ANC acts on 'anti-Indian sentiment'

2015-11-25 10:31
Super Zuma

Super Zuma (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The ANC has tasked a special committee to focus on the perceived growing anti-Indian sentiment across KwaZulu-Natal.

The party’s provincial secretary Super Zuma said the Indian, White, Coloured (IWC) unit has been tasked to “find solutions to the ongoing anti-Indian sentiment that is dividing African and Indian communities”.

“We don’t want our Indian communities to feel they are neglected by the ANC. They were part of us during the bad times and they are still part of us today,” said Zuma.

The most recent and widely publicised anti-Indian rhetoric occurred earlier this year when Phumlani Mfeka, a Durban businessman and leader of a fringe cultural group called United Council of Nguni Youth, tweeted “A dead Indian is a good Indian”. Previously the KZN-based Mayibuye African Forum (MAF) was accused of hate speech against Indian communities.

Zuma said the party “categorically reject the narrative that our compatriots from the Indian communities must be isolated and vilified”.

“Throughout our struggle for freedom, the ANC has articulated the main content of the National Democratic Revolution as the liberation of Africans in particular and blacks in general from all bondages of political and socio-economic bondage,” said Zuma.

Ashwin Desai, social commentator and author of the controversial book The South African Gandhi, which challenges rose-tinted preconceptions of the late global leader, said the positive was that “the issue of race was being put on the table”.

He called the Indian position one known as “middlemen minorities”.

“When there are huge gaps between the oppressor and oppressed, minority groups fill the gap in-between and often become the scapegoats.

“I expect the [racial] antagonism to go on for a while. I don’t know what the political solution is but the matter is also caught up in local election politics,” said Desai.

He said the ANC and government, in using racial categories such as affirmative action, has allowed a racial “discourse to emerge”.

Pragasen Pillay, president of the Hindu Youth Network, said many Indian youth felt sidelined by laws such as Black Economic Empowerment but that they remained positive about their future.

“The youth are more open and positive about the future. If leadership takes this country to a better place people will follow. But to do this the leaders must lead,” said Pillay.

He said there is an underlying tension between groups.

“If we do not break the divide and treat everyone like humans, we are going to struggle.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  racism  |  anc

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