Johannesburg, Mar 13 (PTI) A South African Black anti-Indian lobby leader currently facing serious hate speech charges is in hot water again, this time for alleged intimidation of internationally acclaimed Indian-origin filmmaker Anant Singh.
Police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala confirmed that they were investigating a case of intimidation against Phumlani Mfeka.
Mfeka, the leader of the anti-Indian lobby group ‘Injenje Yaba Nguni’ had earlier threatened to set alight Singh’s ‘Videovision’ offices in Durban if a planned TV series being produced by the company does not portray the “underlying tensions” between Indians and indigenous Africans.
The series titled ‘Imbewu: The Seed’, has been commissioned by the national TV channel ‘e.tv’ as a social cohesion project reflecting on the lives of South African Indians and Africans living together harmoniously in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is home to 70 per cent of the country’s Indian-origin citizens.
The series is being co-produced by Singh along with award-winning actress Leleti Khumalo and celebrated filmmaker Duma Ndlovu. The latter two are Black South Africans.
But Mfeka claimed that the series would show that the relations between Indians and Africans were good, contrary to what he believed was a strained relationship.
Mfeka demanded that the three producers make a commitment to show what he called the “reality” of alleged labour exploitation, racism and abuse by Indian businesses of Black South Africans.
Mfeka is frequently in the headlines for his anti-Indian comments.
In 2014, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the SA Human Rights Commission laid charges of hate speech against Mfeka at the Equality Court after he wrote in his newsletter that South African Indians, including Mahatma Gandhi, were “racist and exploited Africans”.
The case is still going on after repeated requests from Mfeka for postponements.
A number of Indian leaders have, in the past, invited Mfeka to refrain from making generic racist allegations and rather to bring details of possible isolated incidents of such exploitation to their attention for action, but he has failed to do so.
“‘Imbewu: The Seed’ will be in a class of its own, reflecting the multi-cultural environment which makes Durban and the province of KwaZulu Natal unique,” Singh said.
“The show has the ability to cross the cultural divide and promote social cohesion in South Africa, showcasing a hybrid of cultures in South Africa today,” Singh added.
Michael Pocock of ‘e.tv’ decried the threats to ‘Videovision’.
“We find (Mfeka’s) threat of violence against Videovision Entertainment disturbing. It is regrettable that Mr Mfeka and the ‘Injenje Yaba Nguni Council’ have made these claims without proper information and without engaging ‘e.tv’ and its executive producers,” Pocock said in a statement.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.