Cape Muslim Congress

A few weeks ago I was visited by a member of the former Natal Indian Congress who also served on Apartheids Tri-cameral Presidents Council. He is based in Durban but travels profusely and is greatly concerned with the consistent rise of anti-Indian activity in Natal and the northern regions of South Africa. During our conversation he elaborated in detail about organisations that were operational in the north with the specific agenda of marginalizing the Indian community. Since rising inequality and material ostentation is a major issue within different racial communities, my visitor suggested that the historic loathing that was reserved for whites, has since spilled over onto wealthy Indians.

According to my visitor, the Gupta and Shaikh family narratives did the Indian community a great disservice. Those who are politically astute and motivated have realized the potential of turning disposed impoverished black anger against a minority. The statement by Julius Malema that “Zuma has sold the country to the Guptas for a plate of curry” is profound in terms of its broader implication.

These statements ties into previous insinuation made by Malema and others that Indians like Minister Pravin Gordin and Minister Ebrahim Patel have too much influence over the finance portfolios.

Whites who have borne the burden of racial backlash since the democratic dispensation are no longer alone. That many whites are being tested by affirmative action and the economic recession may have tempered generalised anger towards them. Indians like whites mainly in the north regions have been geographically more clearly separated from blacks. This makes the flashiness more visible. In Cape Town, though we were racially separated, there were some grey areas like Woodstock and so on.

Since the inequality has increased exponentially in the past decade, those who have less are seeking to share their economic anxiety. The reoccurring xenophobic violence that permeates South Africa is another example of how poor locals regard foreigners as more fortunate and thus suitable targets.

Escalating inequality, threats the stability of our democracy, as issues of service delivery continues to suffer on a growing national scale. It is therefore imperative for our collective well-being that corporate and governmental corruption be dealt an urgent death knelt.  The upper echelons of society cannot expect poor people to accept the continued inequality. The anger among the poor is fairly justified when one observes the extravagance regularly displayed by the ruling political and corporate elite.

If those who have copious amounts of money and influence lack the humanity to reduce the existing poverty, then at least public opinion should compel them to exhibit some humility and be less flashy.

It is unnecessary that we should all be endangered because of the flamboyance of those few among us who may see the threat posed by the inequality yet continuous giving the poor the middle finger.

Cllr Yagyah Adams