14 April 2011
ANC Media Statement
ANC CALLS ON THE SWAZI GOVERNMENT TO UNBAN POLITICAL PARTIES AND INITIATE DIALOGUE
The African National Congress (ANC) is deeply concerned about the current political environment in neighbouring Swaziland where a group of unarmed civilians involved in a peaceful demonstration has been violently broken up by security forces.
Having emerged from a brutal past of apartheid that has led to scores of our people being assassinated, assaulted, detained and imprisoned, South Africa is today a world-renowned democratic constitutional model. Were it not for the National Party-led minority regime having been forced by the masses of our people to engage in a dialogue with the African National Congress (ANC) and other liberation movements prior 1994, this would not have been possible. We therefore, call on the government of Swaziland to work towards the normalisation of the political environment by unbanning opposition political parties, releasing political activists and engaging in a meaningful dialogue with opposition political and trade union leaders to find a collective solution to the socio-economic situation faced by that country.
As seen in South Africa prior democracy, the use of security forces to quell any form of political dissent and failure to address legitimate concerns of citizens, can only lead to the worsening of relations between government and civilians, something that does not augur well for economic stability. In the interest of maintaining the much-needed stability within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), we strongly believe that the situation in Swaziland requires an urgent attention.
It is in the government of Swaziland’s interest and its people to resolve the internal conflict in that country – a step that will certainly bolster its political and economic relations with other countries. Having been involved in African Union (AU) missions to work towards ensuring an end to conflicts in North Africa, it is also in South Africa’s interest to see a politically stable Swaziland.