Wits students celebrate Israel Apartheid Week. The solidarity the ANC established with organisations and countries sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle is likely to be undone by the DA, says the writer. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

That we're looking at a pro-Israel, pro-AfriForum and pro-monopoly capitalist agenda in our city is a major blow but the ANC opposition in council won't give up the fight, writes Dada Morero

The ANC in Greater Joburg is concerned and disturbed by Herman Mashaba’s choice of MMCs (members of the mayoral committee) for the City of Joburg. The newly elected DA mayor has wasted no time in appointing controversial figures like the pro-Israel and pro-AfriForum member Rabelani Dagada as MMC of finance.

Dagada recently returned from a propaganda trip to Israel and shared his views that he does not consider Israel an apartheid state.

“There are no discriminatory laws in Israel,” Dagada said, even though, for example, Israeli human rights organisation Adalah has found there to be over 50 discriminatory laws in Israel.

In addition, various South African struggle stalwarts including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Ahmed Kathrada, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Professor John Dugard, Jewish anti-apartheid icon Denis Goldberg and former president Kgalema Motlanthe have compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

In fact, the ANC in the City of Joburg itself including the current chairperson and secretary visited Palestine in 2014 and saw first-hand Israel’s separate roads, Israel’s apartheid wall, Israel’s obstruction to religious practices and other apartheid policies by Israel against the indigenous Palestinian Christians, Muslims and others.

Dagada in his article titled “Israel is not an apartheid state” (www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2016/05/09/israel-is-not-an-apartheid-state/) has, shockingly, written: “I don’t understand why Israel is giving so much to the Palestinians, especially Gaza,” and: “It is important to emphasise that after embarking on the study tour, my opinion is that firstly, Israel treats both its Arabic (sic) and Jewish citizens equally. Second, Israel is generous towards the Palestinian territories. Thirdly, Israel is not an apartheid state. Finally, the BDS movement is not effective in the region.”

To make matters worse, Dagada is a proud member of the racist AfriForum. In his article titled “Why I joined AfriForum" (http://www.politicsweb.co.za/news-and-analysis/why-i-joined-afriforum) Dagada bizarrely states that: “The AfriForum provides a platform and voice for those who want to fight against new forms of racism by the ANC government.”

AfriForum, we painfully recall, was one of the only organisations that recently tried to defend racist school in-take policies.

It, together with the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, lost a Constitutional Court case in which Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi and his department effectively won the battle against discriminatory policies at public schools. We warn the pro-AfriForum Dagada that the ANC will not allow him and the DA to reverse hard-won gains within our schools.

The DA’s appointment of Dagada is not only a major blow in the City of Joburg towards solidarity and internationalism, but also an insult to all of us peace- and justice-loving residents of Joburg who support the Palestinian people, among other oppressed groups.

Our fear, as the ANC, is that this appointment also indicates building of economic relations with apartheid Israel and increasing of white monopoly capital’s grip on the economy.

Mashaba’s choice of Dagada is just one example of a Free Market Foundation-style (FMF) backward agenda for Joburg which is sadly being implemented by the DA. (Mashaba was previously the chairman of the FMF.)

The ANC, when it was the ruling party of the City of Joburg, spent much effort and work in solidarity with human rights movements around the world including supporting the Palestinian struggle.

Under our leadership, we signed an MOU agreement between the city and Ramallah and donated a statue of president Nelson Mandela to our Palestinian counterparts which our then mayor Parks Tau inaugurated earlier this year.

This MOU may now be in jeopardy under the DA; in addition, our fear extends to other progressive pro-poor policies put in place in the last decade now being reversed by the DA.

A pro-Israeli, pro-AfriForum and pro-monopoly capital agenda may now unfortunately find expression under the DA in the City of Joburg.

However, the ANC in the city will be raising these issues, among others, in upcoming council meetings. We will proudly represent those who voted for us and defend the hard-won progressive policies, positions, MOUs and programmes that could be under attack by the DA.

As the ANC, whether in government or as an opposition in council, we will continue fighting the larger war against poverty, inequality, unemployment, white monopoly capital and backward international positions.

* Dada Morero is the ANC Greater Joburg regional secretary