South African port and truck workers are refusing to move weapons from a ship that docked in the country on its way to Zimbabwe, union officials said Friday.
The move could add to pressure on South African President Thabo Mbeki to take a harder line on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is accused of withholding the results of an election his opposition says it won. Mbeki has argued that Mugabe is unlikely to respond to a confrontational approach.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions applauded the stance by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, and reiterated its calls for Zimbabwean electoral officials to release the results of the March 29 presidential elections.
“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,” the union congress said in a statement.
Mary Robinson, the former U.N. human rights chief, applauded the unions for taking a stand.
“How positive it is that ordinary dockers have refused to allow that boat to go further,” Robinson said during a conference in Senegal on governance in Africa. “They as individuals have taken the responsibility. Because they believe it’s not right.”
More of this, please. Everywhere.