South Africa’s Largest University Backs Boycott of Israel

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) is South Africa’s largest residency university, (Photo: Logo)

By Kwara Kekana (On Behalf of BDS South Africa)

In another major win, South Africa’s largest residency university, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), with over 60 000 students, has come out in support of the academic boycott of Israel.

Principal of TUT, Professor Lourens Van Staden, in a public statement explained that: “The Council of the Tshwane University of Technology formally approved a recommendation by the Institutional Forum that TUT will not have any ties with Israel, Israeli organisations and institutions”.

The chairperson of TUT’s Institutional Forum, Gugu Xaba, welcomed the decision of his university: “TUT is joining other human rights respecting institutions including our colleagues at the University of Johannesburg who also terminated their relations with Israel in 2011. This is another major win for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement contributing to a formidable momentum for Palestine! We salute all those involved in taking this decision.”

Last year the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa falsely claimed that TUT was forging and concluding relations with Israel. This resulted in wide-spread disapproval within the university.

Members of TUT were engaged by BDS South Africa, the Embassy of Palestine, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as well as a group of Jewish Israeli citizens who are opposed to their country’s occupation of Palestine. The various organisations all queried the Ambassador’s claims and urged TUT to support the academic boycott of Israel.

A process was set in motion to investigate the matter and a democratic decision was then made following almost a year of deliberations within TUT’s Senate, Institutional Forum, Council as well as faculties. The Israeli ambassador’s mis-truths seemed to have spectacularly backfired.

(BDS South Africa)

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