At a recent press conference convened by Mr Willie Madisha of COPE, he expressed his unreserved apology to Reverend Frank Chikane for being slurred by a fellow COPE leader.
Thomas Mofokeng in an article defamed Reverend Chikane by calling him a liar regarding his views on Israel being an apartheid State.
Madisha denounced Mofokeng’s statement as unfounded and baseless. He emphasized that whatever had been stated by Mofokeng was incorrect and that COPE has nothing to do with it.
Madisha emphasized that Mofokeng did not have any authority to make any comments on behalf of COPE and any statement would come from the COPE Congress and not from any individual.
The official position of Mofokeng according to Madisha was that he was the Chairman of Gauteng and did not hold any other executive positions. He also stated that the structure in Gauteng would, in any case, be changing very soon as COPE will be re-structuring.
Madisha added that Mofokeng travels regularly to Israel on trips not sanctioned by COPE.
Madisha reminded the media that in 2014 COPE had issued a statement opposing what was happening to the Palestinians by Israel and they stand by that statement. They, therefore, support the stand taken by the Reverend Chikane also.
Madisha reflected that as COSATU and with other Union Members, he had met with Yasser Arafat in 2000 and was in Palestine in the house of Arafat while the Israelis were shooting at little children. Many children were killed on that day. Madisha also added that COSATU and himself were even, at time, prevented from entering Palestine.
COPE members only recognise the National Leadership of COPE. However, Mofokeng acts against the dictates of other countries and the rulings of United Nations (UN) vis-à-vis Israel. These countries and UN have openly stated that Israel was an Apartheid State. COPE has been with these groups and always against the actions of Israel.
He noted that COPE had always regarded Israel as practicing the concept of Bantustans as was instituted in RSA by the Nationalist Government of that time. The Israeli Wall is reminiscent of the boundaries of Bantustan in RSA with its killing of people and enforced segregation of the daily lives of innocent people and the International Community should not allow this against the Palestinians.
Members of COPE have to realise that COPE’s National Congress (CNCC) has stated in the formation of COPE and by COSATU also, their stand against Israel and there was no objection by any COPE member then. The Tri-Party Alliance has never supported Israel and does not do so now.
Much personal evidence can be brought forward against the actions of Israel against innocent Palestinians by those who go to Palestine and see for themselves-as was done by Reverend Chikane and his team who visited Palestine recently.
The rights of the People of Palestine in all respects must be recognised and the Palestinians must have their own state. COPE believes that any kind of negotiation concerning Palestine must include the leadership of Palestine and no decision should be taken without them. The people of Palestine need to see justice by all concerned.
COPE has started a process and will continue to mobilise other Political Parties and organisations to bring the conditions of the Palestinians to the forefront and actions planned and processed as a matter of urgency. Actions against Israel must be such that Israel realises that the world does not condone apartheid.
The Russian attack on Ukraine has left 100 000 people displaced with almost 40 million leaving their homes. The Government in RSA is using Quiet Diplomacy and this is not working. There is intense Organisational push from individual organisations and countries against the actions of Russia. People are suffering on an on-going basis. The world is aware of what Israel is doing but concentration is on Ukraine, yet the Palestinians have been suffering for all their lives. It must be remembered that Israel, through its influence in USA wants to control the whole world via the Veto power of USA in UN.
We all know that Russia has moved away from Communism and RSA also needs to recognise this as their pat type of Government and the present and move away from the “Quiet Diplomacy” as this does not help anyone.
In RSA, the smaller political parties, all 40 of them, need to unite against atrocities being practiced internationally. There is need to act jointly to address the Russian/Ukraine; Israel/Palestine; India/Kashmir and Islamophobia Internationally and attacks on any people or Religion.
The Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu teachings and stand must not be ignored by South Africans particularly.
Abdool Aziz Shaikh
Media Review Network
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