PUDEMO PRESS RELEASESTATEMENT ON WORKERS' DAY – 4 May 2009
The 1st of May 2009 will be remembered as a very significant turning point in the history of the trade union movement is Swaziland . This is because of the fact that we witnessed the workers from the three worker groupings in the country namely the SFL, SFTU and SNAT; and the Swaziland United Democratic Front celebrating the day together for the second consecutive year running. This clearly gives hope that PUDEMO’s call for “one industry one federation” shall soon be realized. The message from all the speakers on the day was very clear and it touched on the following demands:
- A living wage, non-taxation of benefits and full recognition of workers rights.
- Constitutional multi-party democracy.
- The release of .
- The return of all exiles.
- The scrapping of the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008.
The Deputy President of PUDEMO Sikhumbuzo Phakathi and the President of PUDEMO Youth League Wandile Dludlu made powerful and eloquent addresses to the thousands of workers who clearly embraced PUDEMO as their political organization despite the so called ‘ban’ by the royal regime in Swaziland . Of course, their addresses and presence were never reported in the local media. Instead the media reported mostly on the entertainment that was provided on the day. This clearly shows that our media greatly lacks independence. We are reliably informed that these days the state is really tightening the screws on the media and has been infuriated by the recent reports on the E/R 25m spent on cars during the King’s birthday. The forced ‘apologies’ we see in the local newspapers is not a coincidence, but is a result of the threats and pressure visited on the media by the state over this particular issue. And so the media personnel is protecting their jobs. Reporting on PUDEMO has come with horrible threats from the state directed to the personnel in the media sector.
Although the event was successful, we note that the organizers had to go through difficult challenges deliberately imposed by the state. Firstly we note that workers were denied the use of both the Trade Fair Ground and the Mavuso Sports Ground that was opened by the King during his recent birthday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in collaboration with the notorious Manzini City Council/Municipality deliberately denied the workers the right to use these facilities that were constructed by through their hard earned taxes. Secondly, the state through its security agents attempted to interfere with the programme by instructing the organizers to remove from the day’s programme. However, the labour leadership remained resolute and refused to comply with the order. The ‘high ranking’ police officers left with their tails between their legs with embarrassment infront of the multitudes of workers!
As PUDEMO, we congratulate the unity and resoluteness displayed by the workers of Swaziland in their quest for both political and economic liberation from the clutches of the corrupt and repressive royal regime. There is strength in unity. AMANDLA!!
Dep. President – Sikhumbuzo Phakathi – 27-731427594 (external)
Publicity – Zakhele Mabuza – +268 6073453 (internal)