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Rise Mzansi



Rise Mzansi’s Songezo Zibi was asked the same questions as the other parties, but chose to give one response. We asked an additional question about a parliamentarian who made outrageous accusations about Jews harvesting the organs of Palestinians, among other ugly allegations, and asked how he could justify having such a person in the leadership of his party. This was his response:

As the national leader of Rise Mzansi, I urge all South Africans to vote for our party and movement. With a wealth of experience in the private sector, in civil society, and on the ground in communities, we offer new leadership with experience, values, and a plan: to build the safe, prosperous, equal, and united South Africa we deserve in one generation.

Our plans are workable and reasonable, and we aim to give South Africans a sense of hope again by re-establishing trust between people and politicians, and by bringing people together in a common purpose across the old divides. We believe that the policies and attitudes of the old parties only accentuate these divides, and that South Africa needs a new generation of leaders to take us forward.

Rise Mzansi is deeply rooted in the values of the Constitution: freedom; equality; integrity; justice; and solidarity. Our understanding of solidarity has its roots in tikkun olam (repairing the world), the Jewish concept I have come to know through my long friendships and professional relationships with Jewish South Africans. Our party is a natural home for all South Africans, Jews included, who subscribe to tikkun olam – the principle that we need to take social action to heal the world.

The Constitution states, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.” We champion non-racism, and will work to celebrate and protect all South Africans, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. This includes Jewish South Africans, whose constitutional rights we’ll protect, as we will all others. This means we don’t tolerate antisemitism, inside our party or anywhere else, in line with the Constitutional Court, which has already defined it as hate speech.

That being said, we align ourselves with progressive Jewish organisations the world over that reject the notion that it’s antisemitic to offer any criticism of the policies of the state of Israel. We adhere to the Jerusalem Declaration of 2021, drafted by 350 prominent Jewish scholars, which states that it isn’t antisemitic to “support the Palestinian demand for justice and the full grant of their political, national, civil, and human rights, as encapsulated in international law”.

We condemn outright all acts of violence that are outside of the bounds of international law, including Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, and Israel’s actions inside Gaza today. For this reason, we support South Africa’s suit to the International Court of Justice, and note this court’s finding that there is a prima facie case of genocide against Israel. We call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and for negotiations to proceed as soon as possible that will lead to two states, in which the rights of all people will be fully protected.

I respect that many Jews have a special bond – emotional and familial – with Israel. I also note how, historically, Jews have lived and acted fully as South Africans, just as they have in other countries the world over. This has led to a long history of Jewish leaders and activists standing with the oppressed. I note with much pride the role that Jewish South Africans have played in this process, from Helen Suzman to Joe Slovo to today’s Jewish South African leaders. I urge you to continue to play this role, together with other South Africans, even if we disagree on what should happen in Israel and Palestine.

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