Palestine must be placed on the agenda of the BRICS countries' meeting this year, a senior South African minister said on Wednesday.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa make up the five emerging nations which form BRICS and which include 41 per cent of the world's population.
Speaking at an Israeli Apartheid Week event at the University of Cape Town, South Africa's Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor called on students to lobby for the issue of Palestine to be included in BRICS' agenda as the body will be chaired by South Africa this year.
She went on to reaffirm both the South African government and the African National Congress' solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Urging South Africans to support international struggles for freedom and self-determination, Pandor stressed that this should be done in the same way that the global community stood in solidarity with the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
"One of the things we failed to appreciate as South Africans is the immense contribution to our struggle by the international anti-apartheid movement. We enjoyed support from all corners of the world and now that we are free we are ignoring and enjoying our freedom and we have forgotten those who are oppressed in other parts of the world."
"Now that we have achieved our freedom, we must not forget our friends and allies who helped us liberate ourselves," she cautioned.
The ANC's recent vote in favour of downgrading the South African embassy in Israel "is not an anti-Israel resolution, it is a pro-Palestine resolution", she continued.
"It does express our dismay and anger at the absence of any attempt by Israel, which is the powerful component of the struggle and its powerful friends in the north, their absence of any attempt to free the people of Palestine from the oppression they suffer today."