PRESS STATEMENT: Over 50 arrested and currently held at Boipatong Police station for protest against Cape Gate
Over 50 people that were protesting at the head office of Cape Gate in Vanderbijlpark near Johannesburg earlier today are currently being held by the police at the Boipatong police station. Protestors refused to move until Cape Gate management responded to demands that were submitted over two months ago on the 18 of September.
Protestors were protesting against Cape Gate's exploitation of workers and support for Apartheid Israel.
PREVIOUS PRESS STATEMENT FOLLOW BELOW
For more information contact:
Muhammed Desai: 0842119988
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
Office 915 |
9th Floor |
Khotso House |
62 Marshall Street |
PO Box 2318 |
+27 (0) 11 492 2414 | M:
+27 (0) 84 211 9988 | F:
+27 (0) 86 650 4836
W: www.bdssouthafrica.com | E:
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
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Protest march (04 Dec) against S.African company Cape Gate (based in JHB) complicit in exploiting workers and supplying material for Israel's "Apartheid" wall and illegal settlements
DETAILS FOR WEDNESDAY 04 DECEMBER PROTEST
DATE: Wednesday, 04 December 2013
PROTEST MARCH STARTS: 9AM, Boipatong Taxi Rank (Corner Thaka Banna & Lekoa)
MARCH CULMINATES WITH SPEECHES: 12h30 at Cape Gate Head Office
(3 Nobel Boulevard, Boipatong/Vanderbijlkpark, Gauteng)
CONTACT DETAILS FOR MORE INFO: 0842119988/ 0842918510 / 0838787894
PRIMARY ORGANIZERS: Vaal Community Assembly, Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA), Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa), Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), African National Congress Youth League (ANC YL), Young Communist League (YCL), South African Students Congress (SASCO), South African Youth Alliance (SAYC) and others...
Workers, environmentalists, activists and community members will be demanding that Cape Gate:
1. Respect international law and end relations with Israel (Cape Gate 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). Cape Gate also supplies material to and for the construction of Israel's illegal settlements (SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFO);
2. Immediately discharges to ex-employees the "pension surplus funds" owed to workers for the last 18 years now (and already approved by the Financial Services Board), including full compensation for the unclaimed funds by families of the deceased workers;
3. Award to the ex-employees their company shares that were promised by Cape Gate (but never awarded) over 18 years ago;
4. Afford workers and ex-employees the due process of medical checks that should have been carried out by Cape Gate, and that these workers be awarded Occupational Health Compensation due to them in the cases of damage to health (due to employment by Cape Gate);
5. Report to the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA) and to surrounding communities Cape Gate's carbon emission levels; Cape Gate has, till today, refused to issue a report to VEJA and the Vanderbijlpark community regarding Cape Gate's carbon emissions and pollution levels (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);
BACKGROUND TO PROTEST
Two months ago on the 18th of September 2013 (http://ymlp211.net/zWgpzT) a memorandum was submitted (and also emailed to Cape Gate on the 08th of October 2013). Cape Gate failed to respond to either and a follow up picket was held on the 06th of November 2013 (http://ymlp211.net/zXdU25) and at this picket Cape Gate, again, refused to engage with workers and activists (click here for photos: http://tinyurl.com/q7bvf7j).
Abraham Mokete of the Vaal Community Assembly said: "Cape Gate didn’t have the decency nor respect to respond to us...the arrogant anti-worker attitude of Cape Gate is shameful and disgraceful...we will now be returning [on the 05th of December] in our numbers in a major protest action that will see Cape Gate shut down and be forced to respond to our legitimate concerns. We have begun to liaise with other community, political and youth organizations to join us but we also invite all members of the public, including media, to join us in holding Cape Gate accountable to South African Labour Laws, Environmental Law and International Law. We, in good faith, requested democratic and transparent engagement with the management of Cape Gate in addressing our issues and in attempting to resolve them. We are disappointed that Cape Gate has refused to engage us in discussion and dialogue to resolve our issues. We now have no option but to protest and resort to legal recourse. We are also appealing to lawyers that could assist to also please come forward and please be in contact with us."
ABOUT CAPE GATE AND ITS INVOLVEMENT WITH ISRAEL
Cape Gate is a South African steel manufacturing company with a track-record of labour exploitation and worker mistreatment. Cape Gate is also involved in Israeli human rights abuses and violations of international law.
In 2009 StopTheWall, a Palestinian-based human rights organization, issued a report (click here to read) outlining Cape Gate's illegal involvement (through its Israeli subsidiary "Yehuda Welded Mesh") in Israeli military checkpoints, Israel's illegal Separation/Apartheid Wall and Israel's illegal settlements. StopTheWall details how Cape Gate has been involved, specifically, in:
- Building the Israeli fence and wall surrounding the Palestinian Gaza Strip;
- Supplying fences for Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall being constructed in the Israeli Occupied Palestinian West Bank (in 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall was in violation of international law);
- Supplying fences for the fencing of Israel's separate roads (built on Israeli occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank), including the Cross Shomron road (road no. 5), which leads to the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, and the Israel Tunnels Road, which connects the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem;
- Supplying fences used in the illegal Israeli settlements of Barkan, Ariel and Karnei Shomron in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank.
On Wednesday, to coincide with the South African protest, a letter will be delivered in Palestine by StopTheWall to the South African Consulate in Ramallah.
The above involvement by Cape Gate with Israel was confirmed by the Israeli human rights organization, Who Profits, in a 2012 Mail&Guardian Newspaper expose (see: http://tinyurl.com/crglvge). The Mail&Guardian Newspaper also un-covered that the current chairman of Cape Gate, Nathan Friedman, is also the chairperson of the pro-Israeli lobby group, the SA-Israel Forum (an organization, that it was revealed, carries out boycott-busting trips to Israel in an attempt to break the increasing international isolation of the Israeli regime).
In the recently published book, "The Case for Sanctions Against Israel" (edited by Audrea Lim) Dalit Baum and Merav Amir revealed that the late founder and owner of Cape Gate, Mendel Kaplan, was the former president of the pro-Israeli World Zionist organization (http://tinyurl.com/q7d84bf)