ANC spewing after young leaders visit Israel

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A monument brouhaha has erupted in the wake of last week’s study tour by a group of highly influential young South Africans.The private information-gathering tour of future SA leaders to the Middle East, conducted by independently-funded SA Jewish group SAIF, saw the delegates travelling to Israel and Palestine last week. Pictured is ex-Wits-11 radical turned anti-BDS, Klaas Mokgomole. Read Wits Coasas branch chair, Nthabiseng Molefe (now suspended) who confirmed to JR Online in an exclusive interview that BDS offered her R40 000 not to go
by ANT KATZ | Jul 15, 2015

The brouhaha that erupted in the wake of last week’s study tour to Israel by 15 high-flying young South Africans, has started to gain momentum.

The private information-gathering tour of future SA leaders to the Middle East, conducted by independently-funded SA Jewish group SAIF (SA Israel Forum), saw the delegates travelling in their personal capacities to Israel and Palestine last week.

SAIF logoNatan Pollack, national chairman of the SA Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS), joined SAIF Executive Director Dan Brotman to host the group.

The group was unique in that they were all young, black, youth leaders holding influential positions in ANC structures, or organisations supporting the ANC.

They included the niece of a senior government minister; two of the infamous “Wits-11” - removed from the Students Representative Council and censured for breaking up a concert by an Israeli-born German pianist last year. There were also high-ranking members of traditionally anti-Israeli organisations such as the SA Students Congress (Sasco); Wits SRC’s secretary general; and members of the ANC Youth League. 

Since news of their trip leaked ahead of departure, many of the young people have suffered severe intimidation on social media and by their organisations who have called several to attend disciplinary hearings.  

ANC's Bapela went on the attack

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela, an avid supporter of BDS-SA, went on the attack against the delegates in weekend papers after the story had broken in Israeli daily Haaretz last week.

Bapela charged the students with bringing the ANC into “disrepute” and said that the party would “summon” them to an investigation. The SA Zionist Federation and SA Jewish Board of Deputies issued a media release on Tuesday where they took “the strongest exception” to Bapela’s uncalled for attack against the students.

In speaking with the delegates from the trip, Jewish Report found that they were by no means soft-on-Israel and many have returned still aiming to support pro-Palestinian causes. But all were clear that they could now do so with a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

SAIf ANC4One of the young, ANC-supporting future leaders, 24-year-old Nthabiseng Molefe, chairman of the Wits branch of Sasco, said she blamed BDS for the intimidation. “The ANC has nothing [to do] with this,” she told Jewish Report.” Their name was dragged into it by BDS.”

LEFT: Nthabiseng Molefe, now-suspended chairman of the Wits branch of Sasco, blames BDS and not the ANC for the intimidation 
BDS had offered her and other delegates R40 000 each in cash to buy them out of cancellation waivers they had signed with SAIF. Not one delegate accepted the offer, she said.

On Tuesday evening Sasco suspended its members who went on the tour, pending an investigation. Nthabiseng is adamant she would go again, knowing about all the negative ramifications she has faced.

Not unexpectedly, BDS-SA’s newest poster-child, Mcebo Dlamini (the recently unseated “I Love Hitler” president of Wits’ SRC), has taken a break in his heavily-booked speaking schedule to lead a social media campaign.

Wits dlamini Habib HOMEDlamini suggests bringing back “necklacing” - the practice of placing a burning tyre over the head of a “sell-out” - for those who went on the trip.

Mcebo “I Love Hitler” Dlamini 

“This was not a pro-Israel trip,” says Pollack, but one to expose young people to both sides of the Middle East story.

Pollack insists that delegates had gone in their private capacities and had a very full fact-finding programme. This had been no holiday.

The trip focused on how to bring Israeli innovation and its start-up culture to South Africa, “but we consistently encouraged them to question and challenge what they were being told”.

History in the making

This was an historical trip in that it was the first trip since SA attained democracy in 1994 that a top-level group of influential ANC members were taken by SA Jewry on a fact-finding tour of Israel and Palestine. In 1992, Howard Sackstein had led a similar trip.

SAUJS - 15 Natan Pollak

LEFT: SAUJS' Natan Pollack

One of the young business leaders who attended, and who spoke to Jewish Report on condition of anonymity as he is concerned that that his business could be boycotted, said this week that he had been “stunned to see how democratic and successful Israel is”.

He said it was “fantastic to see the other side of the story that one never hears in SA”.

Pollack says that: “many of the participants were unaware of firing of rockets at Israeli towns by Gazans”. He said that their trip to Sderot had been an eye-opener to the delegates. So, too, had their trip to Bethlehem in the West Bank and their opportunity to listen to and interact with Palestinian activists.

Brotman  Dan homeMirroring the statement and concerns expressed by Sasco's now-suspended Nthabiseng Molefe, Pollack says that “the bullying and intimidation (of delegates) is not an ANC tactic. SAUJS, says its chairman, believes that this has all been BDS driven.

RIGHT: SAIF's Dan Brotman

“We know that the ANC is committed to giving people freedom of choice,” he insists, and that the intimidation is out of character for the ruling party.

