As the world observed International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Wednesday, the South African BDS Coalition, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Cape Town (PSC Cape Town), coordinated campaigns across the city and province.
In 1977, the United Nations’ (UN) General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Thirty years earlier, the UN Assembly had adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine.
In light of a city still suffering from the legacy of apartheid, the collective said they recognised their political, moral and human responsibility to stand in solidarity with Palestine, and with oppressed people everywhere.
Throughout the day, various events took place showcasing solidarity with Palestine. The morning started with a demonstration at Modderdam High School, while healthcare workers gathered for a solidarity protest in Observatory.
The Gaza Monologues: Cape Town Edition unfolded at Liesbeek Parkway in Observatory and a call for a ceasefire vigil took place at the Steps of St George’s Cathedral.
Ganaan Kloppers, who was part of the demonstration at Modderdam High School, said: “Together with the pupils we wanted to show we are united in solidarity with Palestinians and to highlight the current genocide in Palestine.”
The collective also held an event in Blikkiesdorp to highlight the plight of residents.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “In 2008, thousands of people living on the streets and poor and working class tenants evicted from their homes, were moved to an area called Blikkiesdorp, 30km away from the city centre, as the DA-run City wanted to hide them from the upcoming 2010 World Cup tourists.
“Residents moved into tiny corrugated shacks, were promised homes within six months but over a decade later they are still in Blikkiesdorp.
Discarded and abandoned by the City for more than ten years, Blikkiesdorp residents are forced to face a reality with increased substance abuse, violence and gangsterism, rising murder rates, lack of basic sanitation and hygiene services and a subsequent deterioration of public health.
An unspoken curfew exists in Blikkiesdorp (around 18:30) where residents are forced to ‘shelter in place’ for fear of rampant crime, violence and gangsterism.”
Just as the people of Blikkiesdorp have been oppressed and abandoned by the authorities in power, so too have the people of Palestine, the campaign said.
“Both the residents of Blikkiesdorp and Gaza deserve to be treated with dignity, enjoy freedom and have access to basic human rights.”
City mayco member for human settlements, Carl Pophaim, said Blikkiesdorp was established as a settlement for residents who faced housing emergencies.
“Over the years, qualifying residents from Blikkiesdorp have been moved to subsidy housing as opportunities have become available, or those who have chosen to leave, have left as it is voluntary emergency accommodation. Blikkiesdorp has been decommissioned as an emergency site.
“The earmarked residents are to be incorporated in a formal development along Symphony Way.
As per the signed Memorandum of Agreement between the Airports Company of South Africa and the City, the target area for this housing project is Blikkiesdorp, Malawi Camp and Freedom Farm.
“The Symphony Way project was however stopped following the murder and extortion that has impacted the project.
The project is currently suspended and the City is looking to resuming work in 2024, if all goes to plan,” Pophaim said.
ANC leader in the legislature Cameron Dugmore said: “The ANC in the Western Cape legislature commits itself in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
“In doing so, it will undertake to ensure that the provincial government has no links and does not engage the apartheid state of Israel. At the same time, the ANC in this Legislature wishes to declare unequivocally that Israel indeed is an apartheid and terrorist state.”