Thursday, June 30, 2011


Mail and Guardian, South Africa

30 June 2011


Judge charged with insulting Swazi king's 'forked tongue'

Swazi high court judge Thomas Masuku has been charged with insulting King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, over a ruling that referred to him as "forked-tongued", he said today (30 June 2011).

"All I can say is that my conscience is clear about all these charges, and I am going to deal with them appropriately at the appropriate forum," said Masuku said after being slapped with 12 misdemeanour charges drawn up by the royally appointed Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi yesterday.

Topping the charge sheet is an accusation of insulting Mswati by calling him "forked-tongued" in a ruling last year.

The judgment, later overturned at the Supreme Court, ruled that police officers had wrongfully seized cattle in the king's name.

"It would be hard to imagine that his majesty could conceivably speak with a forked tongue, saying one thing and authorising his officers to do the opposite," the ruling read.

Masuku is also accused of "actively associating with those who want to bring about unlawful change to the regime".

"It is not right. At a time the country should be making its name good in the international media, we now appear to be suspending judges," said Patrick Mamba, secretary of Swaziland's Law Society.

Masuku is one of the few judges willing to challenge to Mswati. In 2002, he challenged a royal decree removing chiefs from their land.

When the crown refused to recognise the court's decision, judges of the appeal and high courts walked out, causing a two-year legal crisis.

"It is an outrage. Reading these charges it is plain somebody is intent on painting Masuku as a bad guy in the eyes of the king," said Musa Hlope, chairperson of the Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations, an umbrella group of activists.

"He is the most senior judge in Swaziland and the most competent. His possible crime would be he is too independent minded as a judge." -- Sapa-AFP


Vatican Radio

30 June 2011


A struggle ignored

The Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa have raised their concern regarding news of a request by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland for a financial bailout by the South African Treasury.

It is understood that an amount of R10 Billion is needed to keep the Swazi Government afloat and the administration from collapsing.

The SACBC bishops point out that Swaziland is currently in the throes of an unprecedented financial and societal crisis. It has the highest HIV & AIDS infection rate in the world (26%); the lowest life expectancy in the world (32 years); an unemployment rate of 40% and rising; and extreme poverty with 70% of its population living below the poverty line of less than US$6 a day; a State of Emergency that has curtailed freedom of expression, association and dissent for the last 37 years.

The bishops express their belief that the Swaziland Government must abandon or at least reform the “Tinkhundla” system of governance of royal favour and alliance which – they say - is a breeding place for corruption and greed. Monies intended for alleviating the people’s suffering are diverted to support the lavish lifestyle of the monarchy.

South Africa meanwhile has denied it has approved King Mswati III's request for a bailout loan. He had already reportedly turned to the IMF which said he must do more to slim down Africa’s most bloated bureaucracy if he wanted any aid to stay afloat.

Meanwhile news today reveals that the Swazi government has now run out of money to send its cancer patients to better equipped clinics and hospitals in neighboring South Africa.

Linda Bordoni spoke to exiled Swazi opposition activist, Mfanafuthi Tsena about the situation in his homeland. She asked him why, with such a dramatic human rights record, the plight of the Swazi people is hardly ever in the international news…

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Swaziland Solidarity Network


30 June 2011



The latest news from King Mswati’s farm are that the most impartial judge in Swaziland, Justice Thomas Masuku, has been given until July 22 of this year to explain why he should not be fired.

The Times of Swaziland’s [managing editor] Mbongeni Mbingo personally wrote the report, which was released today (30 June 2011). Apparently, the judge has twelve acts of “misbehaviour” to answer to, ranging from allegedly associating himself with subversive elements in the kingdom to insulting the king.

The letter was served by the Chief Justice, Justice Michael Ramodibedi, a man regarded as a puppet of both the king and his prime minister by even the country’s parliamentarians.

Justice Masuku is being victimised by the king for not bowing to political pressure when adjudicating cases. Although some people may be stunned by this recent act, we as the SSN saw it coming in fact he is not the last judge that will be victimised, unless the rest are successfully intimidated by this ludicrous act.

