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Army roped in for strikes

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MBABANE - The Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) have roped in members of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) to assist them in controlling the protest action by public sector unions.

The public services unions currently on strike are the Swaziland National Association of teachers (SNAT), National Public Service and Allied Workers union (NAPSAWU) and Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU).

The unions are demanding a 4.5 per cent cost-of-living adjustment to their salaries, among other demands.

The teachers are now entering a fifth week of protest while NAPSAWU members went on strike two weeks ago. The nurses, on the other hand, only staged a sit-in last week Wednesday.

Since the strikes began in June, police and correctional services officers have been deployed to control the protesters and maintain order.

On Sunday afternoon, the Commissioner of Police, Isaac Magagula, was locked in a meeting with high-ranking officials from the army at the police headquarters.

It was immediately after the meeting that the commissioner addressed journalists in a press conference where he also made mention of the involvement of the army.

Some of the soldiers who were clad in uniform were spotted waiting outside the police headquarters.

Magagula assured all government employees, who wish to defy the strike by going to work, that members of the security forces would continue to be deployed today to ensure their safety.

"The nation is aware of the industrial impasse between government and certain categories of employees viz. teachers, civil servants and nurses. The nation is further aware that government through His Excellencey the Honourable Prime Minister, has issued a warning on the undesirability of the prevailing situation, and appealed to those involved to return to work on Tuesday July 24 (today)," he said.

The commissioner said as the police service they are cognisant of the fact that there are employees who heeded government’s call and want to go to work.

He said, however, these employees were harassed and intimidated by those acting in furtherance and propagating the spirit of the strike action.


"We wish to give assurance to all government employees of the aforesaid categories (teachers, nurses and civil servants) who wish to exercise their right of going to work that members of the security forces, comprising police, correctional services and Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force have all along been deployed, and will continue being deployed on Tuesday (today) to maintain law and order and to safeguard their safety. In particular, to ensure that they are not harassed and intimidated in anyway," he said.

... police ban SNAT vusela exercises


MBABANE - Police have banned the ‘vusela’ exercises that were being conducted by members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), nurses and civil servants.

These exercises involved groups of teachers who were on strike going to schools where they sought to force their non-striking colleagues to join the protest action.

The Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula issued a stern warning during a press conference held the police headquarters on Sunday afternoon.

"To this end, those who go around schools, clinics and other areas haranguing and intimidating those carrying out their usual duties, are warned that their actions are illegal, and the law will take its course," he said.

Magagula said the scale of security had been reinforced to make sure that such does not happen.

He said any employee or any other person who would invade and venture into an establishment, which was not their regular work stations, as a group or mob with the intention of disturbing the peace or smooth operation of that establishment, would be met with the full extent and might of the law.

Army Public Relations Officer Major Khanya Dlamini said nothing formal had been communicated to his office pertaining the involvement of soldiers.

The commissioner urged the public not to hesitate to call the police should they spot untoward behaviour related to the protests.

You can’t force teachers to teach - Sibongile

MBABANE - President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers Sibongile Mazibuko says no amount of duress and cohesion will force teachers to teach because teaching is a calling.

"It is within our conscience to teach and produce responsible citizens of this country. Even at gunpoint it will be the teacher who will choose what to do.

"There is territory within a teacher which neither a police officer, soldier, prison warden nor ammunition will ever enter and that is the conscience," she said.

Mazibuko said it was disturbing for the prime minister to use all these strategies to force teachers to go back to school.

She said a person can take a horse to a river to drink but it will not drink if it does not want to.

"The least that we would have expected was for the prime minister to consider the predicament or welfare of the pupils. The presence of soldiers and other members of security forces is intimidating to the teachers and not conducive to the working environment," she said.

Also sharing the same sentiments was President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union, Bheki Mamba, who said they do not need security officers in their workplace.

"Health institutions must not be turned into an environment that will signify that we are in a state of emergency in the country. In a facility we expect a patient to be free and the presence of the police makes the environment unfavourable,"

National Public Service and Allied Workers Union Secretary General, Vincent Dlamini, said the involvement of soldiers is unacceptable as the civil servants are not fighting with anyone, but want what is due to them.

He said the involvement of the soldiers clearly demonstrated the type of government the country has.

Dlamini alleged that when they started the protest action their members were assaulted and shot by the police.


He alleged, that the commissioner of police had now roped in soldiers to assist them.

