Even as large-scale violence impacts South Africa, New Delhi has raised the matter with the government, especially when it comes to the Indian diaspora–Indians, and Indian origin people. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar spoke to South African foreign minister Dr Naledi Pandor while Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary, MEA also met the South African high commissioner to India Joel Sibusiso Ndebele.
On Indians and Indian-origin South Africans being attacked, the south African side “conveyed that opportunistic elements were taking advantage of the situation to engage in looting and violence”, sources said. This is something that has been talked about by President Ramaphosa during his address to the nation on July 12.
The South African side sees the current attacks on the diaspora as “criminal in nature and not political or racially motivated.”
The violence erupted after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma and so far more than 70 people have died. KwaZulu natal started in Zuma’s home province and then spread in several parts of the country.
During the talks, the South African side assured that the government was “doing its utmost to enforce law and order” and “asserted that early restoration of normalcy and peace was its overriding priority” even as “they expected the situation to improve soon”, sources pointed out.
Amit Shivaji More, President, Indian Association of South Africa said, “situation is really bad in KwaZulu natal and Durban.”
Indian consulate in Durban is assisting all the people. Consulate is also engaging with law enforcement for the safety of Indians.
Gurmeet Singh, an Indian businessman in South Africa told Wion, “My three shops, one warehouse has been looted. we are suffering. I’m very sick, can’t even speak. we are staying without food. please help us.”
HK Modi, another businessman in the country said, “last 2 days have been the most turbulent days of my experience in Durban. The kind of rampant looting, vandalism and absolute lawlessness and anarchy that has been going around”
Asha Thakur, a 2nd generation born in South Africa said, “protests have escalated at an unmanageable level. looting and violence are the norms. Indian business in Durban and Pietermaritzburg have been looted”
The protests are expected to impact the economy of the country. According to estimates, 129 000 jobs are at risk due to the ongoing unrest.
(With inputs from DNA India)
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