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]

See also


More details are emerging about the reasons behind the suspension from office of High Court Judge Thomas Masuku.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported today (30 June 2011) Masuku had been accused of ‘12 counts of serious acts of misbehaviour—including insulting the King’.

The Times censored itself and told its readers it would not disclose what the ‘insult’ was.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, was equally as vague as the Times about the insult. It reported, ‘Recently, Judge Masuku came under fire from the Supreme Court for words he used in the same breath as that of the King when passing judgment.

‘The highest court frowned at the wording and felt the judge should have avoided usage of such words.’

The Observer lists the following as some of the charges against Masuku.

Allegedly disrespecting the Chief Justice (CJ) Michael Ramodibedi
He is also accused of allegedly joining a toy-toy by CTA workers at the High Court
He allegedly deserted work sometime last year without permission
He allegedly threatened to resign sometime last year
He is also accused of being party to a clique hellbent on seeing regime change
He is also accused of total defiance and total disregard of orders from the CJ
He is also accused of scheming to topple the CJ from his position.

‘It was clear to us that the working relationship between the Masuku’s office and that of the CJ was not smooth,’ a High Court told the Observer.

See also



More details are emerging about the reasons behind the suspension from office of High Court Judge Thomas Masuku.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported today (30 June 2011) Masuku had been accused of ‘12 counts of serious acts of misbehaviour—including insulting the King’.

The Times censored itself and told its readers it would not disclose what the ‘insult’ was.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, was equally as vague as the Times about the insult. It reported, ‘Recently, Judge Masuku came under fire from the Supreme Court for words he used in the same breath as that of the King when passing judgment.

‘The highest court frowned at the wording and felt the judge should have avoided usage of such words.’

The Observer lists the following as some of the charges against Masuku.

Allegedly disrespecting the Chief Justice (CJ) Michael Ramodibedi
He is also accused of allegedly joining a toy-toy by CTA workers at the High Court
He allegedly deserted work sometime last year without permission
He allegedly threatened to resign sometime last year
He is also accused of being party to a clique hellbent on seeing regime change
He is also accused of total defiance and total disregard of orders from the CJ
He is also accused of scheming to topple the CJ from his position.

‘It was clear to us that the working relationship between the Masuku’s office and that of the CJ was not smooth,’ a High Court told the Observer.

See also



Times of Swaziland

30 June 2011


Judge charged for insulting the king

MBABANE—The Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi has slapped senior judge, Justice Thomas Masuku with 12 counts of serious acts of misbehaviour—including insulting the King.

The man who once told the nation that he is ‘Makhulu Baas’ is also investigating whether Justice Masuku should be removed from office.

According to our sources, the judge was served with a letter informing him of the charges yesterday afternoon and has up until July 22, 2011 to respond.

"The judge has been asked to explain by July 22 why he should not be removed from office, for any or all of the foregoing alleged serious acts of misbehaviour," said a High Court source.

Although the judge has been told to hand in a written explanation by July 22, his hearing has been slated for August 11, where he will be expected to make oral representation before the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

The Chief Justice is the chairman of the JSC.

Justice Masuku is being accused of insulting the King by using a certain phrase when referring to His Majesty. This phrase will not be repeated, however.

Another serious charge is that he is accused of having ‘actively associated himself with those who want to bring about unlawful change to the regime’.

Justice Masuku, who is also charged with failing to deliver judgments on time, is one of two senior judges at the High Court. It is said there is a case the CJ referred to in the charge sheet that the judge has delayed delivering judgment on.

He is also alleged to have had an illicit affair with a certain judge of the High Court as well as having joined employees of the Central Transport Administration (CTA) in a toyi-toyi on June 17. This was during a show of protest against an Industrial Court judge by the employees who was being accused of failing to finalise their case due to his suspension.

The judge who Justice Masuku is accused of having had an illicit affair with is known to this newspaper, but will not be revealed for defamatory reasons.

