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Cosatu: Statement by Bongani Masuku, Congress of South African Trade Unions international relations secretary, calling on the ANC to isolate the Swaziland dictatorship (21/05/2010)

21st May 2010

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The Congress of South African Trade Unions is alarmed by a report in the Times of Swaziland that ANC's investment company, Chancellor House Holdings, has bought a 75% share in the Maloma Colliery mine in Swaziland from Xstrata PLC.
The report claims that the deal has been endorsed by the undemocratic Swazi government, whose Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, Jinnoh Nkambule, told The Times: "It is true that Maloma Colliery mine shares have finally been purchased by ANC's Chancellor House Holdings. The signing deal was completed recently and only the legal processes are being finalised at the moment. Government is looking forward at meeting the new management in the near future"
For decades the people of Swaziland have been subjected to inhumane treatment at the hands of an entrenched and ruthless absolute monarchy. Poverty has continued to ravage the mass of people and especially in the rural areas. It has been subjected to the longest state of emergency in the whole world, now having been in place for a staggering 37 years.

Political parties remain banned, opposition parties and movements are proscribed, and the notorious Suppression Terrorism Act is used to prevent any expression of democratic activity.

The most recent outrage has been the murder of political and trade union activist Sipho Jele by the Swazi police, who even prevented his funeral from taking place.

The Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) has been campaigning for the whole world to raise its voices in support of democracy in their country. Unions in South Africa, especially those affiliated to COSATU, have fully endorsed the campaign.

The SDC would naturally expect the African National Congress, with its rich traditions of mass struggle against dictatorship and apartheid, to be in the forefront of a campaign for democracy and human rights in our neighbouring country. Swazi democrats will therefore be devastated if it is indeed true that the ANC is now propping up a strategic part of the country's economy.

COSATU calls upon its ally, the ANC, to immediately instruct Chancellor House Holdings to sell its stake in this mine and join the international campaign to expose and isolate this monarchist dictatorship and support the SDC's demands for:

• Unbanning of political parties;

• Unconditional return of all exiles;

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• Free and democratic multiparty elections;

• Freedom of the media;

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• An independent judiciary;

• An end to abuse of culture and women's rights.

• The immediate scrapping of the Suppression of Terrorism Act, which makes it a terrorist offense to belong to certain parties and organisations.

The federation further appeals to ANC members to join the global march for democracy in Swaziland on 6 September 2010, to coincide with the so-called independence celebrations and to raise and popularise the struggle for democracy.

 

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