‘Holocaust victims using Nazi tactics’ - ANC NEC member Dakota Legoete

The ANC leads a march to the Israeli Embassy in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA).

The ANC leads a march to the Israeli Embassy in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA).

Published Oct 21, 2023


Johannesburg - “The holocaust victims of Nazi Germany are now using Adolf Hitler’s repressive and murderous tactics against Palestians.”

So said Dakota Legoete, an ANC national executive committee member and member of the party’s sub-committee on International Relations yesterday. Legoete told more than 60 000 people who joined the protest action in Pretoria yesterday that his party supported the Jews against Nazis Germany.

The ANC joined scores of political parties, including those supporting the struggle for Palestine, in calling on Israel to free Palestine and give them their “land which they had been occupying illegally since 1948”.

The protesters marched from Belgrave Square Park in Hatfield, travelling more than 10km to the upmarket and gated communities of Lynnwood, where the Embassy of Israel is situated.

Addressing the crowd in Hatfield, Legoete expressed his party’s disgust at the continued attacks of Palestinians by Israel, labelling them murderous.

He also attacked Western countries for not condemning the “genocide”.

He said the conduct of the Western countries did not surprise him at all, saying they were also silent when more than 17 million Africans who resisted trans-Atlantic slavery “were thrown into the sea and died”.

Posters held posters and flags which included former South African president Nelson Mandela’s quote: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Wendy Kahn, national director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, responded by asking: “Where were you when 5 500 civilians were mowed down systematically and brutally executed by Hamas who parachuted in? Where were you? Where was the sympathy, the compassion when 1 500 Jews were killed?”

She said this was the largest number killed in one day since the holocaust, and there had been no modicum of sympathy.

“It is astounding, ANC. Women, children, the elderly, a baby only 9-months old were abducted from their homes, and no condemnation from you. Shame on you, ANC. It is a disgrace.

“There has been no support by our Minister of International relations for Israel, but huge support for Hamas and their atrocities, and who are still holding Israeli captives. You should be marching to release these people. We are watching for those words being spoken, like genocide, holocaust, like concentration camps, which makes us feel such hurt,” said Kahn.

But Legoete was adamant, saying “victims of Hitler are now oppressors of Palestinians”.

“Palestinians were with us during the fight against apartheid. Our relationship is based on principle. We want justice for the people of Palestine.”

Legoete said Israel must, instead of fighting, concede to a “two-state solution” which would allow both states to “enjoy sovereignty, equality and justice”.

While the protest action was solely aimed at the Israeli government, coalition governments in South Africa, particularly in the Metro Council of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, look likely to collapse as ANC Gauteng provincial chairperson and Premier Panyaza Lesufi served its coalition partner, the Patriotic Alliance (PA) with divorce papers yesterday.

Lesufi told the agitated crowd that his party, without naming the affected political parties, would sever ties with all political parties who have links with Israel.

The Premier’s comments came after PA leaders Gayton Mackenzie and Kenny Kunene, president and deputy president respectively, openly supported Israel's retaliation against Hamas’s initial attack. Kunene, addressing the South African Zionist Federation in Joburg last week, urged the Israeli government to “hunt down Hamas”, a call which irked veteran South African anti-apartheid cleric Dr Allan Boesak.

Boesak was so angry that he rejected the PA’s bid to rename the famous Louis Botha Street in Joburg after him.

Lesufi did not give details of when the split would come into effect.

Nomvula Mokonyane, the ANC’s deputy secretary general, chanted anti-Zionist slogans, calling them murderers of innocent children and bombers of hospitals and mosques “without any shame”.

Mokonyane also took a swipe at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for authorising the attacks.

Outside the Israeli Embassy, Mokonyane expressed her disappointment at the failure of the Israeli authorities to accept their memorandum despite “having written a formal letter to them”.

The Embassy was guarded by police.

The Saturday Star