The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal has joined the chorus of voices calling for a boycott of retailer Woolworths due to its alleged support of the Jewish state of Israel. The party’s provincial secretary, Bheki Mtolo, made the call during a press conference held in Durban on Tuesday.
Mtolo stated that the boycott is in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, who are currently facing the brunt of Israel’s bombing. He emphasized that businesses, such as Woolworths, that support Israeli companies should be boycotted.
This call for a boycott follows similar statements made by other political figures, including Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Malema made his call for a boycott on Monday at the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, urging the Jewish state to halt its bombing of Gaza. He specifically singled out Woolworths for stocking products from Israeli companies.
On Thursday, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal plans to organize a mass protest in central Durban against Israel. The protest will commence at King Dinuzulu Park and proceed through the Durban city centre. The ANC is urging the people of the province to boycott Woolworths as a means of showing solidarity with Palestinians and opposing the Israeli occupation.
During the press conference, Mtolo expressed support for ongoing pickets outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and called for an immediate ceasefire in the region. He emphasized the ANC’s commitment to lasting peace between Israel and Palestine and condemned the violence committed by both sides.
Mtolo stated, ‘No amount of violence directed at Israeli civilians by Hamas will aid the cause of the Palestinian people. When the ANC was involved in the armed struggle against the racist apartheid regime, civilians were never the target of military operations. We strongly condemn the killing of innocent and defenseless civilians in any conflict.’
The press conference was attended by alliance partners, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), and pro-Palestinian groups who will participate in Thursday’s protest action.