Indian concern about the Gupta scandal
Asimplistic view of the attacks on Indians by Zulus in January 1949 in Durban was that they were a result of racial bigotry. Subsequently, experts argued that Africans, particularly Zulus, were responding to increasingly difficult economic circumstances following the end of World War 2.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Indian traders and landlords are expressing serious concerns and disgust over the unrelenting scandal involving the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma and his family. The recent #GuptaLeaks emails have gripped the country, while the governing party remains paralysed and indecisive on how to restore order.
Some Indian folks are genuinely concerned by the lack of action, even though the contents of the emails indicate crimes that should land even the most powerful souls in the country behind bars for years.
They suspect that the hopelessness of the state’s security machinery due to the Guptas' alleged state capture is soiling the struggle credentials of Indians’ participation in bringing down apartheid.
They are sensing the overwhelming melancholy of Africans around the country about the despicable influence and control the Guptas have over the president. That the family even dare to write speeches for oncerespected politicians and intellectuals such as Eskom board chairman Dr Ben Ngubane leaves this nation feeling robbed of its riches, its freedom and its pride.
So a friend reminded me the other day that during the riots in Durban, Indian traders and landlords, being prominent in providing services for Africans, ranging from renting out accommodation to selling basic necessities, were targeted. In the end, at least 137 people were killed and a thousand or more injured. And he wondered aloud whether what the Guptas have done and obstinately continue to do could trigger a backlash, with some Africans blaming the Indian community in general for corrupting this one-time struggle hero called Zuma, and degrading Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the ANC.
The saddest thing is that Zuma’s equally inexorable pride has grown like a cancer, forbidding him from putting the nation’s interests ahead of his own, crippling the mighty ANC and causing lives to be lost in his defence.
While I understand my friend’s analogy that Zuma’s shame is humiliating South Africans in general, let alone crushing Zulu pride, I certainly don’t share his fears that this could spark a nationwide hatred and retaliation against our country’s Indian folk.
Admittedly though, the Gupta shenanigans have shown me the idiocy of the ANC’s unyielding and kamikazetype faith in a man with feet of clay.
The saddest thing is that Zuma’s equally inexorable pride has grown like a cancer