Top Cosatu official arrested in Swaziland

2011-09-07 16:56

Manzini - Swazi police fired teargas and rubber bullets to break up a pro-democracy march on Wednesday, arresting a top South African union leader who was going to address the crowd, a protest organiser said.

Zingiswa Losi, deputy president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), was among three people arrested in the southern Swazi town of Sitheki, said Sibongile Mazibuko, head of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers.

"When Cosatu representatives got up to speak, police gathered to remove them. The crowd tried to protect them. There were gunshots (of rubber bullets), teargas. I think they are being taken back to their country," said Mazibuko, whose teachers' union is a driving force behind the Swazi protests.

She was speaking by telephone from Sitheki, one of the towns where a coalition of pro-democracy groups was staging a third consecutive day of protests against Swazi King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.

Police declined to comment on the arrests.

Cosatu has vocally supported the protests in Swaziland, and criticised South Africa's move to grant a R2.4bn bail-out to the kingdom.

In Swaziland's main city Manzini, about 1 000 protesters took to the streets for a second day, but were blocked by police from marching to the city centre, where protest leaders wanted to make speeches.

"We want to go to the people. We don't want to speak to buildings," teachers' union official Muzi Simelane told AFP.

Impoverished Swaziland is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, in a financial crisis that has spawned a series of protests this year to demand that Mswati accept multi-party democracy and resolve a budget crunch that has left the kingdom battling to keep schools and clinics running.

Until this year, public shows of dissent were rare in Swaziland, where the palace tolerates little criticism.

Protests on April 12 were also dispersed by riot police with batons, teargas and water canons, but authorities had allowed marches to proceed in the capital on Monday and in Manzini on Tuesday.

  • Phlegm - 2011-09-07 17:02

    Should they not Change their name to the "Congress of Southern African Trade Unions" if they are going to interfere in other countries? Are they losing income due to their unreasonable demands in the local labour market costing their members jobs?

      Sheda Hab - 2011-09-07 17:48

      Can't sort out South Africa so now they interfere in other sovereign states. They won't even allow His Holliness The Dalai Lama here - yet they will dare preach to others. The ANC (and its alliances) have the morals of the devils whore.

  • Megan - 2011-09-07 17:18

    In light of recent news regarding the ANCYL and all the press releases made by the ANC, I was under the impression that it was ANC (and therefore, government) policy NOT to interfere with how other countries are run? Surely, since COSATU have formed a partnership with the ANC then these policies apply to them as well. And surely, there is something fundamentaly wrong with a trade union aligning itself directly with politics in this form? Just a few questions.

      Brieuse - 2011-09-07 17:38

      Well, in the ANC, if the left hand knew what the right hand was doing, things might be less chaotic.

  • Shivermetimb - 2011-09-07 17:20

    Just curious, but when Malema threatened to help the opposition in Botswana, he gets kicked out (hopefully) of the ANC. But when Cosatu (the ANC's alliance partner) actually goes into a neighbouring country to wreak havoc nothing gets said. Should we assume that the ANC is fine with its members attacking countries it doesnt like, but not those it does like?

      Phlegm - 2011-09-07 17:24

      I think the ANC likes Swaziland, would you give 2.4 Billion Rand to someone you did not like?

      Shivermetimb - 2011-09-07 17:29

      True, but perhaps they are peeved off that the king wants a R400m cut of it. That's more than even our lot grab for themselves. Jealousy is such a nasty emotion!

      THE.SRG - 2011-09-07 17:40

      nope...the only reason they took action on the malema one is cause Zuma feels threatened...if he felt threatened by cosatu then you could be sure they would take action....they only take action when it suits their agenda

      Sheda Hab - 2011-09-07 17:51

      @phlegm you ask if you would give R2,4 bil to someone you do not like's worse than that - they steal from their own people - people they supposedley like.

  • Phaedioux - 2011-09-07 17:32

    It is probable that these Cosatu guys will be allowed to leave peacefully with no charges - substantially, they will claim that they were there legitamately as invited speakers at a local function/meeting.

  • Casie - 2011-09-07 17:34

    Why they are thaking them back? Keep them, we don't need them!

  • TaSaqz - 2011-09-07 17:35

    It looks like the tri-partite alliance of the SA government is only in existence during elections time. I mean,the rulling party makes promises (let's not say more) and the 'workers' vote for the rulling party. Not long after, the 'workers' make increased wage demands and the rulling party says there's no money, but when the king across the border 'makes a loan for R2.4bn, suddenly there is money for that. But as for COSATU meddling in the affairs of a sovereign country, no, let me not waste my energy any further.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-07 17:40

    Interesting! Juju & Floyd interferes in Botswana,COSATU interferes in King Twati's kingdom. What does Jacob do? Travel the world with the extended family. Hell,we South Africans are being nailed over a barrel by these idiots. Maybe Jacob wanted to interfere in Norway? Bloody agents!

  • MrKoppietee - 2011-09-07 18:06

    Thanx for some good news News24 !!!

  • Mabhulwana - 2011-09-07 18:06

    I did not even know COSATU had a deputy prez: now s/he is under arrest in a foreign land. S/he is bringing the ANC into disrepute and must subsequently be charged just like prez Juju!

  • Agent Bastad - 2011-09-07 18:20

    He has nor business creating instability in Swaziland. He should join Julias in the docks.

  • Mboneli - 2011-09-07 18:48

    It is extremely embarrassed to hear such thing in Zwaziland,how should they arrest top official, it shows that yes indeed there is s still a lot to be done in - terms of changing the laws of conduct and their procedures based to the constitution if they have.Just before yesterday they were here in South Africa wanted to be offerd by loan'what if we can say they must bring back that amount.That official must be out of the bars i'm having a fear of this. from

  • Verdade - 2011-09-07 20:02

    Strange if they (Cosatu) are so concerned about human rights and the well being of SADC nations - why don't they go to Zim? Bit scared for Uncle Boboon or will it be against the African Agenda? You are a bunch of fools, lead by a fool, and your organisation support a bunch of bandits! Use your vote to benefit our your organisation not to the advantage of the ANC, because you getting abused by them! Wake up!

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