"This shows the type of government we have because, to the best of my knowledge, soldiers are for a war. This is totally unacceptable but there is nothing we can do," he said



Uhulumende kumelwe avikele abantu bakhe, not even the so called Sibongile could tell uhulumende how to do that! Angeke ayekelele hulumende to protect your home u set your cats on mouse!
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, CALA (KALIBOLI@YMAIL.COM)

Can any1 tel me, who are the soldiers goin 2 b fighting? Bcoz if its unarmed protesters then this is a symbol of something else; DICTATORSHIP, Swaziland is heading for doom. What do we mean by havin freedom of expression?????
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, Msandrise (msandie@gmail.com)

Lots of Swazis are being educated outside the country and some are already big people driving economies of other nations. Are these Swazis really expected to come back to Swaziland? Why? Patriotism? Very unlikely. No one, after sweating for his/her education/skill would ever come back to such intimidation. Honestly, I myself had lots of pride and love for my country when I left but that love is fading so fast and it breaks my heart because I have family and friends in Swaziland.
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, myself (mbhoakane@hotmail.com)


Mr Editor even a two-year child can see that we have no Government. We just need a new Government for the people. How can the Prime Minister deploy soldiers and this literally means Swaziland is at war. I have never seen a strike for pay increase and an army is deployed. We need to prepare for a war. We must also arm the ordinary people to defend themselves against the Government's forces. Phambili with Freedom, Forward to Multi-party. Sabelo Dlamini
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, Sabelo Dlamini (dlaminisabelo46@yahoo.com)

Uyati sesifikile sikhatsi lapho hulumende kumele aphakamise tinyawo endzabeni yetechnology park ngoba ngulapho live litawutfola khona siphephelo bekunene. Akekutfolwe lenye indlela yekufundzisa hhayi lokwetsembela kumuntfu. Umuntfu uyamcasha kutsi abe nguthishela asuke lapho acunjwe angenele ipolitiki. Yini le. Noma banganikwa lelebakushoko litawutsi lingakashoni batawube sebeme emigwacweni futsi sebasuse lokunye.
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, mgubho (labadzala@gmail.com)

Roping in army members means war,y do these commissioners turn strikes to war?give us wat we need,ningasifaki luphaca ngekusiletsela labatasigadza.Give us wat we deserve and you will see peace.
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, Tsutsu (n/a)

This looks like war has been declared back at home.
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, Sim (simphiwe@lihwabha.com)


The way our government leaders are handling this strike seem to show that they are hungry for war; because instead of coming out with a solution to this they are strenghtening the forces; to me its shows that they are preparing themselves for a war among their employees; my advise is let the discusion teams go back to the table and review their previous disagrement and this wages negotiation must not be derailed; we need to move on this issue so that we could be able to focus on other salient matters that are mutual concern.it is for that reason that we call for a speedy negotiation in this wages between the civil servant and government; we remain hopeful that an evelasting agreement will be reached to avoid any future labour rest.
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, Mehlwengwadla Nkonyane-Mahikeng 2745 (mduduzi78@yahoo.com)


Phambili maComrades!!! we have seen it happening. The power of the people does defeat the army. We have seen the sacrifice of people in Libya, Egypt, now Syria... its possible guys. AMANDLA!!!!!
Jul 24, 2012, 6:05 AM, sguntwana (sgu780@yahoo.com)

After the army has injured and maimed unarmed protesters with their tax-funded bullets at the behest of the PM, then what happens after that? Somebody tell me please, then what? You see, gov't has thought that far. The first rule in strategy is that you don't yank out a gun from its holster unless you intend to shoot somebody. Second, if you yank it out and don't shoot, the level of your leadership is diminished. The situation on the ground gets worse instead of better. If they had their way, gov't would long have committed violence but they are terrified of the local and international consequences. Look the high ranking ministers in Kenya who have been arrested by the ICC in Hague for inciting violence in the recent Kenyan elections? They're likely to go to jail somewhere in the chilly mountains of Europe. Look at Isa Islam of Libya who's headed the same direction of the Hague for his own atrocities while helping Daddy. Look at Al Bashar of North Sudan who has an arrest warrant with Interpol dangling over his head (how does he sleep at night under this pressure). if caught, he too is likely to find himself in a prison full of French, English, Africans, Arabs, you name it, and all sorts of hardened criminals. It all starts with ordering police to shoot at people with rubber bullets, and commissioning the army on unarmed protesters. My dear gov't, please watch out bo-Sir. The world is watching. I enjoy seeing our senior politicians being escorted up and down by our police in navy blue. I don't want to see them being escorted out of the country by the boys in powder blue (UN Para-military troops) through the Oshoek border post, headed for the Hague. Please watch out..
Jul 24, 2012, 3:35 PM, Against Violence (agns@lies.com)


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