13 September 2011
Unions’ plea to COSATU before E2.4bn is released
MBABANE – Swazi unions yesterday asked the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to put more pressure on Swaziland to democratise before the E2.4 billion loan is released.
During a press conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, COSATU was asked to ensure that conditions of the bailout were made explicit to include the unbanning of political parties and the unconditional return of exiles.
"The press conference was to acknowledge the solidarity shown to us by COSATU and its affiliates by sending people to be part of the Global Week of Action against Swaziland. Our records show that the ANC used to go around the world lobbying that there should be no support for the Apartheid regime. We therefore reminded them that when a country seeks a bailout like Swaziland, it is a sign of a lack of proper governance," Mduduzi Gina, the Secretary General of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, said.
He continued: "We want the conditions attached to the E2.4 billion bailout to be clear in as far as the registration of political parties is concerned. We also want commitment that those Swazis who went into forced or voluntary exile return and a government assurance that they won’t be victimised."
Gina said they want all politically-motivated cases involving political activists which have been dragging on for years to be withdrawn.
He noted that the SA ruling party, the ANC, has always called for democracy in Swaziland and therefore has to push that agenda as per SADC protocol.
"There is no doubt that Swaziland is not following the basics of democracy. The SADC protocol stipulates how elections are to be conducted but Swaziland keeps on doing exactly the opposite," Gina said.
‘LOAN WILL NEVER BE PAID BACK’