Joburg mayor a no-show at pro-Palestine rally

Michelle Gumede & Rafieka Williams

Joburg mayor Parks Tau did not arrive for a planned address at a pro-Palestinian rally at Wits on Thursday following a letter from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), a representative from the ANC region said.

“It must be noted that the SAJBD sent the mayor communication saying they don’t want Parks to talk here, as they see this event as anti-Semitic,” said ANC Johannesburg regional secretary Dada Morero.

Tau had been scheduled to speak at Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a pro-Palestinian event. Instead, students were addressed by Morero who apologised for the mayor’s absence. He said Tau had received a letter from SAJBD discouraging him from attending the event. Morero criticised the letter.

“The letter undermines the constitution of the state,” Morero said.

When contacted by Wits Vuvuzela, Morero denied suggestions that Tau had been pressured into not attending the rally by the SAJBD. He said Tau had been in a mayoral meeting and was unable rally.

However, Morero said the City of Joburg had signed an agreement with the city of Ramallah in solidarity with the Palestine. “We won’t back down,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

When reached for comment, the SAJBD was not immediately available.