SA Friends of Israel 'outraged' after Joburg MMC suspended

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba suspended Health and Social Development MMC Mpho Phalatse on Tuesday for declaring that the city is a friend of Israel.

FILE: Suspended Health and Social Development MMC Mpho Phalatse. Picture: @mphophalatse1/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Friends of Israel says its appalled and devastated by the suspension of a Johannesburg councillor for publicly declaring that the city is a friend of Israel.

Mayor Herman Mashaba suspended Health and Social Development MMC Mpho Phalatse on Tuesday for attributing her personal remarks to the city.

Phalatse made the comment at the Friends of Israel national conference at the weekend.

The pro-Israeli group is now appealing for her to be reinstated with immediate effect.

Chairman Ben Swartz says: “South African Friends of Israel is absolutely outraged by these efforts to single out the most promising of civil servants and political leaders who have so much to offer this country.”

In May, South Africa withdrew its ambassador to Israel following the killing of Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border. In a statement, the South African government condemned in the strongest terms the violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces.

Several groups have called on government to impose economic sanctions against Israel and cut all business ties with the country. This came after over 50 Palestinians were killed and 2,000 others injured during demonstrations over the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestine have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded.

Additional reporting by Tendani Mulaudzi & Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)