The African National Congress Youth League has affirmed its support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Speaking to Middle East Monitor on Monday, the Secretary-General of South Africa’s ruling party, Njabulo Nzuza, stressed that its National Executive Committee (NEC) even took a decision to work together with BDS South Africa (BDS SA).
Over the weekend, a Youth League member, Thembi Siweya, sparked controversy when she published an article titled “BDS SA, undermining South Africa” wherein she criticized the BDS movement. In particular, Siweya made clear that she is against any opposition to an Israeli company’s intended takeover of South Africa’s largest dairy producer, Clover.
— Daily Maverick (@dailymaverick) February 19, 2019
“BDS SA ought to listen to what ordinary Palestinians yearn for. Its messaging on Palestine is not coherent and fails to benefit the Palestinians living in Palestine.”
Nzuza was emphatic that Siweya’s views are “not the position of the Youth League.”
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) February 12, 2019
Meanwhile, the former Chairperson of International Relations at the South African Parliament, and now spokesperson of BDS SA, Tisetso Magama, also criticized Siweya’s claim.
“Just a little research would reveal that the call for the BDS boycott of Israel was made by the largest grouping of Palestinian civil society, including virtually all Palestinians political parties.”
South Africa's largest trade union federation @_cosatu is opposed to attempts by Israeli company Central Bottling Company (CBC) to take over South African dairy company @CloverWayBetter https://t.co/AZcfLBmCmu pic.twitter.com/F6g3XtcSHV
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) February 19, 2019
It is Siweya, he insisted, who has distorted the views of the ANC and South Africa.
“South Africans in general and the ANC, in particular, are long-time allies of the Palestine solidarity and BDS movement.”
Siweya’s comments followed statements made by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in which he affirmed the country’s support for the people of Palestine during a recent parliamentary address.
Important statement from the Youth League of South Africa’s ruling @MYANC outlining their official position on Palestine, support for the BDS movement and their opposition to the intended Israeli take-over of the South African dairy company, @CloverWayBetter https://t.co/GRSO9Pgubi
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) February 18, 2019
The President pointed out:
“Our support for the struggle of the Palestinian people is not merely a product of history. It is a refusal to accept that a people should be continually denied the right of self-determination in violation of international law.”
Israel’s Central Bottling Company is leading a consortium of companies in a takeover of Clover. According to Israeli human rights and research body Who Profits, the Israeli company has unlawful operations in illegal settlements and previously donated to the right-wing Israeli “fascist” organization Im Tirtzu.
A spokesperson of the Farm and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, Dominique Martin, explained that the organization supported pro-Palestinian groups in their rejection of the proposed deal to take over Clover Dairy.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)