Malema made the statements while addressing thousands of EFF supporters packed into the Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban for the party’s fourth anniversary on Saturday.
Afterwards Premier Willies Mchunu’s spokesman Ndabezinhle Sibiya dismissed what Malema said: “We have been interacting with the captains of industry through the KZN Growth Coalition with the aim of ensuring that we all have equal access to the economy.”
Provincial Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay, who co-leads the provincial government’s Social Cohesion Committee, said Malema was a “dangerous populist”.
“We have been dealing with stereotyping of that nature for some time, and we rejected it with contempt as it goes against the principles of our constitution,” he said.
Jonathan Annipen, spokesperson for the Minority Party, said he would approach the Human Rights Commission because Malema’s statements “were likely to reignite racial tension in the province”.
In his rabble-rousing speech Malema said he was not prepared to nurse the feelings of Indians.
He took a swipe at local ANC leaders by accusing them of being in the pockets of Indian business people in exchange for lucrative government tenders.
Malema said he learnt about the plight of African people when he went door-to-door in the province ahead of Saturday’s celebration.
“They don’t pay our people. The Indians who own shops don’t pay our people. They give them food parcels. We want a minimum wage even in the Indian shops.
“When you are black and you have a domestic worker, pay them the minimum wage and treat them properly. If you are an Indian and you have a shop, treat our people properly,” Malema said.
Malema said some Indians had “captured the ANC” and other KZN-based political parties, and used this to “mistreat their black workers”.
“They are treating them as subhuman, and the ANC has allowed that nonsense because the ANC is captured here in KwaZulu-Natal, and all political parties in KZN are captured.
“They may not be captured by an Indian Gupta family, but they are captured by other Indian families,” he said.
Annipen said he was not surprised by Malema’s utterances as he had always been “the type of politician that thrives on sensationalism”.
“When he goes to provinces where there is a large white population he attacks white people.
“Likewise, when he comes here to KZN he attacks Indian people. This is one of the reasons the EFF has never been able to make inroads into the Indian electorate,” he said.
Annipen said the notion that Indian people abused their black counterparts was “ludicrous”.
“Historically Indian folk fought alongside those who were marginalised and disenfranchised. One must understand that KZN has been plagued with political violence which has resulted in many deaths,” he said.
Indian people were successful because they were hard-working, Annipen said, “not because they exploit their employees. Indians don’t go around complaining about the evils of black empowerment and affirmative action. They take what’s given to them and excel.
“Malema must not think that black people are so ill-informed. They know who is responsible for the injustices they are experiencing.”
Pillay said the government was working hard to deal with the legacy of apartheid, which had created inequality among racial groups.
Malema said he agreed with President Jacob Zuma saying white monopoly capital was real, but said Zuma did not understand the term and was using it to steal.