The Cabinet led by President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken away its own legitimacy with its “inaction” to cut all ties with Israel and a day would come when the South African public would remind them of this failure.
This is the view of renowned anti-apartheid icon and academic Dr Allan Boesak following Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s remarks that the Cabinet was not in a hurry to discuss the closure of the Israeli embassy.
“The Cabinet has not decided to close the embassy of Israel, and you will recall that, according to the South African system we have a separation of powers – a segregation of powers between the judiciary, executives and Parliament. Parliament can give guidance in terms of those matters that are in the purview of the Cabinet. Then the Cabinet will have to decide, having considered all matters that are at play.
We have not (taken) that decision. It must be remembered that I indicated that we are not in a hurry to have that discussion as yet,” she said.
Her comments came as the Israeli government and Hamas agreed on Thursday to extend the Gaza ceasefire for a seventh day, while mediators pressed on with talks to extend the truce further to free more hostages and allow aid to reach Gaza.
Boesak said: “If we consider the real situation on the ground in Gaza and other occupied territories, and the thousands of deaths, including children, then playing around with words the way the minister in the presidency is doing is absolutely scandalous. I am ashamed that I am a South African today.
“The minister and Cabinet know that we have a moral duty to act because of the way we have always bound ourselves to the Palestinians and the special relationship we have. We have a moral duty to act even before other countries act. To me this is a clear sign of political cowardice and spinelessness that we have always seen in this government.”
He also criticised Parliament for acting late when voting in favour of suspending diplomatic relations with Israel last week.
“This happened after weeks and weeks during which people had been taking to the streets of Cape Town making the call. It seems to me there are voices of businesses, special interest and voices of wealth that are louder and heard clearer by this cabinet than the voices of the people of South Africa.
“To me this all comes down to the fact that this cabinet, on this issue, has taken away its own legitimacy and a day will come that the South African public will remind them that you are no longer a legitimate government. This is a new level of political stupidity,” said Boesak.
Speaking at a Sharing Hope Foundation event in Lansdowne on Wednesday, Hamas’s Dr Basem Naim said there was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Sharing Hope Foundation raised R270 000 towards aid for the people of Palestine during the dinner.
“We are calling for all people to stand in solidarity with Palestinians who have suffered oppression for a long time. We want this aggression to stop immediately and borders to be opened to allow more humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip. In the 51 days the average number of trucks for humanitarian aid allowed in Gaza is 27 per day and nothing of it entered the northern part of the Gaza Strip, maybe two or three trucks per day for about one million.
“During peaceful times or regular times it was 500 to 600. Fuel has not been allowed to enter Gaza. We are looking for humanitarian solutions, not only to rebuild Gaza, but to host about 250 000 families who are now living in schools and churches,” he said.