The Trades Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) is at the forefront of the campaign for democracy and against the poverty feudalism has created in Swaziland. Formed last month out of two national federations (SFL and SFTU) and teachers’ union SNAT, the government of King Mswati III has illegally deregistered the confederation, and now he’s trying to set up an alternative federation (the ‘Swaziland Economic Empowerment Workers Union’) to attend the ILO Conference in Geneva!
The TUC has joined trade unionists around the world in condemning this farcical attempt by the Swazi royal family to rescue some shreds of credibility, despite presiding over the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the world, and some of the highest rates of poverty and unemployment even in sub-Saharan Africa. The last feudal dictatorship in Africa is a by-word for undemocratic behaviour and repression of civil society, and is likely to be sanctioned again by the ILO later this month.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
“This latest risible attempt to prevent the voices of ordinary Swazis from being heard will be rejected by everyone who believes in democracy and workers’ rights. The international community should follow the ILO’s lead and say ‘enough is enough’.”
Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) have said this:
“ACTSA views TUCOSWA as the legitimate collective voice of workers in Swaziland and recognises the key role it can play in reducing poverty, improving the lives of ordinary Swazis and bringing about democracy and rights for all the people of Swaziland.”