MANZINI – As the public transport strike enters day four, the Prime Minister has called the Executive Committee of STAWU to a meeting at the Matsapha Town Board today.
STAWU stands for the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union.
STAWU Secretary General, Simanga Shongwe, said the letter inviting them to the meeting came at about 6pm while they were still locked in a meeting to decide the fate of the protracted buses’ strike action.
"During our meeting some members were suggesting that the strike must be suspended to allow for the dialogue initiated by government.
However, a majority were saying that if the strike is suspended the buses and kombis should all return to the Main Bus Rank in the meantime," he said.
Shongwe said after the announcement of the proposed meeting, STAWU members resolved to defer the resolution pending the outcome of today’s meeting with the PM.
Shongwe said, however, the strike continues today.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Lutfo Dlamini, said the meeting with the PM was only part of the consultation process.
"As part of the social dialogue, the head of government will meet some of the stakeholders," he said.
The strike over the Satellite rank entered its third day yesterday having resumed on Tuesday.
The social dialogue convened on Wednesday at the S&B Restaurant is said to have resolved that a steering committee be formed to take the dialogue further for a resolution.
"It also resolved that some of the issues demanded by STAWU, such as the scrapping of Value Added Tax, issuance of public permits within 24 hours, heavy spot fines on roadside be set aside, while focus will be on the Satellite Bus Rank issue," he said.
Lubombo commuters stranded
SITEKI - The Lubombo region was brought to a stand-still yesterday as transport workers went on strike leaving commuters completely stranded at the Siteki Bus Rank.
Workers embarked on the strike action at 9am as buses were seen driving out of their bays within the bus rank and parking a short distance away.
Mostly affected were commuters using the Siteki-Manzini route.
Commuters travelling from areas like Simunye, Lomahasha, Siphofaneni, Mhlume and Big-bend were also affected.
There was also no transport for residents residing in the town’s major townships like Mzilikazi, Ntamakuphila, Makhewu and Mlindazwe.
Transport going to rural areas like Maphungwane, Tikhuba, Ma-mbane and Sitsatsaweni also stopped operating.
The situation lasted for the whole day. Workers who were randomly interviewed said they received an instruction from their leaders that they should stop operating as a sign of solidarity with public transport workers operating from the Satellite bus Rank.
"We received an instruction from our leaders that we should stop operating after 9am. We were told that this is part of the ongoing strike which will last for 11 days," said one bus conductor, who asked to remain anonymous.
Most commuters expressed shock that even buses operating in routes around this small town have joined the strike.
"We are shocked that even buses going to areas like Sitsatsaweni and Maphungwane are also not operating. This is really inconveniencing us as commuters, I wish the right people will quickly come up with a solution to this matter," said Abel Ndzimandze, a resident of Lukhula.
When sought for comment Chairperson of the local branch of the Swaziland Commercial Amadoda Road Transportation Association (SCARTA), Thamsanxa Mkhombe, said he was not aware that buses had stopped operating.
... siteki conductors toyi-toyi inside bus
SITEKI – Fearing the police, some bus conductors opted to toyi-toyi inside one of the buses.
A group of about 20 workers were seen boarding a bus which operates along the Siteki-Tikhuba route and started singing and toyi-toying once inside.
The bus moved around town as the conductors toyi-toyied. There were a lot of police officers who were spotted around this small town and along affected routes.
There was also a roadblock that was mounted by police at Lonhlupheko.
Who said these conductors will not have the final word? There is always power in numbers. It is quite easy to bring Swaziland to a standstill because senior officials are always too busy attending to the issues of Lobamba. Lasha live balele.
Jun 1, 2012, 6:35 AM, Sizwe Zako (noemail)
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