09 July 2018

Communist Party of Swaziland condemns royal police brutality on workers of Swaziland during peaceful workers’ protest action against tinkhundla barbarism

Communist Party of Swaziland

On Friday 29 June 2018 the workers of Swaziland took to the streets of the capital city of Swaziland, Mbabane, under the leadership of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) raising various demands with the government of Mswati III, Swaziland’s absolute monarch. The workers called for improvement of wages and working conditions, an end to heavy taxes on the working class, an end to colonial-style evictions, respect for the right to assemble and protest peacefully, and other demands. About 70 percent of the people of Swaziland survive on less than US$2 a day, but on 19 April 2018 they were forced to pay over E1 billion (about US$75 million) to finance Mswati’s birthday party.

Workers led by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) engaged in a peaceful protest action along Mbabane City streets against the tinkhundla regime on 29 June 2018 

Despite the peace that characterised the protest action on Friday, the police responded with indescribable brutality, clearly with the intent of disrupting the action, without a care whether workers died or not. In an official statement issued shortly after the action, TUCOSWA stated, “The police then used unnecessary force to change a peaceful protest action to a violent one.”

One of the workers who was brutally assaulted by the royal police of Swaziland

As per schedule, the workers were committed to deliver their list of demands to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister when the royal police water tanker started to spray the protestors and followed with stun grenades. The police further pursued the workers, beating everyone on sight with batons. Victims of this unprovoked assault included people who had not initially been part of the protest action. The police were assaulting anyone they could meet as they pursued the peacefully protesting workers.

One of the workers, a poorly paid security guard, who received the heaviest assault all over the body, was left unconscious after the heavy assault. He was severely beaten by the police using batons, kicks and fists. Meanwhile, the police refused to allow him passage to the nearest hospital for medical attention despite the evident risk to his life. He could only receive first aid from some of the workers only after pushing and shoving, as the police were blatantly refusing to see the worker receiving any medical help despite the blood oozing on his face, whilst he lay unconscious on the floor, from head injuries inflicted by the police.

A worker lies motionless on the ground as blood oozes through his head after heavy assault by the royal police of Swaziland. The royal police prevented any first aid from being given to him. It took forceful measures from the protesting workers to finally give him first aid.

The Communist Party of Swaziland condemns this barbaric act of brutality by the royal Swaziland police against workers. To suppress the voices of the people and therefore legitimise the sham elections to create a puppet parliament, the regime will continue to engage desperate means, as it has shown its hand. We call upon the workers and all the oppressed people of Swaziland to unite against Swaziland’s tinkhundla regime in the fight for democracy, where accountability of all state organs will be guaranteed by a people’s constitution. The Party will also continue mobilising workers for the September 2018 week-long shutdown strike action proposed by the federation.

*The demands of the workers as table by TUCOSWA are as follows:*

1. Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Public Sector and SOE Workers.
2. E3500 (US$ 254.07) National Minimum Wage.
3. E1500 (US$108.89) Elderly Grants.
4. Legalise Solidarity Strikes.
5. Increase Funding for Education and Health.
6. Pass the Amended Employment Bill.
7. Away with Public Enterprise Unit (PEU) Act.
8. Schools' Support staff must be employed by government.
9. No to Labour Brokers.
10. No to Scab Labour.
11. No to taxation of benefits.
12. No to VAT on Electricity.
13. No to unaffordable E500 passports.
14. Stop the looting at the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF)
15. No to 12 hours shift without compensation.
16. Give back land for Vuvulane Farmers.
17. Reinstate long service benefit.

Issued by the Communist Party of Swaziland

Kenneth Kunene
General Secretary
+27 72 594 3971

Njabulo Dlamini
International Organiser
Mobile: +2687 603 9844

Facebook: Communist Party Of Swaziland – CPS
Twitter: @CPSwaziland

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