His statements serve nothing more than to stoke racial hatred. His act of race-baiting has no place in our constitutional democracy where the protection of minorities is recognised and respected.

Malema’s statement is the antithesis of the spirit of the Constitution. It is also in direct contravention of section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act that states that “no person may publish, propagate, advocate or communicate words based on one or more of the prohibited grounds, against any person, that could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to a) be hurtful; b) be harmful or to incite harm; or c) to promote or propagate hatred”.

The anti-Indian – and anti-white – comments made at the EFF’s 4th anniversary celebrations in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend were deliberately intended to harm by setting up minority groups as the cause of much of the ills facing the country.

A quote from his weekend speech is evidence of the considered strategy embraced by the EFF to harm inter-racial and inter-community relations, “Indians mistreat our people and don’t pay our people properly. This must come to an end, and we want a minimum wage. I have been going around here and our people are crying about how Indians treat them as sub-humans, and the ANC has allowed that nonsense because it is captured”. He goes on, “if you are an Indian and you pay people well and respect fellow human beings, don’t worry. If not, you must know that you are no friend of ours. We do not want our people exploited”.

The quote is both inflammatory and threatening. Furthermore, it conflates issues of law (in respect of minimum wages) and ideology as a cheap election ploy. Placing minority groups in the line of fire is the worst kind of politicking, as is evident from history.

A member of the Social Cohesion Committee in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government labelled Malema as a “dangerous populist” and added that “we have been dealing with stereotyping of that nature for some time, and we rejected it with the contempt as it goes against the principles of our Constitution”.

Racist utterances from any quarter and against anyone on the basis of their race must be condemned by all South Africans of goodwill, and must be dealt with firmly. We urge the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to take the sternest action against Malema, lest these behaviours go unchecked and result in harm against minorities in South Africa.            

By Ms Zohra Dawood: Director, Centre for Unity in Diversity  

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