Indo-African woman gets racist threats

An African Indian woman lives through a series of threats on her life, after promotion in the South Africa police department.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 16:14 IST

A South African Indian woman is living through a series of threats on her life, after she was promoted in the South African police department.

Mogie Govender, 37, started receiving the threats mentioning her Indian ancestry last month after she was promoted and asked to join the Umlazi police station near Durban as a chief clerk, according to a report.

She first received a call last August 14 in which a Black female voice told her not to come to Umlazi as the post belonged to "them".

"A day later she received a letter in her mail box at home. The letter in a white envelope was addressed to her. It threatened her life and said coolies (a derogatory term for Indian origin people) were not wanted in Umlazi," Police and Prisons Civil Rights Unions (Popcru) KwaZulu Natal shop steward, Ahmed Sayed Mohammed Haniff, who is representing Govender, said.

Govender was for the last 13 years posted at the Chatsworth Police Station in Durban, a city with a large Indian origin population.

Haniff said that her client had successfully applied for the post as chief clerk and was told by the South African Police Service (SAPS) human resources department to report for duty at Umlazi police station on September 1.

Four other Indian origin police members had also been sent on promotion to Umlazi with Govender but none of them had received threats or were intimidated.

Umlazi has a population of around 750,000, predominantly Blacks.

Last Thursday, Govender received a second letter in the mail, which read: "Go to Umlazi, be warned. You and your family will suffer the consequences."

And then on Monday the tyres of her car, parked near her new office, were found deflated.

Govender has now filed a case of intimidation and obscene phone calls with the police.

Accompanied by her father, Bobby Moodley, 65, she also attended a meeting, which was headed by Durban's acting area commissioner director John Bohlogo and attended by representatives of the SAPS human resources department.

Moodley was, however, upset when his daughter was given an ultimatum to either "give up her safety or her post" by one of the human resources representatives at the meeting.

"My daughter's life is more important. After 13 years of service, it is sad to note that her life is not valued by the SAPS," Moodley said.

According to Haniff, the area commissioner's office had assured Govender that the Umlazi police station and director Oswald Zama would ensure her safety.

First Published: Sep 06, 2006 16:14 IST