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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Swaziland border blockade

04 - 04 - 06

Swaziland border posts to be blockaded

The leadership and members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Swaziland Solidarity Network, the SACP, YCL, ANCYL and SASCO, will be holding demonstrations and blockades at the four border posts between South Africa and Swaziland on Wednesda y 12 April in support for the oppressed people of Swaziland in their struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights.

The people of Swaziland are living under a state of emergency that bans political parties and outlaws all forms of political activity, including all the rights and freedoms of the people to organise, associate and speak on issues affecting the country and their lives. Only members of the royal family and their friends have rights in Swaziland; the rest of the people are objects of royal slavery and economic exploitation by the tinkhundla system

We support the demands of the people of Swaziland - the workers, women, youth and rural landless masses, and the political movements and churches. Through mass action and organised resistance, they have openly declared their untiring commitment to a societ y based on respect for human dignity, democracy and social justice.

For their commitment to these noble ideals, they have become victims of extreme police brutality and torture, state violence, and daily persecution by agents of royal rule. They have been arrested, forced into exile, thrown out of their land of birth, lost their jobs and means of livelihood, and denied opportunities in every way possible.

Therefore, the democracy-loving people of the world, South Africans in particular could not stand by and watch as fellow people suffer the brutality of the tinkhundla royal regime disguised as "Swazi culture and tradition", when in actual fact it is the in terests of the ruling royal minority.

We are in solidarity with the struggling people of Swaziland in their quest for a truly democratic society based on the ideals of economic justice and social progress for all. It should be a society free from the stranglehold of royal monopoly, but must gu arantee the full and effective participation of all people in the running of the country's daily affairs.

The people of Swaziland have made it very clear that only a constitution produced by a democratic and popular process, involving all the people of Swaziland and their organisations, can be acceptable and democratic.

The current constitution was made by the royal family and their friends. It was made under conditions of massive arrests and torture of political activists, particularly members of PUDEMO and SWAYOCO, workers, youth and women and rural landless people, lik e the people of Kamkhweli and Macetjeni.

The conditions under which the constitution was made could not guarantee free speech and the right to organise. The media and judiciary were and still are controlled by the king and are not independent, whilst the security forces are instruments of intimid ation, harassment and terror against political activists who want democracy and change.

Therefore, we stand by the people's demand for a democratically elected National constitutional Forum to write a legitimate and democratic constitution for Swaziland. The current constitution has also been rejected by the international community of civilis ed humanity, and our duty is to intensify its rejection and the demand for a new and democratic one.

Our demands are not separate from the demands of the struggling people of Swaziland, which are:

A democratically elected National Constitutional Forum
Unbanning of political parties
Unconditional release of all political prisoners and the return of all exiles
Immediate removal of all laws that prohibit free political activities and ban the rights to associate, organise and speak freely.

More details of the protest will be released next week.