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BDS SA threatens to boycott Clover over Israeli takeover

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Boycott, Divest, Sanctions SA (BDS SA) has called on South Africans to join its campaign to boycott Clover and all its products, but it appears to be a lone voice against the now completed deal.
by NICOLA MILTZ | Oct 10, 2019

Clover was scheduled to delist from the JSE on Wednesday this week. This follows the go-ahead given by the Competition Tribunal to a take-over deal of the country’s largest dairy company by an Israeli-led consortium called Milco SA.

The consortium, led by Israel’s Tel Aviv-based Central Bottling Company (CBC), made an offer to buy out Clover for R4.8 billion in February. The direct foreign investment and promise of future job creation has been hailed by the business community.

However, because of the link to Israel, the anti-Israel BDS and pro-Palestinian groups have criticised the tribunal’s decision to allow the deal to go ahead.

Brimstone Investments was forced to pull out of the potentially lucrative deal earlier this year after threats from BDS. And, just as the announcement was made by the competition tribunal to give the deal the green light, BDS made threats again.

The organisation’s director, Muhammed Desai, told Radio Islam that if the takeover went ahead, BDS SA would launch a “militant but peaceful campaign” including protests and disruptions against Clover, and a boycott of all its products.

“With public support, we will be able to drive this Israeli company out of South Africa,” he said.

“It’s now clear that Clover is in the hands of Israel, and no person of good conscience would want to be buying a product where the profit is going to the Israeli regime,” he told listeners.

However, business circles insist the deal will benefit South Africa and lead to future job creation.

One respected Johannesburg businessman, who is closely linked to the deal but wishes to remain anonymous, told the SA Jewish Report that there was nothing the BDS could do to stop the deal from going ahead.

“This is a done deal. CBC is a world-class organisation which will create jobs, not destroy them,” he said. “BDS can do what it wants and say what it wants, but it is not interested in helping South Africans. This is foreign direct investment and in time, more jobs will be created.”

The tribunal approved the takeover of Clover by Milco following a recommendation by the Competition Commission that the transaction be given the nod subject to stringent conditions. These relate to employment, procurement, and information-sharing protocols.

The tribunal initially had concerns about the merging parties’ proposed employment-related conditions in terms of which 516 workers would be retrenched as a result of the completion of Project Sencillo, a Clover project to ensure better use of its assets. This was meant to take five years. The companies offered not to retrench any employees as a result of Project Sencillo for two years from the merger.

The tribunal consulted the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa, the Food and Allied Workers Union, and the Inqubelaphambili Trade Union - the unions that raised concerns about potential job losses as a result of Project Sencillo.

Following consultation, the tribunal said the job losses would be reduced to 277 instead of the initial 516 jobs. The expected job losses would be offset by Project Masakhane, which would create 550 new permanent jobs over five years.

Aran Oelsner, the chief executive of CBC Group International, has said the company is looking forward to exploring the potential of the informal sector in South Africa’s townships, and aims to bring innovation to the local dairy industry.

Clover Chief Executive Johann Vorster told CNBC Africa earlier this year, “The president has called for foreign direct investment. This is an example, and I hope it will be an example for other international companies. The Milco consortium has promised jobs, it has promised investment, it’s a company that comes in and wants to use Clover as a footprint to export into Africa. It’s a good sign for the South African economy.”

1 Comment

  1. 1 Rafi Plotkin 10 Oct
    These BDS characters should stop using their mobile phones because most of the technology used in such phones was and is made in, Yes you guessed it, Israel.
    I wonder how Lance- Corporal Ronnie Boykie Kasrils would enjoy a cup of tea without Israeli milk therein 

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