However, the CJ wrote in the charge sheet that Justice Masuku brought the judiciary into disrepute, by this alleged affair.

Apparently Justice Masuku was also touting himself to be appointed as Chief Justice.

The Secretary of the JSC Lorraine Hlophe refused to comment last night when asked about this matter.

She was stunned by the news, and said it had not been brought to her attention and therefore she would have to verify the matter with her principals today.

"I will have to verify what you are telling me. I am not aware of any of it. I will therefore not be in a position to comment right now," she stated.

Even when called an hour later, she was still adamant that there was no truth in the reports, and that her position remained the same.

Justice Masuku’s phone rang unanswered last night when called for comment.

He was called repeatedly but to no avail. However, this newspaper can reveal that he did receive the letter informing him of the charges.

There were also unconfirmed reports that he has also been suspended from work.

"I do not know about that either," said Hlophe when asked about it.

High Court sources had alleged the judge has been suspended.

Meanwhile, our sources said they were stunned by the latest news from the High Court and said it showed all was not well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


By Manqoba Nxumalo

In what is sure set to come as shocker to many, High Court Judge Thomas Masuku, who recently hogged the headlines for issuing a judgement highly critical of the mornachy, has been slapped with a suspension. Highly placed sources have today revealed that the judge was today officialy told that he will be suspended indefinitely.

An extraordinary gazzete is currently being drafted which will spell out in detail the nature and terms of Masuku's suspension.

This sudden of events follows a widely reported directive from the Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi that all cases involving the king shall no longer be heard at the High Court.

Masuku is not new to controversy as he was the same judge that 'caused' the rule of law crisis by ruling against the king during his case against two Kamkhweli and Macetjeni chiefs.

The judge was subsequently transfered to the Industrial court but he successfully challenged his transfer at the industrial court. He then went to a sabbatical and worked as a judge in Botswana before returning to the country two years ago.


The Australian

30 June 2011


Bare-breasted opulence wears thin in Swaziland

THE royal ritual that allows him to select a new wife each year from the ranks of eager, bare-breasted virgins gathered before him thankfully remains intact and is set to take place again in a few weeks.

But otherwise the outlook is grim for one of the world's last absolute monarchs, 43-year-old King Mswati III of the small southern African landlocked nation of Swaziland, as political and economic pressures threaten to drive him from his throne.

In a sub-Saharan echo of the way autocratic rulers have been ousted in the Arab Spring, Mswati is facing calls to democratise or go, and though Forbes Magazine rates him one of the world's richest royals, with a personal fortune in excess of $100 million, it is the impoverished Swazi economy that is threatening to end the fairytale rule of the British-educated monarch.

In a stunning contrast to Mswati's attendance at the wedding of William and Catherine in London, when he and his entourage of 50 travelled in a private jet and feasted on gold-leafed truffles, Swaziland, a country of 1.5 m people, has had to plead with neighbouring South Africa for a bailout of several hundred million dollars to save itself from looming bankruptcy after being turned down by the IMF and the African Development Bank.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, under pressure from powerful trade unions and churches, as well as some members of his cabinet, is playing hardball.

His ANC government, fed up with Mswati's personal profligacy and civil unrest in its troublesome neighbour, has made it plain there will be no money unless there are immediate moves towards democratic change, including an end to emergency rule, human rights abuses and the unbanning of political parties. South Africa has the spendthrift ruler over a barrel.

The Swazi economy is in dire straits, with a budget deficit estimated by the IMF to be of Greek proportions at 14.3 per cent of GDP. Following a 60 per cent drop in customs revenues resulting from a slump in global trade, Swazi foreign exchange reserves have been declining for 17 months, shrinking to $523 m, enough to cover only two months of imports.

Unpaid government bills total $180 m, public servants are not being paid, the finance minister has estimated state coffers are losing $11 m a month in corruption alone and the central bank has stopped lending to the government.

The IMF has said the king must raise taxes, cut the bloated public service and implement austerity measures, but Mswati has done nothing to comply.

