South Africa has plunged into a state of deep crisis as the protests that began after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma have turned into a violent racial campaign against Indians and Indian businessmen. The situation is so dire that Indian families have had to arm themselves up to defend against the barbarian protestors who are unjustly targeting them.
After the imprisonment of Zuma, widespread looting and violence had erupted in the country since last Wednesday. Jacob Zuma faces two broad sets of corruption charges. One relates to a $2 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president. The other corruption charges relate to the period of his presidency during 2009-18. It is these allegations in which Jacob Zuma refused to cooperate with the inquiry panel.
However, this is where the Indian connection comes and is being used to unfairly target the entire diaspora. Gupta Brothers — Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta as well as Atul’s nephews Varun and US-based Ashish and Amol hail from Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh and migrated to South Africa in 1993. Starting with humble beginnings through a Computer business, the current empire of the Gupta Brothers stands at around $10 billion with interests in Coal mines, computers, newspapers, and a media outlet.
It has been reported by several media outlets that Gupta Brothers had become so influential that the Zuma government began taking several policy decisions based on the diktat issued by the family. The term ‘Zupta’ was coined by the critics who were noticing the increasing warmth in the relation between Guptas and Zuma.
However, soon after, cases of corruption, bribery and misappropriation of funds started coming out in the media reports. Zuma, who had become politically weak by now, started facing the wrath of the public, along with the Gupta family. After Zuma accepted the jail time, instead of cooperating with the authorities to unravel the scale of his corruption saga, the protests began, which were soon hijacked by opportunists and steered towards the Indians.
The epicentre of the racial violence, looting and arson has been the KwaZulu-Natal province where two-thirds of the 1.4 million-strong Indian-origin population of South Africa lives and works. With unbridled violence taking over the streets of the province, several images showed how Indians were taking up arms to defend themselves and their property.
An Indian doctor, seemingly in the midst of the violence wrote a distressing letter to DNA, whose excerpts are as follows, “I am a young Indian man whose great grandparents came from India as indentured labourers as slaves to work in the sugar cane plantations under colonial rule. I am a medical doctor working in Durban, South Africa. The Indian community is coming under attack in civil unrest and war. Weapons have been stocked and piled in.”
At least 117 people have been killed in looting sprees and shootings, pushing the Ramaphosa administration to the brink and forcing him to deploy 25,000 troops, the second-largest military call-up in the history of democratic South Africa.
After allowing the violence to spread out, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to visit the province today and take stock of the situation. On Wednesday, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar called on his South African counterpart Dr. Naledi Pandor regarding the safety of Indian expats. Pandor assured the Ministry of External Affairs that the Government of South Africa is doing its best to restore normalcy.
Reported by TFI, while Indians are the new targets, black South Africans, taking revenge for the apartheid have started pushing white South Africans to the fringes of the society as well.
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White slums have emerged all over South Africa as the white population is being targeted by the government. A portion of South Africa’s white population, like many of the country’s black township residents, lives in poverty. Since the country declared statutory equality in 1994, the living conditions of many South Africans have not improved.
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Call it a cruel turn of events or simply the ugly side of humanity, a country like South Africa which faced the demons of racial inequality all these years is now hell-bent on destroying a minority community that does nothing but provide stability and peace to whichever region they migrate.