COSATU to Swazi King: Stop Your Crime, or We’ll Block SA-Swazi Trade

COSATU Mpumalanga memorandum directed to King Mswati III delivered during the protest march held on 12 April 2011 at the Oshoek border gate

12 April 2011

His Majesty King Mswati III

Today, the 12 April 2011 members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, together with the Alliance partners are gathered here at the Oshoek border in their large numbers to pay active solidarity to the people of Swaziland in their struggle for freedom and democracy in that country.

On this day the 12 April 1973 King Sobhuza II the King of Swaziland declared a decree that gave supreme power to the King, with all legislative, executive and judicial power vested unto the King.  The decree banned and illegalised political parties in Swaziland, trade unions, students, youth and women’s organisations, all structures of mass participation in that country, and peaceful demonstrations.

The decree denied the Swaziland people their legitimate rights to expression in matters that affect their daily lives, by making political participation the exclusive preserve of the royal family and its allies, and in the process turning the rest of the population into mere spectators and subjects of the royal family.

The decree has been in place since 1973 to date.  The people of Swaziland are suffering from the effects of a perpetual state of emergency decreed by the Tinkundla regime.

COSATU members are gathered here today, 12 April 2011 to officially declare your oppressive rule upon the people of Swaziland a crime against humanity.

The past few weeks have seen the people of Swaziland revolting against your oppressive regime; the youth took to the streets; the workers took to the streets and as usual you used your armed forces to torture and intimidate the people from raising legitimate demands.

Today in Swaziland:

Political parties are banned.
More than 40% of the people are infected with HIV/AIDS.
More than 50% are unemployed.
Political and trade union rights are denied.

In support of the struggle by the working class and the poor of Swaziland to liberate themselves, COSATU members today, 12 April 2011 demand the following:

Unban all political parties in Swaziland.
Unconditional return of all those who are in exile.
Introduction of multi-party democracy.
The repeal of all laws and legislation preventing the free exercise of both freedom of association and freedom of choice.

Should we not receive an immediate response within 14 working days, the workers organised under COSATU will intensify their actions against your regime including, amongst others, blocking all goods from South Africa to Swaziland and from Swaziland to South Africa.

COSATU Provincial Secretary
Fidel Mlombo
Mpumalanga Province

For more information, visit <>.  Cf. Loyiso Langeni, “Cosatu Questions SA Silence on Swazi Abuses” (Business Day, 11 April 2011); “Swazi Unions’ Leadership Arrested” (COSATU, 12 April 2011); “SDC Swaziland Coordinators Detained” (COSATU, 12 April 2011).

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