We condemn the government's decision to bring charges against our union leadership. The government should not be allowed to use the judicial system to impose its political will.
This act is yet more evidence of the regime's unwillingness to enter into meaningful dialogue with the democratic movement and trade unions. Through this act, King Mswati III's promise to adopt a constitution and legalise political parties rings even more hollow.
The government's main intent in engaging the SFTU was to separate labour demands from the demand for democracy in Swaziland. Having failed to meet this objective, the regime has decided to use its judicial power to intimidate the leadership of the labour movement.
The recent labour dispute was not confined to industrial issues but part of the struggle for democracy and human rights in Swaziland. Labour and the Democracy movement are inseparable partners in the struggle.
The people of Swaziland will not be bought in cynical negotiations and will not allow the use of the judicial system to further the political interests of the absolute monarchy.
PUDEMO calls on the people of Swaziland to intensify the political campaign against the injustices of the absolute monarchy until final victory. On past experience we cannot trust King Mswati III to live up to his promises. He must be held to them through mass political action.
c/o Tim Dauth
Department of History
University of Western Australia
On 21 Mar 1996, Chris Lowe wrote:
Not clear what possible consequences of charges are.
--- Forwarded Message from Terence G Sibiya
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 19:31:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Terence G Sibiya <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Tindzaba/News (3-21-96)
Swaziland trade union leaders face charges following strike
Tindzaba/News. 20 March, 1996
MBABANE - Charges have been brought against Swaziland trade union leaders following a national strike which brought the country to a standstill in January.
Swaziland police sources on Wednesday said five trade union officials had been summonsed to appear in court on March 29 for allrgedly contravening the Industrial Relations Act.
The unionists include Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions president Richard Nxumalo, general secretary Jan Sithole and his assistant Jabulani Nxumalo.
The others are Swaziland University Non-academic Workers' Union leader Themba Msibi and Hotel and Catering Workers' Union secretary-general Barbara Dlamini.
The summonses were issued only days after the SFTU pulled out of talks with the Federation of Swaziland Employers and the government.
The talks had been aimed at resolving longstanding labour disputes and preventing another threatened stayaway.
UNON-LEADERS PART II
MBABANE, Swaziland (Sapa-AP) - Union leaders who organized a national strike in January have been charged with allegedly violating Swaziland's Industrial Relations Act.
Police sources told the South African Press Association on Wednesday that five union leaders had been summoned to appear in court on March 29 on the charges.
The move comes after the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, which organized the week long strike that shut down much of the nation, pulled out of talks with the government and an employers' federation on political and labor reforms.
King Mswati III, who rules the mountain kingdom by decree, has promised to adopt a constitution and legalize political parties, as demanded by the labor federation.
But Mswati has never said when the changes would take place or whether the constitution would alter the power of the monarchy.
The labor federation has threatened another strike if its demands remained unheeded. The five people leaders charged include Jan Sithole, Richard Nxumalo and Jabulani Nxumalo, who were detained for several days during the January strike until a judge ordered their release.