And, after months of civil unrest, there is little sympathy for an absolute monarch who lives in opulence while the people in his kingdom, which suffers the highest rate of HIV/Aids in the world, are largely impoverished, existing on 60c a day. The powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions speaks of the crisis as a "man-made disaster, the result of a few royal elites who have milked the country dry (after) years of extravagance, corruption, parasitism and poor management".

The Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa have demanded any bailout money must not be used to fund the monarchy's excesses and instead promote a new democratic order.

Austerity is not something that the comes easily to the king. He is well short of the achievements of former king King Sobhuza, who boasted 70 wives, 210 children and 1000 grandchildren. So far, Mswati has just 14 wives and 23 children.

But each wife has a palatial home and a retinue of servants.

An indication of the gravity of the crisis is seen in his abrupt cancellation of celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of his reign.

But the annual dance at which thousands of bare-breasted virgins line up for his delectation is going ahead as usual.


The Swaziland Solidarity Network newsletter issue 7 is out now. Click below to read it.

Ssn News-Issue 7


Swaziland National Union of Students


27 June 2011

Musa Ngubeni, along with Maxwell Dlamini, was arrested in April 2011 and charged with explosives offences. The pair have been in jail, denied bail, ever since. The pair are student leaders. In this statement, the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) gives some background information on Musa Ngubeni.


Our Comrades in Mswati’s jails

Who is Musa Ngubeni?

Born about 28 years ago in Swaziland, Musa Emmanuel Ngubeni (simply known among his peers and Comrades as “Ngubeni”) rose to become the Chairperson of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) in the 2008/2009 Academic year. Today, the students of UNISWA still hail him as one their best leaders.

Comrade Ngubeni’s life has never been a smooth one. A few years before he was elected Chairperson, he had to bear the pain of losing a brother, Mathousand Ngubeni, to the brutal hands of the Mswati regime’s police. The police had claimed that Mathousand had not cooperated in the interrogation room in an investigation. That sad moment seems to have been a major turning point for Comrade Ngubeni in as far as the radical approach to the People’s Struggle is concerned. Nevertheless, he had to keep his discipline to ensure that his being a member of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) is not exposed. Later, through public pressure, the Swaziland government instituted an inquiry into Mathousand’s death. However, the report on the inquiry has never been released to the public and the Swaziland media does not seem interested in knowing about it.

Another sad incident worth mentioning here is the brutal assault and torture of Comrade Ngubeni by the police in January 2008, in Matsapha. This was the year when UNISWA students had protested for about five months against the UNISWA administration which had been trying to implement a poorly planned semesterization programme, after the administration had misused funds meant for the semesterization programme. At the time, Comrade Mabuza Mancoba was the Students’ Chairperson. Comrade Ngubeni was brutally assaulted by the police, on the 18th of January, 2008, and, later that day, taken to the Matsapha police station, the same place where his elder brother, Mathousand, had been tortured and murdered by the police, and the torture and assault continued the whole day. The police would, as they assaulted him, tell him that he was going to meet his elder brother sooner since he had decided to follow in his footsteps by trying to “burn the country”.

Through his discipline, as groomed by PUDEMO, he never even at one point revealed where the Chairperson, Comrade Mabuza Mancoba, was when the police enquired. He never volunteered any information relating to him, even when the police pushed him for information. It was known that the police wanted to get the Chairperson so as to brutalize him as well, but through discipline, Ngubeni never at one point revealed any information relating to him, not even voluntarily so as to save his life. Instead he told them that they should kill him there and then because he had not committed any crime.

The police later told him that he had to appear in court for public violence after he had allegedly thrown a stone at a police motor bike. However, at the trial in the Manzini Magistrate’s Court, the magistrate told him to go home and forget about the charges because the police had apparently lost the docket. The magistrate did not even question anything from the police about the “lost docket”, but only told Comrade Ngubeni to go home since he was then a free man. Suddenly the police docket had disappeared.

