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Film Producer Accuses Anti-Indian Lobby Leader in South Africa of Intimidation

Anant Singh

A Durban-based Indian-origin film producer has opened an intimidation case against Phumlani Mfeka, the leader of the anti-Indian lobby group Injenje Yaba Nguni.

The case has been opened following threats allegedly made by Mfeka last month when he said that he would set Anant Singh’s offices on fire if his new show depicted racial tensions between Indians and Africans as isolated incidents, the Sunday Tribune reported.

South African police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala confirmed that the police are investigating a case of intimidation against Mfeka, PTI reported.

The new TV series, Imbewu: The Seed, is set to air on e.tv in April. The show is being promoted as a social unity project that portray stories of Indian and Africans dwelling harmoniously in KwaZulu-Natal. It is co-produced by Singh, who is the CEO and chairman of Videovision Entertainment Group, Duma Ndlovu and Leleti Khumalo.

Mfeka had, however, stated that the show is only sugar-coating tensions between the two communities in KwaZulu-Natal. He had demanded that the three producers had to commit to show the “reality” of labor exploitation, racism and abuse by Indian businesses towards the African workforce. “The impression the producers gave is that relations between Africans and Indians are good and cordial, that there are isolated incidents of racism, which is completely devoid of any logic,” he was quoted as saying in Sunday Tribune.

“We will interpret it as an antagonism and ensure the offices of Videovision Entertainment in KZN burn to the ground. When there is a TV show that misleads the public, of course that will inspire contempt,” Mfeka was quoted as saying in reports last month.

Mfeka has confirmed that an investigating officer got in touch with him, adding that he had not communicated with Singh, nor visited his offices, according to the Sunday Tribune.

In the past, allegations have been made against Mfeka for his anti-Indian comments. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the Human Rights Commission in 2014 made complaints of hate speech against him when Mfeka said in newsletters that Indians, including Mahatma Gandhi, were racist and exploited Africans, according to the report. He was also accused of public violence for taking part in protest action in 2013 at the Phoenix Industrial Park. The matters are still in court.

“Those cases have been going on for some time and at no point stopped one from speaking the truth. I do not think a case opened by Anant Singh will deter me from doing my job as the leader and spokesperson for Injenje yaba Nguni. I will continue to articulate the position of Injenje council regardless of the consequences of those articulations,” Mfeka added, the report said.