News24

Union to block Swazi border

2011-04-10 22:19

Johannesburg - The country's largest labour group plans to blockade a key border crossing with Swaziland to support planned protests against the rule of King Mswati III, an official said on Sunday.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) will seek to shut down traffic across the Oshoek-Ngwenya border post between Johannesburg and Swaziland's capital, Mbabane, in a bid to paralyze the Swazi economy on Tuesday, said Cosatu international deputy secretary Zanele Matebula.

Swazi unions, civil society leaders and banned opposition political parties have vowed to take to the streets from Tuesday in massive protests against the regime of Mswati, Africa's last absolute monarch.

"What we're trying to do is to get Swaziland ungovernable," said Matebula.

"We're trying to reduce the numbers of people going to Swaziland for the day and reduce whatever materials that are supposed to go into Swaziland.

"That will have an impact on businesses inside Swaziland, which we hope will spark them to raise their concerns against the monarchy."

Cosatu has backed away from original plans to send members into Swaziland to join the protests, but expects 200 to 300 people to join the border blockade, Matebula said.

She was speaking after a rally in Johannesburg in support of the protests that was attended by about 80 South African sympathisers.

SA's deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Ebrahim had been scheduled to speak at the rally but cancelled without explanation.

Organisers have for weeks been calling Swazis to rise up against Mswati's 25-year reign on April 12, the anniversary of the day the kingdom banned political parties in 1973.

Unrest has been growing in Swaziland as the country sinks into a deepening fiscal crisis that last month sparked the largest demonstrations in years when thousands of civil servants marched through Mbabane to protest proposed pay cuts.

Mswati's government has banned the protests and organisers said on Sunday they feared a violent crack-down.

Security was tightened in the small mountainous kingdom, with soldiers searching cars at the border with South Africa and police staging roadblocks on highways.


Comments
  • porra 1 - 2011-04-10 22:58

    takes advantage practice to do that in zim Best walks in and blow bob

      Thangy - 2011-04-11 10:14

      Why do the unions feel the need to intervene in another countries issues?

  • ?? - 2011-04-10 23:00

    Excuse me but since when can a union be allowed to blockade a border crossing? The swazi government should go full out in breaking this up,even if it includes death.A union is not a public law enforcement agency but is there to protect the rights of employees. Unions in southern africa have to much feathers it seems.

      Peter - 2011-04-11 06:47

      To think that a union in South Africa even thought of bussing a few of its members in to support the cause is laughable!

      Jo - 2011-04-11 10:07

      While I don't personally agree with absolute monarchies, this action shows how little our govt understand international law and boundaries - since when does a UNION decide foreign policy regarding another sovereign nation? And how does our government allow a UNION to block the free flow of traffic to and from a nation with whom we aren't at war? And why hasn't our foreign dept sent missions to discuss this? And if we have declared war against Swaziland's present ruler - shouldn't the border be blocked by the army? Can any business being thwarted at the border take Cosatu to court and win back any losses? Is this a worker issue, and is it an issue impacting directly on Cosatu's actual paying members? If not, who do they imagine they are? We need answers to all these questions.

      The Observer - 2011-04-11 12:44

      We'll Cosatu will be running home crying as this good KING will put these rent a crowd bafoons in jail as soon as they put one toe inside. Pity the cosatu's and other anc cadres are cowards so will not go near the line.

  • Audrey - 2011-04-11 04:45

    200 - 300 ppl. i hope you got enough putu.

      The Observer - 2011-04-11 12:45

      And free t-shirts

  • Ross - 2011-04-11 07:34

    The King operates according to Africa norms whilst the unions want to impose Western norms. I predict that they are going to get the hiding of their lives. This place is not England or America.

  • Ross - 2011-04-11 07:34

    The King operates according to Africa norms whilst the unions want to impose Western norms. I predict that they are going to get the hiding of their lives. This place is not England or America.

      The Observer - 2011-04-11 12:46

      Totally agree. And I will love every minute of this, the KING will put them down. Not every state is run on banana principles like this one.

  • Ross - 2011-04-11 07:37

    The King rules according to Africa standards whilst the unions want to impose Western standards. I predict that they are going to get the hiding of their lives. This place is not England or America.

  • Betsy - 2011-04-11 08:08

    Perhaps COSATU and all it's troublesome affiliates should concern themselves with the mess in their own country! Leave the Swazis to sort out their own lives in their own way. In other words: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

      Gore - 2011-04-11 09:04

      And if everyone applied this to SA during apartheid, how will the democracy have come about? Have a bigger picture, every country needs external help at some point!!

