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Ciskei Government Severs Commercial Relations with Israel

The government of Ciskei, the South African puppet state or homeland which is not recognized by any other country in the world, including Israel, has halted all its commercial relations with Israel because of alleged corruption.

The Israel government had always expressed dissatisfaction and reservations about the commercial relations of private Israeli companies and individuals with Ciskei, but took no official steps to halt them.

In large notices placed in Israeli newspapers this week, the Ciskei government announced that “as from 31 July, 1985, Messrs. Josef Schneider and or Nat Rosenwasser no longer represent the government of Ciskei, either as trade commissioners or in any capacity whatsoever.”

The announcement said that henceforth no official Ciskei business would be conducted from their Tel Aviv offices and all further inquiries should be directed to the office of the Ciskei presidency in its capital of Bisho. Schneider and Rosenwasser had served as Ciskei trade commissioners in Israel for the past three years.

Their dismissal, and the cancellation of current contracts with Israeli firms, follows investigations in Bisho against alleged malpractices and corruption against the former Ciskei Minister of Health Hennie Beukes, which included investigations by a two-man Ciskei legal team which has just spent two weeks in Israel.

THRIVING TOURIST, COMMERCIAL TRADE

In recent months, Schneider and Rosenwasser arranged tours in Israel for Ciskeian President Lennox Sebe and Beukes, and also arranged tours to Ciskei for Israeli Knesset members and other notables.

Israelis who have visited Ciskei are said to have included former Finance Minister Yoram Aridor, former Deputy Finance Minister Yehezkel Flumin, Afula Mayor Ovadia Eli, and Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor David Griffel, all Likud members.

The Ciskei capital Bisho and the West Bank settlement of Ariel signed a twin-cities agreement last year. About 10 Israeli-owned factories have been built or are being built in Ciskei, and Israeli firms have built hospitals there and have provided agricultural and development assistance.

Some 200 Israelis are reported to have been living in Ciskei, employed on Israeli and joint venture projects there. All are expected to return home within the coming days, following cancellation by Ciskei of all contracts and commercial relations.

According to evidence placed before Ciskei Chief Justice Sextus De Wet’s one-man investigation commission in Bisho, Beukes was the go-between in arranging many of the deals made between Ciskei and Israeli firms, and a number of these deals are alleged to have been irregular. Before his resignation from the Ciskei government in May, Beukes was the only white in the Ciskei Cabinet.

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