The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has announced its support for Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s pursuit of legal recourse against South African mercenaries suspected of aiding the genocidal activities of the Israeli government in Gaza. Additionally, SAFTU has affirmed its full endorsement of Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor’s call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel.

By Staff Reporter

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has announced its support for Minister in the Presidency for State Security, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, in her decision to pursue legal recourse against South African mercenaries who are implicated in aiding the genocidal activities of the Israeli government in Gaza.

“The greedy racists, who are going to quench their racist thirst for blood, are also looking to profit out of slaughtering Palestinian people, old and young. The government must stay true to its word, and not hesitate to prosecute such individuals, including dual citizens of Israel and South Africa. The first hurdle will begin with identifying such individuals. To ensure a successful arrest of these bloodthirsty racists, our intelligence must up their game,” stated SAFTU on Thursday.

Ntshavheni warned that any South African citizen engaging in the Israeli military conflict would be subject to legal consequences. She underscored that the Foreign Military Assistance Act explicitly prohibits South Africans from involvement in military activities in foreign territories.

On November 12, 2007, the Act on Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Regulation of Certain Activities in Country of Armed Conflict was approved. This legislation bans mercenary activities and oversees the provision of military-related services and humanitarian aid in armed conflicts.

The Act explicitly prohibits mercenary activities and considers them a criminal offence according to Section 2. Section 4 also forbids the recruitment of South African citizens into armed forces other than the South African Defence Force.

The Act’s Section 5 regulates the provision of humanitarian aid in countries experiencing armed conflict, requiring humanitarian organizations to be registered before offering assistance. Section 11 of the Act outlines the conditions for exercising extraterritorial jurisdiction.

FILE – Pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrate at the entrance to the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, on Oct. 20, 2023. South Africa’s government has recalled Monday Nov. 6, 2023 its ambassador and diplomatic mission to Israel in condemnation of the bombardment of the Gaza Strip, calling it “a genocide”. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

During a parliamentary session on Wednesday, Ntshavheni, a minister within the security cluster, stated that it is the responsibility of the government to prevent any South African from becoming involved in a conflict abroad.

“The State Security Agency, informed by its mandate, is monitoring developments in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“The specific problem of South Africans joining the ranks of the Israeli Defence Force is receiving attention. However, this problem goes beyond Israel. It encompasses other conflicts where state and non-state players are involved in training in armed conflict. Where sufficient evidence is available that breaches of relevant law occurred, affected people will have to be prosecuted,” said Ntshavheni.

SAFTU also expressed its full endorsement of the call made by Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.

“The court [ICC] rushed to issue a warrant of arrest against Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, for the aggression and invasion of Ukraine. If the court fails to issue an arrest warrant against Prime Minister Netanyahu, it would prove our long-standing criticism that it has an excessive Western imperialist bias.

“Such favouritism, including the failure to issue an arrest warrant against the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has eroded its legitimacy. If it wants to sweep the little grain of legitimacy it might still have, it would refuse or hesitate to issue the warrant arrest warrant against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” stated SAFTU.

On Tuesday, Pandor asserted that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his senior military officials should be arrested for war crimes.  She told Members of Parliament that Palestine has endured prolonged oppression spanning several decades.

“And nothing we can say will obliterate that fact. However, chairperson, the murder of children and women by Israel is an act that should have resulted in the International Criminal Court issuing an immediate arrest warrant for key decision-makers, including Mr Netanyahu, who is responsible for violations of international criminal law.

“The actions that we are witnessing daily by Israel are a violation of international law, including the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Convention, and all its protocols in its attacks on and kidnapping of innocent civilians.

“Hamas has also violated international law. While we express horror at the violence, it is critical that we acknowledge that the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel for several decades has led to bitter hatred and increased violence and that this violence is not the first violence,” Pandor said.

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