      Gore - 2011-04-11 09:05

      And if everyone applied this to SA during apartheid, how will the democracy have come about? Have a bigger picture, every country needs external help at some point!!

      Jo - 2011-04-11 11:57

      Governments slated apartheid officially, the UN backed sanctions - when SA has raised Swaziland's monarchy at the UN and had all the legal remedies tabled, sure. But a UNION deciding official foreign policy - especially one that forms one third of the ruling party, but isn't actually a party? This is weird, even by our standards.

      The Observer - 2011-04-11 12:51

      Gore. So what about ZIM. Why not picket at the ZIM border. And a trade union? Is this gov policy. Has the goverment openly stated it's support? Has the goverment tabled this at a UN meeting. Rather shut up fool and stop throwing apartheid at everything. And in anycase I do not see the democracy in SA you are refering to. It is african democracy and far from what democracy is supposed to be.

      Betsy - 2011-04-11 16:00

      @ Gore: what democracy?

  • KJM - 2011-04-11 08:13

    So who will be doing the work the people of the Unions do if they are out participating in a blockade?

  • Boychild - 2011-04-11 08:15

    Monopoly - Swaziland - King Maswati - Rule 25 Years - 1,3mil people @ Average Personal GDP US$ 4,500 / annum - 40% unemployment rate - GDP - real growth rate:2% (2010 est.) Dictatorship - Zimbabwe - Robert Mugabe - Rule 28 Years - 12 mil people @ Average Personal GDP US$ 400 (2010 est.) / annum - 95% (2009 est.) unemployment rate - GDP - real growth rate: 4.1% (2010 est.) Does someone see a problem here?????????

      Ross - 2011-04-11 08:28

      Boychild, You forgot about the aids infection rate. Millions of Zimbabweans are actually in South Africa.

      Bratt - 2011-04-11 11:32

      I see the problem. Your spelling of the king's name is wrong.

      The Observer - 2011-04-11 12:52

      I got it. Your question mark key is stuck?

  • Henk van Tonder - 2011-04-11 08:26

    Where is the respect for sovereignty of the rightful King and HIS sovereign State? Who is that British white guy with a hidden agenda trying to unseat the king on TV? (Bloody MI6 agent) What lucrative business deals has the king blocked from the British and some ANC cadre's? This whole situation sounds like a orchestrated attack on the sovereignty of Swaziland and an act or war. The internal revolvers should be all hung for treason.

      Nick Tarr - 2011-04-11 11:07

      Those damn revolvers!!!

  • Badballie - 2011-04-11 08:37

    Laughable, pity they are a confessed communist organisation. These guys need to be treated with the same cold-war hostility and contempt we showed their Russian puppet masters. Swaziland, heres a perfect opportunity to test the readiness and effectiveness of your legal forces.

  • Henk van Tonder - 2011-04-11 08:40

    No matter what the biased New World Order press tells us, Swaziland is a peaceful and prosperous nation. give me an example of where Western 'democracy' has worked in Africa? The imposition of Western norms and processes in Africa have lead to the total failure of African States. Western traditions and culture is based on greed and personal enrichment above community and personal independence. All of this has been imposed so that greedy offshore corporates (and lately: local African BEE ones) can rape countries of their dignity, independence, sovereignty, culture and traditions in exchange for monetary wealth. Africa is under a full-scale EU/US corporate and secret agency assault (running dog NGO's veiled as philanthropies) to open up the continent for re-colonialism through big corporates and banks. Africa should stop it's war with it's neighbours and begin turning their attention to the re-colonialisation war being waged against them by outsiders under their noses.

      Nick Tarr - 2011-04-11 11:16

      Show me one example of African politics working please?

  • one-way - 2011-04-11 08:45

    When they`ve deposed the king , then all eyes should be looking north? If not, one must question their motives and principles. Or do they secretly covet the current situation on the other side of Beit Bridge ? Is it a desired state of affairs where Zemocracy reigns supreme and the king will remain unscathed ?

  • green_goblin - 2011-04-11 08:56

    As much as I can understand the reasoning behind what they are wanting to do, Is it not illegal to stop other people or persons from conducting business during a protest. Also since business is a two way deal, they will also be hurting business from South Africa, which to me goes against the mandate of a union?

  • Cynical Sci - 2011-04-11 09:55

    'cos I wanna be anarchy

  • Noname - 2011-04-11 10:54

    "Unrest has been growing in Swaziland as the country sinks into a deepening fiscal crisis." I am not sure if Swaziland is right name of the country. Wasn't he talking about South Africa?

  • wgibsonsa - 2011-04-11 11:07

    Will the same apply to Zimbabwe. I think not, as Mad Bob is big buddies with out own ruling elite.

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