'Basis of fact' to Malema's comments on Indians, but his delivery is flawed - analyst

2019-03-27 09:37
EFF leader Julius Malema (PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla)

EFF leader Julius Malema (PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla)

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Struggle veteran and ex-vice chancellor at the former University of Durban-Westville, Dr Saths Cooper, believes EFF leader Julius Malema was not entirely wrong in his analysis of the Indian community in KwaZulu-Natal.

"The point raised by Malema has a basis of fact to it because many of our people out there retain certain racist proclivities," said Cooper.

Malema was criticised for utterances during a campaign rally in Durban on Sunday. TimesLive reported that Malema said black domestic workers were paid nothing by their Indian employers.

"There will be no unity between blacks and Indians until they rework their mentality that they are closer to whiteness. They are not closer to whiteness. They are black and we are all victims of apartheid," Malema said.

Retained ideals

Cooper, who shared a cell block with struggle icon Nelson Mandela during his incarceration on Robben Island, said South Africans had retained ideals of racial division set by colonialism.

"Malema is not incorrect, however it is the manner in which he is raising it. He is using it for party political purpose[s]. He says that in Durban, where there is a [clear] prevalence of so-called Indians and there is a predominance of students.

"Minority groups are the first to complain about racism, but ignore racism and inequality they perpetuate themselves against others whom they see as lesser beings."

Political analyst Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana agreed with Cooper, saying there had been instances of racism in KwaZulu-Natal between black people and the Indian community.

"How you highlight this is important. There are two ways in which this could happen. It's factual there is tension between the two groups. It's either you educate in a way of linking people to a common identity, or the other way and stoke tension."

Ill intent

Ndletyana added that while he had not heard Malema's speech in Durban, previous statements by the EFF regarding the Indian community had ill intent.

"That, to me, was stoking racial tension and portraying Indians as the enemy," he said.

Malema has taken aim at the Indian community before.

In June 2018, while speaking at a youth rally in the North West, Malema characterised the majority of Indian people as racist, saying that their disdain for blacks was evident in their voting patterns and the low marriage rate between Indian people and Africans, according to City Press.

On Wednesday, the South African Human Rights Commission is expected to release its findings on an alleged hate speech matter involving Malema and other members of the EFF.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  durban  |  politics  |  racism

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