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Durban - Indians “whining” about the ANC government should leave and go to India, says Visvin Reddy, the party’s former councillor and Chatsworth branch chairman. He claims that whiners have not yet embraced democracy.
Still a prominent ANC member, Reddy has drawn criticism for his Facebook post, but he remains unapologetic, saying on Wednesday that he stood by his controversial comments and took attacks on the ANC personally.
Writing on his Facebook page over a week ago Reddy said: “To you anti ANC commentators…wait until May 8. The ANC will still rule this country. You whiners should leave. Go to India and you will see what a good life we have here. Continue with your garbage and marginalise yourself further. Don’t blame the ANC blame yourself. You have not yet embraced democracy. Only a foolish Indian in SA will not engage the majority constructively…”
Speaking to the Daily News on Wednesday Reddy said the views he expressed were not those of the ANC and he sought to clarify them. He said they were only meant to discourage any malicious criticism of the government which could lead to relations between black and Indian South Africans getting strained.
“I am not saying criticism of the government is not welcome, but it should be done in a constructive manner otherwise it could be seen as an attack on the majority and that might create tensions,” he said.
“I am saying, let us embrace the majority... Sometimes the criticism you see is malicious and is coming from people who have been fed DA propaganda.”
Reddy admitted there were a “few challenges” with things like the equity regulations and the quota system, but believed these were needed to redress imbalances.
He said his statement on India was based on India having, despite its rich traditions, a huge population and high levels of poverty.
“I have been to India, especially the northern parts, a number of times and some of the friends and family members who have been to India agree that here in South Africa the situation is better,” he said.
“But I am not saying India is a bad country.”
He also said his post was in response to criticism of the ANC and the government by some Indians on Facebook.
“Some of this criticism is really malicious. You get people saying the black government cannot govern and blacks cannot be trusted. All I was saying is that if you have to criticise the government, do it in a constructive way. I take attacks on the ANC personally and so do millions of (black) South Africans.”
He said there was very little need for Indians to feel marginalised as the current ANC government had bent over backwards to accommodate minorities.
“Yes, people have the right to criticise. But with rights come responsibilities. We have to think about the future of our children.”
Indian leaders slammed Reddy for his comments.
“We are born here, we are South Africans and nobody should tell me to go to India,” said Ashwin Trikamjee, president of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha.
He dismissed Reddy, saying “nobody takes him seriously”.
However, Trikamjee agreed that some criticism against the ANC was unjustified and malicious.
“The country has blossomed and anyone who says something to the contrary is talking nonsense,” he said.
MF member of Parliament, Roy Bhoola, cautioned that Reddy’s statements could breed division.
“We cannot mandate people to think the way we do, neither can we force people to support a specific political party. Being part of a democracy means respecting each person’s right to hold their own political views,” Bhoola said.
“I think Visvin Reddy needs to consult his own party and ensure that his statements are in line with the party’s mandate, before he makes loose assertions based on anger and contempt, which ultimately breed greater seeds of division.”
SA Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) said the comments exposed Reddy’s own “racist mentality”. “The minute you racialise anything you show your own racist mentality. Why is he saying Indians should go to India?” asked the movement’s acting chairman, Daleep Lutchman.
“We of Samrem have been engaging the ANC since our inception in 2010, reminding the organisation of the continuous sabotaging of the principles enshrined in our constitution.
“We have been reminding the ANC that legislation like the Employment Equity Act; the quota system based on race in admitting our children to institutions of higher learning; and the exclusion of minority groups from broad-based black economic empowerment is in itself entrenching apartheid-style racism,” Lutchman said. - Daily News