20 August 2011
Cops stop unions, lawyers from delivering petition
MBABANE – An attempt to deliver a petition by labour unions and some members of the civil society was yesterday blocked by police at the Inter-ministerial building.
A faction of labour unions, including members of the civil society and lawyers, gathered at the Inter-ministerial building in an attempt to deliver a petition to the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Patrick Magobetane Mamba and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, David Matse.
The parties had also planned that after delivering the petition, they would then engage the Labour minister in discussions.
However, their schedule was disrupted when police blocked their entry to the inter-ministerial building where the two ministers were reportedly waiting for them.
As soon as the party alighted from their respective cars and gathered at the entrance of the building, an officer who identified himself as Sergeant Simelane demanded to know where the party was headed.
In response, SNAT (Swaziland National Association of Teachers) President Sibongile Mazibuko told the officer that they were going to deliver a petition to the Labour minister.
Simelane then asked if they had made any appointment regarding the delivery of the petition and told them that if they did not, then they were not allowed to do so without having produced permission.
Mazibuko interjected and told the police, "Don’t worry about us we will wait here."
About 10 police officers, including plain clothed, had been deployed around the building. Following the police refusal, the party waited at the parking lot and discussed the next step to be taken.
At this time, a call was made to one of their representative who was reportedly already inside the minister’s office.
Vincent Ncongwane told the representative to request the ministers to come and receive the petition.
However, the representative told the party that the ministers had refused to receive the petition but instead wanted to engage in discussions.
The ministers’ refusal to receive the petition seemed to have seriously disturbed the party as it subsequently resolved to abandon the delivery of the petition and pronounce it a failure.
"We now need to ask for permission to petition the minister. How can we engage them in discussions if they are refusing to receive the petition? In fact, the main reason we had come here was to deliver a petition but if that exercise has failed, let us go back home," said Mazibuko.
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