Pro-Palestinian protesters bought Woolworths shares

Pro-Palestinian protesters bought Woolworths shares

FILE PICTURE: Members of the Jewish Community picket outside the Woolworths in Sea Point on October 30, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander

Pro-Palestinian protesters bought individual Woolworths shares in order to gain access to the retailer’s annual general meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday, said BDS SA (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in SA).

BDS SA supporters used the opportunity “to pose well-researched questions to the chairman,” spokesman Muhammed Desai said.

“The chairman, Simon Susman, told the AGM he had responded to all queries about Woolworths’s trade relationship with Israel.

“But a shareholder pointed out that she had been e-mailing queries with no response.

“We were glad some of the mistruths were exposed.”

BDS SA initiated a campaign to boycott Woolworths over its trade relations with Israel following the war in Gaza.

Woolworths spokeswoman Susie Squire said there were “a variety of views” expressed at the AGM and that Susman had given the protesters a fair chance to air their concerns.

A number of other shareholders had made their opposing views known in the meeting too, she added.

This was after the High Court in Johannesburg granted Woolworths’ application for an interdict preventing BDS SA supporters from harassing or intimidating Woolworths customers and staff, and from staging protests inside stores.

It also orders representatives of the two groups to meet face-to-face by December 10 “in an attempt to settle the entire matter”.

The court order specifically prohibits “die-ins”, “whereby the protesters scream and then lie on the floor, blocking the aisles and feigning death”, in Woolworths stores.


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