The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) expresses its heartfelt and deepest condolences, at the news of the passing of the chivalrous Swazi trade unionist and politician – Comrade Jan Jabulani Sithole. Sithole died, on Friday, 11th September 2020 at the age of 67.
The late Former Manzini North Member of Parliament, founder, and President of the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) was well-known for being a strong critic of Swaziland’s non-political party system known as Tinkhundla, since his time as the Secretary General of the then Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU). Sithole has led workers into crippling protest actions in a call for multiparty democracy. Among his many acts of politicking, he commanded the national protest march that brought the country to a standstill named khukhulelangoco for nearly a month in 1996.
Notwithstanding the size of the country, worker challenges in Swaziland were always adequately profiled and articulated by Sithole. He became a household name on matters of workers’ rights and general civil liberties. While in Parliament, Sithole managed to convince MPs to understand multi-party democracy, and a series of motions under his name were censored by the captured media. This was a strategy by the Tinkhundla system to portray him as silent in the eyes of the people.
The trade union movement, and political community has lost a hero par excellence, a democrat, and a towering figure in the fight for democracy in Swaziland. Our heartfelt sympathies go to the Sithole’s family. We further extend our condolences to the Political Party Assembly (PPA), specifically to SWADEPA, whom we were briefed did everything humanly possible to see to it that their President gets the best medical attention. May his revolutionary soul rest in eternal peace.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794