Percy should be charged trade UNIONS
MBABANE - Trade Unions have called for charges under the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938 to be preferred against Government Spokesperson, Percy Simelane.
They also want Simelane charged under the Public Order Act 17/1963 subsection 6-7 for allegedly inciting the public to react violently through the responses he gives to the civil servants plight.
Simelane is accused of not showing that he is speaking on behalf of government thus further creating conflict between government and the people.
The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938 states that a person who promotes any feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Swaziland and utters subversive words shall be guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or to a fine not exceeding E20 000.
National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) President Quinton Dlamini said Simelane spoke as though these national issues were his own.
"He should change his attitude and stop being sarcastic because these are citizens of the country he is talking like that to," he said.
Bheki Mamba, Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) President said what he has to elaborate on in this issue is the urgent need to do away with the system.
"If the system is not working, the people in it will definitely be ineffective or not perform. I am not surprised such is happening, the system has failed dismally. Blame it on the system, the people in it are merely following its orders and all needs to be done away with," he said.
Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) President, Sibongile Mazibuko, said what Simelane is doing and saying to the nation via the media is reflecting what government wants the people to know. She said Simelane is sent by his ‘masters’ to speak on their behalf, thus what he says and his attitude reflects what they want to say. "According to the standards of the government we live in, Simelane is dubbed the ‘best’. And indeed he is the best in their standards, but if this was my government or rather he was spokesperson for SNAT, I would have long sent him packing," she said.
She added that because of the low standards of the government, the idiom; ‘where ignorance is bliss it is foolish to be wise’ applies perfectly. She was quick to explain that she is not labelling anyone ignorant or foolish.
Simelane has also been accused of promoting ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population with regard to his responses to civil servants’ call for the removal of Circular No.1 and the 4.5 per cent cost of living adjustment they are currently protesting about.
Responding to the allegations, Simelane said the issue of his alleged failure to show any regard for unions’ plight, ‘subversive statements’ and his alleged promotion of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population, he wants to state that the law of communication is such that a person is responsible for what he says and not what he is understood to have said.
"What a person says, no matter how innocent, is understood differently by the multitudes listening to him and it does not necessarily mean he has said all that the thousands understand him to be saying. The Government Spokesperson communicates government’s position and not necessarily his own," Simelane said.
He further maintained that pointing fingers and apportioning blame to anyone will not help the nation to move forward, but together with unity of a common purpose, we can take this country out of these challenges.
"It is in such trying times that the true test of our character as a nation must come out," he said.
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