6 September 2011
COSATU statement on the occupied streets of Swaziland
A COSATU delegation led by its Deputy President, Zingiswa Losi is in Swaziland in response to an invitation by Swazi unions to join the marches for the Global week of action which started this morning inside Swaziland. The reports from inside are ever inspiring as the last eyewitness report indicated about the occupied streets of Mbabane, where the masses have taken charge.
Our delegation left yesterday and was joined by another today, while a forward team left about 3 days ago to prepare for the coming in of our Deputy President and the rest of the delegation. COSATU is proud, yet humbled and honoured to have been available when called upon to share the pains and sacrifices daily experienced by the struggling masses of Swaziland. The whole delegation of South Africans from COSATU, its affiliates and civil society organisations is about 45 people currently inside Swaziland for the actions.
It is about taking solidarity to another level and demonstrating that messages of solidarity and wishes are not enough to make a difference, but boosting the confidence of the fighting masses is critical to real solidarity and advance. COSATU has done the same in Zimbabwe, as well as in Lesotho before, hence the centrality of our consistency in rendering practical support wherever possible.
According to the COSATU Deputy President who is inside Swaziland as we speak, the whole of Mbabane was today occupied by the masses in action. The levels of mass mobilisation demonstrates the anger of the people of Swaziland against the rotten tinkhundla regime and the urgent need for change. It convinced everyone that the myth that Swazi people are passive is not true.
According to an eyewitness statement sent from inside Swaziland yesterday by a SAMWU/COSATU comrade, ”The streets of Mbabane have been taken over, not by people shopping, or spectating, or by those confused by what they see. The streets of Mbabane have been occupied by a range of very different people, including workers, students, the legal profession, community and church activists, and all marching in unison and toyi toying for freedom. And they are united in one purpose, to challenge the continuing rule of Africa's last absolute monarchy. There is an almost carnival atmosphere in the air!”
He went on to say, “Speakers from the Trade Unions and other civil society bodies received rapturous applause, as did the President of the banned political party PUDEMO Comrade Mario Masuku. In fact, it was possible to say that PUDEMO has effectively been unbanned by the protests earlier today! Young people associated with SWAYOCO were especially vibrant at today’s protests and their infectious enthusiasm spread throughout the gathering, even when the police preferred route of the march was challenged. And by the way, the police lost!”
We salute the COSATU affiliates, civil society organisations of South Africa, world-wide movement in support of the Swazi people’s struggle as coordinated by the SDC and allied groups, for their real show of strength. It has clearly served its purpose, never have the people of Swaziland felt so accompanied in their long, dangerous and painful, yet fulfilling journey to a new and democratic society.
The delegation is busy at work with workers and are now preparing for tomorrow’ action in Manzini where even greater numbers are expected, greater outpour of anger and militancy, as well as show of mass power shall take place.
Finally, COSATU takes this opportunity to call on all workers, communities and civil society organisations and activists in general to join the countrywide marches to various places, with the Cape Town Chapter of the SDC together with COSATU having organised a march to National parliament today at 12h00-14h00.
The rest of the marches organised jointly by the SDC and COSATU to branches of the South African Reserve Bank shall be held on the 9th September, 2011 at the following branches of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) as follows;
57 Ntemi Piliso Street
8 Dr A B Xuma Street
c/o Cambridge & Union Street
Market Square North Union Street
For more details on these pickets, please contact Ntokozo Mbhele at 072 3700 974 or Philani Ndebele at 076 942 3565.
Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940
Mobile: +27 79 499 6419