DURBAN: As uneasy calm settled over the
troubled KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces of South Africa, worst affected in
the July violence following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, cracks
are beginning to show.
Their prime targets – Indian-origin South Africans in Durban and Johannesburg –
say they have been receiving WhatsApp messages threatening renewed or ‘Part-II’
of the violence, asking “Indians to go back from where they came”.
Kimeshan Raman, a 33-year-old
resident of Durban and social activist, who has recently applied for an OCI
(Overseas Citizenship of India) card, said, “It’s a panic reaction.
Messages and videos are being circulated targeting Indians. We want to protect
At least 330 people, many of them
Indians, were killed in the riots that ravaged parts of South Africa for about
two weeks, from July 9. It was four days after deadly arson and looting before
President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the army to quell the violence.
Indian-origin South African citizens have gone into panic mode, desperate for a
“back-up” plan. Several of whom spoke to admitted they have applied
for the OCI cards or were in the process of doing so.
Potential applicants blame poor
upkeep of documents, including the ship list of indentured labourers brought
from India nearly 150 years ago, and the lackluster response of the Indian
Embassy to their plight. “We are scared of another round of violence. I
will be applying for an OCI card,” said Krishna Jagarnath, 35, a Durban
resident, whose ancestors hail from Bihar.
Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter
Ela Gandhi, who resides in Durban, said, “We are trying to unite people
across racial lines and build peace and goodwill.” But there’s a lot of
uncertainty and insecurity because of threats from certain sections. “We
don’t know where they are going to attack and when they are going to
attack,” she said.