New Bill Seeks South Africa to Halt Trade with Israel

Member of Parliament Mandla Mandela has endorsed a bill seeking to outlaw the South African government and private sector from having trade or diplomatic ties with Israel.

This comes from the Implementation and Protection of Palestinian Solidarity Rights Bill sponsored by human rights attorney Ziyaad Patel and endorsed by Mandla, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, who is a legislator in the ruling party.

Israel’s export of weapons to the United States and South Africa was on the front burner in this year’s “Israeli Apartheid Week”.

The bill was discussed at a virtual meeting on 20 March organised by the South African Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Coalition as part of Israeli Apartheid Week.

Member of Parliament Mandla Mandela

Launched in 2004, the initiative features annual global protests and seminars to build support for the global BDS campaign and highlight Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians.

The bill says it aims to “construct a legally enabling framework which converts the political rhetoric of South Africa’s governing political party, the African National Congress and/or other such political parties into tangible support for the international Palestinian Solidarity Intifada”.

Global institutions such as the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and College Retirement Equities Fund, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., as well as numerous cities in the United States and Europe have divested from companies such as Caterpillar, Veolia and G4 Security Services over the past eight years because of their support for the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.

“We know that the Palestinian cause is at a tipping point where Palestinians are undergoing an incremental genocide. South Africa sits with a huge responsibility and we need to be taking the Palestinian cause to the next level,” said Patel.

The proposed act would be a “state response by South Africa forcing Israel to alter its current policies violating fundamental Palestinian human rights”. If the law is passed, the government would be legally compelled to establish boycotts, trade divestment, economic sanctions and a lawfare council that would agree a deadline by which BDS and the breaking of diplomatic, trade and economic relations with Israel would have to take place.

The council would be a statutory regulatory body made up of 30 politicians, lawyers and activists, and nine attorneys. The bill also proposes a range of fines and jail terms – from R300,000 to five years in prison for persons or businesses who continue to trade with Israel.


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