African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Fikile Mbalula denies allegations by Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie that the ANC had given the PA an ultimatum to withdraw its support for Israel or risk strained coalition agreements in certain municipalities.
The two parties are in coalition agreements in various municipalities including the City of Johannesburg.
Mbalula says Mckenzi’s claims are an exaggeration.
“We are very much perturbed by PA, but we don’t run the PA and it stands for their values and what they believe in. If they subscribe to Israel and Zionism, it’s clear that they have not been a part of the struggle of this country and they must be seen for who they are. We don’t control political parties and the stance they take. We live in South Africa which is a democratic state, everyone has got a right to express themselves and we can’t control political parties, to the extent that the ANC is in the coalition – there are such elements like the PA who support apartheid Israel. It’s a matter that the ANC will subject itself to its political analysis in the long term, is it worth it in the long term because to us, Palestine is everything and so in this instance, we have not given anyone an ultimatum, it’s an over-exaggeration on the part of PA, we are just taken aback from their stance.”
Israeli embassy closure
Mbalula says the party supported a motion passed in parliament to close the Israeli embassy in South Africa and sever diplomatic ties with Israel.
He says the people of Palestine must decide their future and must be given an opportunity to realise their sovereignty.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza will begin on Friday, with the first batch of hostages to be released.
Mbalula says there must be peace in the Middle East.
“The people of Palestine are subjected to Israeli Zionist state and apartheid. If you have been to South Africa there is no way you can look the other way round. That is why like-minded parties in Parliament on this one converged. The ANC was part and parcel of that and to us, it is not about who is the winner is humanity.”