The Congress of South African Trade Unions has vowed to close ports to cargo ships from "apartheid Israel," the South African Daily News reported on Wednesday.
The Congress has already announced it would refuse to offload a vessel scheduled to dock in Durban on Sunday.
According to the report, this will be the second time COSATU's affiliate, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU,) refuses to unload goods from or destined to "dictatorial and oppressive rogue states," which include Israel, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
A statement issued by COSATU said "This follows the decision by COSATU to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel."
A series of protests were also scheduled to take place in major South African cities starting Thursday, and several parliament members and senior union leaders are expected to attend.
The statement, issued by COSATU, the Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Young Communist League recalled the successful boycotts imposed against South Africa during the apartheid era.
"We call on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.
"We also welcome statements by various South African Jews of conscience who have dissociated themselves from the genocide in Gaza," the statement said.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies, however, told the Daily News it was more likely that COSATU was more concerned with upcoming national elections than the state of the Palestinian people.
"COSATU wants to show its muscle and the elections are getting closer, so it is easy to bash a foreign state," said board chairman Zev Krengel.
"It is a pity COSATU cannot show the same solidarity with its own brothers in the African continent. More than 3 000 people in Zimbabwe have died of cholera, yet we do not see any protest about that."
Krengel also said that a boycott would have little economic effect on Israel, and would prove to be unproductive.
"As South Africans, we have been a nation which talks and reconciles. This is not helping at all, and does not help the Palestinians," he said.
COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven rejected claims that the decision to boycott Israeli ships was influenced by elections, saying "The ultimate aim is to give the Palestinians independence and a sovereign state in which to live. This particular action goes beyond simple verbal denunciations."