Saturday, April 19, 2008

South African unions refuse to unload munitions from ship

From Durban News 24:

Durban - Opposition to a shipment of arms being offloaded in Durban and transported to Zimbabwe increased on Thursday when South Africa's biggest transport workers' union announced that its members would not unload the ship....

"Our members employed at Durban container terminal will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in the truck-driving sector move this cargo by road."...

In Cape Town, government communications head Themba Maseko said the country could not stop the shipment from getting to its destination as it had to be seen to be "treading very carefully" in its relations with Zimbabwe, given the complexity of facilitating talks between the Movement for Democratic Change and Zanu-PF. ..

Democratic Alliance defence spokesperson Rafeek Shah said the government's approval to allow the arms to be shipped was "the surest sign yet that government has completely lost the plot on the Zimbabwe issue".

Shah said: "The world's astonishment at President (Thabo) Mbeki's political defence of Robert Mugabe will likely turn into outright anger as we are now not only denying the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe, but also actively facilitating the arming of an increasingly despotic and desperate regime."

Kallie Kriel, AfriForum chief executive, said the organisation intended organising "an extensive campaign of peaceful demonstrations in an effort to prevent a consignment of Chinese arms from being transported from Durban across South African territory to Zimbabwe".

The SA Institute of Race Relations said on Thursday: "It would be unconscionable for South Africa to allow an arms consignment through its borders en route to Zimbabwe." ...

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