Thursday, December 31, 2009


The following is a New Year message from the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), South Africa Chapter.

The Swaziland Solidarity network [SSN] takes the opportunity to wish all South Africans, the ANC-led alliance and its mass formations, Cosatu [Congress of South African Trade Unions] and the SACP [South African Communist Party] a wonderful and New Year season celebrations.

We also thank thousands of ordinary SSN members and volunteers that defied a subdued internationalism and demonstrated selfless solidarity by mounting massive political campaigns in 2009, demanding a democratic Swaziland, the scrapping of repressive legislation and release of many friends and comrades who’ve been in and out of jail, including President Mario Masuku, Thulani Maseko, Wandile Dludlu and Amos Mbedzi.

We wish to remember our fallen comrades Jack Govender and Musa Dlamini, who laid down their lives for a democratic Swaziland.

In particular we convey our warmest and revolutionary wishes for 2010 to the oppressed people of Swaziland, the democratic forces led by Pudemo [People’s United Democratic Movement] including women and children in particular.

We remain steadfast and highly inspired by their unrelenting political struggle - in a sea of poverty, without food, assistance, resources - to confront the dictatorship of King Mswati and soldier on to construct their society along genuinely democratic foundations. We are determined to reproduce our efforts in the New Year, to help them defeat the Royal Monarch led by King Mswati and his corrupt cronies.

We call upon all higher education institutions in South Africa to provide opportunities to young Swazis, whose educational future is grim, following their rising against a feudal family system of political rule that marginalises all activists and their children from educational opportunities.

We call on the international community to cease its support of Mswati, especially those involved in the hypocritical provision of arms of war, or any covert and militarised training of whatever sorts. We deem this duality of action an action against peace and part of outmoded doctrines of pre-emption, unilateralism and constitutes very serious violation of international law.

It is our view that the appropriate policy for all external regimes, is to allow the people of Swaziland to exercise their right of rejection to an obsolete political system. The freedom of the Swazi people should not be traded to distant doctrines of new world order, which are characterised by wars and rivalries for the control and domination of the world’s regions and poses very limited possibilities for Swaziland democratic advance.

But in our evaluation, the main principal political challenge lies with South Africa and nations in the regions, to break the cycle of silence on the excesses of Mswati induced political crisis.

King Mswati has defied all norms of democracy including many of agreed protocols on elections, on free political activity, on the rights of trade unions and the media. He came down guns blazing on democratic protest in the past few years.

He’s demonstrated inclination and readiness to partner dictators like [Robert] Mugabe in Zimbabwe and others, in destructive arms exchange projects. We know that he’s a regional warmonger who promoted the invasion of sovereign nations like Madagascar whilst in his position as the Chair of the security organ of SADC [Southern Africa Development Community].

We know his stand against all rights of young women to free choice, under the guise of culture. He’s an auxiliary of the countries promoting unfair trade and permanent imbalances through the EPA’s, against regional integration.

And he benefits his family from [Southern Africa] Customs Union (SACU) proceeds, neglecting the more than 80 percent unemployed, over 80,000 of HIV / AIDS orphans, 70 percent of the population that receives handouts, and the poverty stricken people of Swaziland. Mswati is a destructive warmonger who has no vision for the country other than his own and family.

Finally the Swaziland Solidarity Network congratulates the SACP on a successful Special National Congress outcome which was attended by SSN including Pudemo leadership.

SSN delegates were struck by a characteristically deep concern by SACP members during the discussions, about the plight of the region, how social and economic policies affected continental citizenship, about scores of victims of xenophobia, the plight of the migrants and our collective political future.

At the heart of our assessment of this congress at the beginning of 2010, is the basic question raised at this congress, the need for political mobilisation, on the policies of our governments regarding the state of the entire peoples of the SADC, Africa including Swaziland.

We will continue to strengthen our relationship with the alliance and as part of our overall strategy, locate the ANC-led alliance at the center of our struggle for solidarity around the following two main principles:

- completing aborted National Democratic Revolutions and

- ensuring the needs and interests of the poorest of the poor sections of our people are dominant, in the state, in society and internationally

We congratulate the leadership and members of SSN and all supporters of democracy in Swaziland and wish them a happy new year.

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] South Africa Chapter.


Further evidence that Swaziland’s military are out of control comes with the news that five drunk armed soldiers terrorised two boys in Manzini, beating one of them to a pulp.

One of the victims said that the five soldiers and a warder, all drunk, demanded they be let into their home.

When the boys refused the soldiers kicked in the doors of the house.

The witness ran for his life leaving his friend alone to face the drunkards.

The boy left behind later told the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, was then beaten up by the soldiers.

The Observer said the boy didn’t know why he was attacked, but the newspaper speculated that the warder had a grudge against one of the boys and the attack was retribution.

The incident was reported to the police.

The attack comes days after soldiers beat up and fired five bullets into the body of a man they suspected of smuggling a Toyota kombi across the Swaziland – South African border.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) outlined eight areas that need the kingdom’s attention so as to make the year 2010 a happy one.

In an end of year statement issued by Secretary General Mduduzi Gina, the STFU has put employment creation top of its list.

