Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS South Africa) were in a celebratory mood after it was announced that Bill Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has divested all R1,9 Billion ($184 million) of its holdings in the Israeli-linked G4S Security.
Mthunzi Mbuli of the South African based Palestine solidarity human rights organization, BDS South Africa, welcomed the divestment move by Bill Gates and saluted them for being on the right side of history”.
The divestment move by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, follows an international Palestinian-led BDS boycott campaign that publicly urged Bill Gates and his foundation to end investments in G4S security due to the company’s involvement in Israeli detention and torture centres which hold Palestinian political prisoners. Earlier this year, on the international day of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian solidarity and BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) activists held protests at the various country offices of the Bill Gates Foundation including in Johannesburg, London and the USA.
Well-known South African personalities wrote an open letter to the Management of G4S calling on the company to end its Israeli contracts. The letter began: “As G4S management and shareholders prepare to participate in the G4S AGM on Thursday, we call on G4S management and shareholders to end the corporation’s participation in Israel’s brutal occupation”.
Mthunzi Mbuli of BDS South Africa explained that: “The BDS campaign seeks to hold Israel, and international companies involved in Israel, accountable to international law. In the 1980s the boycott worked against Apartheid South Africa, and its now working against Apartheid Israel. The international isolation of Israel it is hoped will lead to the necessary conditions for a just peace to be negotiated – similar to what occurred in South Africa and brought about a democratic country for all our people.”