Cape Town - Opposition parties in the Western Cape have rejected Premier Alan Winde’s statement that the province had no formal bilateral or multilateral relations with Israel or Palestine.
Responding in writing to EFF MPL Moses Klaas, who in a parliamentary question asked whether the provincial government planned to cut trade ties with Israel, Winde said: “The Western Cape government has no formal bilateral or multilateral relations with Israel or Palestine.”
Klaas said Winde’s response was vague.
“It’s not clear what he means when he says the province does not have any formal bilateral or multilateral relations with Israel.
“Does this now mean now that they might have informal or secret relations? Because it would make sense if he just said we do not have any sort of relations with Israel.
“So now we are left with an assumption that relations might exist between the Western Cape provincial government and Israel, but those relations might either be informal or secret.”
When approached for further comment, Winde’s office said he had nothing more to add to the parliamentary reply.
Winde was supposed to answer the question during a sitting in the legislature last week, but the session ended abruptly after a Palestine flag was confiscated from a member in the public gallery.
At the weekend, a pro-Palestine supporter was barred from entering Adderley Street during the Festive Lights Switch-On.
It followed an incident in which a complaint was lodged against a mural painted on a house in the Bo-Kaap featuring the Palestinian flag.
Leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore, said they had struggled to get more answers from Winde on the issue.
“We have asked for a debate on the Palestinian question.
“It was refused by the speaker. “Then the speaker refused to allow me to place a question to the premier about Palestine and Israel on the order paper.
“The DA has been exposed as being supportive of Israel so they use every trick in the book not to debate the issue,” said Dugmore.
Western Cape Speaker Daylin Mitchell said there were still processes in place to obtain information.
"The Leader of the Official Opposition submitted a request for a debate on the situation in Palestine and Israel. However, this request did not meet all the requirements for such a debate.
“The Leader of the Opposition has not exhausted the parliamentary processes available to him for requesting such a debate and I have urged him to do so in order to have a debate on the matter programmed at a future date," said Mitchell.
Aljama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks did not believe Winde’s response, saying the DA in the Western Cape had a relationship with Israel, since former leader Mmusi Maimane and John Steenhuisen visited that country.
“The reply by the Premier Winde that the Western Cape has no formal bilateral relations with Israel is part of the lies of the Israeli propaganda machine on the Gaza genocide…
“Let’s remind Alan Winde that the Western Cape is not an independent state and should follow the national government’s position on the issue of the genocide being committed in Palestine by Zionist Israel,” said Hendricks.