Transport workers protest in Manzini, Swaziland Transport workers in Manzini, Swaziland staged a mass picket on Friday to protest against arbitrary harassment by police officers. The picket, in the Southern African country’s major commercial city, was …

Walton Pantland Africa, Swaziland,
Swaziland picket

Transport workers protest in Manzini, Swaziland

Transport workers in Manzini, Swaziland staged a mass picket on Friday to protest against arbitrary harassment by police officers. The picket, in the Southern African country’s major commercial city, was triggered after a police officer tore up a transport workers’ drivers license, and chased a taxi driver with the intent of issuing a spot fine.

Sticks Nkambule of the Swazi transport union STAWU said:

“The mass picketing which happened today in Manzini, Swaziland’s major commercial city is indicative of serious inefficiencies in the members of police force in the country. As an organization we have been getting constant reports of police arbitrarily dispossessing transport workers their essentials in so far as executing their daily employment obligations are concerned. This include but not limited to driving licenses and public driving permits. Police also continue to demand instant exorbitant traffic fines from these workers and or alternatively face prosecution with immediate effect. This is frowned by the state prevailing legislation.”

The union points out that it has a longstanding agreement with the Swazl government, making spot fines illegal. The agreement was signed in an attempt to weed out police corruption and lawlessness in the Kingdom. Union frequently clash with the government and police because they are part of the campaign for democracy in this absolute monarchy.

Mr Nkambule concluded:

“On today’s mayhem which was necessitated by one police officer who, without any legal authority, teared apart a driving license of one worker Sithembiso Dlamini and one other kombi which was chased by a gun totting police officer for about 5kilometres with an intent to instantly fine the worker in question. This police behavior is not only unlawful but it is one that was unwarranted and embarrassing. Nevertheless we wish the gun toting police officer speedy recovery from injuries he sustained during the clash with workers who were merely responding to provocation.”


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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