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MANZINI – The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) is accusing government of concealing a commission of enquiry report on alleged police brutality on protesters during demonstrations.

The commission of enquiry was conducted by government in 2019 and this was after the workers’ federation had reported the matter to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which then asked the administration to probe the alleged police brutality on protesters during demonstrations. The workers’ federation is making these allegations at a time when the country (government and TUCOSWA) are preparing to welcome a team from ILO, which will visit the kingdom for purposes of an internal mediation process on various issues between the two parties. TUCOSWA Secretary General Mduduzi Gina said they learnt that the Chairman of the investigative committee, Manzini Principal Magistrate David Khumalo, who is now an Acting Judge, compiled the report and submitted it to his principals, government. However, he said when they knocked at ILO’s door with the aim of getting the report; they were referred back to government.


“We have written to government, in particular the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and asked for the report, but our efforts have been in vain,” the unionist said. In one of the letters, which were written by the workers’ federation to the office of the principal secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, it said in around October 2019, it was invited to appear before an investigative committee, which was headed by Khumalo. It said the committee, was set up, pursuant to observations and a recommendation by ILO to attend to various issues of alleged non-compliance by government with set international labour standards as reported by the federation and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).  “We had always hoped that since the commission of enquiry was held in public, its findings and/or report will be published or shared with those organisations and individuals who participated,” read part of the letter.

Thereafter, the federation requested the PS to give them an update on the report; however, Gina said they did not receive any correspondence from government. He said they wanted to read the report so that they could use it to update issues which they reported to ILO. He said ILO would be in the country to mediate on issues which they reported in 2019 and 2021. He said the issues included the banning of gatherings, union bashing – including victimisation and intimidation of trade union leaders and refusal of companies to grant trade unions a recognition agreement, among others.

Regarding union bashing, he highlighted the issue of the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Mbongwa Dlamini. He said they reported about his possible charges and when they meet the ILO team, they would update their case and include the matter of his salary which was withheld by the employer. He said the first set of the mediation process would be between February 24 and 26, 2023. He stated that the process would be chaired by the President of the Industrial Court, Judge Sifiso Sibandze, who is also the President of the Industrial Court of Appeal and would be assisted by a team from the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC).

Meanwhile, efforts to get comment from the PS in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Makhosini Mndawe, proved futile. A questionnaire was sent to the Acting Communications Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Nosimilo Vilakati, but she had not responded by the time of compiling this report yesterday. It is worth noting that some of the incidents which were mentioned during the commission of enquiry on the alleged police brutality included a demonstration which was hosted by TUCOSWA in Manzini in 2018, where several protesters were shot, SNAT meeting where a teacher was shot and a strike action by the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) at the textile sector in Nhlangano, where the workers clashed with the police.

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