Controversial Durban businessman and former advisor to President Jacob Zuma, Schabir Shaik, has lashed out at Julius Malema after the EFF leader accused Indian businesses of exploitation and monopolising the KwaZulu-Natal economy.
"This fool is misinformed and does not have any insight with regard to business ownership in KZN. Why does he not talk about Huletts and other big, white capital and business in the province?
"The issue of land distribution must begin with Huletts, why is Malema silent on this?" asked Shaik, who was released on medical parole in 2009, after being convicted on charges of fraud in 2005 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Shaik is the latest figure to join the chorus of criticism of Malema, who has been accused of fanning racial tension in KZN to bolster support for his party in the province.
"They are ill-treating our people," Malema told thousands of supporters who turned out to hear him speak in Durban, where the party marked its fourth year as a political party. "They are worse than Afrikaners were. This is not an anti-Indian statement, it's the truth. Indians who own shops don't pay our people, but they give them food parcels.
"They must be paid a minimum wage. We're not going to nurse feelings here."
But Shaik was not impressed and called on those who are being exploited to turn to legitimate structures instead of playing the race card.
"Is the Indian community an easy target in Malema's political stage performance? Workers are aware of their rights these days and know about labour courts and their right to CCMA if there are issues around labour matters.
"There are very few who are not familiar with this recourse. Instead of playing on racial tensions, why doesn't Malema encourage workers to challenge their working conditions through proper structures?
"I am disappointed in Malema and will not support his political agenda, as he is clearly causing dissension and division in our society. A true leader does the opposite," added Shaik, who is classified as terminally ill as he continues to serve his 15-year sentence under house arrest.