Thursday, May 6, 2010


The following is a statement from the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] concerning the death in jail of Sipho Jele.

05 May, 2010

Killed for wearing his PUDEMO T-shirt

While political activist in Swaziland and beyond were still shocked by the behaviour displayed by police during the recent May day celebrations which were held over the weekend, one of the people reported to have been arrested and charged under the Suppression of Terrorism act, comrade Sipho Jele, has died in police custody.

Sipho Jele, a former employee of the now defunct Usuthu Pulp company, is a long serving member of the Swaziland Youth Congress and PUDEMO. He is one of the 16 opposition members who were awaiting trial following the state’s charging them of treason in 2006. In a move reminiscent of Apartheid South Africa in the seventies and the eighties, police have allegedly told his grandmother that he committed suicide. The validity of that statement can only be judged by discerning the very unusual order that the family should bury him on the same day that they receive his body. Such an order is unusual in itself because police have no say in how or when citizens ought to be buried.

Moreover, it is not customary in Swaziland to bury deceased within such a period of time. The norm is to wait for the first available weekend, allowing enough time to inform all family members of the funeral arrangements. The obvious truth is that Sipho Jele was murdered and the police are attempting to hide their dirty deed by making sure that he is buried without any post-mortem that might reveal this fact.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] is extremely saddened and shocked by the lack of respect for human life shown by the Swazi state and the complete disregard for human rights. It is hoped that this vile act, sad as it may be, will go a long way towards showing the world just how urgent the call for human rights in Swaziland is.

The People’s United Democratic Movement [PUDEMO] and all sincere affiliate organizations should draw renewed vigor from this barbaric act and wake up to the sign of the times. This regime will not stop until it has eliminated all opposition. The question is whether or not it will be given the time and space to do it.

The ANC’s election manifesto was very clear on the subject of Swaziland’s continued violation of human rights, as to why the party’s leadership continuously fails to implement it is mind boggling. The racism and hypocrisy of opposition parties in South Africa , particularly those who are extremely vocal against ZANU PF’s policies in Zimbabwe, is disgusting to say the very least. We also call upon the Southern African region as a whole to unite against King Mswati’s state terrorism.

SSN extend its profound regrets and sincere condolences to the Jele family, their relatives and to the entire democratic movement in Swaziland for the sad loss of our comrade.

May we pick up his spear and carry on the revolutionary democratic struggle until Swaziland is free of Mswati’s dictatorship.

Long live the undying spirit of Comrade Sipho Jele.

Issued by Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] South Africa Chapter

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