Cops investigate' their own for May Day saga
MBABANE – Strange as it sounds but police are said to be investigating who gave the order for them to confiscate Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) banners from union members.
This was during the May Day celebrations, which ended in chaos after police clashed with union members at the Bosco Skills Centre.
The decision to find the person who gave the order, it has been gathered, arises from the fact that the decision to confiscate the banners has put the country in bad light with the international community, especially the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
This happened ahead of the country appearing before the ILO later this month.
According to reliable sources, the officers who were involved in the skirmish have been ordered to compile a report by senior government officials.
"Government wants to know who issued the order that the federation’s banners be confiscated.
"For the whole day on Wednesday, police were running around compiling the report," the source said.
It was gathered that government is worried that the incident could be reported to ILO and this could result in the country being placed in the Special Paragraph.
"Government is arguing that if the police had not confiscated the banners, there would have been no skirmish," the source revealed.
Police Deputy Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Stephen Dlamini said he could not discuss internal operations of the organisation for security reasons.
TUCOSWA President Barnes Dlamini when asked if they had been questioned on the issue said this was government’s baby.
He was quick to add that they would be equally happy to find out who was behind the order.
In the past, Dlamini said they had thought the order was issued using the 1973 Decree.
He wondered why the police only confiscated the banners because the membership was wearing T-shirts that had TUCOSWA’s emblem.
Government spokesperson Percy Simelane did not confirm nor deny the matter when called.
Simelane responded in a text message: "My office does not have any information to that effect."
It is alleged that plain-clothes and uniformed police officers confronted a group of workers, who were toyi-toying, for carrying the organisation’s banner.
A skirmish ensued when the police grabbed and dragged the banner away from the workers.
One of the approximately 3 000 workers was detained for allegedly fighting with the officers.
Report to ILO
MBABANE – The country will be reported to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) after police confiscated TUCOSWA banners during the May Day celebration on Tuesday.
In an interview, TUCOSWA President Barnes Dlamini confirmed that they will report government during the Geneva Conference which is schedule to start on May 28 until June.
"It is true we are going to report them. Government should prepare on this matter. Besides the issue of the banners, cops beat up our leadership. They assaulted Muzi," Dlamini said.
The president was referring to an incident that occurred during the celebration when SNAT Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga was allegedly manhandled by police when he intervened during a confrontation.
However, Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Wendy Hleta was reported in our sister paper, the Times of Swaziland, saying police were attacked by workers.
She also denied that police assaulted anyone.
Madvudvu maphoyisa! You were only doing your job. The ILO cannot do anything to you anyway. Swaziland is a sovereign state. Nobody can take our sovereignty away from us. TUCOSWA is an illegal formation and they know it so forget about their threats kute lokutakwenteka!
May 5, 2012, 5:00 pm, Mbutfo Dlamini
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