The organisation said the type of employment needed is one “that will guarantee job security with sound social security nets or at least with minimum conditions as envisaged by the ILO decent work agenda”.

The organisation has also called for “a genuine economic summit of stakeholders” which will “deliberate on a survival kit as we move towards this cloud of economic hardship”.

Thirdly, the organisation wants government to implement free primary education which the state has promised to roll out on Grades One and Two next month.

Fourthly, the umbrella body of trade unions wants “tolerance on dissent political opinions” and the fifth one is the call for a “united mass democratic movement.

“We shall always recognise the SUDF as the vehicle that must unite us all and lead the few miles left to multiparty democracy,” the SFTU said.

Better working conditions for the textile and apparel sector is the organisation’s sixth area of concern.

“The conditions of work in the textile and apparel, hotel and catering, construction, agricultural as well as the retail sectors have not improved, as they are still characterised by casualisation, unsafe working conditions, forced overtime and general denial of freedom of association,” noted the organisation.

A “genuine social dialogue forum” and “an end to corruption in all its forms” are the last two concerns of the trade union.

“As we shall be ushering in the New Year, we at the SFTU shall remain committed to our resolutions of supporting programmes that will encourage the democratisation of our kingdom.

“In fact, the federation can sing ‘happy New Year’ with the rest of the nation all the days of the coming year if the following (above concerns) can be achieved in the country.

Source: Times of Swaziland


Swazi soldiers are said to have pumped five bullets into the body of a man they suspected of smuggling cars.

And they beat the man to a pulp before they opened fire.

The atrocity came to light at the man’s funeral as mourners were refused sight of the body because it was in such a bad state.

Thabiso Fakudze, aged 26, was killed by the soldiers last week (December 2009) for allegedly trying to cross the border of Swaziland and South Africa with a stolen Toyota Quantum kombi.

Fakudze’s family have called on the Royal Swaziland Police to investigate the killing.

Simanga Fakudze, Thabiso’s uncle, said he suspects that he was murdered. He said his body was covered in bruises and also swollen.

Simanga said he went to the scene of the atrocity and interviewed residents who confirmed that his nephew and woman were shot at close range after getting a thorough beating.

Simanga also went to inspect the vehicle and found only one bullet hole, which disproves the claim by the army that the two were fleeing in the vehicle and disregarding warning shots.

The residents said the two were intercepted by the frontier guards before they were told to drive off and later shot. Before they were shot they were allegedly severely assaulted.

However, the army says that it did nothing outside the parameters of the law when killing the two people..

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Thank you to the reader who contacted me after I wrote about the cockroaches at the newly opened Moneni TB Hospital to tell me this was nothing new.

The health services in Swaziland are a disgrace, they said. And they were right.

A quick look at some recent cases proves the point beyond dispute.

Swaziland’s largest health facility, the Mbabane Government Hospital was officially declared a health hazard to patients, lodgers and other people residing within its vicinity. An investigation found that the hospital was generally failing to manage its clinical waste. This exposed patients and visitors to the hospital to contagious diseases and other infections. READ

Hlatikhulu Government Hospital, the only referral hospital in the Shiselweni region, faced indefinite closure after inspectors said the hospital didn’t comply with health standards. READ

All toilets at the Mbabane Government Hospital were blocked. Women in the maternity wards had to go for days without bathing. When they do get the chance to bath, they can only use the sink at the mortuary. READ

Government hospital and clinics in Mankayane faced an electricity crisis which lasted at least three weeks because of unpaid bills. It was reported that the government failed to pay electricity bills for the health facilities, so the electricity company cut them off. READ

Even though it is the only hospital in the Lubombo region, the Good Shepherd Hospital does not have an ambulance. The hospital is in Siteki in the eastern part of the kingdom, one of the most drought-stricken areas in the kingdom, which is often beset by sicknesses such as diarrhoea, often caused by lack of water. READ

Mankayane Government Hospital forced patients to leave after a water crisis hit the institution. Many patients were seen walking out of the hospital wards. Some were pushed on wheelchairs and others supported as they were led to rest under trees at the parking lot. Pickup trucks with mattresses were at the parking lot, while some seriously sick patients sat listlessly on blankets, most of whom seemed disoriented. Concerned relatives stood nearby, with folded arms. READ

Bodies at the Hlathikhulu Government Hospital are piled one on the other as the mortuary has only eight drawers. This is the same hospital that health inspectors once recommended be closed because it was not fit to be hospital, but government promised to seek funds to help rehabilitate it. A few months later, the situation is almost the same if not worse. It was reported that patients at one female ward protested because a body of a dead woman was kept in one of the beds as there was no space at the mortuary. READ

Patients are being taken to the Mbabane Government Hospital’s theatre at their own risk because most of the critical medical technological analyzers at the hospital’s laboratory are down. READ

Mbabane Government Hospital and others have a serious shortage of bandages. According to a source at the hospital, a number of patients had their bandages left unchanged, which left a foul smell in the wards. READ

And it goes on and on and on.

For yet more cases, go to the Swaziland Solidarity Network Canada Wikispaces here.