A Durban community activist has challenged EFF president, Julius Malema in the Equality Court for his disparaging remarks that an “Indian cabal” is assisting white monopoly capital to run the country’s strategic institutions.
Malema filed his intention to oppose the court action on Friday 18 June. Narend Ganesh, who is also the chairperson of the Duff’s Road Civic Association, laid a complaint against EFF president Malema’s alleged hate speech in the Equality Court this week.
Malema made the remarks at a media briefing in Johannesburg last week. He reportedly remarked during the briefing: “Go to every insurance company or any financial institution, it is headed by Indians. If it is a serious compromise, it is a coloured. All Africans have been destroyed.”
“We also know who is leading Sars. They have taken all strategic institutions because white monopoly capital cannot go directly. It works hand-in-hand like it did in the ’80s. It works with an Indian cabal, led by Pravin Gordhan,” he said.
He claimed that Indians were employed in strategic posts as prosecutors and magistrates. “When the case is of an EFF leader because they cannot deploy a white magistrate, they put a coloured or Indian magistrate. They put a coloured or Indian prosecutor – go check all those cases.”
Malema added that there was “an Indian agenda in this county that seeks to undermine Africans and that agenda is led by Pravin Gordhan.”
“It has been like that for years. That cabal, if you tamper with it, you will become a hobo in this country. You tamper with Pravin Gordhan you will become a hobo in this country.”
In court papers, Ganesh described Malema’s remarks as “damning”. “Malema makes inflammatory statements with regards to Indians, which is tantamount to hate speech, as well as having the propensity to incite his followers into believing what he says as being true, thereby acting on such utterances – possibly in a violent manner”.
Malema was quoted as saying ‘there is an Indian cabal in the country’ and ‘there is an Indian agenda in this country’. “By implication, he paints an entire community of people as a nefarious group who may be causing harm to the entire country,” Ganesh said in court papers.
He said Malema had stated that as a result of this ‘Indian Agenda’ black people will become hobos.
“This is both a damning as well as an inflammatory statement and deserves censure, more so because he makes such utterances without preferring tangible and verifiable evidence,” he said.
“The fact that some may act on such vitriol as an Indian citizen (as per race classification) I am deeply offended, hurt and disturbed by such statements as Malema by virtue of his generalisation, implicates me as well…more importantly he demeans an entire community of citizens in a derogatory manner,” said Narend Ganesh.
Ganesh added that unless Malema’s “defamatory statements” were curtailed by legal censure, “he will continue to perpetuate his vile utterance which could lead to disastrous and deadly consequences,” he said.
EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo had not responded to The South African’s requests for comment at the time of publication. Ganesh said in a statement to the media that he was “totally opposed to racism” in every form.
“Leaders in SA have a responsibility to ensure they foster relationships with everybody, despite our diversity. Making blanket statements that casts cynical aspersions on a particular race group does little to enhance the racial and social cohesion we all desire,” Ganesh said.
“Such utterances have consequences – sometimes deadly consequences, depending who acts on them. Malema has repeatedly used the Indian community as his political battering ram, whenever he needs to…I have repeatedly taken on Malema in the media for his frivolous and inflammatory outbursts on racial lines, and I will never stop.”
“He believes that his political platform gives him carte blanche to do and say as he pleases. Once he makes inflammatory statements outside the precincts of parliament, then he is not protected by parliamentary privilege but is subject to public and legal scrutiny,” Ganesh said.
He said he would also file a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.