DA’s double standards on international relations
4 February 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently held a press conference wherein its leader Mmusi Maimane outlined their dissatisfaction about the atrocities that have been taking place in our neighbouring country Zimbabwe since the beginning of this year, further accusing the South African government of being indifferent to the situation therein, and exclaiming that its “quiet diplomacy” has failed.
Out of this irritation, Mmusi went further to outline the DA’s course of action, which among others included him paying a working visit to the Zimbabwean opposition leaders to seek practical solutions and garner support across the region. Accordingly, this is set to unveil a process whereby the DA will write a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to request an investigation into the government of Zimbabwe as per Article 15 of the Rome Statute, and he will approach the United Nations (UN) Commissioner on Human Rights Council on the ongoing crisis.
It is all well and good that there is common concern over what takes place within our neighbouring countries and beyond, as their wellbeing is very important for the stability of our region. In fact, taking keen interest in such developments better equips us to provide the necessary support and advice where needed, so as to ensure all conflict is resolved peacefully.
However, it is equally important to note the specific hypocritical inconsistencies the DA has practically adopted over the years in their failed attempts to usurp our people’s outlook on who or what they actually represent.
Firstly, the statement by the DA makes it abundantly clear that they do not recognise or believe in the ideal of Africans resolving their own problems. It out rightly undermines the thinking capacity that are vested within our sub-regional and continental institutions. They’d rather have western powers intervening and interfering in our domestic affairs, which goes against the backdrop of what we have for centuries strived to attain as a continent. Despite the DA being adamant that this is the route to go, it total disregards and undermines the very role we set up through structures like the African Union (AU) which seeks to achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans, to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its member states and to accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
Why the need to jump to the United Nations (UN) when we have our own structures? Why the need to devalue their potential as they are our intrinsic part?
Are we that backwards to want to continually nurture a dependent state wherein we do not possess full political independence or sovereignty as sovereign states, yet remaining politically controlled outside our own integral area?
Just to refresh our minds, it was the same “human rights conscious” Maimane, through the support of the political party he leads, who took a controversial trip to Apartheid Israel just weeks after the United Nations Council Resolution 2334 affirmed that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders. This effectively made it clear that the DA endorses Apartheid Israel.
The DA has had ties with Israel since Israel was founded through its predecessors the Democratic Party later called Progressive Federal Party which then merged with Independent Party and National Democratic Movement in 1989 to form the new Democratic Party.
After former Israeli ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk boasted about how Israel could generously assist Cape Town at the time they were having a water crisis, and after Mmusi’s visit to Apartheid Israel came reports of a R6bn Israeli desalination plant and of massive kickbacks to the DA. This however, as we now know, led to the then Mayor Patricia De Lille refusing to sign the contract, hence the eruption that led to her resignation.
This speaks volumes about the DA’s respect for human rights because they claim to support a peaceful resolution elsewhere but are utterly silent on Apartheid Israel’s policies, its wall that continues to be built up to this day, political prisoners’ situation including over 400 child prisoners, the continued construction of illegal settlements and the expansion of the settlement industry.
Just this past weekend, the Israeli government began building a new barrier along its border with the Gaza strip, further denying Palestinians to return to their homes which they fled in the war surrounding Israel’s forceful creation in 1948.
Interestingly, a known DA funder, Nathan Kirsh is the largest shareholder in Magal Security Systems which makes perimeters-security technology, effectively constructing the wall that secludes Palestinians in their own land. His company has won over 80% of the bids published by the Israeli Ministry of Defence for the installation of intrusion detection systems along the security fence meant at confining Palestinians, popularly known as ‘The Iron Wall’ built around Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
All these point to the fact that the DA on the other hand wants to have our people believe that they support human rights while in reality they support Apartheid Israel policies. They undermine their stated support for self-determination for the Palestinian people, and yet they want to lecture our government, which has always openly stood by the Palestinian people and recently refused to be dictated by the western world in recognising a self-imposed president-elect Juan Guaido against the democratic wishes of the Venezuelan people.
As much as it is a right decision to take in assisting our neighbours to create peace and stability, this should not be done through undermining established institutions’ roles and undermining the sovereignty of other countries. Equally, we cannot allow to be lectured about human rights by an organisation which not only chooses to turn a blind eye on other atrocities created by Israelis, but also continues supporting and attempting doing business with them.
Impartiality needs to be the order of the day when dealing with issues related to human rights as no human being or race should be considered superior to the other.
As we build a new nation, the question of relations with rogue states such as Apartheid Israel should always be on the agenda since our governing party’s stance of solidarity with the Palestinians who face similar atrocities South Africa faced 25 years ago.
Richard Mamabolo is Media and Communications Officer at POPRU.