The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) will participate in public protests in Pretoria (Thursday, June 28) and Cape Town (Friday, June 29) to oppose the proposal by Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies, to label goods originating from Israel as “Made in “Occupied Palestinian Territories”, ACDP president Rev Kenneth Meshoe said this week.
On Thursday, the ACDP and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) will show their support for Israel with a protest march which will start at the Pretoria Arts Museum in Wessels Street, Pretoria at 10:45am and will end at the offices of the Department of Trade and Industry on Meintjies Street, Pretoria.
On Friday ACDP protestors will gather at the gates of Parliament at 12noon. “All friends of Israel”, including individuals, organisations and Christian groups, were invited to join the peaceful demonstration, said Meshoe.
The ACDP and fellow pro-Israeli protestors were showing their concern about the anti-Israel stance inherent in a General Notice signed by Davies, he said.
Radical political agenda
“They are concerned that this notice will involve the South African government in radical anti-Israel lobby group, Open Shuhada Street’s political agenda to boycott products from Israel, and ultimately, to advance repeated calls by the Iranian government to annihilate Israel.”
The notice in question is General Notice 379 of 2012, according to which Davies intends to make it a requirement that traders in South Africa and producers in Israel should label their products as originating from ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ and not from Israel. Upon arrival at the DTI offices on Thursday, a representative of the ACDP and IFP will hand over a memorandum to a representative of Davies, calling on the minister to either withdraw the notice or cancel it altogether.
“We disagree with the notice for a number of reasons,” said Meshoe.
“Firstly, it is based on an allegation – and not facts – by a radical anti-Israel lobby group, the Open Shuhada Street. The allegation states that products made by Ahava, including cosmetic brands, technology and soft drinks, are being distributed within South Africa as having been made in Israel and not in ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’.
The parties contend that this requirement would be in conflict with the Consumer Protection Act. Section 24(5)(a) of this Act deals with the labeling of products in terms of their country of origin. “Occupied Palestinian Territory is not a country but rather an area within Judea and Samaria,” Meshoe pointed out. “Accordingly, to label Israeli products as originating from ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ and not ‘Made in Israel’ would be misleading and factually incorrect.
“While South Africa needs to take a stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this should be done in such a way that the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected. Any move by the South African government should attempt to contribute towards a peaceful resolution to this very complicated conflict. As a country we need to treat both nations fairly and avoid making moves that could further exacerbate the conflict,” said Meshoe
“The ACDP believes that the South African government’s role should be to use the country’s legacy of reconciliation to encourage the peaceful co-existence of the two nations. “We therefore urge all ACDP members and supporters, as well as local supporters of Israel, to join the march,” he said.
“Concerned citizens who disagree with this notice should also submit their comments to the DTI – they only have until Monday, July 9 to do so,” he added. “Public opinion can sway important issues such as this one and I implore all interested parties to exercise their democratic rights in this regard.”
Interested persons and organizations may submit written comments via post to The Department of Trade and Industry, 77 Mentjies Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria (Attention: Mr. Ntutuzelo Vananda); or via email to NVananda@thedti.gov.za ( contact no 012 – 394-1383). The submission can be written or typed and there is no limit to number of pages.