Following reports that an Israeli company won a substantial contract to work in South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) issued a strong statement attacking the project, promising serious action if it is not halted.
According to the COSATU press release, âWe need to take drastic action to disrupt this transaction, which is an attack on the noble struggle of the oppressed Palestinian people. We need to send a clear message to all oppressors that our country will not be used by countries which oppress peoples for greedy commercial interests.â
Not only has COSATU attacked the current project, but continues to reiterate its support of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Occupation.
âWe call on the world community of progressive peoples to do all within their power to mobilise for intensified action and the isolation of the Israeli at all levels. We are also aware that Israeli supported with arms and helped the brutal apartheid regime to murder and kill political activists on our own soil, so we have reason to share in the pains and suffering of the Palestinian people at this hour of needâ¦South Africa must send the Israeli ambassador in our country back home. In this way, we shall be giving a practical signal of solidarity with our comrades in the occupied territories. The time has come and we must act and act now.â
The COSATU statement comes after Orsus Solutions Israel Ltd. is reported to have won a contract estimated at more than $5 million to work with Transnet Freight Rail, an international rail operator based in South Africa. The project, now underway, is connecting three nerve centres in Johannesburg, Richardâs Bay and Cape Town, with surveillance cameras, digital video recorders, access control systems, fire systems, and electrical fence sensors deployed across 34,000 kilometres of railway lines.
Stemming partially from their own experience under apartheid, the South African people have always been strong supporters of the Palestinian people. While the COSATU stance is another indicator of South African commitment to the struggle, it is also part of a growing solidarity that is developing between global trade unions and the Palestinian people. In Canada, the CUPW has voted for implementing BDS against Israel. In the UK, the movement to boycott Israel is gaining momentum.