The Democratic Alliance (DA) has attacked the ruling African National Congress (ANC) for criticising its leader’s trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
In a radio podcast on Friday, DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said the ANC members are a bunch of hypocrites for speaking against Maimane’s visit to Israel.
Mmusi Maimane flew to Isreal in the company of three senior DA lawmakers, including Michael Bagraim, a former chair and president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.
Though he defied President Jacob Zuma’s orders, forbidding senior officials in the country from visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the DA claimed that Maimane’s visit was in order to listen and learn about the conflict first hand and to discuss how South Africa should be playing a more constructive role in bringing the parties together for peace.
On Thursday, the ANC expressed its disapproval saying that the DA leader was acting against the movement of the world to isolate Israel, which it says continues to abuse and undermine human rights.
The party said the trip only serves to endorse the “oppressor” and also undermines the Constitution of his own country which promotes human rights.
“The DA is trying to create confusion in terms of authority and foreign policy. They’re undermining the Constitution because the Constitution of South Africa states very clear where the authority of the foreign policy lies.”
In like manner, a Palestine solidarity and human rights organisation BDS South Africa also condemned Maimane’s visit to Israel saying the trip shows that DA is “normalizing apartheid with Israel.”
The human rights organization referred to a report commissioned by the SA Government and the SA Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) which found that Israel is practicing apartheid.
“Israel backed and supported Apartheid South Africa with weapons including nuclear weaponry that was used against our people.
“It speaks volumes that the DA is trying to take us back to Apartheid days by forging relations with countries like Israel and other regimes that backed Apartheid,” the human rights organisation added.
The DA however, maintained that Mimane’s visit was for the best interest of the country, and that it is in keeping with the DA’s commitment to a two-state solution, where Israel and Palestine exist side by side, which is the position of the South African Government as well as the United Nations.
Phumzile van Damme, for the DA also asked the ruling ANC to focus on its duties to the country instead of monitoring the activities of the DA.