ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe has accused the Western Cape and South African governments of irresponsibility for refusing offers by internationally-acclaimed Israeli water technicians to assist with overcoming devastating drought conditions in the Cape and other regions of the country.
In his response earlier this month to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden state of the nation address, Meshoe urged the president not to be influenced by “hateful people” such as the Boycott Disinvestment Campaign, and other anti-Israel groups who called on the government to boycott Israel because of the lie that it was an apartheid state.
“Surely it is irresponsible for government to refuse help from experts that would benefit all our people — particularly the poor and vulnerable — because of narrow political agendas,” he said.
He appealed to Ramaphosa not to be influenced by hateful people as hatred divided people and hindered progress and prosperity.
“I call of government to be humble and call on people with a proven track record — people who lived in a desert and yet have no water shortages,” he said.
According to a report in Cii Radio, an Islamic station, then Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, speaking in the same debate, responded to Meshoe, saying: “The majority party has agreed, that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people.” Pandor, who converted to Islam after meeting her husband while studying in Botswana, has since been appointed Minister of Higher Education.
After Ramaphosa was elected president of the ANC in January Meshoe appealed to him in an open letter not to implement the party’s recent conference resolution to downgrade the SA Embassy in Israel, which he said “will not serve the broader interest of our people here at home, but only the narrow political interests of hateful Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO); organisations that continue to dream about annihilating Israel from the face of the earth”.
Within days of Meshoe’s open letter Ramaphosa — who was deputy president of South Africa at the time — indicated he stood by the party line on Israel. Speaking at the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations in East London he said: “The ANC reaffirms its commitment to give practical support to the oppressed people of Palestine, and we are of the firm view that the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office would help to send a strong signal in this regard.”
It remains to be seen whether SA’s new state president will implement the resolution to downgrade the embassy in Tel Aviv. If he does, the move will likely further cut South Africa off from benefiting from access to Israel’s advanced water-saving technology, including recycling waste water, treating acid mine drainage, desalination, drip irrigation and development of drought-resistant plants.