“For us,” said  Pollack, it is quite frightful that BDS was prepared to spend so much money (to stop the delegation).”

Had BDS succeeded it would have cost them R640 000! “Is there something they are trying to hide?” he asks.

The ANC study tour followed a most successful effort several months ago during which SAIF took leading DA lawmakers on a similar trip.

In the footsteps of DA study tour

It was “not a propaganda trip, it was a study tour. It was about exposing the delegates to the reality on the ground,” said DA parliamentarian Zak Mbhele last week. “We met with different civil society activists in Israel, including a Jewish activist who supported the boycott against Israel.

There was never a sense of pro-Israel propaganda. If you are going to have a strong opinion on Israel, at least you should go there,” he said.

Mbhele had been “surprised by how diverse Israel is, in terms of race and culture”, he told Cape Town’s Saturday Argus.

“My opinion didn’t change much. There is a sympathy for the Palestinian cause, but at the same time I start getting very agitated when arguments start talking about Israel being illegitimate,” said Mbhele.

SAIF Director Dan Brotman told Haaretz that some of the participants, who will be future leaders in South Africa, were under enormous pressure not to come or received threats over being kicked out of their political parties.

Some of the participants, who told Haaretz they were in Israel in a personal capacity, said they supported the “boycott Israel” movement because they were getting one-sided information, according to Brotman, who stressed: “The goal is not to make them pro-Israel, but to expose them to a narrative they really don’t hear in South Africa.”

On Tuesday afternoon (July 14) Sasco's national executive committee distributed a media release stating, among other trip-related information, that it had “decided to temporarily suspend all our members who participated in this propaganda trip to Israel pending disciplinary hearing.
"We do so because we view this trip as having tainted the name of our organisation and put it into disrepute. These members will be held before a Sasco National Disciplinary Committee and all structures are thus instructed to suspend their already initiated processes.”

Of course I’d go again!

Community-minded Nthabiseng Molefe was one of the delegates. She is (was, she is now temporarily suspended) chairman of the Wits Cosas branch.

What about all the social media intimidation? JR asked her. “I decided to ignore it,” says Nthabiseng. She has heard that she will be the subject of a disciplinary hearing next week, but she had not been personally informed by Tuesday morning. She was not aware under which structure it will be held and what the charges may be.

Had she been suspended? “There is a possibility of suspension, we don’t know.” She was later that same day told about the suspension.

Would you go again? “If I knew all this I would have still gone. People started intimidating me before I went,” she says. BDS offered to pay her R40 000 to cover her trip waiver costs and pressurised her not to go.

Nthabiseng told Jewish Report that she didn’t know who from BDS had made the offer to her. “They sent friends of mine to tell me,” she said.

Related reads on Jewish Report Online


 Nthabiseng blames BDS for all the intimidation. “I don’t think BDS should be advocating – making money

Nthabiseng echoes Pollack’s belief that the intimidation she is facing is not in character with the ANC as she knows it. “The ANC has nothing with this,” she insists. “Their name was dragged into this by BDS. All the intimidation has come from BDS.”

She says “the ANC didn’t delegate us, we all went in our personal capacities”.

Nthabiseng is a typical example of what a future ANC leader in SA looks like. She grew up in Qwaqwa, rural Free State and is currently completing her Bachelor of Law at Wits. She’s active in campus politics, having previously been elected deputy secretary (2012), treasurer (2013) and currently chairman of Sasco's Wits branch.

She also served as the secretary of the Esselen Hall Residence and gives motivational talks at various high schools. She strives to be in leadership positions, as she feels it is the best way to better serve people.

When she finishes her LLB, she hopes to do her articles with the National Prosecuting Authority or Public Protector’s Office.

Social media is abuzz with threats

It is a worldwide phenomenon that social media users tend to feel free to post and publish whatever they want to say despite the fact that it may be considered illegal. Many of the following extracts from social media may well be construed as illegal posts by the original posters. Jewish Report, however, is publishing these comments in the public interest.

ONLINE EDITOR’S NOTE: Social media comments are posted verbatim and in their original form. The first interaction is the scariest by far – most of the others are simply ill-informed.

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini: I wonder who closed necklacing... I now understand why necklacing was necessary

Sandile Kheswa: They sold out as they were bought by the Zionists

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini: Knowing the zionist, we will hear everything these former comrades said there in israeli... zionist will make sure they are isolated... divide and conquer

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini: “as if going there was not enough... listen what these cowards say there in Israeli”

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini: “young leaders from the African National Congress..... really now”

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini: “I still can't believe my eyes... someone please tell me this picture is deceiving me? At first I thought it was only Nthabiseng and Senzi who went to Israeli but I was wrong, very wrong... Justice Nkomo, yolanda, Klaas,Norman... all SASCO and Wits SRC, are in Israeli as we speak having fun... won't talk about Harsha Even those who were charged as PYA 11 It must be nice neh” The PYA is the ANC-aligned Progressive Youth Alliance faction on the Wits SRC 

