ANC to have 'full talks' on Swaziland

2010-09-24 08:03

Durban - The ANC has resolved to have a "full discussion" on the situation in Swaziland, Africa's largest absolute monarchy.

Sue van der Merwe, chairperson of the ANC committee on international relations, said on Thursday that many of the delegates taking part in the party's national general council in Durban felt "strongly" about the repressive situation in that country.

"We need a full discussion on our approach to Swaziland... in order to determine a unified position," said Van der Merwe, who is also deputy minister of international relations and co-operation.

The ANC Youth League earlier this month condemned South Africa's "illegitimate" relations with "Swaziland's absolute monarchy".

National executive committee member Collins Chabane added: "What  we have to make clear is to make a distinction between the state
and the ANC... you cannot conflate the two."

He said the ANC, as a party, had never had a "systematic discussion" on the situation in Swaziland.

Once the ruling party did this, it would take a decision on the way forward.

The ANC upset its alliance partner,  the Congress of SA Trade Unions, earlier this year when the party's investment arm Chancellor House reportedly acquired a 75% stake in the Maloma Colliery in Swaziland.

Cosatu wanted the ANC to instruct Chancellor House to sell its stake and join the international campaign to "expose and isolate" the Swaziland "monarchist dictatorship".

Swazi King Mswati III has been widely accused of repressing human rights, and harassing and jailing pro-democracy activists.

The South African government in May this year signed a health agreement on training health professionals, sharing research and development, and twinning public hospitals.