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Friday, 19 November 2010

MASS PICKET FOR SWAZI DEMOCRACY

This is a statement from the Swaziland Democracy Campaign – South Africa – reporting on a picket to support pro-democracy activists in Swaziland that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa.


SOURCE


SDC Picket at Swazi Consulate in Johannesburg: What a resounding success

18 November 2010


Oh what an inspiration! A mere lunch hour picket turned into a big march as an unexpected number of workers pour in from different workplaces to express their disgust and outrage at the Swazi regime’s continued persecution of the struggling masses of Swaziland.

The whole Braampak area was littered with red t-shirts of workers from different COSATU affiliates, most notably SAMWU, as well as broader civil society organisations to express their unwavering support to the cause of Swazi workers. About 500 workers participated in the picket, admittedly the biggest lunch hour picket we have so far organised, except for marches and blockades whose numbers are way above that.

The fact that in the streets of Mbabane where rain was pouring, workers and the mass of the people braved a hostile weather to participate in the great march co-ordinated by the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) in close liaison with the courageous trade union
movement; SFTU, SFL and SNAT.

The very next day, today, the streets of Johannesburg experienced the same SDC fever, which rocked the city in a way never seen before. The rains started to pour and in the words of the MC of the proceedings, SDC Co-ordinator, Steve Faulkner, “thanks to the rain, the ancestors are out in their numbers to bless us with the rain”.

Various speakers presented their messages of solidarity. Amongst them was a representative of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) who was part of their delegation currently in the country and have proven to be our most reliable friend in Canada on the Swazi and other critical questions of solidarity. We also had speakers from PUDEMO, COSATU, NGOs and social movements. Closing remarks were made by SDC Co-ordinator, Ntokozo Mbhele.

We take this opportunity as the SDC South Africa to express our sincere thanks to all those who sacrificed their lunch and made it their priority to offer their practical solidarity with the suffering people of Swaziland, including our guests and allies from outside the borders of South Africa who made very profound speeches.

The Memo was received by Sigayoyo Magongo, the Chief in charge of Trade and Commercial affairs in the High Commission in Pretoria who was together with Mr Tsabedze who heads the consulate.

Finally, the SDC South Africa Chapter expressed kind words of solidarity and salutations to fellow counterparts, the SDC Swaziland Chapter for their acts of bravery and heroism in proceeding to organise the action when the state and fellow commentators or even sojourners had written it off as a non-starter or impossible. It continued to say, “We extend special salutations to the trade union movement of Swaziland and their consistency in fighting for democracy together with all organised and progressive formations in the country, your work is an inspiration always and we are with you all the way”.

Messages of solidarity were received from all over the world and include; Denmark, Canada, Togo, Botswana, UK, Greece and from various organisations in South Africa.

The Co-ordinating team of the SDC is meeting next week to assess all these developments and a way forward shall be duly pronounced. We believe as a campaign movement our work is to organise action all the time.

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