South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, compared US President Donald Trump’s so-called “peace plan” for Palestine to apartheid South Africa’s Bantustan system.
The 33rd African Union Summit was launched yesterday in the African body’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, under the slogan “silencing guns and creating conditions for development in Africa.”
Ramaphosa said: “It brought to mind the chronicled history that we as South Africans went through. The apartheid regime once imposed the Bantustan system on the people of South Africa without consulting them and with all the oppressive elements which that plan had.”
“As I listened to the Arab League and as I listened to colleagues from Palestine, its sounds like this plan has been consulted without all the people that matter and it sounds like a Bantustan type of construct.”
Bantustans were territories set aside for black South Africans during apartheid-era South Africa.
Ramaphosa’s statements came after AU commission chairperson Moussa Faki, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Gheit and Palestine Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh condemned Trump’s plan in their own statements at the ordinary session.
Shtayyeh said the AU vision to silence the guns has an immediate relevance to the people of Palestine who have been suffering from the Israeli occupation.
“Our collective fortunes rely on international cooperation and in ensuring that we leave no one behind. That is why the AU should continue with its support for the people elsewhere in the world that still suffer under the yoke of oppression,” Ramaphosa added.
“Today we reaffirm our unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign state. We also reaffirm our unwavering support for the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.”
In addition, he quoted the internationally acclaimed musician Jonas Gangwa who sang, “Freedom for some is freedom for none.”
Faki said that the Trump plan trampled on the rights of Palestinians and represented “a violation of multiple resolutions of the UN and the AU.”
Palestine has observer status in the African Union, and Palestinian leaders address the body’s annual summits.