Protesters demonstrate in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 7, 2012.
Protesters demonstrate in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 7, 2012, against economic decisions made by the governing African National Congress. Photo by AP
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A regional branch of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress will try to use the opposition party’s “close” relationship to Israel against that party to gain more support from Muslim voters.

The ANC is “concerned’ about the pro-Israel policies of the Western Cape region’s Democratic Alliance-led government, ANC Western Cape Leader Marius Fransman told the Cape Times, according to the South African Jewish Report. His party’s representatives would meet “with a cross-section of communities” about the issue, the newspaper said. He added that Palestinians and their cause were “dear to local Muslims.”

Fransman, who is deputy minister of internal relations and cooperation, was outlining his vision of the party’s electoral strategy when he made the comments.

The Western Cape is home to about 5.2 million people, according to the country’s 2007 Community Survey. The Muslim population in the Western Cape is estimated at about 500,000, according to the South African Jewish Report.

In 2004, posters appearing in Cape Town during a regional election included graphic images and the slogan, “A vote for the DA, a vote for Israel.” The ANC said at the time that it was not responsible for the signs.