SDC – South Africa Chapter puts up great Picket at Swazi Consulate

Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC)

05 September, 2012

PRESS STATEMENT: SDC – South Africa Chapter puts up great Picket at Swazi Consulate with allies

View today’s Picket pictures here:

The SDC South Africa Chapter is very proud of the great turn out, highly spirited and very inspiring Picket organised today during lunch time at the Johannesburg Consulate of Swaziland.

The Picket, though announced at very short notice was able to draw in unexpected numbers and many thanks to our allies and sister organisations and those affiliated to the SDC. Amongst these organisations are; COSATU, Swazi Diaspora Platform, the ITUC-Africa and the members of its Human and Trade Union Rights Commission from various countries, the Public Services International (PSI), Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum together with the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, various NGOs and organisations of Civil society, as well as social movements from townships.

It is even more worth noting that there was in attendance the former President of SAMWU, Petros Mashishi, various Presidents and General Secretaries, as well as technocrats of various COSATU affiliates. Lastly, we were also graced by the presence of the Head of International Relations of UNISON, Britain, Comrade Nick, who has been to Swaziland several times and is a well known friend of the working and struggling masses of that sister country, particularly his close working relationship with TUCOSWA.

The first to take podium was none other than the courageous second Deputy President of COSATU, Zingiswa Losi, who affirmed COSATU’s unwavering support for the cause of the Swazi people, not matter what opportunists and detractors have to say. She affirmed that as the gathering was in motion, COSATU activists were inside Swaziland and others were to join and be in the trenches with the struggling masses of Swaziland. Finally, she affirmed that COSATU shall not be diverted or intimidated from its path of supporting all, wherever they happen to be, who call for support for their just cause for democracy and social justice and Swaziland is no exception. She also indicated that, despite being thrown out of the country several times, she will always be in and out of Swaziland to support TUCOSWA and the rest of the progressive movement.

Notably, also were the profound words of the General Secretary of the ITUC Africa, Comrade Kwasi Adu Amankwah, who made it clear that he is leading a delegation of trade union leaders and activists from about 16 countries all over Africa, from the DRC, Togo, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Senegal, Angola, Nigeria, the East African Trade Union Council, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Ghana and the headquarters in Lome.

Important information was related about the ever growing numbers from all over the world, including Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as North America who have taken active interest in Swaziland and have sent various delegations, which number was shocking when revealed in a meeting behind closed doors and not specifically mentioned at the rally.

The Swazi Diaspora Platform represented by its active spokesperson, Ntombenhle Khathwane and a delegation of Swazis based in South Africa made it clear that they shall not allow their country to be dragged down by greed, corruption and oppression by a tiny royal minority, while the rest of the Swazi people are suffering. They have taken a decision to make a decisive contribution towards change and democracy and are impressed by the ever growing numbers of Swazis throwing their weight behind the SDP, particularly after its very successful Political Alternatives Indaba recently.

The Zimbabwean groups were represented by Sox Chikorera, a well known activist and cadre who has been inside Swaziland several times and has been forced out of the country by the state security forces, but remains determined to support the Swazi people, unwaveringly.

Amongst those who were part of the Picket was the President of NUMSA, Cedric Gina, the Treasurer of NUM, David Macatha and others who joined in due course.

The SDC salutes all the organisations, activists and individuals who attended and those who apologised, but pledged their full and unequivocal support for the cause and the work of the SDC and the rest of the struggling masses of Swaziland.

The gathering made it clear that the bravery and courage of the Swazi people is inspiring and worth all the support we can amass, even when there are attempts by the state to divide the progressive movement and divert attention from the real and burning issues as raised by the 3 days of successful action inside the country led by the SUDF, SDC, PUDEMO, SNUS, The Concerned Churches Forum, the Swazi Diaspora Forum, the Foundation for Socio-economic Justice in Swaziland and the giant new federation, TUCOSWA. These organisations know that no struggle will be won through pity-seeking mechanisms, change of heart by the state and its leaders, boardroom manoeuvres, as opposed to mass power and real struggles on the ground and that is where attention must be paid.

There are announcements that shall be made in due course about the on-coming activities, which, for security reasons, shall be announced in due course.

For more information please contact:

Stephen Faulkner +27 82 817 5455

Philani Ndebele +27 76 942 3565