Nomvula Mokonian of the ANC said the party is worried about the upcoming match between Orlando Pirates and an Israeli soccer club. file image.
- The ANC said it was concerned about a scheduled football match between the Orlando Pirates and an Israeli club.
- ANC Deputy General Secretary Nomvula Mokonian added that the party understood the predicament faced by the Orlando Pirates.
- She said the match was a reminder of a stronger stance against Israel, including a cultural boycott, that the ANC should consider.
The ANC’s deputy general secretary, Nomvula Mokonian, said the party was concerned about Orlando Pirates playing a friendly match against an Israeli soccer club, but could not pressure the club at this late stage.
The match is scheduled to take place on July 13, and it is expected that it will be held in Spain.
Mokonian was speaking on the sidelines of the ANC elections workshop in Boksburg on Monday.
She said that the party is concerned that the pirates will play against the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv, although the government does not have a clear position on the cultural boycott of the Middle Eastern country.
“We’ve been in contact with Orlando Pirates and our pals in Palestine.
“As the ANC, what we want is to put our concerns on record about what is happening in Palestine.
“We note what was a call from civil society calling on Orlando Pirates not to play the match. We want to record an important discussion about the cultural boycott.”
There is no cultural boycott against Israel, and we continue to trade with Israel, and we are concerned about the contradictions in non-compliance with UN resolutions. We think Orlando Pirates have a right to play because they are in a league with 30 other teams, including one from Palestine. FIFA rules govern it, and a call may be made at this moment.
She added that she understood that the club is against repression and that the match does not mean abandoning its position against human rights violations.
The African National Congress is a close ally of Palestine and has increasingly called on Israel to commit “oppressive crimes” against the nation.
Despite this stance, the ruling party played it safe, not pressing for sanctions or embargoes on Israel.
Mokonian said the recent controversy surrounding the game was a reminder that a cultural boycott may be necessary.
She added, “This is a reminder that there should be a conversation about cultural boycotts, including the grapes and vegetables we get from Israel. There should be a time when we treat Israel with hostility.”
In a statement on Monday, Orlando Pirates said they are bound by the rule of law and there is currently no cultural boycott by the government that the club could use to avoid playing the match.
“The basic performance of Orlando Pirates is governed by the rules. They are the rules that Orlando Pirates adhered to when faced with calls to quit playing Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“There is no cultural boycott or boycott in any way by the South African government, FIFA or the host country on which Orlando Pirates can base their refusal to play against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“To respond to an appeal from any other body would create conflict within Orlando Pirates that would irreparably undermine the club’s values and history,” the statement added.