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Indian-origin Leader's Comment Irks Community in South Africa

The Indian-origin community has taken umbrage to a comment made by an African National Congress (ANC) leader, himself of Indian descent, telling people of the community to go back to India if they cannot stop constantly whining about the government, media reported Friday.

Published: 02nd May 2014 08:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd May 2014 08:13 PM   |  A+A-

The Indian-origin community has taken umbrage to a comment made by an African National Congress (ANC) leader, himself of Indian descent, telling people of the community to go back to India if they cannot stop constantly whining about the government, media reported Friday.

Visvin Reddy, a former municipal councillor of eThekwini in Kwazulu-Natal province and ANC Chatsworth branch chairman, made the comment on Facebook Wednesday.

The comment has sparked a controversy as political parties of the country are trying to woo the Indian-origin voters ahead of the May 7 general elections in the country, Business Day Live reported.

In his comment, Reddy thanked the ANC for the progress South Africa has made since apartheid ended 20 years ago.

Other Facebook users responded angrily by criticising the ANC and its leader, South African President Jacob Zuma, for corruption, mismanagement and crime.

Reddy did not take this kindly either.

"To you anti-ANC commentators… wait until May 8. The ANC will still rule this country," the report quoted him as responding.

"You whiners should leave. Go to India and you will see what a good life we have here. Continue with your garbage and marginalise yourself further. Don’t blame the ANC, blame yourself.

"You have not yet embraced democracy. Only a foolish Indian in South Africa will not engage the majority constructively," Reddy said.

The Minority Front, a political party that has all minorities in South Africa among its ranks, has said that Reddy's comments would create racial divisions and threatened democratic principles.

According to Vee Gani, head of the KwaZulu-Natal Parents Association, the comments were racist.

"The fact that they were said by someone who is an Indian makes it even worse," he said

Ashwin Trikamjee, a prominent lawyer and head of the Hindu Maha Sabha, described Reddy as a "desperate clown".

Sihle Zikalala, ANC's Kwazulu-Natal provincial secretary, has expressed regret over the comments.

"We regret any offence that may have been caused by Comrade Reddy's statement," he said.

The ANC plans to deal with the matter internally, according to the report.



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