Times of Swaziland (The only independent daily newspaper in Swaziland)
13 April 2011
100 protesters barred from public transport
Over 100 civil servants and textile workers were barred from boarding public transport to Manzini to participate in the protest action.
Two executive members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and a member of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Nhlangano branches, were detained and later released by the police.
Rudolf Saulos, Makepeace Ma- buza and Elvis Mkhaliphi were bundled into a police van and driven to the Nhlangano Police Station where they were questioned about their involvement in the protest march.
Saulos is SNAT chairperson for the Nhlangano branch while Mabuza is an executive member and Mkhaliphi is NAPSAWU executive member (Nhlangano).
They were taken from the Nhlangano Bus Rank, where close to 100 civil servants had gathered to board buses to join other protesters in Manzini.
As a result, the protesters were left with no-one to give direction as the police took over and dictated terms.
There was also drama at the Nhlangano Bus Rank when police confiscated placards and objects from the protesters and further ordered them to alight from the buses and kombis they had boarded to Manzini.
This was after the Shiselweni Regional Commander, Senior Superintendent Boy Ngwenya, told the protesters aboard a bus that no public transport was allo- wed to transport protesters to the march.
The protesters comprised mostly teachers, textile employees and other civil servants.
A roadblock was mounted at Salem along the Nhlangano-Manzini public road and present were armed police, including those from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) and no bus or kombi was allowed to proceed to Manzini.
Due to the confusion, there was congestion with about 15 Quantum kombis and a bus at the roadblock and members of the public and the vehicles were thoroughly searched.
The drivers were left with no option but to transport the members of the public back to Nhlangano as the police insisted no kombi or bus was allowed to travel to Manzini.
At the roadblock, a lady who, however, refused to reveal her identity was escorted out of the Emakhonkhosi Bus Service by about five armed police officers and told she was not allowed to travel to Manzini.
At Nediso, before Salem, there was another roadblock.
A Nyamane High School teacher, identified as Bulunga, was also driven in a police van to the Hlatikhulu Police Station where he was questioned and later released.
A truck and a Quantum kombi fully loaded with riot police frequently patrolled the Nhlangano Bus Rank and other areas around Nhlangano.
Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed the detainment of the three executive members and said they were later released after being questioned.
She said they were prevented from participating in an illegal protest march.