The South African Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) staged the meeting in Raisethorpe.
In a recent social media post, Samrem accused black Africans of being more racist than white Afrikaners.
The meeting was called to debate thorny issues. The rights group claimed the ANC-led government had deliberately neglected minority groups and the challenges they faced.
“ANC representatives have stated that Indian, Coloured and White areas are not to be maintained and after 20 years, areas such as Chatsworth, Phoenix and Clare Estate, are overrun with squatters, filth, drug addicts and crime,” read the invite to the meeting.
In previous media reports, Samrem’s convener Ashin Singh, a Pietermaritzburg magistrate, accused “racist” ANC government of oppressing minorities; whites, Indians and coloureds. He said the minorities were oppressed because they were hard-working and “intelligent”, unlike their black counterparts.
Singh stressed that he was not racist but was targeted for speaking the truth.
“The only black Africans who are at the same level as Indians, whites and coloureds, in terms of work ethic, are Zimbabweans.”
This angered Msunduzi ANC councillor Mehmood Oumar, who objected to Singh’s views, which resulted in him being ejected from the meeting.
Oumar told the Sunday Tribune that Singh was fanning racial flames.
“We can’t allow these people to do what their doing. We have come a long way in dealing with the issue of race. They must be stopped because this is a recipe for disaster,” said Oumar.
He warned that if Singh and his group were not called to order: “Things will spiral out of the control and all the gains made since 1994 will be eroded.”
Struggle activist and ANC MP Yunus Carrim also disagreed with Singh.
Carrim said the ANC had always been committed to a non-racial, non-sexist democracy over decades.
“One from our own local Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi community, Hoosen Haffajee, had a street named after him by the municipality. Where was Samrem when the ANC was waging this struggle. Where was Ashin Singh?”
Carrim said it was “ridiculous” for Samrem to say that Africans were more racist than white Afrikaners.
“It was apartheid that denied us equal rights, allowed job reservation for whites, denied Indians the right to buy houses outside Indian groupings, and caused the cost of houses for Indians in restricted spaces to be inflated.”
Carrim said the best resources were allocated to whites during apartheid.
“Today, nobody can do this to us, whether African or non-African. There are laws and state agencies that prohibit this,” said Carrim, a former communications minister, adding that Samrem did not have a mandate to speak for the Indian community, “and it shouldn’t pretend it does”.
Carrim said Indians voted for the for white-led parties like the DA but demanded that the ANC must ignore those who voted for it, the African majority, and instead meet the demands of Indians. “Is that fair?”
He, however, conceded that this was not to say that there were no racist Africans, including in the ANC.
But he said that did not make the ANC or the government racist.
“After all, there is a lot of racism among Indians towards Africans, but that does not mean all Indians are racist,” said Carrim.
He urged all races to work together and tackle racism despite their racial background.
“This means Samrem and the ANC working together too”.
“This is our motherland. Let’s work with the African and other communities to tackle racism and uplift the living conditions of people from all races. Samrem, you are more than welcome to work with the ANC.”
ANC spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said Samrem was being disingenuous.
She said the ANC was committed to non-racial and non-sexism and her party would always be part of the forging social cohesion between the different races.