LUDZIDZINI – Deafening silence filled the Royal Cattle Byre as he ascended the podium , and when he spoke, all his points were applauded by the crowd even acting Ludzidzini Governor TV Mtetwa had no choice but to allow him more time.
There was applause from the throngs when he said government should shoulder the blame for the financial crisis, more cheers followed when he called for reinstatement of the recently sacked teachers but there was rapturous applause when he crowned it all by asking His Majesty King Mswati III to fire the entire Premier Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini-led Cabinet team. Speaking was none other than renowned former unionist and political activist Jan Sithole who literally stole the show when making submissions at the Royal Cattle Byre during the ongoing People’s Parliament yesterday.
It was exactly noon when Sithole, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) and ex-leader of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU), got an opportunity to speak in front of thousands of Swazis who included princes, princesses, the PM, Cabinet ministers and advisory councils.
The King is believed to be following proceedings live through the broadcast media.
As the multitude eagerly awaited Sithole’s submissions, his first point was telling government not to hide behind the global economic crisis when asked about the country’s financial woes.
"The economy is the burden of the government of the day as per Section 59 of the Constitution. Government has to come up with policies that will attract businesses and create jobs. Government is now finding it easy to hide under the global financial crisis for our problems. We are members of international bodies like the IMF which had been warning us all along about the dangers we would face because of our spending patterns and hiring procedures but we are now hiding under the global financial problems," Sithole said.
He went on: "However, what Cabinet excelled in is enriching themselves as evidenced by Circular No.1 which is meant to take care of them now and forever. Cabinet also went on to give themselves prime land in Mbabane at discounted prices. Let this land be returned." The people applauded and again listened attentively as Sithole continued; this time tackling the salary increment demand by teachers.
"Teachers should be given the 4.5 per cent increment they want and those who were fired be reinstated. This issue should be treated with caution and the use of batons by police on the teachers exacerbates violence. Government should withdraw charges that have been laid against the teachers because the Constitution provides for dialogue and negotiation. Police should stop beating protesters who are marching peacefully," he said.
Sithole then touched on elderly grants, saying they should be paid monthly as opposed to quarterly. He also mentioned the need to revisit Value Added Tax, which he said should exclude certain commodities like medicine and also be lenient on small to medium entrepreneurs such as hawkers.
Finally, the icing on the cake: "The present government has failed. Everyone is complaining. Lawyers, teachers and students are all aggrieved, we ask the King to fire the entire Cabinet. They should go home today then an interim government be put in place to look into all the problems that have been created and also prepare the country for the 2013 elections.
The crowd could not contain their excitement at this submission and went into untold exuberance.
Acting Ludzidzini Governor and Sibaya Chairman TV Mtetwa had done Sithole a favour by giving him five more minutes to speak, which meant he spent 10 minutes on the stage as opposed to the five that everyone else was allocated.
When Sithole went back to sit down, some people scrambled to shake his hand and applauded him for a good speech.
- Well done Jan you have captured it all! We need people like these who speak their mind and not 'chicken out' when put on the spot. I hope Sbongile Mazibuko and the other activists would also get a chance to say what they have been saying all along; not forgeting of course Hlophe the columnist at the times who writes provocative articles. Did I miss Bennett, Bheki Makhubu or are he still going to speak? I really would like to hear them too. I am beginning to enjoy this, bring it on Mngani!
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, Burns Dlamini (Lobhoncela) (Burnspolitics@gmail.com)
- Why was Jan Sithole, a democrat, applauded at the People's Parliament and a teacher told to sit down when she called for multiparty?
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, Alpha Dlamini (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Every forum is an avenue of struggle. Well done Jani.
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, jabavu (email@example.com)
- Uyabo Babe Jan Sithole nyalo sesitakulalela sikusekele nawukhuluma. Because if you do not attend sibaya, speak negatively about the King and Swazi culture, we just think here comes the animal who want to destroy Swazis. But now since you are coming closer to us and our king we are happy. We Swazis only know that in multiparties there is no king or culture sati kutsi udla ugijima ubalekela tibhamu.
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, td dlamini (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Jan for prime minister.......let the monarchy stand your majesty....fire the whole cabinet and put people that have interest of the swazi people at heart....like this sithole man who is qouting what we really want........your cabinet will suppress this suggestions as ussual...they will pretend like abakeva......lalela percy on tomorrow paper phela you will see...
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, mlungu (email@example.com)
- Jan ..you did well by addressing these issues without fear. We need people like you in times like these.
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, Lindiwe Nxumalo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Well said Mr. Sithole. You have been insulted by those in a fake uprising as a political ha-been but you are proving your critics very wrong. There is no way we can have change in our country other than exploring the avilable avenues. The fake uprisers must come back to Swaziland and face trials for an attempt to commit treason as they continue bacekela phansi umtsetfosisekelo
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, Sydney S Maseko (email@example.com)
- This is good for Swaziland. I'm sure all the other progressives will follow Jani's example because we, Swazis, all have to be united even if we have different views
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, wandile (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- What a well prepared and presented speech Sir, Babe sithole. I nonetheless wish you could have submitted on the urgency that the people to hire Prime ministers should vest in the people. Its time Swazis elect their own Prime minister.
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, thatha mamba (email@example.com)
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