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MANZINI – A bloody, violent shutdown!

All hell broke loose in the public sector associations (PSAS) #Operation ‘shut down’ Manzini yesterday. In fact, the march ended with a nasty clash between the striking civil servants and the police. As a result, about 10 workers and three police officers were injured. Afterwards, two marchers were arrested and charged for allegedly starting fire in the streets of the hub of Eswatini.

The demonstration, which was dubbed; #Operation ‘shut down’ Manzini, asinavalo (we fear nothing) was hosted by the PSAs in the hub of Eswatini yesterday and it was part of their programme of action for cost-of-living adjustment (CoLA). The industrial action started last week Monday. The march, which was meant to sensitise the nation about the issue of CoLA, was attended by about 8 000 people. It started at King Somhlolo Park and went via Bhunu Mall to the Manzini Main Market where they turned towards Manzini Police Station. The marchers continued down the street and took a left turn towards Manzini Post Office, and took the direction towards the Manzini Regional Education Office (REO).


However, chaos erupted before the marchers reached the Manzini REO, where they were suppose to address the nation about the issue of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) President Mbongwa Dlamini, who is facing three charges of alleged misconduct. The chaos, which left 10 marchers injured, took place at the four-way stop, which is an intersection of Martin and Mahleka Street, which leads to the Manzini REO, which is situated adjacent to Manzini Magistrates Court. Upon arriving at the four-way stop, the marchers found that armed police officers and members of His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) had formed three walls in the middle of the road coming from the Manzini Bus Rank. Behind the walls formed by the armed police officers and warders, there was a police Casspir and water cannon.

The marchers, who mainly comprised civil servants, who are members of SNAT, National Association of Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAW) and Swaziland National Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP), formed a circle at the four-way stop and danced to political songs and slogans. 

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