Cosatu to intensify role in Swazi protests

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Saturday vowed to intensify its role in labour protests in Swaziland calling for an end to the reign of King Mswati III.

Cosatu also commended the Swazi people who held protest marches on Friday.

“Fighting workers and masses of Swaziland filled the streets of Mbabane and Manzini to express their rage at a system that has for years bled their country dry through the greed and rampant accumulation of the royal family and its friends,” Cosatu said in a statement.

“For these reasons we are intensifying our own role and involvement in taking up the demands of the Swazi people … demanding that the world, and SADC and South Africa in particular, does more to assist the Swazi nation.”

Call for sanctions
Cosatu also said it supported the call for sanctions against the Swazi royal family.

It said it would organise activities and events over the next few weeks to express solidarity with the Swazi people.

One of these actions was a march planned for April 12 in Mpumalanga.

“Let these actions serve as a clear statement to the world, to SADC and to our own government that merely standing by and watching Mswati is an act of accomplice in the persecution of the people of Swaziland.”

Public service workers marched through the streets of the capital, Mbabane, on Friday, protesting plans by the country’s government to cut salaries and jobs in an attempt to get its finances in order.

In response to the protest marches, King Mswati said workers should be willing to sacrifice more and work harder.

He said it did not help for them to protest and cause disruptions.

Swaziland’s National Public Service and Allied Workers Union, the country’s largest public workers organisation, criticised the king’s response, saying his call for workers to sacrifice more was laughable.

King Mswati is the last absolute monarch in Africa and has been criticised for his lavish lifestyle. – Sapa

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