Calls for racist Mfeka to be punished

Phumlani Mfeka

Community outrage is growing and so too are calls for the provincial government to prosecute serial racist Phumlani Mfeka following an interdict obtained against him last week restraining him from making further such utterances in the media including social media platforms.

Just days after obtaining the interim interdict against him Mfeka was engaged in defiant Twitter arguments vowing he would not be silenced. This week Mfeka participated in a live radio debate on SAFM where he stood his ground and stood by his comments.

What prompted Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu and Housing MEC Ravi Pillay, to seek the interdict was a hateful rant accusing Indians of exploitation and calling on Africans to “die fighting” for the blood of our ancestors to attain justice” Mfeka called for a “curtain of blood to veil the whole of KZN”.

Following on government’s interdict the Pietermaritzburg-based South African Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) opened criminal charges against Mfeka saying his comments constitute hate speech, intimidation and incitement to commit violence.

Convenor Ashin Singh said Mfeka’s comments violated various international statutes as well as South Africa’s constitution.

In a radio debate on SAFM on Wednesday, Mfeka defended his views saying that society “cannot keep up the illusion that Indians and Africans are living in utopian harmony”. He said Indians dominated the economy and continued to exploit African people on the basis of the historical advantages they benefited from.

The ANC’s Ravi Pillay clarified that the interdict against Mfeka was not about stifling debate but was in response to “expressions that amounted to a call for violence. He said the language used was a direct attack on the Freedom Charter and that government had a moral and constitutional duty to uphold these values. Pillay conceded there were inequalities but argued it was wrong to generalize and label an entire community.

The rising tide of anti-Indian sentiments and violent threats made by Mfeka has been slammed by community and religious organisations.

Meanwhile at a mass meeting organised by the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) in Overport on Tuesday evening, MEC Pillay assured the audience that government stood firm in rejecting the racist statements made by Mfeka.

Pillay stressed unity and building non-racialism as the only guarantee for a peaceful future for all South Africans. Quoting the last census, he also pointed out that 21 years of democracy had brought major benefits for the Indian community including higher income levels, improved educational qualifications and home ownership.

He condemned errant employers accused of unsavoury labour practices saying those must be publicly exposed. At the same time, he cautioned against hasty generalisations of the sort made by Mfeka that crudely painted the entire Indian community with the same brush.

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