Swaziland police and paramilitaries broke into a hotel room where an inquiry into trade union rights was taking place and ordered it to stop.
The police then ordered all participants who were not Swazi subjects to leave the kingdom.
The South African labour federation COSATU reported the raid happened this morning (6 September 2013) at the George Hotel in Manzini.
COSATU reported the Swazi Police stopped the Chair of the inquiry, Jay Naidoo and his fellow paneliststs from proceeding with the Inquiry.
It said in a statement, ‘A contingent of Swazi police and paramilitary led by Manzini Regional Police Commander entered the hotel room where the inquiry is being held and demanded that the chair of the Inquiry, Jay Naidoo and the whole panel stop and pack all their belongings and leave Swaziland.
‘It is expected that they shall be deported anytime soon.’
It added, ‘The inquiry is an initiative of the ITUC [International Trade Union Confederation], TUCOSWA [Trade Union Congress of Swaziland] and COSATU to hear workers’ accounts of their experiences and sufferings in order compile a report to be taken to the ILO [International Labour organisation] for the Committee on the Application of International Standards.’
The panel was part of a Global Week of Action for Democracy in Swaziland.
COSATU said the panellists were Jay Naidoo, former General Secretary of COSATU and former Minister under the Mandela Presidency; Bishop Paul Verryn of the Methodist Chruch and South African Council of Churches and anti-apartheid activist; Alec Muchadehama, Human Rights lawyer and activist from Zimbabwe; Ms Nomthetho Simelane, former lecturer of Political Science at the University of Swaziland; together with COSATU delegate Monk Molapeni.
It added the raid followed the arrest at his office of the Secretary General of TUCOSWA, Vincent Ncongwane, yesterday morning by 10 police officers from the Lukhozi Serious Crime Police in Manzini.
He was later placed under house arrest to prevent him taking part in a prodemocracy march in the Swaziland capital, Mbabane.
COSATU said, ‘They [police] emphasised that the reason is that TUCOSWA is banned in Swaziland and therefore an illegal entity.’
Various trade unions all over the world are staging activities in support of TUCOSWA and the global week of action led by the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and its campaign wing, the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC).
In the UK, the TUC yesterday met the Swazi High Commission in London and raised these issues decisively, demanding the unconditional release of all those arrested and the unbanning of TUCOSWA.
MASS POLICE ARRESTS TO HALT MEETING