By Anees Teladia
The African National Congress Youth League of the Western Cape (ANCYL) has urged the University of Cape Town (UCT) to recuse a council member from decision making processes in the academic boycott against Israel. The ANCYL said it’s aware that Michael Cardo, who is also a Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament (MP), has been opposed to UCT’s senate decision to proceed with an academic boycott. Last week, UCT council decided to send the matter back to the senate for more consultation on what the potential impact would be on the university.
Cardo has made social media statements that he will completely oppose a boycott as he believes it will tarnish UCT’s reputation and jeopardize funding, according to the ANCYL.
ANCYL provincial chairperson of the Western Cape, Muhammad Khalid Sayed told VOC News that whilst they support the principle of people being free to hold their own opinions – even when part of councils or executive structures – they must abide by a certain degree of appropriate conduct.
“Let me start off on the premise to say that people are free to hold their own opinions – even when you are part of a council or any executive structure – there’s no problem with that. But Cardo doesn’t represent the DA in the council [of UCT] he’s not a DA-member of council, he just happens to be a DA MP… so it is completely out of order for him to pre-empt the council discussion and to give his views before the council meeting sits,” said Sayed.
“That is why we are saying he should be recused from the discussions on that particular matter. We wouldn’t have had a problem had he expressed his views inside the council meeting and then outside – after – once the decision had been taken…he was trying to sway the debate despite having an opportunity inside council to raise these issues.”
When asked about the “track record” referred to in the media statement, which implies that Cardo has a history and reputation for denying the need for redress of the legacy of Apartheid, Sayed commented on what he believes Cardo’s record to reflect.
“It’s very clear – Cardo has a track record inside parliament and his social media tweets, continuously denying the need for us to redress the legacy of Apartheid,” said Sayed.
“He believes in the classical liberal theory of an open-opportunity society, where we are all on the same level, i.e. that Apartheid is ‘gone now’, so there must be no positive discrimination – no push for black South African’s to be positively moved in a certain direction because of the disadvantages they have as a result of the Apartheid legacy.”
“He is ahistorical…hence we are not surprised that he sympathises with the Apartheid state of Israel.”
Sayed then highlighted the ANC’s dedication to the plight of the Palestinian people by illustrating the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s official move to permanently recall the South African ambassador to Israel.
“On Thursday 4 April, our Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu went on record stating that from now onward, our South African ambassador to the Apartheid state of Israel has been permanently recalled,” said Sayed.
“The ANC promised they would downgrade relations with the Apartheid state, and we have done so…more can be done but compared to other political formations, compared to many other governments as well, the ANC government has done a lot.”
“The liberation movement inside of Palestine – Hamas and Fatah, have been very clear that the ANC is their ally and that they take guidance from the ANC.”
Sisulu’s decision comes as the South African “Israeli Apartheid Week” draws to a close. The plight of the Palestinian people has been highlighted across the country through student and political activism and speakers such as Lema Nazeeh.