Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions South Africa (BDS SA) has rejected media claims of an ambush on Woolworth’s annual general meeting (AGM), with the company set to meet with its shareholders on Monday. BDS SA is engaged in a year-long boycott against the popular retailer and last year bought single shares in Woolworths Holdings Limited, while several long-time shareholders with investments of over R1 million each also donated their proxies in order to allow the activists to attend the AGM.
Spokesperson, Kwara Kekana said BDS SA’s public declaration that it would be attending the event, as well as the fact that Woolworths were well aware of the issues they would be raising, eliminated any aspect of an ambush.
“We do hope that this year the retailer is more forthcoming in terms of responding to the questions. Last year we posed a lot of questions and they failed to answer even one of the questions. We even had to source the minutes of the meeting through our lawyers, and those minutes only came six months after the AGM was held,” she noted.
Amongst the questions that are likely to be posed, beyond its refusal to remove Israeli produce from its stores is whether Woolworths can assure an increase in shareholder value.
“The #BoycottWoolworths campaign is leading to the brand damage of the retailer. Is it justified in terms of the revenue and profits earned from selling a small percentage of Israeli products? If not does that amount to reckless trading?” she questioned.
Other questions will also focus on the amount of funds Woolworths has pumped into P.R, including its collaboration with U.S. musician Pharrell Williams, seen as a means combating the boycott campaign.
Woolworth’s AGM is due to take place on Monday morning. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)