeks to give us a report whether it is preliminary or full,” Mchunu added.

However, Mchunu said the KZN government would not tolerate threats and violence targeted at the Indian business community. “We are against the targeting of anyone, even more so when it comes to threats and violence especially directed at the Indian community, because we think that smacks of racism and any form of racism we are totally intolerant of. It will be dealt with, I promise,” Mchunu said.

“One thing that we don’t want in this province and that shall never happen in this province, is anyone threatening any person on the basis of race.” Mchunu said the ruling party would isolate problems and where there was injustice, it would be dealt with.

Mazibuye’s founder Zweli Sangweni said, “We will co-operate with the task team and hope that the concerns of African people will be addressed.”

Imbumba director Tobekani Mkhize said, “We welcome the intervention, but it does not help because it can take up to three years to investigate. We need projects for our people so that they can be empowered.”

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