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CPS : Spirit of defiance growing in Swaziland – workers and students at the forefront of struggle

D 7 mars 2016     H 05:38     A CPS     C 0 messages

The Communist Party of Swaziland congratulates the workers and students of our country for their courageous protests of recent days. They reflect the persistent opposition of ordinary Swazis to the Mswati dictatorship and a bolder spirit of defiance within parts of society.

Public sector unions are continuing to put pressure on the regime over its shady intentions concerning public servants’ wages. The regime still refuses to release its report on the wage bill, a clear sign that it has something to hide from public sector workers. It has played around with issuing a sketchy summary of the report to appease the unions, a move that has fooled no one but instead has exposed how scandalous is the dictatorship.

The issue spells great uncertainty for public employees, who could be in line for wage cuts. Given that the Mswati regime is heading for a fiscal crisis similar to the one of 2011, it appears that public spending will face new rounds of cuts to ensure the monarch’s bloated affluence is kept out of harm’s way.

On Tuesday, the unions called for protests for this Thursday and Friday, with marches to where the cabinet meets and to parliament. The protests were timed to coincide with strike action by the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). This is to demand the full implementation of the International Labour Organization resolutions condemning the clampdown on workers’ rights, including on freedom of assembly, in our country.

The CPS also stands with the students on three campuses of the University of Swaziland and the teachers training college in Manzini who have been protesting the impossible financial pressure being put on students. Students from working class families suffer the most in this situation as they depend entirely on state funds to live on while they study.

The students have demanded that state study allowances be released, that food prices at university refectories be affordable for the majority of students, and that First National Bank - which holds the scholarship allowances - lower bank charges for students, who lose a significant proportion of their funds to the bank. The student protests have been violently suppressed by the police.

CPS members in the unions and students movements are playing key roles in helping organize these acts of defiance against the Mswati regime.
The party urges as broad support as possible for the workers and students’ struggles, which are taking place at a difficult time for the freedom struggle, given the general lack of international pressure for democracy in Swaziland.

Kenneth Kunene
General Secretary

Mobile : 27 72 594 3971

Email : cpswa.org@gmail.com