Racial groups can only bridge the gap between them if they all have equal access to the economy, said Dr Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Picture: Bongani Mbatha

Durban - Racial groups in South Africa can only bridge the gap between them if they all have equal access to the economy, said Dr Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Indian struggle icon Mahatma Gandhi.

Speaking on the sideline of her famous grandfather’s memorial lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban on Wednesday, Gandhi said the root of the racial divide in the country was imbalance economic distribution. 

“Whether we look at xenophobia or racism at the bottom of it is the economic and class issues. 

“We have political liberation, but we have not tackled the issue of gender and class, which are very important issues that we need to tackle to be able to live a good life in South Africa,” she said.

Gandhi said she sees South Africa moving backwards in terms of addressing racial differences. 

“As long as inequality increases, how are we going to meet? To a large extent inequality has made African people very poor,” she said. 

She said although there are a number of Indians and whites who have joined the poor class under the democratic system there were many African people who had become poorer because their aspirations have not been met.

“The poor of all races are saying the new government has not brought us liberation and has not changed our lives for the better.

“Gandhi said there is sufficiency in the world to meet the needs of everyone but not for the greed. Remember that quote that ‘there is sufficient in the world to meet the need of every individual but not the greed of individuals,” said Gandhi.

Political Bureau