News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
21 Jun 2018
2:45 pm

EFF stands its ground on ‘Indians are racist’ comments

Makhosandile Zulu

The party says it will not be dissuaded from speaking the truth about race relations in South Africa.

EFF leader Julius Malema is seen on stage before addressing the gathered crowd outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, members of the EFF gathered to protest the Israel government and Apartheid against Palestinians, 2 November 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) remain resolute on the assertion that a majority of South African Indians are racist towards the country’s black citizenry.

The party’s resolve on the comments made by its leader, Julius Malema, during Youth Day celebrations this past weekend, was affirmed by EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu.

In his lengthy discourse ‘On the Indian Question in South Africa: A response to mob psychologists’, Mpofu concludes by declaring that the EFF will continue voicing the truth about race relations in the country.

“If telling this truth will lose us votes from the Indian community or whichever community, so be it because we are not going to canvass for votes through sacrificing truth and principle on the altar of political convenience,” Mpofu writes.

Malema and the red berets came under fire from media commentators and analysts criticising the party’s firebrand leader for the comments.

Mpofu said the criticism had been “largely defined by intellectual and historical dishonesty, laziness and misguided vitriol by those to whom the relevant privileges will be annulled if the matter is honestly confronted”.

“The truth remains that the demon of ethnic superiority and privilege, like the demons of racism, tribalism and sexism, must be confronted head-on if it is ever to be eliminated,” Mpofu says.

ALSO READ: Malema to be dragged to court over comments about Indians

The EFF national chair says the party’s leadership has been unjustly insulted, undermined and intimidated for correctly noting that in most cases, “South Africans of Indian descent think of indigenous Africans as less human and less capable”. He says the intimidation is an effort to silence the discourse on the matter.

“The many insults and labels directed at [the] leadership of the EFF included labels such as chauvinists, racists, fascists, thieves, thugs who have nothing to offer but their corruption, and under dealings, which will soon be exposed,” Mpofu says.

He dismissed reports that Malema, his deputy, Floyd Shivambu – who was recently heavily criticised for accusing Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat of undermining African officials at the department – and the entire organisation had raised the debate on race relations, in particular, relations between Indians and black South Africans because the party has something to hide.

According to reports in the media, the EFF has launched the apparent attack on South Africans of Indian descent, specifically Momoniat, as a distraction into South African Revenue Services (Sars) investigations into Malema and his alleged ties to the tobacco industry.

“In the realm of the mob [the critics], an African child cannot criticise overly dominant minorities unless they are running away from corruption or some sort of wrongdoing,” Mpofu writes.

Mpofu, to support his arguments, quotes the EFF’s founding manifesto on race relations and class contradictions; references Gandhi’s activism in the interest of Indians as superior to South African natives; and highlights past and present economic inequalities between Indians, whites and Africans.

Mpofu’s arguments are meant to dispel what he terms myths that, he adds, have been propagated by critics following the remarks made by the EFF leader.

Mpofu lists the myths as follows:

  1. The EFF has invented the Indian question because Jacob Zuma is gone and we are afraid of “Ramaphoria”.
  2. The EFF is a racist political organisation in its articulation of race relations in South Africa.
  3. The EFF is isolating Indians in South Africa and should be condemned.
  4. The affirmation of Africans in particular amounts to racism.
  5. The EFF will divide South Africa along racial lines by exposing the racial divisions.
  6. The EFF is incorrect in stating that the majority of Indians are racist.

“Revolutionaries always have an obligation to speak the truth, even when such truth is not comfortable for powers that be. We represent a generation of fearlessness and clear ideological and political discussion. We are not and will not be cowed by those who substitute political discussions with insults, threats and labels,” Mpofu concludes.

ALSO READ: Why Malema loves dabbling in racist rhetoric

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