Satish Dhupelia took to social media to air his views relating to article published by the ‘Daily News’ titled, “Indians Benefitted from Apartheid”.
The article reported that the Indian community stood as beneficiaries during Apartheid regime and post 1994.
According to the Durban economist, it was stated that Indians were marginally oppressed during apartheid and that worked to their advantage.
While another leading economist argued there was no grounds for making Indians beneficiaries of black economic empowerment policy.
The contents of a report released by Standard Bank was taken into consideration by them was that the Indian population has seen the fastest growth in per capita income in recent years,
Professor Bonke Dumisa commented that after 1994, the “Indian population was more advantaged than other races”, he said. According to the report released by Standard Bank was that, White South Africans remained the top earners with Indians not far behind.
The report prepared by Standard Bank economist, Siphamandla Mkhwanazi summarized in relative terms was that for every R1 earned by white individuals, blacks earn 13 cents and this has not changed since 1996,” the report said.
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It said that for every R1 earned by whites, Indians earn 51 cents, up from 43 cents in 1996 and 50 cents in 2011.
Economist Dawie Roodt also quoted in the article, said there was no reason for Indian people to be included in economic reform. He believed Indians should not be included in black economic empowerment policies because, when adjusted for qualifications, their unemployment levels were lower than those of whites.
Such is the weight of whose legacy is well known – being the great grandson
of Mahatma Gandhi – on his shoulders that it is impossible for Satish Dhupela to take casually what he perceives as wrong.
I was tempted to ignore this poor piece of reporting, but then the ex-teacher in me surfaced and I remembered that I commented in those days on reports that showed poor performance or the need for improvement.
Firstly, if this is a reflection of your commitment to Positivity and Social Cohesion, then I regret to inform you that you will have to repeat class.
Dredging up old stories should reflect all the facts. Here are a few that were missed. Whilst many Indians arrived here as Indentured laborers and were treated a slaves, there were others that arrived as traders with experience and training and this spurred those working under indenture to do the same.
The Apartheid Government did promote a DIVIDE AND RULE POLICY and one of the instruments of such a policy was to offer different opportunities to different races. Indians and Coloureds were even offered the vote for a Tricameral parliament that excluded the African people, BUT as a majority both the Indian and Coloured Communities rejected this.
The Homelands are another such example where African people were offered the chance to live and govern separately and this too was widely rejected though some did benefit by it.
Whilst your article speaks of economic benefits, it fails to acknowledge that Indians were also robbed of land and houses by the Group Areas Act and that under Apartheid rule many of our people lost their freedom and lives. This community experienced house arrests, bannings, assassinations and death by mishap.
People like Ahmed Kathrada, Billy Nair, MD Naidoo and many others were also jailed on Robben Island and in other prisons. Others like Ahmed Timol, were killed whilst in the custody of the police and the deaths labeled as suicide.
Just in my family, my Aunt and Uncle were harassed by the security branch and were placed under house arrest, and banned and my cousin was killed. There are many other such stories in all our communities that if told could educate and build a united country, yet your focus wandered until it found that half-baked economists report which you thought relevant. It is amazing that whilst you report on this economic advantage you also fail to mention the vast contribution made by them to other communities in different ways – building schools, running free clinics, etc.
Have a good look at the picture of those charged in the Treason Trial of 1956 -61 and it will tell you of how integrated the struggle was. Let me save you the bother of research, which does seem to be a problem with you – The 156 people charged with treason were made up of 105 Africans, 21 Indians, 23 Whites and 7 Coloured leaders.
All race groups worked to free this country from the shackles of apartheid and that would be a good starting point for stories.
“Perhaps you need to rethink your style of journalism”
Perhaps you need to rethink your style of journalism, because whilst the rest of the country chooses to build bridges and work together for the better of this country and all of the people, you have decided to work against Social Cohesion and Unity, and focus on racial lines and cause division. In fact it seems like you are promoting the Old Divide and Rule policy. Today there are poor people of all races in this country and we need to work to eradicate that, not create division. It might be a good idea if you told those economists to reflect on ideas that would combat poverty in all communities, rather than producing such reports, that in my opinion, reflect a poor and narrow field of research.
I regret to inform you that the standard of work reflected in that article left much to be desired and I would suggest a more concerted effort towards positivity and social cohesion in order to obtain a more favourable report the next time.
About: Satish Dhupelia is the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi – part of the family that stayed back in South Africa when Gandhiji returned to India. Gandhiji had started his Satyagraha from South Africa and Dhupelia sees that as part of his proud legacy.
Source inputs: IOL, Facebook