SWAZILAND: Letter to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Social Security

Keywords : Upcoming event Swaziland Democracy Swaziland

FORCEFUL DISRUPTION OF NATIONAL EXECUTIVE MEETING AT SNAT CENTRE BY THE ROYAL SWAZILAND POLICE

Upcoming event
2015
March 16

14th March 2015

The Honourable Minister of Labour and Social Security

Ministry of Labour and Social Security

P.O. Box 198

Mbabane

Dear Madam


FORCEFUL DISRUPTION OF NATIONAL EXECUTIVE MEETING AT SNAT CENTRE BY THE ROYAL SWAZILAND POLICE

For all the statements that there are some people that give the country a bad name, the Royal Swaziland Police today excelled themselves. They invaded SNAT Centre in huge numbers obviously intending to make sure that no meeting takes place. In that they succeeded. They came in disguised, dressed in a manner to really intimidate us. The police were over three hundred. Of course we would not be surprised if they would then dispute that these were police officers.

When we contacted the Regional Commissioner Mr Richard Mngomezulu about the invasion, he pretended to be unaware of their actions.

Our National Executive Committee meeting was today forcefully disrupted by the police, who invaded the venue SNAT Centre arguing that this meeting was a disguised continuation of the mass meeting they crushed on Saturday last week to talk about multi-party, without even looking at the day’s agenda. They said their orders are to crush any Tucoswa meeting because Tucoswa’s agenda is well-known by them.

They actually manhandled us, stopping anyone coming in or going out of the venue. As a few of us who were delegated to contact our co-operating partners, we were squashed between various policemen who were trying to read the emails we were sending to such partners and generally made it difficult to send the communication. They harassed the National leadership and demanded their phones saying they would confiscate their phones as the leadership was taking photos of them without their permission, something which they to do to us whenever we have an activity.

Muzi Mhlanga the SNAT Secretary-General was assaulted and has gone to see a doctor. That is how unruly these police were.

Clearly the proposed Code of Good Practice to manage industrial action and strike action is now in tatters with such conduct and we are not surprised that Government has taken a good length of time pretending they were still working on the draft. We now appreciate the delays in concluding the benchmarks to try and regain AGOA, Government had long forgone that trade agreement. If such was not the case, she would have ensured that her police do not act in such a negligent fashion.

We have brought the past harassment of the police to your office with no positive reaction before and we are sure that is what has emboldened the police now. It is no wonder that the feeling that it is not possible to have a peaceful meeting in the country is gaining ground as we consider meetings in South Africa.

We make the Minister aware of the continuing harassment so that as we take this matter to other fora we have been fair to the Minister.

We are waiting with bated breath as to what the Minister is going to say to such blatant violation of workers’ rights by a force that is supposed to enforce the law but in fact violates such law. Indeed we hold, if we had done anything to justify such harassment, we should have been charged not manhandled. We are aware that they cannot go that route because of the dangers of being exposed in a court of law of the illegality of their actions.

As we write this letter, some four of them are sitting outside in car monitoring us.

Your Faithfully

Vincent Ncongwane

Secretary-General

Cc The Commissioner of Labour

The National Commissioner of Police

The Chief Executive Officer FSE/CC

The President FESBC

Tucoswa National Office Bearers

The Tucoswa affiliates

Email ncongwanev@gmail.com

+26876037005

+26824220791

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