South Africa: ‘ANC has sidelined Indian comrades’

The ANC’s only majority Indian South African branch feels as though the leadership of the party has sidelined them.

These sentiments were raised at the Ward 73 Khulisa branch of the party in Chatsworth at their latest Branch General Meeting (BGM) last weekend.

According to the branch secretary, Suzanne Govender, members raised various issues but the general feeling was that Indian South Africans in the ANC were being ignored by the party despite hard work being carried out on the ground.

“Members of the branch expressed their dissatisfaction with the party’s regional and provincial leadership for ignoring their needs. We are a very active branch but feel that the party has failed the Indian South African electorate when it comes to key issues of housing and jobs,” said Govender.

She added that this was one of the reasons that the party was failing to secure the minority vote in Chatsworth.

She said: “Our members are fearful that if the leadership continues to ignore these concerns then we will be defeated in the next election. Our members are involved on the ground and the growing sentiment is that the ANC is not providing for Indian South Africans and that they are being marginalised.”

Govender said the main issues of jobs and housing were creating discontent among members of the branch. “There is no system for proper housing allocation.

“How many Indian South Africans have benefited from housing projects? Foreigners are getting houses but not card-carrying members of the party. This is where the membership feels that the party has failed its Indian South African electorate,” she said.

Govender said all the concerns raised by members would be contained in a report that would be sent to the regional and provincial leadership of the ANC.

Dr Paul Lutchman, a prominent pastor in Chatsworth and an ANC member, said that the ruling party had lost its thrust in Chatsworth.

“The wheels have come off the ANC. They say they embrace minority communities but it’s a lie. Indian South Africans in the ANC are being treated like the step-children of the party. They have failed to deliver to minority communities,” said Lutchman.

Visvin Reddy, chairman of the ANC’s Naidoo Makhaya zone, which incorporates ward 73, said the matter was an internal issue and that it would be dealt with by the party.

“I am not in a position to comment as this is an internal ANC matter,” said Reddy.

ANC provincial spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said that they would wait for more information before deciding on what action to take.

“All members of the ANC must raise their issues through the structures of the party.

“We will have to wait for the report from the branch secretary and the regional leadership before we take any action as we do not have all the information available to us at the moment,” said Mkhize.

Political analyst Protas Madlala said the concerns regarding jobs and housing were valid concerns. “I think the group has a point on the matter of affirmative action and low-cost housing where we see housing almost exclusively reserved for Africans.

“It has been coming for a while now and I think these issues need to be addressed by the party leadership. They cannot afford to take supporters for granted anymore,” said Madlala.

Veteran political activist Farouk Meer said that the branch should try to engage with the leadership of the party.

“The branch executive would have access to the provincial leadership and they should engage with them.”

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