PRESS RELEASE: Joint protest and picket outside CapeGate in Boipatong/Vanderbijlpark by ex-employees and BDS South Africa against labour exploitation, and in support of environmental justice and solidarity with Palestinians

Today, Wednesday the 18th of September, at 12h00 former employees and current employees of Cape Gate together with the Vaal Environmental Joint Association (VEJA), and BDS South Africa will hold a joint protest and picket outside the Vanderbilkpark head offices of Cape Gate. Cape Gate (located at Number 3 Nobel Boulevard in Boipatong/Vanderbijlkpark near Johannesburg) is a South African based steel and wire company with a national and international footprint, including having (illegal) activities and relations in and with the Israeli regime.
DATE: Wednesday, 18 September 2013 [TODAY]
TIME: From 12h00
ADDRESS: 3 Nobel Boulevard, Boipatong/Vanderbijlkpark, Gauteng (Near Johannesburg)
CONTACT: 084 2119988 / 0785563392
Workers and activists will be coming together today (Wednesday, 18 September) to protest:
i) LABOUR EXPLOITATION INCLUDING: CapeGate's refusal to pay workers "pension surplus funds" owed (and approved by the Financial Services Board) to workers for the last 18 years amongst other worker issues. 18 years is far too long and this amounts to serious worker exploitation by Cape Gate;
ii) ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: The Vaal Environmental Joint Association (VEJA) has submitted a request to Cape Gate to issue a report to the community regarding the company’s carbon emissions; VEJA still awaits such a report. The request for such information and report was informed by continuous chest pains and lung respiratory related infections experienced by members of communities surrounding Cape Gate;
iii) PALESTINE-ISRAEL: Cape Gate's relationship with Israel (CapeGate shamefully supplies material to, and profits from, the construction of Israel's notorious, "Apartheid Wall". Cape Gate also supplies material to and for the construction of Israel's illegal settlements. Cape Gate has an Israeli subsidiary "Yehuda Welded Mesh").
We demand genuinely democratic and transparent engagement with the management of Cape Gate in addressing the above issues and in attempting to resolve them. We specifically demand that

- Cape Gate fast track the processing of the distribution to ex-employees of respective "pension surplus fund", this including full compensation for the unclaimed funds by families of the deceased. 18 years is far too long;
- The awarding of shares which was promised to ex-employees be fast-tracked. 18 years is far too long to still be waiting;
- Ex employees be afforded the due process of medical check-ups, and be awarded Occupational Health Compensation due to them when damage to health (due to employment by Cape Gate) is proven;
- Cape Gate  report back to surrounding communities regarding Cape Gate's carbon emission levels;
- Cape Gate immediately ends relations with Israel, respects international law as well as the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) call by the oppressed and indigenous Palestinians;
- Cape Gate recompensates Palestinians for having violated international law in supplying Israel with materials (directly and indirectly through its Israeli firm "Yehuda Welded Mesh") for the construction of Israel's "Apartheid Wall" and illegal settlements.
Today's picket and protest comes after months of discussions between the ex-employees of Cape Gate, community members, VEJA, BDS South Africa and partner organizations. Today's picket and protest is the start of a larger and broader campaign between workers, community members and activists around CapeGate and holding the company accountable to South African Labour Laws, Environmental Law and International Law. If CapeGate fails to  meet the above - very reasonable - demands then the campaign will be escalated, as planned, to include more pickets, mass protests as well as legal action.

Office 915 | 9th Floor | Khotso House | 62 Marshall Street | Johannesburg
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T: +27 (0) 11 492 2414 | M: +27 (0) 84 211 9988 | F: +27 (0) 86 650 4836
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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