PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has rejected the violence in the Phoenix area of Durban as an indication of a breakdown in relations between South Africans and Indians.
He accused some individuals as presenting the tensions as such in order to capitalise on the situation, as was the case with the recent unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
“There is an attempt to present this as a sign of imploding race relations between African and Indian communities,” Ramaphosa said on the problems in Phoenix.
More than 30 people have reportedly been killed during the conflict that has been presented as pitting African and Indian members of the community in the town about 25 kilometres northwest of Durban Central.
The violence is the aftermath of the looting and vandalism that plagued KZN a fortnight ago.
“Just as there were people who tried to exploit people’s vulnerability and cause mayhem, there are those who want to present criminal acts in racial terms to serve their own purposes,” Ramaphosa said.
“They will not succeed,” the president insisted in his weekly letter on Monday.
He reminded that South Africa had a proud history of principled non-racialism and working class solidarity.
“African and Indian communities were united in the struggle against apartheid and, together with other communities, remain committed to a united and democratic society.”
Nonetheless, Ramaphosa conceded Phoenix was not the only part of South Africa confronted with such divisions.
“At the same time, we need to confront racism in our society,” Ramaphosa said.
He called for unity as the country attempts to heal from divisions of the past and the latest upheaval.
“Let us overcome our differences in pursuit of the common good. Let us work together to forge a common future in which everyone has an equal share,” Ramaphosa concluded.