Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is backing Swaziland labour unions in their three day mass protest starting next Tuesday (12 April 2011).

It says it is
workers and the people of Swaziland who are driving the action and not ‘external forces’.

In a statement, published in full below, Cosatu says, ‘theirs is a struggle of the Swazi workers and the people, by the Swazi workers and the people and for the workers and people’.


COSATU supports Swazi unions plan for April 12

COSATU welcomes the announcement by the joint forum of Swazi unions, the Labour Coordinating Council (LCC) involving the SFTU, SFL and SNAT concerning their next plan of action, scheduled for 12, 13 and 14 April, 2011.

According to the leadership of the unions this forms part of the work in progress since last year as government failed to respond to the demands made during the Global Week of Action and the urgency of the crisis facing the country now, particularly the economic crisis and their impact on workers and their families.

We appreciate and welcome the fact that it is workers and the people of Swaziland who are driving and owning the process and struggles underway, as opposed to false reports about some external forces who have less to do with the struggles waged over the years inside Swaziland.

The danger of this state propaganda is that it undermines the confidence of the people and workers who are on the receiving end of state brutality for their persistent struggles for years, even before we or any other organisation in South Africa started noticing the crisis facing the Swazi people and the need for solidarity. It is also a ploy by the very Swazi regime to divert attention from the crisis it is facing. The same tactic failed in South Africa as the apartheid regime resorted to all sorts of conspiracy theories to divert attention when it claimed that it is “a Soviet union conspiracy against South Africa” and not the South African people waging their own struggle and supported by friends all over the world.

We reaffirm the correct line by the Swazi trade union movement that theirs is a struggle of the Swazi workers and the people, by the Swazi workers and the people and for the workers and people. The state must stop looking any further than inside Swaziland where, in the words of Amilcar Cabral the Swazi revolutionary forces are, “cooking the rice inside the pot”. In this regard, solidarity means supporting the Swazi struggle as led by the Swazi people themselves and that is what as COSATU we stand for and shall continue to stand for in all its solidarity work with the people and workers of any country.

COSATU has always been an active supporter of the struggles of the Swazi people themselves and their demands and would never want to substitute those in whose name the struggle is being waged. We have and shall continue to, support their struggles, their interests and their demands, for it is their struggle. We have always staged border blockades in response to their request and shall do so even this year, once again, because they so required of us.

We are keenly looking forward to the development of an integrated and comprehensive solidarity action plan in this coming weekend’s SDC Conference and Public Rally to be held in Johannesburg, where we are looking forward to the new marching orders on what next should be done and when. We remain encouraged by the readiness and dedication of our affiliates, South African civil society and the world in general to support a clear, well grounded and effective programme towards the final resolution of this long outstanding matter.

Finally, COSATU supports the idea of a speedy transition to a new and democratic system in Swaziland, which should be a product of an all-involving process and must be convened as a matter of urgency. We remain committed to the finalisation of a joint plan for the boycott of Swazi goods that benefit the royal family and oil the wheels of oppression in that country, led by the Swazi trade union movement, as per their request. The April 12 border action by COSATU and its affiliates shall mark the beginning of the process towards the effective non-handling of Swazi goods anywhere in South Africa and we urge for readiness for a tough period ahead.

COSATU’s mobilisation will be taking place at Ermelo on 6th April and then the Mpumalanga alliance and MDM structures meeting takes place in Nelspruit to finalise state of readiness and final briefing on the planned action by COSATU.

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