Durban - The eThekwini Municipality has added its voice to a growing chorus of those who have condemned the chants of ‘one Indian, one bullet’ that were made during a protest outside the Durban City Hall on Thursday.
The chants were led by Jackie Shandu the convener for Phoenix Massacre victims who led a protest on Thursday against the murders that took place in the township during a wave of looting and violence three weeks ago.
He has since apologised for the comments.
In the wake of those remarks, Visvin Reddy, the leader of the African Democratic Change party laid criminal charges against Shandu at the Durban Central Police Station on Friday.
The eThekwini Municipality said in a statement that the city subscribes to the provisions of the Freedom Charter, which stipulates among others that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it”.
“The City understands frustrations that are a result of the recent unrest. It acknowledges that these unfortunate incidents, have to a certain extent, reversed the gains of social cohesion programmes carried out by the City with other spheres of government. EThekwini appeals to the public to give law enforcement agencies and other institutions tasked with dispensing justice, time and space to deal with the matter justly. The City distances itself from any individuals or groups that are hell-bent on polarising society and that seek to use violence to resolve issues. All issues raised by marchers will receive attention from the City leadership,” the statement said.
In a post on Facebook on Friday, Shandu apologised and retracted what he called was his “problematic remarks”.
“I made some problematic marks which with benefit of hindsight now should not have been said… I said one Indian one bullet. I want to retract those remarks because I do not condone violence and I see the potential of it inflaming the already existing racial tensions.
“I just wanted to be on record that, I'm saying that, having reflected, having sobered up, of course, one was deeply enraged at that moment and one was feeling the hurt and the pain and the trauma. Certain things came out, but we are anti-racist.We do not condone racism in any way,” he said.
Reddy however said that he planned to take the matter up with the Equality Court on Monday and had already appointed a lawyer.
“What has happened in Phoenix, what has happened in Chatsworth and everywhere else, it's not racially motivated, it's not a racial thing, the people that have done this are criminals from across the board, whether they African whether they Indian whites or coloured. They were criminals that did this and the law must take its course. To make this into a racial incident that targets race groups in the country is simply diverting attention away from the real problem and the problem is a government that has failed to address issues of poverty, has failed to manage the country efficiently. Does he know the impact those remarks will have on the factory floor where Indians and Africans are working together, what those remarks will mean in buses, where they travelled together and in schools where our children go together?. You know where they exist in harmony with one another, they know the impact of making such statements does for the freedom we enjoy,” he said.