South Africa: Dark days ahead for Indian community?

Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin
Such criminal incidents will be repeated unless there is equitable distribution of wealth and economic justice in South Africa.

Indians are a peaceful tiny minority of about 1.3 million people (about 2.5% of the entire 60 million population) in South Africa. They came to South Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as indentured labour to work on sugar plantations, and later also as traders.


Today they are a relatively well off community, in business and in the professions (doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc). In my visit to South Africa a few years back I did not see any Indian who was poor. I was treated for a medical problem in Cape Town by an Indian doctor, who invited me to his home, where I met his family.

Today Indian homes, shops, and properties are being attacked, looted, and vandalised. These persons of Indian origin have not done any harm to anyone. Why are they being attacked by black mobs and hooligans?

To understand this one must know that while political apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994 when the African National Congress led by Mandela was elected to power, economic apartheid remained.

South Africa has huge natural wealth in the form of mines, minerals, etc, and these still remain in the hands of a few big multi national corporations, almost exclusively owned by a handful of whites.

On the other hand, unemployment in South Africa has reached record heights, upto 32.6%, and most of such unemployed people are blacks.

africaPoverty and unemployment are the main causes of crime. In Victor Hugo’s great novel Les Miserables one of the central characters, Jean Valjean, commits the petty crime of stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family, and was given a life sentence in the galleys in chains as a consequence.

Millions of South African youth, mostly blacks ( who are about 77% of the population ) are jobless.

Because of their poverty most black South Africans could not get proper education and technical skills. Hence many of them cannot get jobs, and consequently resort to crime, drugs, etc.

I am not a communist, but in my opinion this state of affairs cannot long continue. Everyone is entitled to a decent life, which means having a job with a living wage, nourishing food, healthcare, housing, and a good education for their children.

As the great French philosopher Rousseau said :

It is obviously contrary to the laws of nature for a handful of people to gorge themselves on superfluities, while the starving multitudes lack the necessities of life.” (Discourse on the Origins of Inequality).

Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the mid 18th century, and then spread everywhere, the methods of production in feudal economy were so backward and primitive that very little wealth could be generated.

Hence only a few (kings, aristocrats) etc could be rich, while the rest (mostly peasants) had to be poor.

This situation has drastically changed after the Industrial Revolution. Now modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated to give a decent life to everyone, and no one need be poor.

Yet despite this unique situation in world history, the fact is that most people in the world are poor, many living in inhuman conditions. This also applies to South Africa.

africaI condemn the attacks on Indians in South Africa. But I say that such criminal incidents will be repeated unless there is equitable distribution of wealth and economic justice in South Africa. Using police force alone is not the solution.

Unemployed people have only one of two choices : either resort to crime, or commit suicide. So if such incidents are to be avoided some way must be found of providing employment to South African black youth.

A political party called the Economic Freedom Fighters ( EFF ) has been formed in South Africa, whose leader is Julius Malema. This party claims to fight for the economic rights of blacks.

However, to me it seems that this organisation is all empty gas and its leaders, while claiming to be revolutionary, are mere demagogues, “full of sound and fury signifying nothing” (as Shakespeare said in Macbeth).

In fact, if one watches their conduct in the South African Parliament on YouTube, they seem like a bunch of indisciplined hooligans, always creating a ruckus, and encouraging grabbing of land, which amounts to encouraging lawlessness.

To my mind this rowdy and roughneck behaviour of the EFF in Parliament, which most South Africans would have seen on TV, would have motivated and encouraged the hooligans and criminal mobs to take the law into their own hands, and loot, vandalise and destroy properties, homes and shops, particularly of the tiny Indian community.

Whites, who though only about 9% of the population, are well organised and armed, with international connections. But Indians, who are only 2.5%, are defenceless, like the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Dark days are ahead for the small Indian community in South Africa.

Also Read:

The Brahmins And India’s Caste System

Pandemic Profits and Politics – the saga of India’s “Money Heist”

Royalty in Indian politics

Watch video:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin
Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

Disclaimer : and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors’ right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT

Author Related Post
Related Post

Copyright © Punjab Today TV : All right Reserve 2016 - 2021