Police in Swaziland are to investigate themselves after reports that officers ambushed and tortured striking workers.
An unnamed senior officer was reported in the Swazi Observer newspaper saying, ‘We as the police have opened an inquiry of our own over the allegations made against our officers.’
It relates to reported attacks by police on workers at the Plantation Forest Company, near Pigg’s Peak. The newspaper said two investigations had been started, one of them independent of the police.
The Observer reported on Tuesday (20 September 2016) that the senior office said, ‘everybody involved, be it the police officers or the workers themselves were all under investigation’.
Meanwhile, the Swaziland Agriculture and Plantations Workers Union (SAPWU) want to open individual assault cases against police officers, following the alleged assaults on Friday 9 September 2016.
General-Secretary Manqoba Dlamini said, ‘We intend opening various assault cases against the police. This is because the violation by police happened at various times during the strike, but the Friday’s assaults were severe and most shocking. That fateful Friday, police picked up five females and assaulted them in a secluded location and further accused them of arson attacks at the Plantation Forest Company sports field,’ he said.
Dlamini said the names of the police officers involved in the alleged assault were known to them.
Dlamini also said SAPWU intended to alert the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the strike action by workers of the Plantation Forest Company. He said, ‘The poor working conditions suffered by workers coupled by the low wages topped off by attacks by police have to be told to the international community. Worth noting is that the assaults that happened on Friday started as a labour dispute that turned ugly,’ he said.
‘HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE
POLICE ‘BRUTALLY ASSUALT’ WORKERS