It was the presence of PUDEMO that provoked the Swaziland police to rip up pictures of the dead man, confiscate banners and harass mourners when they stormed the funeral and forced its cancellation.
Diana Jele, Sipho’s aunt, said it was their son’s choice to join PUDEMO, which is banned in Swaziland and officially declared a ‘terrorist organisation’.
She told the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, that PUDEMO would be allowed to attend Jele’s funeral, when it eventually took place, if that was what the Jele family wanted.
Diana Jele told the Times that the police did not talk to the family before the funeral to ask for it to be called off.
‘They failed to produce a court document or at least explain to us what they did not like about the funeral. They failed to give reasons as to why they destroyed pictures of the deceased and banners which covered the coffin,’ she said.
‘In fact, the matter is to return to court and what is confusing is that the police did not say anything about what they felt was wrong with the funeral except to order that only family members go to the grave site.’