Thursday, August 20, 2009


The following news report appeared in the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, yesterday (19 August 2009). I particularly like the response of the Swaziland government minister in the final paragraph.

SA unions to boycott goods to and from Swaziland

MBABANE – South African organisations have targeted five types of goods to and from Swaziland, which they want to boycott handling.

This is part, of that country’s organisations show of solidarity with Swazi organisations pursuing the agenda of democratising Swaziland. It is aimed at mounting pressure on the kingdom’s authorities to democratise.

Efforts have been intensified as the organisations have also decided to engage their Mozambican counterparts to join in the programme.


The targeted goods are fuel, arms, sugar, goods destined for the royal household as well as electricity. However, the electricity issue is subject to various considerations that are still to be discussed with relevant unions.

This decision was taken last week Wednesday during a meeting convened by the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) and its Swazi counterparts led by the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) in Benoni, South Africa. Ironically, this was the same time Swaziland was having its National Smart Partnership Dialogue where the Swazi organisations that were in South Africa were expected to attend, but opted to boycott the meeting.


"Following the request last year by the Swazi trade union movement, particularly the SFTU (Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions), calling on COSATU to campaign against the handling of goods and services destined for Swaziland, COSATU identified 10 key affiliates to drive this process and were linked closely with their Swazi union counterparts identified by the request submitted to COSATU.

"A discussion on co-ordinating solidarity in South Africa to improve cohesion between South African and Swazi comrades, in which case a Joint Swazi Action Committee was proposed. The Joint Action Committee will be able to link all activities happening outside the country with the actual momentum inside Swaziland to avoid disjuncture, parallelism and fragmentation of efforts," states a report from the meeting.

The campaign to boycott goods destined for Swaziland began last year following a decision taken by the COSATU Central Executive Committee (CEC) on September 1-3, 2008. The campaign was originally targeted at Swaziland and Zimbabwe but action against the latter country was suspended following the talks towards a peace deal there.

Sought for comment, Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister Lutfo Dlamini requested that a questionnaire be sent to his office so that he could give a comprehensive response.

Source: Times of Swaziland

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