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South African Dockers Succeed in Thwarting Chinese Arms Ship Bound for Zimbabwe

Posted to the IUF website 28-Apr-2008

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A week after South African dockers refused to unload a Chinese ship docking in Durban with millions of round of ammunitions and guns destined for Zimbabwe, Chinese officials confirmed that the ship was returning with a full cargo to China. While the South African government issued official permission for the arms to transit overland into Zimbabwe, the dockers' action inspired a movement to pressure other countries in the region to refuse the shipment. Following action in solidarity with the democratic movement in Zimbabwe by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), the national center COSATU declared “COSATU agrees with SATAWU that this vessel must return to China with the arms on board, as South Africa cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe at a time where there is a political dispute and a volatile situation between the ZANU PF and the MDC (main opposition party).”

COSATU has announced plans for joint action "with civil society, church and NGO groups for a huge protest march in South Africa . . . to demand the removal of the Mugabe dictatorship.”

At least one officer of the IUF-affiliated rural workers' union GAPWUZ was arrested following union demonstrations against widespread fraud and violence in the Zimbabwe elections. Farm workers - many of them migrants - have again been the victims of violence and mass expulsions in the wake of post-election orchestrated land seizures. The IUF Executive Committee, which met in Geneva April 17-18, reaffirmed its support for GAPWUZ and the union struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.