The Woolworths and McDonald’s chains were among companies targeted by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after its leader, Julius Malema, called for the stores to refrain from selling products obtained from Israel.
Malema also wants the Woolies' stores, which are much loved by middle-class South Africans, to remove every Israeli product on their shelves, as well as made calls to cut ties with companies linked to Israel.
“Woolworths has a responsibility by the end of this month to remove every product on their shelves that comes from Israel. If they don’t, we will remove it ourselves,” Malema said.
He alleged that McDonald's was providing the Israeli military with food while they continued to kill the Palestinians in cold blood.
Malema urged McDonald’s South Africa to distance itself from what is happening in Israel, adding that they have until the end of the month to issue a statement on the matter.
“They have until month end to issue a statement distancing itself from what McDonald's is doing in Israel, giving food to murder women and children,” he said.
On Friday, the ANC Youth League leader, Collen Malatji, shared the same sentiment with the red berets that Woolies should remove all Israeli products from their shelves.
“We are giving you a clear instruction that when you leave here, when you see Woolworths, you must close it down.
“Don’t be scared of anyone; the ANC will protect you. All Woolies shops must be closed down,” he told supporters at the Palestine-Solidarity march led by the ANC outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.
He called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately expel and shut down the Israeli Embassy.
He stated that the people of Palestine were being killed daily, and all they did was protest with no action. “The days of protesting have come to an end. We must stand up and act like the people of Palestine,” he said.
It is not the first time the Woolworths brand has come under fire due to links with Israel for stocking Israeli products in its stores.
In 2014, there were boycotts of stores that import products from Israel in the wake of its offensive against the people of Gaza, which has seen thousands, including children, killed and dozens displaced.
Civil society, community, and faith-based organisations were also part of the march in Pretoria.
Malatji indicated that if Ramaphosa does not remove the embassy by Monday, they will take action.
“If he does not remove it, we will come back on Monday or Friday to occupy this building. We are saying he must remove them with immediate effect,” he said.
Delivering his message of support, ARETA leader Carl Niehaus said they supported the EFF because they believe in fighting for the oppressed, unlike the ANC.
“We don’t want a government that continues with economic relations with apartheid Israel,” he said.
He said the embassy should be thrown out of South Africa to show solidarity with the people of Palestine.