The South African Communist Party (SACP) issued a statement strongly condemning the Israeli decision to deny entry visas to South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, South African Communist Party Secretary General, Cde Blade Nzmande, along with his team of officials.“The South African Communist Party (SACP) is appalled by, and condemns in strongest terms possible, the apartheid Israeli regime’s decision to deny our Minister of Higher Education and Training and SACP General Secretary Cde Blade Nzmande and his team of officials with an entry visa into Palestine, “the SACP said in a statement.

The SACP stated that Nzmande was officially invited by his Palestinian counterpart, Dr. Khawla Shakhsheer, to visit Palestine from 25-29 April 2015.

The South African Department of Higher Education and Training, said the visit follows a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2014, in which an agreement between South Africa and Palestine was singed.

The “justification” Israel provided for denied visas was because the South African Minister “criticized the Israeli government.”

“The SCAP said it will not allow any foreign government to decide for us what to think, say and do,” the SCAP said, “South Africans should take their cue and defend our inalienable right to freedom of speech and international solidarity with the oppressed people in any part of the world.”

In its statement, the SCAP said it will intensify its Boycott, Divestment and Sanction against Israel until it full withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, and until the Palestinians have their own independent and sovereign state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.….dpuf

It also called for denying access to any Israeli official into South Africa until Tel Aviv ends its apartheid and occupation of Palestine.

On his part, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki strongly denounced the Israeli decision, and said that “Israel is sending a clear racist message to all officials convening in the Asian-African Summit by denying the South African officials access to Palestine.”

He added that the visit was planned to be held between April 25 and 28, after South Africa and Palestine signed the bilateral education agreement during a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the country in November of 2014.

Several South African factions and groups issued strong condemnation of the “Israeli arrogance, and its ongoing violations of International law,” and demanded the international community to treat with Israel the same way it dealt with the racist apartheid regime that once ruled South Africa.

The factions said “Israel’s occupation of Palestine must be identified as it is; a racist occupation that must be ended because its continuation is a continuation of ethnic cleansing, and ongoing crimes against the Palestinians and their land.”