Saftu disappointed by Orlando Pirates’ refusal to pull out of match against Maccabi Tel Aviv

Orlando Pirates fans during a soccer match at FNB stadium. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Orlando Pirates fans during a soccer match at FNB stadium. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 11, 2023


The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says it has been left disappointed by Orlando Pirates’ refusal to boycott its match on Thursday against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Saftu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said Pirates must listen to calls from a number of its supporters and Palestinians not to take part in the friendly match on Thursday.

Vavi said during apartheid in South Africa it was the sports boycott that played a key role in the isolation of the apartheid regime.

This same strategy must be used against Israel over its human rights violation record against the Palestinians.

He said the attack in Jenin in the past few weeks has shown that Israel will continue with its conduct.

Vavi called on Pirates to reconsider its decision to play against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Spain.

“Orlando Pirates is disappointing to insist on not boycotting the match, especially with the historical context of the crucial role played by sport boycotts and sanctions in the liberation of South Africa from the white minority regime.

“It is dismaying to see a figure like Irvin Khoza, who has the benefit of the apartheid experiences and know how international organisations contributed to freeing us from the grip of apartheid, turning a blind eye to the call for boycotts. He is behaving like all business owners who are only guided by the logic of making money, with little regard to moral obligations.

“Saftu demands that Orlando Pirates reconsider their decision and boycott the match arranged for Thursday, July 13, 2023, with Maccabi Tel Aviv. We are calling on Orlando Pirates supporters, some of whom are our members, to pressure the bosses of their football club to boycott this match. South Africa cannot continue a relationship with a murderous regime such as Israel apartheid, especially when countries heeded our cries during the gory days of apartheid,” said Vavi.

He added that Palestinians are faced with daily attacks by the Israeli government.

It was not too late for Pirates to pull out of the game against the team from Israel, said Vavi.

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