Durban North resident Narend Ganesh has penned an open letter to Julius Malema in the wake of the EFF leader’s comments about Indian South Africans. The comments were made during Malema’s speech at the EFF’s fourth anniversary celebrations at Curries Fountain stadium over the past weekend.
An open letter to Julius Malema
Your speech at your party’s anniversary celebrations in Durban would have, ordinarily, been one of great praise for a surprisingly unexpected windfall in terms of votes in the 2014 National Elections, and last years Local Government Elections.
The joyousness of such celebrations, in my very candid opinion, has been tainted as you chose to unleash a tirade at the Indian community in KwaZulu-Natal.
Your speech chastising and berating Indians for their apparent poor treatment of “blacks” in the province is not only incendiary but it borders on incitement.
My distinct aversion to employ the race card aside, I am compelled to respond to what I believe, and which was concurred by many I have spoken to, that your statements are as fallacious as they are a ploy at political mischief so as to enamour your target market for votes come 2019.
I am Indian by classification, but South African by patriotism and I venture to state that I will never remain silent on matters that purport to deepen a chasm of racial divide that rests on a very delicate equilibrium currently, irrespective of who spews out such vitriol as you have.
The Indian community in South Africa is worthy of emulation, as they struggled through their indenture in great adversity and trials.
The discriminatory laws that relegated them to second class citizens, with the accompanying despicable oppression, was equally painful as that of our black brethren.
This did not deter their flair, ingenuity and resilience to succeed in virtually every facet of life, notably business. In a field that was insidiously compromised by draconian laws that limited their ability to trade freely, they excelled with outstanding success.
With arguably the greatest Indian statesman without portfolio, Mahatma Gandhi, whose arrival on these shores ignited a fire of determination that to this day burns brightly, the Indian community have been significantly contributory to South Africa’s success.
So you would understand my umbrage and disdain and that of many of my ilk, when we are stereotyped as some marauding, exploitative group who seek nothing but to use and abuse our fellow citizens to our advantage and prosperity.
You state that you were informed by people in your rudimentary research undertaken in KZN that Indian business people pay “black” workers with food parcels.
Astounding as that may sound, I believe even you would not have believed that. And even if you did, I am certain you would have confronted such businesses with the same filibustering techniques you employ in Parliament.
Your utterances have been influenced by some “black” people you have spoken to and it cannot be the result of conclusive research that allows such vicious and intimidatory pronouncements.
I understand that you have an obsession to see the political demise of Jacob Zuma. That is a fait accompli. But, I am also aware that Zuma’s highly questionable association with the Gupta family (of Indian origin) has raised your ire on many occasions.
Could this be the undercurrent of your dissatisfaction with Indians per se or have you validated and verifiable evidence to assert that gives you the right to injudiciously implicate all “Indian” businesses as some sort of exploiters of “black” employees?
I concede, in part, that certain perceptions have been create with regards to the “Indian” in terms of their business acumen and astuteness but it is opprobrious to paint an entire community with a discoloured brush that is bound to have repercussions.
The Indian community have suffered two uprisings against them in apartheid South Africa, in 1949 and 1985 in KZN. They were, to say the least, unwarranted attacks on a rather stoic and docile community eking out a living.
It is both irresponsible as well as an effront on your part to have made the comments you have, which if taken out of context by an ignorant person, could lead to catastrophic consequences.
South Africa can ill-afford anyone in a position of influence to use platforms to incite, defame and ultimately place at risk its very own citizens just because political expediency dictates that it could lead to vote winning, and you are guilty of that.
I appeal to you on behalf of the Indian community to retract your statements immediately without reservation. We don’t need scars of mistrust to be the catalysts for the sharpening of knives.
We need to nurse a fragile thread of bond so as to make South Africa a haven for all its citizens.
I trust this appeal will allow your common sense to prevail and do the right thing – as you have asked Jacob Zuma to do.