‘Why no Indians in the KZN cabinet?’

Published Jun 27, 2024


Durban — Prominent Indian figures and several lobby groups have decried the lack of Indian representation in the KwaZulu-Natal government, which was recently announced by IFP Premier Thami Ntuli.

Leading the charge was prominent politician-cum-entertainer Logie Naidoo, the erstwhile deputy mayor of eThekwini.

“The lack of Indian and coloured people representation is truly disappointing. It is a cause for concern that Indians are left out of the provincial cabinet when they account for the second biggest population group after blacks in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Naidoo.

The racial representation in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature paints a grim picture.

Of the 80 members of the legislature, only five were Indians, two from the IFP and three from the DA.

The 14 MPLs from the ANC and 37 of the Jacob Zuma-led uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) were all black. The two EFF members and one from NFP were also black.

Naidoo took a swipe at his party, the ANC, accusing it of “deviating from its non-racialism”.

“It is wrong that the ANC has no Indian people in the legislature when the party is known for its non-racialism stance,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo lamented the fact that all the ANC members of the provincial legislature (MPLs) were black.

“The ANC had to accommodate all the minority groups as a party that prides itself on being non-racial and accommodative to all the races,” said Naidoo.

He said the parties represented in the provincial legislature should reflect and “self-correct” amid the evident racial imbalances.

“This flies against the social cohesion that most of the parties in the provincial legislature advocate for. This is a time for parties to reflect and self-correct,” said Naidoo.

Asghar Khan, the leader of the Al-Jamah-ah party in KwaZulu-Natal, echoed his sentiments.

“The fact is that Indians are still used as voting fodder by many parties – including the DA. The lack of Indian representation in the provincial government is an indictment of the political parties that received votes in predominantly Indian settlements such as Phoenix and Chatsworth.”

Khan said it was amiss that Indians, who were the second biggest population group in KZN after black people at more than 1.2 million, were not part of the provincial cabinet.

“Parties always go to Indians for votes, but when it is time for them to place them in strategic positions, they don’t. It is an indictment on all the parties that are in Parliament.”

Ntuli announced his provincial cabinet under the banner of the Government of Provincial Unity (GPU), and there was not a single Indian present.

This drew immediate backlash from pro-Indian lobby groups and figures in KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Faisal Suliman, the chairperson of the South African Muslim Network, also weighed in, saying it would have been good to have a balanced representation of the minority groups.

However, he urged all the political parties to work together and move beyond what he called identity politics.

“We must now rebuild our communities and restore the Rainbow Nation and ubuntu,” said Dr Suliman.

As the province nursed itself back to health from the devastating 2022 floods and the 2021 July unrest, Suliman said all hands should be on deck to rebuild the province.

“We need to improve our province by working together. We need to get our economy back on track so that jobs will be created for the people who are unemployed,” said Suliman.

During their campaign ahead of the May 29 elections, all the parties in the provincial legislature maintained that they were non-racial and inclusive of all the races in South Africa.

ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the ANC had always been a non-sexist and non-racial organisation.

“It is the ANC that has been fighting against issues that seek to divide our society. We have been at the forefront of initiatives that bridge the gap between different races,” said Mndebele.

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