Lesley Ramutlwa asks: “Are your sources reliable?” Dlamini responds: “Pictures don't lie... the zionist posted this pic on their website.” [The picture referred to was taken by Telfed’s Dorron Kline -ONLINE ED]

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini: “first thing that i did was to delete all these political imigijimi from my fb...this is an insult really, after all we have been thru as PYA fighting the zionist on campus...others almost didn't get their degrees after they were charged for disrupting a zionist pianist....others failed to graduate at all at wits and opt to sell their souls to the highest bidder...others are now sadtu members but still selling the revolution....i wonder why people always attack jamie mighti when they actually do exactly what they attack him me it means they envy him”

Vusumuzi Gcuma: “i am shocked. we have called for RSA to recall her ambassador from there and expell the Israeli one from South Africa many times, but nothing has happened. it seems that the jewish lobby is powerful all around the can buy you everything these days”

Interestingly, the word is that BDS-SA offered each of the participants R40 000 to pull out of the tour. Several of the participants confirmed this but did not want to go on record. 

Everest Jobe Mevo posted: “Neutralization of aggressive comment on hitler.! strategy of the Jews, but this comrades honest how do you betray the course how do you look down upon innocent lives of Palestinians how do you embrace Israel than call yourself a young leader”

Mokgadi Machabaphala who lives in Parktown comes up with a most unenlightened comment: “This is outrageous. Comrades must be called into order. Is this what our forefathers fought for?” she asks.

Vhregah Vusimuzi, who studied at UJ and uses a pistol as a monicker, writes: “if it was that time of apartheid i was gonna say we must put em a black neckless. brother”

Bantu Biko Booysen, who started his BCom at Wits this year and volunteers for SASCO posted the following comment: “Yoh yoh yoh, if it is like this then let us call a special AGM recall and elect leaders whom will advance our economic and education struggle, not those ones whom would be bought by a rough silver or gold metal.

It cannot be that we've joined in membership to Sasco then the entire fincom support people whom exploit other people, for that, they came across internal squabbles when the president admired Hitler then never made reassurances of restoring him bacj to office, they knew that they will be romanced to isreali.

Steve biko onced said that they will be leftist and liberals whom will allow a black man to do the listening whilst white man do the talking, they sold the entire ANC, its affiliates and programmes out...

Haak must fotsek.......”


David Hersch has a go at Argus, Bapela

The South African Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (SAIPAC) controversial chairman, David Hersch, circulated am e-mail to his thousands of followers after seeing the Saturday Argus’ front-page report. The following are some short extracts from Hersch’s  mailer:


  • My dear Mr Bapela, the ANC does not need any help putting itself into disrepute. It is doing a fine job all on its own without any assistance from anyone.
  • And thus these young students are not allowed to investigate and find out for themselves what the real truth and facts are about Israel and Palestinians - and whether what you, the BDS and your Islamic friends and allies feed them is true or not.
  • Of course universities in the new South Africa are increasingly not places for opening minds and encouraging independent thought. Smacks a bit of the good old USSR don’t you think?
  • Give the students the freedom and right to think for themselves.
  • Good luck with your investigation Mr Bapela.

which had bemoaned not being able to contact the Board or Fed on Friday evening: The Weekend Argus noted that they had “contacted the South African Zionist Federation and also the Jewish Voice for Just Peace but could not get comment.

  • Note to the Weekend Argus: Surely you should know that with the Jewish Sabbath being on a Saturday, it starts on Friday evening and therefore Jewish community offices close early on a Friday.
  • It is logical that you should not be surprised that you “could not get comment”, but are happy to make insinuation, but then you are a Muslim-owned newspaper these days with a clear agenda.
  • As for “Jewish Voices for Just Peace”, they are a miniscule group, hardly representative and obviously your agenda is to use them to stir things up against the Jewish community. By the way, did this article with everything going on in the world, in Greece, the Iranian nuclear talks, the Middle East in turmoil and so much more, actually warrant a front page position or is you slip actually showing as it does so often these days?

Saif ANC
The group in Israel


  1. 2 nat cheiman 16 Jul
    If you care to read the social media comments carefully, you will note a standard of education (or lack thereof) which is so astounding that the commentators are almost illiterate. Almost like 20 year olds with a 10 year olds brain.This is the future. Remember the apartheid days when a traffic cop said "Did you got a licence?"or "maram, it durrent matter. youse were draaiving too farst".  And yet these clever okes are at varsity.No wonder doctors are being sued for malpractice and most lawyers ( newly qualified) are lacking in knowledge and are enumerate, illiterate etc.
    SA is going to become a nation of halfwits. The above comments on social media could not even be ascribed to the ramblings of drunks and idiots, so nonsensical are they.
  2. 1 Myron Robinson 17 Jul
    So SASCO and the BDS are showing their true colours. Surely one goes to University to study & learn or is the audi alterem partem rule no longer applicable to BDS, SASCO & the ANC. So much for taking an informed view when all the above parties are interested in is anti Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda. So much for the future of our Country if students are stopped from making an informed independent opinion. Well done to the organisers of the tour.


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