Wednesday, October 29, 2008


South African police harassed Swazi journalists as they tried to cover a boycott of goods coming into Swaziland.

According to yesterday’s Swazi Observer (28 October 2008), the police were ‘heavily armed and uncompromising’.

Journalists from the newspaper were at the Ngwenya border post to observer the first day of a week-long boycott on the transportation of goods from South Africa to Swaziland.

The newspaper reported that police on the South African side of the border objected to being photographed.

‘They demanded answers from the photographer as to why he was taking their pictures,’ the Observer said.

Explanations by the pressmen fell on deaf ears as the cops claimed that only South African journalists are allowed to take pictures in SA.

The Observer continued, ‘“You are a Swazi and you should take picture on the Swaziland side, not here. Why are you taking our pictures wena Mswazi? Do you know that you can get into some serious trouble for taking our pictures? Only South African journalists are supposed to take our pictures?” roared one of the cops, with 10 others nodding in approval.’

The questioning was undertaken next to a police caspir fully loaded with other officers.

One of the officers then forcefully grabbed this newspaper's digital camera and threatened to take it away.

However, after several pleas, the Observer said, the seemingly uncompromising cops demanded that all pictures of them be deleted before the camera could be handed back.

The pictures were deleted and that was when the photo-journalist was released and told to return to the Swazi side without taking any pictures on the South African side.

For more Observer coverage of the boycott click here.

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