Statement by Yusuf Dadoo at a Press Conference in London, January 25, 1949(1)

Dr. Dadoo held a well attended press conference in London on Tuesday, the 25th of January 1949, at which he dealt with the features and causes of the recent Durban massacre, and placed primary and main responsibility for the pogrom on the shoulders of the extremely reactionary and fascist Government of Dr. Malan and the Nationalist Party.

Warning the United Nations he said: "The Durban massacre underlines in boldest manner the urgency for immediate action by the United Nations, if further and more dangerous calamities are to be averted".

Referring to the basic causes of grinding poverty, starvation, racial discrimination and the apartheid policy of the Malan Government, he stated "one cannot escape the conclusion that the outbreak here has the resemblance of organised attack that it was premeditated, although something went wrong with the timing, that a hidden hand of instigators lurks behind the events, that such events eminently suited the Government in order to weaken the growing opposition to the Government policy, that it may be used as a weapon to impose further repression on both Indian and African people, that the activities of the South African Protection League are calculated to foster and inspire, and get extended to other areas repetitions of what happened in Durban.

"The hands of the Malan Government are stained with the blood of innocent men, women and children. The Government and their racialistic supporters cannot escape their responsibilities."

He congratulated the leaders of the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses and the African organisations for haying acted jointly together with commendable courage and despatch, to quieten the situation and afford relief to victims. He also paid tribute to sympathetic Europeans and the Red Cross for rendering yeoman services in supplying medical aid and foodstuff. "They have earned the deepest gratitude of non-white and all democracy-loving people", he said. Pointing out the task before South African people Dr. Dadoo said:

"I make this urgent appeal to national organisations of African and Indian people to conduct an intensive organised drive and explain to the people the now situation, and to strengthen their organisational ties with the masses and to forge maximum unity for the struggle against apartheid and racial oppression and for full democratic rights. This united struggle must embrace all sections of South African people including all those Europeans who are against the policies of the present Government.

"While we welcome the announcement of the Government to appoint a judicial commission, we demand inclusion of African and Indian representatives. If we succeed in carrying out these tasks, we shall not only defeat fascist aims of the herrenvolk, but we shall also perform the historic role of transforming racialist-ridden South Africa into a fully democratic state with equal rights and opportunities for all".

Dr. Dadoo expressed gratitude to the Government and people of India for their deep concern and anxiety and their powerful expression of sympathy with victims and their readiness to help in every possible way.

He announced that many enquiries have been made by British sympathisers at the South African Committee of the India League, as to the way in which they could morally and materially help and support.

"In response to their requests, a fund-raising committee is in process of being formed, and we have no doubt that the British people will respond generously. While all relief should be afforded victims, both African and Indian, it is equally important that every possible step should be taken to remove the basic causes which make such calamities possible. We therefore make earnest appeals to people and organisations in Britain to ask the British Government to support India's case against South Africa at the United Nations so as to bring to book the Government of South Africa for its racial and fascist policies".

1 From: Press release of the Transvaal Indian Congress


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