Home NewsAsia #CloverFree: South African households are boycotting a former favourite

#CloverFree: South African households are boycotting a former favourite

by Zahid Jadwat

Clover employees on a strike when an Israeli company took over the company in 2021. [Picture: Masego Mafata/GroundUp].

Clover used to be a firm South African favourite. It was heavily stocked in the pantries of nearly every household. And then it became the target of a growing boycott campaign.

Since Israel returned to pound the Gaza Strip in October, renewed attention has been trained on an array of companies complicit in the atrocities perpetrated against Palestine. Starbucks, Cape Union Mart, now Clover. For a while, Woolworths too.

Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia, Naeem Patel from the South African Friends of Palestine (SAFP) explained the boycott against the multinational dairy company. This, he said, applied to any boycott against any product.

“One, the company must be owned by an Israeli conglomerate and, secondly, we must have alternatives. We can’t ask people to boycott something if we don’t have an alternative.”


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The company with humble beginnings in KwaZulu-Natal quickly drew the ire of conscious South African consumers when it was taken over by the Israeli Central Bottling Company (CBC).

The SAFP developed an eight-point plan to boycott companies associated with genocide in Palestine. Among them, requests for cooperation from local shopkeepers and a wide social media campaign urging consumers not to purchase Clover products.

“[We] issue them with a letter to say the community is going to boycott and picket out your store should you not get rid of all your Clover products. All the businesses in our area came on board. That was the most important point for us.”

Moreover, the group erected billboards in Laudium, Gauteng. The messages are short and to the point: boycott Clover.

“This has worked very well. We found the reps coming to take photos of these boards to send it back to their different product managers,” said Patel.

The Pretorian activist and politician said he was not too concerned about any possible legal action from the company.

“As an activist, as a Muslim, consequences with regards to these actions are the last thing on our minds. We live in a democracy with a Constitution far beyond any other constitution in the world in terms of our rights as human beings.”

Meanwhile, the company earlier refused to respond to calls for CBC, a majority shareholder, to divest from the company.

“Clover’s company mission of being a leading branded foods company in Africa providing accessible nutrition to all its customers will be enhanced by CBC’s capabilities,” said Clover’s legal executive, Steven Velthuysen.

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