South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has officially endorsed the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel, and imposed a ban on ties with Israel and Israeli institutions.
With a 60,000-strong student body, Tshwane is the largest residential higher education institution in South Africa.
In a statement released last week, officials revealed that a 24 November meeting of the university council had formally approved a recommendation to cut ties.
“As a progressive University in a democratic South Africa, we want to affirm that TUT will not sign any agreements or enter into scientific partnerships with any Israeli organisation or institution until such time that Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.” the statement said.
The University will not stand back and accept the violations of the Israeli government when it confines the movement of Palestinian children and youth on their own land and restricts their ability to access education through destroying the schools.
The statement added: “TUT furthermore supports the call by various bodies, including student bodies and other progressive organisations to boycott Israel and Israeli institutions for as long as Israel continues to violate the basic human rights of the Palestinian people, as well as international laws.”
TUT spokesperson on the issue, Professor Rasigan Maharajh, told the African News Agency: “As a ‘peoples university’, TUT is enjoined with the University of Johannesburg, and progressive Palestinian and Israeli academics in further encouraging the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all academic institutions in Israel as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s illegal occupation and system of apartheid.”
In a press release, BDS South Africa described the university’s decision as a “major win”, and quoted the chairperson of TUT’s Institutional Forum, Gugu Xaba, as welcoming the news.
“TUT is joining other human rights respecting institutions including our colleagues at the University of Johannesburg who also terminated their relations with Israel in 2011. This is another major win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement contributing to a formidable momentum for Palestine! We salute all those involved in taking this decision.”