The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal has called for KZN Premier Willies Mchunu to publicly apologise for his alleged “anti-Indian” comments made in the provincial legislature earlier on Saturday.
The remarks were made during a debate on Heritage Day Celebrations, after the DA called on Mchunu to protect the heritage of KZN’s subsistence fishermen and the seine netting community. “We requested that he support a review of the laws and regulations around these practices,” the party’s KZN MPL Zwakele Mncwango explained in a statement.
Premier Mchunu responded by saying: “The Indians are not part of South Africa”.
Mchunu went on to explain that Indian people cannot lay claim to land, as they were brought here from somewhere else, and were bound to have stumbled upon people that owned the land first.
“You tell us about the nation of the Indian people being brought here to South Africa, which is true. But you then claim land for them, as if there were no people who were removed by that land before were put in there,” reads audio of the debate.
“If you came here, if those who came here from Europe or India or anywhere else, they found people here, who were on this land …”
The DA believe that Mchunu’s comments “insult … the very community that stood arm-in-arm in the fight against the then-apartheid government, and who suffered enormously as a result of the Group Areas Act and other measures which saw their livelihood as subsistence fisherman continually under threat.”
They further accused the Premier’s comments as “borderline hypocritical”, and in stark contrast to the society it envisions, claiming that this is proof of Mchunu’s resistance to social cohesion and diversity, as well as his “utter disdain for minority communities.”
The DA are adamant that Mchunu apologise to the Indian community, or else they will “bring the Premier to book.”
“South Africa is riddled with racism on a daily basis and one does not expect senior and seasoned politicians like Premier Mchunu to sew division in a country we all call home,” they added.