Police blame NAPSAWU for Wednesday's mayhem
MBABANE – The Commissioner of the Royal Swaziland Police, Isaac Magagula, has criticised the President of NAPSAWU for allegedly inciting civil servants to stone the police last week at the Coronation Park in Mbabane.
Speaking during a press conference yesterday morning, the commissioner accused, Quinton Dlamini of ordering civil servants to attack the police with stones.
Magagula, claiming to quote Dlamini verbatim, said the leader uttered the words: "Comrades ngibuya ePublic Service ku-PS. PS usigadzile ngako-ke sekute liphoyisa lelitasivimba, etikwentsaba, sitawugijima etikwalo liphoyisa sihambe noma ngumuphi umgwaco lesiwufunako siyotseleka ePublic Service."
When translated the statement reads: "Comrades I am from the PS at the Public Service. The PS is expecting us, so no police officer will stand in our way, we will run the police over and use any street until we reach the Public Service."
NAPSAWU stands for the National Association of Public Service and Allied Workers Union. Magagula alleged that the civil servants responded to their president’s order by attacking the police with stones.
The commissioner alleged that the police were assaulted with stones, and in a bid to control the civil servants the police used force to disperse the allegedly violent crowd.
"The group was contained all the ntime until Dlamini announced in an inciteful manner to the crowd that he was from the Ministry of Public Service and that officials there, were waiting to receive the petition the workers were supposed to deliver. He was actually inciting the crowd to take stones and trample on police officers and also take to streets of their choice to deliver the petition," said the commissioner.
Magagula said the crowd advanced towards the police menacingly, broke the barricades and threw stones in the direction of the police.
"The police had no choice, but to use force to disperse the crowd which had become rowdy and violent. We acknowledge that as a consequence of the pandemonium that ensued there were casualties which is quite unfortunate and regrettable as in whatever kind of operation, police never go out with an express intention to injure civilians," said Magagula.
He said statements that have been made in the media, of trade unions declaring war against the police, were inflammatory and irresponsible. "The police may have erred, but they were provoked. It would help us to ask ourselves who caused the violence... because we are not at war with anyone. To this end, we believe the union leaders should be held responsible should anything untoward happen in line with their threats," said the commissioner.
Civil servants were shot with rubbers bullets at the Coronation Park by armed police officers, while others were assaulted with batons.
The civil servants have vowed to continue with their strike action. The civil servants want 4.5 per cent salary increments.
... it’s nonsense - Quinton
MBABANE – The President of NAPSAWU, Quinton Dlamini has said the allegations that have been made by the police commissioner against him are mere ‘nonsense’.
"This is nonsense, the people who were present on the day heard what I said to the membership, and also the people who were there saw what happened. Never at any stage did I tell the membership to attack or stone the police. We are calling for the commissioner to be sacked.
"We also want a commission of enquiry into the police brutality to be instituted, we also ask Parliament to stand up and demand an enquiry into what happened on the day. Also, I am actually disappointed at the Deputy Prime Minister for coming out to support this," said Dlamini.
Dlamini recalled that he told the civil servants that: "I am from the Public Service, and we are in order with Section 109 of the Industrial Relations Act, which allows employees to protest near the premises of the employer.
"So we will now go to the Public Service Ministry, but when you leave this place walk in groups of three because any number more than that would be deemed to be a group and the police will not allow that. Go and buy your lunch because it is mid-day, and we will reassemble at the Public Service Ministry."
Dlamini alleged that he left to board his car, after making his speech. "A senior police officer followed me into the car and banged on my window, telling me that he would not allow us to leave the park. Thereafter, he ordered the police to open fire," said Dlamini.
NApsawu Mbabane branch Cha-irman Mabandla Dladla, also alleged that the commissioner’s account of events is not factual. "I was there when it all unfolded, the police opened fire without provocation. Dlamini (Quinton) did not incite the membership," said Dladla.
Mtfombeni babe ,i think you and the police PRO are too defensive on issues pertaining police brutality. Looking at recent and past events of police brutality to innocent civilians one can easily conclude that the police have since become a brutal force and a law on its self and as a result this ends up promoting the unbecoming behaviour of the police.At the of the day this drains the taxpayers claims from victims of police brutal. Truly speaking,i've never heard you or the police pro condemning the police brutality on protestors,insteated you always put the blaim on the them even if theres no need.
July 16, 2012, 4:00 pm, Slnlsela (email@example.com)
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