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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Outcomes of the South African-Swazi Civil society Consultative Forum on Swaziland


Held in Johannesburg, 08 December, 2008

COSATU and OSISA hosted a forum to discuss the latest crisis and developments in Swaziland with Swazi civil society organisations led by the SUDF. The meeting was a culmination of a series of activities jointly organised between Swazi civil society and the ir South African counterparts over the past few months and the improving levels of cohesion and co-ordination between the peoples and organisations of the two sister countries.

The meeting was attended by 15 leaders of the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and its affiliated organisations from Swaziland, while on the South Africa side it was COSATU and its affiliates, OSISA, YCL, Swazis who live in the diaspora, DITSELA, a nd other components of the mass democratic movement and NGOs.

COSATU and OSISA welcomed comrades and outlined the background and context of the meeting and how it fits into the momentum for solidarity with the peoples and workers of Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The meeting benefited from a comprehensive report on the obta ining situation in Swaziland presented by Vincent Ncongwane, Secretary General of the SUDF, assisted by Jan Sithole, Secretary General of the SFTU.

There was a very enriching exchange of experiences, intense engagements and lively deliberations, based on frank and honest assessment of the situation, the state of the progressive movement in Swaziland and what needs to be done.

The forum then agreed on a consolidated joint programme, based on the pillars of programme of action of the SUDF and the developments in the country;

  • The Constitutional/Electoral crisis
  • Campaign for the release of PUDEMO President
  • Campaign for the removal of the terrorism law
  • Campaign for a new and democratic constitution
  • Campaign for a new and democratic electoral law
  • Mobilise effectively for the 13th December March in Swaziland

Poverty, HIV/AIDS and Corruption crisis

  • People`s parliament and People`s budget campaigns
  • Community forums to engage people on issues affecting them
  • Campaigns to demand access to financial services for poor people
  • Free education Campaign and access to health for all

Organisational capacity building

Building research capacity to assist improve our engagement capacity and the importance of collecting facts and more information about issues and developments in the country to ensure that our call for solidarity is on substantive bases and widespread dist ribution of information Build an institutional capacity for sustained popular education and organising, as well as campaigns Develop Media capacity in the context of state censorship

International solidarity

  • Declare April 2009 a month of global focus on Swaziland
  • Africa day activities must be focused on Swaziland next year
  • Organise Southern Africa Solidarity Conference in Swaziland
  • Launch Campaign for the removal of King Mswati as Chairperson of the SADC Organ Troika on security, politics and co-operation
  • Target members of the royal family who are studying, working or leaving outside the country for action and isolation, including shaming them
  • Structure the boycott of goods campaign properly and begin to systematically carry it out effectively from next year, which labour is best placed to lead. This should take advantage of the newly created SATUCC Solidarity Troika constituted by COSATU (Convenor), ZCTU and SFTU.
  • Intensify marches, pickets and demonstrations, as well as border blockades against the Swazi regime, and to ensure that the King, wherever he goes he meets popular rejection of his regime

Towards that end, the following activities were identified as priorities;

  • Free Mario Masuku Campaign, including the removal of terrorism law and the release of all political prisoners
  • Hosting the Southern Africa Solidarity Conference in Swaziland on the 12th April, 2009, with the creation of a Local Organising Committee inside Swaziland as the most urgent task.
  • Campaign against the crisis of; Poverty, HIV/AIDS and corruption for mass mobilisation and popular consciousness

Bongani Masuku, International Relations Officer

Congress of South African Trade Unions