A Durban community activist has accused Julius Malema of hate speech.

On Monday, Narendh Ganesh, who is also the chairperson of the Duff’s Road Civic Association, laid a complaint at the Equality Court.

Last week, Malema, who is the president and commander-in-chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters, addressed a media briefing in Johannesburg during which he spoke of an Indian cabal who occupied strategic positions at the expense of Africans.

He said “Go to every insurance company or any financial institution, it is headed by Indians. If it is a serious compromise, it is a coloured. All Africans have been destroyed. Look at who is going to replace that African person that was removed from Absa.

“We also know who is leading Sars. They have taken all strategic institutions because white monopoly capital cannot go directly. It works hand-in-hand, like it did in the ’80s. It works with an Indian cabal, led by Pravin Gordhan”.

Malema said Indians were also employed in other strategic positions, like magistrates and prosecutors.

“When the case is of an EFF leader, because they cannot deploy a white magistrate, they put a coloured or Indian magistrate. They put a coloured or Indian prosecutor – go check all those cases.

Malema added that “There is an Indian agenda in this county that seeks to undermine Africans and that agenda is led by Pravin Gordhan. It has been like that for years. That cabal, if you tamper with it, you will become a hobo in this country. You tamper with Pravin Gordhan you will become a hobo in this country”.

Ganesh told POST that: “I am totally opposed to racism, no matter what quarter it comes from. Also, making blanket statements – that cast cynical aspersions on a particular race group – does little to enhance the racial and social cohesion we all desire.”

Ganesh accused Malema of unfairly targeting the Indian community in South Africa.

He said “Now that he is at loggerheads with Minister Pravin Gordhan, he plays the race card as a means to disparage an entire community on racial lines – that is abominable”.

Ganesh further said he had approached the courts because he believed Malema needed to account for his comments.

“Some comments have been tantamount to hate speech and have the propensity to instigate or incite violence. If he is not held accountable, he will persist with such conduct, especially in this election year.

“We cannot and must not allow the likes of Malema to ride over all of us because of his nefarious agenda. He not only demeans, but also diminishes the value of our democracy, becoming the proverbial Constitutional delinquent – a term he loves calling others with whom he has a bone to pick, politically”.

Sher Singh, the secretary of the South African Minority Rights and Equality Movement (Samrem) said: “Malema’s usual racist rant about an Indian cabal was the uttering of a desperate politician, with skeletons in his closet.”

Singh said the South African Indian community was subject to a 2% quota, that applied to both the government and private sector.

“Accordingly, despite the levels of competence, intelligence and work ethic, neither the government nor private sector can employ more than 2% Indians. As a result of the quota system, only 2% of the magistrates and 2% of prosecutors are of Indian origin.

“The Indian community in South Africa has also been subjected to discriminatory legislation for the past 25 years and has seen many of its intelligent hard-working youth excluded from employment and universities, simply on the basis of their race,” said Singh.

He claimed a lack of unity in the community made it impossible to remedy the situation.

“It must be made clear that Pravin Gordhan has never done anything for the Indian community and is not representative of the Indian community, but the ANC.

“The continued attempts by failed politicians – who are incompetent, inefficient and corrupt, to lay the blame at the feet of minorities – is unacceptable. I hope that this is a clarion call for all Indians to rise and say it is time for action and they will support our efforts to hold Malema, and others like him, accountable”.

In a statement, the Active Citizens Movement (ACM), said “We condemn the recent racist vitriol emanating from Julius Malema. His comments are nothing but an opportunistic attempt to win support ahead of the elections, using factually incorrect statements, which reflects the bankruptcy of Malema and the EFF.

“Not having anything of substance to offer voters, the EFF resorts to playing the race card at the expense of unity and harmonious relations among our communities. The comments by Malema, in the midst of admission of guilt by Brian Shivambu, speaks to an organisation and leader who have their backs against a wall.

“The role of a political leader should be to promote social cohesion and unity among South Africans, rather than creating social divisions that incite hatred and fear in the minds of ordinary citizens.

“In this context, Malema’s motives are questionable and suggestive of a hidden agenda in view of media reports suggesting that investigations into the VBS saga may be closing in on them.

“The ACM works to build a socially cohesive society, which abhors racism from whichever quarter it emanates. The democratic order, that many of us fought hard to build, has no room for racists and inciters of racial hatred.”