International Relations and Cooperations Minister Naledi Pandor. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)
International Relations and Cooperations Minister Naledi Pandor has accused Israeli intelligence of trying to intimidate her after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) recently ruled that it was “plausible” that Israel’s actions could amount to genocidal acts and ordered it to prevent such harm to Palestinians in Gaza
Speaking on the sidelines of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address on Thursday night, Pandor said she was concerned for the safety of her family after having been targeted on social media.
Pandor said she had spoken to Police Minister Bheki Cele about beefing up her security after she received threatening messages.
“I felt that [it would] be better if we had extra security. But what I’m more concerned about is my family, because in some of the social media messages my children are mentioned and so on, but this is par for the course. The Israeli agents, the intelligence services, [this] is how they behave, and they seek to intimidate you, so we must not be intimidated. There is a cause that is under way.”
She said the government was determined to see the ICJ case through, much like the people of Palestine had been in fighting South Africa’s apartheid system.
“We can’t stand back now. We must be with them. And I think one of the things we must not allow is a failure of courage. It’s extremely important that we continue with this. We talked to the South African people; they understand why it is we have taken up this moral course,” she said.
Pandor’s claims come after Ramaphosa spoke of a possible pushback against South Africa which may focus on its domestic politics and its electoral outcomes to bring about a “regime change”.
South Africa’s decision to go to the ICJ and the subsequent ruling has polarised the world, with Western countries backing Israel’s right to defend itself following the 7 October attack by Hamas, while other countries, including the Arab League, have endorsed South Africa’s case.
Pandor said South Africa’s lawyers will be working hard in the coming months alongside her department and the justice ministry to put together a case for the next round of arguments at the ICJ.
“We mustn’t pause. We shouldn’t become afraid. With the support of the people of Cape Town and broadly of South Africa, I believe we will have the strength to carry through this very important task.”
South Africa will host the G20 summit in 2025. Pandor said the country will look towards using its term as chair to ensure that issues of development are on the table and that the focus from narrow economic interests would return to broader developmental issues, including the multilateral system of the world.
“It’s one of the key tasks that we believe we all need to undertake — to concretely move towards genuine reform of the United Nations and its various structures and mechanisms, because the situation we see in Palestine would not be underway if we had a stronger United Nations with an ability to enforce peace. So I think the UN reform agenda has to be a strong platform of foreign policy for South Africa, as we proceed into the next five years,” she said.