PRESS RELEASE: S.Africa's ruling party resolves on travel-ban to Israel & exclusion of Caterpillar, G4S, Capegate and others from South African Government contracts
23 September 2014
The Palestine solidarity and human rights organization, BDS South Africa, welcomes the recent concrete boycott of Israel positions adopted by the ANC, South Africa’s ruling party. This comes on the back of the recent statement
by the ANC-led alliance calling for the intensification of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign and isolation of Israel as a state founded on the basis of apartheid.
Over the weekend, the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) held a three day meeting at St George's Hotel in Tshwane/Pretoria. The ANC NEC is one of the highest decision making bodies of South Africa's rulinacg party, the ANC. Thus, these boycott of Israel positions are positions of the organization not just of one or two individuals as the Israeli lobby and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies is trying to falsely claim. We look forward to the ANC using its majority in parliament together with other organizations to ensure that these boycott of Israel positions become government policy.
In the report from the ANC NEC meeting, the ANC pledged its solidarity to the people of Cuba, Lesotho, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Palestine. This pledge of solidarity to the various struggles of people around the world dispels the myth that the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and the Israeli lobby is trying to spread that the ANC and South Africans are "obsessed" only with Israel or the SA Jewry. In fact, during the 1980s to call for a boycott of Apartheid South Africa did not mean that the ANC and the larger South African liberation struggle was calling for a boycott of Whites or Afrikaners. The 1980s boycott of Apartheid South Africa was about the isolation of the Apartheid regime and forcing the Apartheid government to come to the negotiating table. Likewise, today, boycotting Israel is not, as the SA Jewish Board of Deputies falsely claims, calling for a boycott of Jews. The boycott of Israel and BDS campaign is about isolating the Israeli regime as a country (that many progressive Jews do NOT identify with) and forcing Israeli leaders to come to the negotiating table.
Specifically on Palestine-Israel the ANC NEC took the following decisions:
- Intensification of engagement in multi-lateral institutions;
- Joining the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC, the Alliance, Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament and Government Officials.
- Companies that do business in the Israeli occupied [Palestinian] territories, such as Capegate, G4S Security and Caterpillar must not be allowed to business with [the South African] state. (See below for more information on these 3 companies' invovlement in Israel.)
- Goods manufactured in the Israeli occupied [Palestinian] territory should be boycotted.
- The development of a comprehensive programme of solidarity during the UN Month of Solidarity with Palestine
Kwara Kekana of BDS South Africa commented: “We welcome the ANC’s boycott of apartheid Israel in line with the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. We particularly welcome the official travel ban on South African government officials to Israel, which has for sometime now been unsaid policy. People around the world boycotted the apartheid South Africa regime in line with the ANC call for a boycott during the 1980s. With this boycott of Israel today, South Africans are now repaying the enormous debt of international solidarity that we Black South Africans were the recipients of."
NOTES TO THE EDITOR REGARDING CAPEGATE, G4S, CATEPILLAR
through its Israeli subsidiary "Yehuda Welded Mesh", supplies material to, and profits from, the construction of Israel's notorious, "Apartheid Wall". Israel's Apartheid Wall, and support for the construction of the Wall, was deemed illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (http://tinyurl.com/qzfm7fd). Capegate also supplies material to and for the construction of Israel's illegal settlements.
In 2007 G4S was contracted to provide and maintain Israeli prisons, torture centres and detention facilities. In 2010 Palestinian prisoners and prisoner support organziations called for a boycott of G4S. In 2012, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights made special mention of G4S (and Catepillar) as one of the international companies that should be boycotted for their illegal involvement with Israel. Earlier this year, the Methodist Church and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were some of the most recent groups to have ended realtions with or divested from G4S. Bill Gates withdrew his entire R1.9 billion stake from G4S after being called on by BDS South Africa and the larger BDS movement.
Amnesty International and the European Union are among other organisations that have terminated their contracts with the company.
Kwara Kekana of BDS South Africa added: "We look forward to the South African Government replacing Caterpillar with local South African alternatives such as Bell Equipment. We look forward to the South African Government replacing G4S with local black-owned security companies rather than awarding an international company like G4S with security contracts that often are for sensitive areas such as our airports. The Israeli lobby and SA Jewish Board of Deputies claims that the BDS and boycott of Israel campagin will negatively affect South African jobs and the local economy. However, not awarding tenders and contracts to companies such as Caterpillar and G4S (that are complicit in Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine) and replacing these companies/suppliers with local South African alternatives will actually positively influence the South African economy and assist in job creation."
ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA.
BDS South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organization. NPO NUMBER: 084 306 NPO
BDS South Africa is a registered Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18A status. PBO NUMBER: 930 037 446