Johannesburg - South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale said on Friday morning that he was back in Joburg “maybe just to change my clothes” after a high-level trip to Palestine.
Invited by the Palestine Football Federation, Sexwale spent two days on a fact-finding mission on behalf of his organisation, Global Watch.
He is now hoping this anti-racism in sports body, through his intervention this week, can help avert a call for Israel’s expulsion from football controlling body Fifa at its congress in Zurich later this month.
Sexwale said he had been in contact with the Israeli government and was now on standby to participate in meetings to try to find a resolution before sanctions might be applied.
“What we saw in Palestine in relation to what is happening in Israel is shocking. And remember, I speak as a victim of the anti-apartheid struggle. So if I say it is shocking, it is shocking. Palestine is a swollen cheek with tears, but so is Israel. They are two cheeks on the same face, and a resolution to the problem has to be found beyond sport,” he said.
“The society is abnormal there, so from our own archives no normal sports in an abnormal society, and for Palestine, their sporting equipment, their sporting people, their sporting officials can’t move around freely. It’s not normal.”
In his discussions with the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Sexwale said he had found there was no appetite for the expulsion of Israel from Fifa, but that “it’s not like playing dice, we have to help (Israel) to get out of the difficult position in which they have put themselves. That’s why I went to facilitate”.
South Africa was expelled from Fifa in the early 1960s for its apartheid policies.
Sexwale arrived at OR Tambo on Friday morning.