Woolies shareholder group claims they've been ignored

Shareholder representatives have called on the company to take the lead in boycotting Israel.

FILE: Isu Chiba, Robben Island political prisoner, calls for the boycott of Woolworths. Picture: Via @azharvadi on Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - A group of Woolworths shareholders have voiced their dissatisfaction with the company's response to protests by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group, claiming they have been ignored.

The Woolworths-Israeli trade agreement is worth about R12 million and the activists want it cancelled in support of the people of Palestine.

But the retail giant says it has responded to all of BDS's correspondence and maintains that it will not ban any country from trading with its stores.

BDS, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the group of shareholders today spoke out against Woolworths and called on the company to take the lead in boycotting Israel as other companies did with South Africa during apartheid.

Shareholder representative Nadia Hassan said they were seriously concerned by how the company has reacted to calls for a boycott of Israeli goods.

"To date, Woolworths has declined a face-to-face meeting with human rights groups and that goes against good governance principles."

BDS coordinator Muhammed Desai said the group has been brushed off and repeated requests for meetings have been denied.

"They want to wish away the issue and ignore the campaign."

But Woolworths has denied this and says it has been discussing the campaign with the group's members for months.