South African leader Julius Malema has sparked controversy once again, after he said that most members of the Indian community in the country are racist.
In his latest tirade against the Indian-origin people living in South Africa, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader also said that Indians were not as exploited as the black people during apartheid.
“(The) majority of Indians hate Africans, (the) majority of Indians are racist, and we must never be scared to say that they are racist… I’m not saying all Indians, I’m saying the majority of them,” Malema said at a Youth Day event at Matlosana Stadium in Klerksdorp in the North West on June 16, iol.co.za reported.
Talking about the difference in experiences of the two communities during apartheid, Malema said that Indians had all sorts of resources that Africans didn’t have, enca.com reported. “We were not oppressed the same,” he said.
Malema added that Indians identify more with the white people, which is reflected in their support for the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Malema also targeted Indian journalists for defending Ismail Momoniat, the Indian-origin National Treasury deputy director-general, after he was criticized by Floyd Shivambu, the EFF chief whip in parliament.
“They deliberately distort what we say. I’m telling all those Indian journalists that organized a mob against us – we are not scared. You will fail. We are not made by the media – we are made by the masses of our people,” Malema added, according to enca.com.
Shivambu had earlier this month ignited a war of words by saying that the constant presence of Momoniat at finance committee meetings, undermined African representativenes. Malema supported his partyman’s comments, saying, “Why is treasury always represented by an Indian when there is 80% African staff? Because there is a tendency [for] our Indian brothers to look down at Africans,” Mail and Guardian reported.
The EFF leader’s comments drew criticism from the South African Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem). Daleep Lutchman, the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal minority rights group, said they are considering filing a third case against Malema over his remarks. The group would meet to decide what charges to press against Malema for “going back to the apartheid system of classifying people by race,” Lutchman said, iol.co.za reported.
The organization filed two cases against Malema after he made anti-Indian comments last year. “He made very divisive statements about Indians monopolizing the economy, underpaying workers and being worse than Afrikaners,” Lutchman added, according to the publication.
Accusing Indians of racism, Malema had said last year that Indians exploited African workers. “This is not an anti-Indian statement, it’s the truth. Indians who own shops don’t pay our people, but they give them food parcels,” he was reported as saying while addressing supporters in KwaZulu-Natal.
The EFF had come to Malema’s defence then, with party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi saying: “Each time we come across the suffering and oppression of our people, we shall not mince our words, nor tiptoe around false minority feelings… the racism that African people suffer in the hands of many Indian businesses and families must be condemned and must come to an end.”