SA is yours too, DA tells Indians

2014-05-05 00:00

AN allegedly racist comment by an ANC branch chairperson in KZN has triggered another explosive SMS campaign by the DA — which claims “The ANC says Indian South Africans should stop whining and go back to India”.

And the comments also attracted an unprecedented letter from Indian leaders within the ANC — including Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Newcastle Mayor Afzul Rehman — which slammed a fellow ANC leader’s remarks as a “socially unsound … attack on the Indian community”, and promised he would be “dealt with”.

On Saturday, the ANC suspended its Chatsworth branch chairperson, Visvin Reddy, for comments on Facebook, saying “whiners should leave … go to India and you will see what a good life we have here”.

In remarks apparently aimed at Indian critics of the ANC, Reddy added, “Continue your garbage and marginalise yourself further. Only a foolish Indian in SA will not engage the majority constructively.”

In an exclusive interview yesterday, Reddy told The Witness he “apologised”, and claimed he meant the comment merely as a contrast between poverty levels in the two countries.

However, a month after its court victory over a bulk SMS inviting voters to read how President Jacob Zuma “stole” from taxpayers at Nkandla, the DA sparked another SMS battle with the ANC yesterday over the India remarks.

In a new bulk message aimed at Indian voters, the DA added: “On May 7, tell the ANC that SA belongs to you too. Vote DA!”

Yesterday, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu condemned the DA’s actions for causing racial divisions.

“The ANC has never said any such thing. This is a wild distortion of the furore around comments one comrade, Visvin Reddy, made in his personal capacity, and which he clearly indicated were not the views of the ANC,” Mthembu said.

Mthembu said the latest SMS was the DA’s “desperate” attempt to sway the outcome of the election through deceit and falsehoods.

“This latest act of racist and bigoted loose cannons is an example of the DA’s racist internal logic, and utter disrespect for black people in this country, including Indians,” he said.

Mthembu said the ruling party would consult with its legal team because the latest SMS was a contravention of the Electoral Act prohibiting the distribution of false information to influence the outcome of any election.

However, DA KZN chairperson Haniff Hoosen defended their SMS, saying they were simply restating what Reddy had said.

Hoosen said the DA found it “strange” that the ANC always had problems with everything his party said and that what was in their SMS was the truth.

“We don’t care if they are angry,” he added.

Speaking to The Witness, Reddy said the DA’s SMS had distorted his comments for its own political purposes.

“This [SMS] is a lie of DA. This is a swart gevaar tactic they use for political purposes. The people are going to see them for who they are,” he said.

Reddy also said that, as a disciplined ANC member, he would co-operate with internal party disciplinary processes.

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