The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) salutes its members and South Africans in general who overwhelmingly supported our campaign in support of the struggle for democracy in Swaziland. Today, the Federation organised blockades in various border posts ,going in and out, of Swaziland to show solidarity for the people of Swaziland and support their struggle for democracy.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers came out in their numbers to show their overwhelming support. The Federation condemns the use of brutal force by the South African police against innocent protesters at Matsamo border post in Mpumalanga.
The members of the SAPS deployed at Matsamo border post overzealously decided to shoot at innocent protesters. This unprovoked attack led to many of them sustaining injuries. We call on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his administration to choose sides because we cannot allow for the SAPS to be used to prop up an ailing and discredited Tinkhundla regime.
We are very much aware of the attempt of the regime to try and stop our blockade through consultation with the South African Authorities. This unnaceptable conduct by the police makes us wonder if this attempt was entertained somewhere in South African government corridors.
The Federation is unwavering in its support for the struggle for a free and democratic Swaziland. We find it totally unacceptable that more than 74 lives were lost, several hundreds injured and more than 700 were jailed for standing up for democracy, in a space of 3 months.
We are not going to allow the actions of overzealous and reactionary police officers to dampen our commitment to stand in solidarity with the people of Swaziland. We remain inspired by the efforts of fallen giants of the Swazi struggle, such as Mario Masuku, Jan Sithole and others who died demanding democracy and people’s power.
Despite the shooting incidence, COSATU members regrouped and continued with their programme however, we regret that the same modus operandi used by police in Swaziland was the same used in Mpumalanga as when the leaders of the Federation were due to speak the police again attacked the blockade without provocation. This is unacceptable and will be addressed in due course.
We reiterate our support for the calls demanding the unbanning of political parties, the release of all political prisoners, towards an inclusive political dialogue, and a transitional authority and a new democratic constitution for the country.
We demand the release of all political prisoners, including our dear stalwart and brave soldier Amos Mbedzi, who is a prisoner of conscience and has become very ill, Mbedzi has been subjected to inhumane and cruel torture, denied medical care and other rights as a human being.
Once again, we call on King Mswati III to stop being in denial but to recognize the urgency for earnest and robust dialogue between himself and the people of Swaziland that will drive the process of change.
The reality is that change is coming in Swaziland, and it is up to him to decide whether he will be part of it or not. The federation will continue to work together with its sister federations in the region and beyond to show solidarity and mobilise for the struggle for a free and democratic Swaziland.
We also call on SADC to acknowledge that the winds of change are here, and they cannot remain silent or passive on the Swaziland question. As President Cyril Ramaphosa receives the Troika report and the incoming chair, we appeal to his conscience to acknowledge that the process of investigation was flawed and not inclusive as it only had access to the official structures of the Swaziland government and no other stakeholders. Therefore, it is incumbent on him to do the right thing and not priorities business over human lives and human rights.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794