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MANZINI – Even though TUCOSWA has been denied permission to march tomorrow, the workers’ union is adamant that its planned mass political march will go ahead.

The Municipal Council of Manzini has denied the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) permission to lead workers in its political march in the city to deliver a petition to the Manzini Police Regional Headquarters (RHQ). The planned march was announced by TUCOSWA President Bheki Mamba, during the procession to deliver a petition to the Manzini Police RHQ over the arrest of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) President, Colani Maseko. The activity was organised by the students’ union. According to TUCOSWA Secretary General (SG) Mduduzi Gina, they approached the Municipal Council of Manzini on Thursday and served it with a notice, which notified the local government about their intention to march on the streets of the city tomorrow to deliver a petition to the Manzini Police RHQ.


He said they served the municipality with the notice as per the Public Order Act No. 12 of 2017, in particular Section 6 of the Act, which talked about notice of gatherings. Section 6 (1) says; “The convenor of a gathering shall as soon as possible, but not later than four days before the date of the intended gathering deliver by hand to the local authority written notice of the gathering, signed by the convenor, in accordance with the provisions of this section and substantially in the form set out in Schedule I.” In fact, the workers’ union SG said they had given the municipality time which was more than the period which was stipulated in the Act. In that regard, he said they did all that was expected of them, as per the Public Order Act No. 12 of 2017.

However, he said yesterday they received a response from the municipality and it denied them permission to march on the city’s streets. Gina said the council highlighted that it still upheld the directive which was issued by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Prince Simelane, where he banned local governments across the country from issuing permits for gatherings, thus it would not give them the permission to march on the streets of the city.  The Municipal Council of Manzini Information Communications Officer, Mathokoza Thwala, said: “It is true that the municipality denied permission for the proposed procession in the city based on a directive from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.”
Thereafter, the workers’ federation’s secretary general said as leadership, they believed that they had met the requirements as stipulated by the law (Public Order Act No. 12 of 2017). As such, he said the march would go ahead as planned.

“We believe the municipality should entertain us based on the existing Act, instead of talking about a directive which does not even amend the law,” Gina said. He emphasised that it would be all systems go tomorrow and that if there would be some barriers, their lawyers would be on standby to deal with such. On another note, the SG said even though SNUS President Maseko was out on bail for his sedition and malicious damage to property charges, they would go ahead with the march to deliver their petition. He said this was because their petition would be about arbitrary arrests and alleged police brutality, which he said was still happening. Worth noting is that when announcing the march last week, the federation’s president invited the whole nation to join them and pleaded with those who worked in the city to bear with them during the procession.  He said they would be demanding an immediate release of arrested pro-democracy leaders and commissioning of a true and honest dialogue. Another thing which he said they would do was to raise awareness to the nation that they did not recognise Sibaya as a venue for dialogue.


Meanwhile, the Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer, Inspector Nosipho Mnguni, said so far, they did not have something written down about the proposed march. Thereafter, she said as a police service, they would continue with their normal daily policing duties even tomorrow. She said she would not comment much on an activity which they did not know. It is worth noting that on October 28, 2021, TUCOSWA had planned a nationwide protest march, which was aimed at delivering petitions to different government ministries on social and political matters. However, the marches, which were supposed to be held in cities and towns in the four regions of the country, were called off on the day of the demonstration. This was due to various reasons, including poor attendance and alleged intimidation by members of the State security organs.

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