The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) Provincial Executive Committee along with the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in South Africa (BDS SA) with the ANC Youth League, held a press briefing in Cape Town on Thursday, to discuss the recent pig head campaign targeted at Woolworths. During the press briefing, COSAS provincial chairperson, Siphakamise Ngxowa said the form of protest action against Woolworths for its stocking of Israeli products is primarily a local campaign that provincial members have solely embarked on.
“How can Jewish and Muslim people buy meat at Woolworths when they know that that meat is at the expense of innocent children in the Gaza strip? That is why we adopted the pig head tactic. We respect those religions but we believe that the support for Woolworths can not continue as it is not kosher or Halal,” Ngoxwa explained.
COSAS has been slammed after some members placed a pigs head in a kosher and halal section of Woolworths, apparently as a symbolic gesture to reflect the “pig head mentality” of Woolworth bosses.
BDS SA along the ANCYL in the Western Cape jointly explained that they do not condone or encourage the form of protest action by COSAS but commended the students for their efforts to place pressure on Woolworths in the boycott campaign.
BDS SA’s Muhammed Desai said the organisations have conducted lengthy meetings on the recent tactics by COSAS members and while BDS SA and the ANCYL does not condone these actions, they have jointly agreed to mobilise COSAS and other structures in the province to stand in protest outside Woolworths headquarters on the 26th November 2014, the day the retailer will host their AGM.
“We will ensure that the main discussion point of the Woolworths shareholders is the boycott campaign and the boycott of Israel. The boycott Woolworths campaign and the pig head campaign comes after the arrogant refusal by Woolworths to meet with civil society organisations and discuss the issue,” Desai added.
At the same time, the ANCYL’s Khalid Sayed said that COSAS was driven to do what they did because of a heightened feeling consciousness to the Palestinian people.
“We are not happy by what they did but we respect them and have given guidance as the leader of the progressive youth alliance. However, it is still their decision at the end of the day. People have spent a lot of time condemning COSAS without asking what drove them to do what they did. With COSAS and BDS, the campaigns for the isolation of Apartheid Israel goes beyond Woolworths. We also continue the calls for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and COSAS has agreed to join in this action,” Sayed added. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)