As stated above, he was elected Chairperson of the UNISWA SRC in the 2008/2009 Academic year. His great leadership skills have not been forgotten by the students. As Chairperson he also contributed immensely to the rejuvenation of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), working hand in hand with Comrade Mabuza Mancoba (SNUS President at the time) in this regard. His focus was not just on the immediate demands of students, but also on solving the political crisis in Swaziland.

When he finished his LLB Degree at UNISWA (May 2010), he continued with his task of growing SNUS, selflessly dedicating his time for the task. He worked closely with the President of SNUS, Comrade Maxwell Dlamini, also a political prisoner since April 12, 2011.

The Youth and Students of Swaziland salute Comrade Ngubeni and call for the unconditional release of their Comrade and friend, together with all other political prisoners, who include;

1. Comrade Bheki Dlamini (SWAYOCO President)
2. Comrade Maxwell Dlamini (SNUS President)
3. Comrade Zonke Dlamini (member of PUDEMO)
4. Comrade Amos Mbendzi (member of the ANC, SACP, and an internationalist. Also former member of the uMkhonto weSizwe)
5. Many other Comrades who are still out on bail since the year 2005.

The above information about Comrade Ngubeni is only brief, but we hope that it will assist in getting to know more about our Comrades in Mswati’s jails.

Released by the SNUS.




28 June 2011


We the youth of Swaziland met on the 11th of June for a special prayer intended for the release of all our political prisoners.

As the youth we acknowledge first and foremost that all the comrades who are behind bars are there for a noble cause. We denounce the evil propaganda spread by the evil regime which seeks to portray our brothers as enemies of the state or criminals at worst .

We know for a fact that they had been arrested, tortured, humiliated and isolated for being visionary and challenging the status Quo.

Their sole crime is making the call for democratisation of Swaziland.

We therefore stand in full support of Comrades Bheki Dlamini (SWAYOCO President), Maxwell Dlamini(SNUS President), Zonke Dlamini, Musa Ngubeni and Amos Mbedzi as well as all other political prisoners. We salute you comrades for your undying spirit, sacrifices and unending love for the Swazi people.

As you remain in the closets of the enemy, we know for a fact that you’re silently shaking the pillars of Tinkhundla system.

The international community is abuzz calling for the democratisation of Swaziland. As we live true to the calling by one of ours, Comrade Didiza, who said we need to combat the enemy from all fronts, sooner than you would have thought, Tinkhundla shall be history.

On that breath we want to remember and salute all youth generation that have shaped the Swazi revolution.

In particular, we remember the founding President of SWAYOCO, Comrade Didiza Tsabedze. After 15 yrs of his death, SWAYOCO still remains relevant, radical, militant, and a catalyst of the Swazi revolution.

Many generations of the youth have come and gone but it still remains that the youth are the most critical generation of every society for its transformation.

The month of June is known as the youth month throughout Africa, thanks to the gallant fight by the radical and vibrant youth of South Africa back in 1976.

In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and in many parts of the world ,the youth have wed up to their nocturnal task , stirring and changing their living conditions, socially, economically and political.

Inspired by our own comrades behind bars and the work of the youth world wide, we the youth of Swaziland declare that:

We shall reclaim our right and responsibility to be defiant, radical and militant in our cause to change our living conditions

We shall commit ourselves to uniting in diversity of all youth in Swaziland under the banner of the Swaziland Youth in Action (SYA).Unity in diversity is the essence of democracy.

We shall mobilise the Swazi society by working tirelessly from house to house, villages to towns and cities, rallying the people to stand up against the undemocratic, exploitative and resource plundering system of governance.

As the youth we remain vigilant and cautious of the capitalist and imperialist tendencies hovering around the Swazi case for democratisation. We shall not allow anyone to dictate to us how and when to fight our battle for the democratisation of our country.

To the monarch and the royal hangers on we promise you that, working with all Youth and the marginalized people of Swaziland, we will intensify the struggle against the monarch and its Tinkhundla system. This will be one action that is bound to rewrite the history of Swaziland.

Iyawulala ibonene! The ultimate aim is to be citizens in our country, own this country and be free to decide on the direction and development of our own well being.




