In­dian con­cern about the Gupta scan­dal

CityPress - - Voices - Hopewell Radebe voices@city­press.co.za Fol­low me on Twit­ter @rade­beh

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

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