Herman Mashaba suspends Mpho Phalatse over attendance at pro-Israel event – BDS

Organisation welcomes move by Joburg mayor against his MMC for health

Joburg Mayor suspends official over attendance at anti-BDS Israel event

12 June 2018

Earlier this morning Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, suspended senior city official, MMC of Health, Mpho Phalatse, over her participation at a pro-Israeli anti-BDS event on Sunday 10 June 2018.

The event, organised by the local Israeli lobby (which includes the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and SA Zionist Federation), was sponsored by Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy (the Israeli government department mandated with countering the international BDS boycott of Israel movement).

Speaking about the event, Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said: “The reality in South Africa is deeply disturbing given the increasing prominence of the BDS movement within the country and the solidarity shown by the ANC towards terrorist organizations. I decided to focus my ministry’s efforts on activities in South Africa in order to strengthen the local pro-Israel community and their fight against BDS and terrorism."

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization, BDS South Africa, welcomes the move to suspend Phalatse and calls on the Department of International Relations anc Cooperation to immediately implement the ruling party's resolution for the "unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office" as well as to begin a investigation into Israeli agencies operating in South Africa sowing discord and interfering with local civil society and domestic affairs.

Reverend Mike Oliphant of the Anglican Church in Johannesburg welcomed the news and added that: "As someone who has witnessed the suffering of Palestinians, of both Muslim and Christian Palestinians, it is absurd that MMC Phalatse would have even tried to suggest that South Africa stands with Israel. South Africans, our ruling party, several of our opposition parties, our government, our civil soceity, churches, unions and others all firmly stand with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid. On this issue we are united in our diversity! I invite Phalatse to engage with Palestinian Christians and to rid herself of the notion that the Land of Israel that we read about in our Bible is the same as the Modern Apartheid State of Israel that was only created in 1948 (at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians - including Christians!). She will soon realise that some of the first followers of Christ were actually the Palestinians! Jerusalem and Bethlehem are Palestinian towns!"

The suspension of Phalatse, which has been welcomed by South African civil society, human rights organisations, churches and unions, came following calls by the ruling ANC (click here) and opposition party EFF (click here).

Issued by Kwara Kekana on behalf of BDS South Africa, 12 June 2018