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TUCOSWA loses May Day application

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MBABANE - The Industrial Court has dismissed an application by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) to have May Day commemorated under their banner.


TUCOSWA had intended to commemorate Workers Day under its banner at the Salesian Sports Ground tomorrow.

The deregistered federation had run to court seeking an order stopping government, the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General from interfering with and interrupting the free movement of guests and individuals participating in the celebrations.


Government is the first respondent while the Commissioner of Police and Attorney General are second and third respondents, respectively.

Previously, government had taken TUCOSWA to court for determination of its legal standing. The court found that the mechanism, in law, for the registration of federations in the Industrial Relations Act was absent.


The court held that the applicant (TUCOSWA) was not properly registered. The application for the May Day celebrations, which was filed by TUCOSWA on Friday, was dismissed by Industrial Court Judge Dumisani Mazibuko yesterday.


Vusi Kunene from the Attorney General’s office argued that Workers Day cannot be commemorated under the banner of TUCOSWA since it was not recognised by government.

"Government is not against the commemoration of the May Day by workers but is against it being held under the banner of TUCOSWA, which is not recognised by government. The commemoration can be held under the banner of the other lawful unions but not TUCOSWA," he said.


Kunene also alleged that the reason TUCOSWA was rushing to have the commemoration held under its banner was because the unions affiliated to it pay subscriptions and it would, therefore, be useless for them to continue paying same if the event is not be held under its banner tomorrow.


TUCOSWA was represented by Thulani Maseko who stated that the applicant (TUCOSWA) does not need to be registered to enforce their legal right. He said the rights of the applicant were being violated.

Maseko also urged the court to take into account the international laws which are part of our law.

Judge Mazibuko said the issue was one which affects the rights and status of the applicant (TUCOSWA) as a workers federation.



"It’s a case that is before Industrial Court of appeal. The parties can seek an urgent sitting of the Industrial court of Appeal to determine the matter," he said.

The judge stated that in its judgment dated February 26, 2013, the Industrial Court (B) stated that the parties were directed to agree on a modus operandi pending the registration of TUCOSWA in terms of the Act after it was amended.


Judge Mazibuko further stated that the court did not state what should happen if the parties failed to agree.

"If paragraph 31(b) of the judgment is not clear or applicable, then the parties or the aggrieved party should seek clarity from Court (B) as to what should happen since they have failed to agree on the modus operandi. The Industrial Court cannot make that determination. The application should, therefore, fail in its entirety. Each party is to pay its costs," ordered Judge Mazibuko.

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