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Racist remarks by South African MP angers Indian-origin people

July 24, 2008 17:53 IST
Former Indian-origin anti-apartheid sports administrators in South Africa have strongly condemned the racist statement of a ruling party MP, who had said the country's Olympic body was "full of whites and Indians" who lack vision.

Ruling African National Congress member of parliament Khompela while commenting on concerns that the team to Beijing Olympics did not contain a majority of black participants, had told a newspaper early this week that South African Olympic Committee is "full of whites and Indians who don't understand transformation and who lack vision".

Following the statement, the South African olympic committee has announced that it would not appear in front of Khompela's committee to answer questions about transformation in South African sport.

Sam Ramsamy, who was the first chairman of the South African olympic committee after freedom in 1994, said he was "hurt and angry" that someone in the position of Khompela should make such a "racist" statement in the new South Africa.

"We have played a major role in bringing about change in sport and politics in South Africa and it hurts to hear a senior member of parliament to make such a racist statement", said Ramsamy, adding, "Mr Khompela must come forward and express his regret".

Ronnie Govender, a well-known writer and author and former anti-apartheid soccer official, said Indian-origin people had played a significant role in fighting apartheid in sport and politics in the country and "people like Khompela should be made aware of this".

The leader of the United Democratic Movement, Bantu Holomisa, has also reacted by saying Khompela should "explain his statement to parliament".

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