Road to 2024: South Africa’s UN victory over Israel has strengthened its standing on the world stage, giving Ramaphosa the edge as elections draw closer, writes Zukile Majova.
The South African government scored a massive victory on Friday when the judicial arm of the United Nations agreed with it that there was a plausible case of genocide being committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza has displaced over 1.7-million people and killed more than 26,000, of whom more than 10,000 are children.
Even though the bench of 17 judges of the International Court of Justice did not order a ceasefire or any demand for Israel to stop its military campaign, it ordered it to stop killing civilians and blocking humanitarian aid from reaching Palestinians.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, who was in The Hague in the Netherlands for the court’s decision, said she hoped the effective implementation of the order would indirectly force a cessation of the bombardment.
“I believe that in exercising the order, there would have to be a ceasefire,” said Pandor.
“Without it, the order doesn’t actually work. I would have wanted the word ‘cessation’ included in the judgment, but I’m satisfied with the directives that have been given.”
News of the court’s findings brought the meeting of the ANC national executive committee in Johannesburg to a standstill as members broke into revolutionary songs.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ruling was a decisive victory for the international rule of law.
“We expect Israel, as a self-proclaimed democracy, and a state that respects the rule of law to abide by the measures handed down by the International Court of Justice,” Ramaphosa said.
“After more than half a century of occupation, dispossession, oppression and apartheid, the Palestinian people’s cries for justice have been heeded by an eminent organ of the United Nations.”
The victory reaffirms South Africa’s standing as a country that fights for the causes of the oppressed and the so-called global south – a role it seemed to have abandoned in recent years.
As a member of the Brics+ group of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), it has also positioned itself as a possible broker of peace in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Even though he finds himself in bed with human rights abusers like Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia, Ramaphosa is walking a tightrope to ensure his government is still respected by Western democracies as a paragon of justice and human rights.
This being an election year, Ramaphosa has been milking the Palestinian solidarity campaign for all it is worth and explaining its importance to villagers who would otherwise not be interested in anything but job creation and service delivery.
Under the umbrella of the Palestinian cause, the ANC has been able to pull thousands of supporters to rallies in the DA stronghold of the Western Cape.
The ANC, which lost the City of Cape Town to a DA coalition in the 2006 municipal elections, has been embraced by the coloured and Muslim communities in the city whose leadership supports Israel.
Scenes of the Cape Town DA administration unleashing the police and the metro police on its white, coloured and Muslim communities at protests supporting the Palestinians are unprecedented and may have significant implications for the DA in the coming elections.
The might and cruelty of the state are often reserved for black people in the townships and the black-owned taxi industry.
The ANC may have trumpeted the Palestinian cause to divert attention from its corruption-tainted service-delivery record at home, but there is no denying that the lawyers who presented the country’s case at The Hague did sterling and admirable work. And the world has noticed our efforts.
Pictured above: Minster Naledi Pandor (front, second from right) leads the South African team as the ICJ hands down its judgment.
Image source: X