Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 04 October 2012
Despite having its hands tied by increasingly turbulent labour relations in South Africa coupled with the challenges posed by breakaway unions, South Africa’s largest trade union federation remains resolute in its commitment to the Palestinian cause.
Addressing participants at the launch of an historic pro-Palestinian solidarity alliance in Johannesburg, the Coalition for a Free Palestine(CFP), COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini reaffirmed his movements belief that the South African and Palestinian quests for freedom were inextricably linked.
“We believe that until Palestine is free, even South Africa remains with an incomplete assignment of freeing itself,” he said, echoing the familiar refrain of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Dlamini asserted that COSATU were not outsiders to the cause of Palestinian solidarity, but rather had been active players in the field for some time. He cited an example of the outspokenness of COSATU’s international relations secretary Bongani Masuku at a symposium in Canada to illustrate what he said was the movement’s unflinching commitment to achieving justice for Palestinians, even internationally. “Whilst he(Masuku) was championing the cause of the Palestinians, a delegation of some Americans and Israelis approached me to complain, and demanded he be excluded from the conference as they interpreted his statements as inciting towards violence against Israel. (But we stood by him) as this is an ideal that COSATU believes in.”
The trade union leader said he was gratified by the formation of the umbrella body, calling it a “bold and important statement” that needed to be supported by all progressive formations who sought to contribute to the Palestinian cause in a more visible and meaningful way.
“We will within our power, within our ability, ensure that this campaign is escalated both in South Africa and anywhere in the world – this is how massive this campaign is, anywhere we go, COSATU does not forget to say ‘Remember the people of Palestine (who) live on a daily basis under massive mistreatment from the Israelis, the Americans and everybody who hates freedom.’ “
The President of the largest of the country’s trade union federations, with 21 affiliated movements representing a collective of 1.8 million workers, said he was optimistic about the prospects for Palestinian freedom.
“The people of Palestine must be free, and this freedom is growing nigh; its drawing closer; we’re almost there.”Bongani Masuku, Coaltion for a Free Palestine, Cosatu, Israel, Palestine, Sdumo Dlamini, USA, Zionism