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03 Feb 2009 15:43
Durban dock workers are expected to refuse to offload an Israeli ship as part of a week of action against “apartheid” Israel, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) said on Tuesday.
Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven and PSC spokesperson Salim Vally said dock workers would refuse to offload the ship arriving on Sunday, February 8, as part of a refusal to support oppression and exploitation across the globe.
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) general secretary Randall Howard said the union’s members were committed to not handling Israeli goods.
Last year, Durban dock workers refused to offload a shipment of arms from China that was destined for Zimbabwe.
The arms would have been used to “prop up the Mugabe regime and to intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people”, Craven said.
“In 1963, just four years after the anti-apartheid movement was formed, Danish dock workers refused to offload a ship with South African goods.
“When the ship docked in Sweden, Swedish workers followed suit. Dock workers in Liverpool and, later, in the San Francisco Bay area also refused to offload South African goods,” he said.
Western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia supported the “campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel and had called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel.
“This is the legacy and the tradition that South African dock workers have inherited, and it is a legacy they are determined to honour, by ensuring that South African ports of entry will not be used as transit points for goods bound for or emanating from certain dictatorial and oppressive states such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Israel.”
Cosatu called on other workers and unions across the globe to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine was free.
The week of action would include a protest in front of the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies in Johannesburg on Friday, a rally on the same day in Actonville on the East Rand and a demonstration in front of Parliament in Cape Town.
The protest would be addressed by Howard and former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, Craven said.
The rally on Friday would be addressed by Vally, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, South African Council of Churches general secretary Eddie Makue and Kasrils.
A protest at Durban harbour and a rally in Cape Town were planned for Sunday February 8, Craven said.—Sapa
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