Drama at bus rank
MANZINI – There was drama at the Manzini Bus Rank when a marshal grabbed a box containing ballot papers and dashed for the police post yes-terday.
Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union (STAWU) Legal Advisor, Basil Thwala, was taken in for questioning in the midst of the commotion.
Bus conductors and drivers were voting for or against a strike action scheduled to start next Tuesday.
Thwala said the marshal drifted from the crowd to call the police and informed them of the balloting process.
"We suspect that the police advised him to grab the box and run to the police post because after speaking on the phone he just grabbed the box and ran. Other conductors ran after him but he reached the police post quickly," he said.
Thwala alleged that while he tried to instill calm near the police post, police grabbed and detained him.
"They said I was to be charged with contempt of court by conducting the balloting process while the dispute over the Satellite Bus Rank was in court."
He said while he was inside the police station an officer came and started making phone calls.
"I heard him telling his seniors that I had been detained and as-ked for their advice. Eventually, one senior officers who works for the Intelligence Department came and spoke at length with him. Eventually, I was released at about 4 pm after STAWU Chief Negotiator Petros Ndzabandzaba had also arrived," he said. This was the third time Thwala was detained since the Satellite Bus Rank crisis began.
Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Assistant Superintendent, Stephen Dlamini said Thwala was not detained but merely called in for questioning.
"Some marshals alerted the police that someone was making them sign something that they did not understand because they were still awaiting a court order. Police could not sit and not action after such a complaint. We called Thwala to find out what the whole thing was about. After getting an explanation we released him," he said.
Meanwhile, Ndzabandzaba said preparations for the strike action billed for May 29 to June 8 were going ahead.
... Masitsela in a bid to end strike
MANZINI – Manzini Regional Administrator Prince Masitsela has summoned stakeholders in the public transport industry in Manzini to another meeting on Monday morning.
The meeting will be held at the Conference Room of the Regional Administration offices and is aimed at short circuiting the planned strike action. The Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union (STAWU) says it has already been served with a letter signed by the Regional Secretary, Thamsanqa Mpanza.
Basil Thwala, the Legal Advisor of STAWU said his union would seek advice from seniors on whether to attend the meeting on not. "The difficulty is that there is a court case on the issues he is calling us for," he said. The Prince confirmed that he assigned the Regional Secretary to summon all stakeholders to the meeting.
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