Thursday, May 24, 2012


A trade unionist visiting Swaziland this week said he felt ‘threatened’ when a Swazi government minister said he and his colleagues should not be in the kingdom without permission.

They were visiting Swazi workers on a ‘fact-finding’ mission about trade union operations in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

But, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Lutfo Dlamini, said they had no right to be in Swaziland because they had not informed government of their mission.

The unionists from the UK and the Netherlands met with public service unions while on a four-day visit to the kingdom, just ended.

Commenting to local media on Dlamini’s statement, Nick Sieler, Head of International Relations at UNISON, a UK trade union, said, ‘We were shocked by the statement made by the minister.’

He told the Timesof Swaziland, ‘The minister’s statement does not tie up with the freedom of association.’ He added he perceived the statement as a threat.

Sieler said their mission was to strengthen their relationship with the country’s unions, particularly the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU).

George de Roos, International Officer of Abuavabo trade union in the Netherlands, told the newspaper that in more than 30 years travelling around the world on trade union issues no government had demanded he registered on arrival.

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