08 November 2016

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa welcomes the important and significant visit of a high level Palestinian delegation currently in South Africa as guest of the South African Government and the Department of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (CoGTA).

The visit aims to strengthen partnerships with the people of Palestine and South Africa as well as to advance further exchange in identified areas of cooperation and to enhance existing bilateral agreements between South Africa and the Palestinians.

The visiting Palestinian delegation is led by Dr Hussein Alaraj, the Palestinian Minister of Local Governance and includes local Palestinian mayors and other officials.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Minister Des Van Rooyen hosted a dinner last night to welcome the visiting delegation to our country. In attendance was CoGTA Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, Chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Parks Tau, SALGA CEO Xolile George, Mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga, representatives from the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) and members of BDS South Africa.

The Palestinian delegation was warmly welcomed by Minister Van Rooyen, who explained that “our relationship with the Palestinian people is as a result of long term solidarity at a political and people to people level.”

The Minister expressed CoGTA’s clear and uncompromising support for the people of Palestine. Minister Alaraj responded in kind, expressing that Palestinians feel most at home in South Africa but also that as comrades they expect more from South Africa because of the increasing Israeli occupation and on going human rights violations. Mayor Msimanga welcomed the delegation to the capital city and said that he looked forward to engaging on developing relations between Pretoria and Palestine.

BDS South Africa welcomes the strengthening of relations between South Africa and Palestine as well as the message to Israel that its occupation and abuse of human rights will not be tolerated or entertained. South Africa has an effective ban on Ministers traveling to Israel. President Jacob Zuma reiterated the ANC’s policy at the beginning of the year when he said: “We reiterate that we discourage travel to Israel for ANC leaders, members and representatives for business and leisure purposes.”

While, advancing cooperation between South Africa and Palestine we will together with the Government of South Africa campaign for the non-violent anti-apartheid inspired isolation of Israel until it ends its violations of international law. As President Mandela put it: “We are proud of the modest technical assistance that our government is offering Palestine… but the various discussions with our counterparts in Palestine are an indication that we can do more”

A wreath-laying ceremony will take place on Wednesday 9 November at 12h30 at the Hector Peterson Memorial in Soweto with the visiting Palestinian delegation.

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA

For more information – 
BDS South Africa, Kwara Kekana: 0740543826
CoGTA, Legadima Leso: 0833789495
Embassy of Palestine, Hassona Aldramly: 0736863443

BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL IN SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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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

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