Public servants in Swaziland have said they will take to the streets and cause ‘social instability’ if government forces pay cuts on them.

Vincent Dlamini, Secretary General of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Unions (NAPSAWU),was reacting to a statement from Majozi Sithole, Swazi Finance Minister, that the government had run out of cash and unless it got a loan from somewhere it would not be able to pay salaries in July (2011). At best, he said government might be able to pay only half wages.

Dlamini said this news would not sit well with civil servants and would force them to take to the streets if they would earn half of their salaries or if there are any forced cuts.

The Times of Swaziland reported Dlamini saying, ‘Our position is clear that we do not want the pay cuts because we believe that we are not to blame for the current situation. Government must not threaten the civil servants because these pay cuts especially on low earners will lead them to take to the streets.

‘I have spoken to many of our members and they are fully opposed to the pay cuts because they have many commitments. They must not dare touch those salaries,’ he said.



28 June 2011


JOHANNESBURG, June 28 (Reuters) - Swaziland is too scared to slash civil servant wages to resolve an acute budget crunch because of the fallout that could accrue to Africa's last absolute monarchy, Finance Minister Majozi Sithole said.

In a parliamentary address reported in Swazi media on Tuesday (28 June 2011), Sithole said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was putting the screws on King Mswati III's unelected administration as a condition for any emergency bailout.

Top of the IMF's reform list is taking the carving knife to Africa's most bloated bureaucracy, with a wage bill that consumes a whopping 18 percent of gross domestic product.

Sithole said cuts were too much for the landlocked southern African nation, which has historically relied on revenues from a customs union with regional giant South Africa for nearly two-thirds of government funding.

"As Cabinet we are scared to cut the salaries, because we do not know what the consequences would be," Sithole was quoted as saying in the Times of Swaziland. "We are scared, but that is what the IMF wants."

The paper also said that if the government failed to secure emergency funding, it would "soon" run out of money and public sector salaries would have to be delayed or slashed in half.

That prospect is likely to stoke already unprecedented public anger against Mswati, who is insulated from the hardships of his 1.4 million compatriots by a personal fortune estimated at $200 million. He also has at least a dozen wives.

This year, his security forces have used water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse rare protests against his 25-year rule. Dozens of prominent students and democracy activists have been arrested.


So far, the government has kept its head above water by running up at least $180 million in unpaid bills and eating into central bank reserves, which stood at just over $500 million last month.

But drastically reduced customs receipts after a 2009 South African recession mean that situation cannot carry on forever, and the IMF does not appear to be in a forgiving mood.

"They have said we are behaving as if we do not need the money, as there are no signs of belt-tightening, salary cuts and many more," Sithole said.

Mswati has also turned to neighbouring South Africa for help, but it is hard to see South Africa's ruling ANC, a self-proclaimed champion of democracy in the region, writing blank cheques for a regime that has caused it diplomatic headaches for more than a decade.

South African opposition parties and the powerful COSATU union federation, which loathes Mswati, have made clear any aid should only be granted in the interests of regime change.

Swazi dissident groups said this week they had received "credible reports" that Pretoria had agreed a $1.2 billion emergency loan, although South Africa's Treasury denied on Tuesday that was the case.

"While the South African government is in receipt of a loan request from Swaziland, as confirmed last week, no loan has been agreed to or granted to Swaziland," it said in a statement.


Associated Press

28 June 2011


AIDS drug supplies dwindling in cash-strapped Swaziland, health minister says

MBABANE, Swaziland — Cash-strapped Swaziland’s state hospitals have only two months’ supplies of AIDS drugs, the country’s health minister has told parliament in an assessment that AIDS patients and activists took as a death sentence.

State media on Tuesday (28 June 2011) quoted Health Minister Benedict Xaba as making the remarks to parliament a day before. He blamed the country’s economic crisis, linked to a drop in customs revenues amid a worldwide recession.

More than 60,000 Swazis depend on anti-retroviral AIDS drugs, known as ARVs, distributed free at government hospitals.

Swaziland, with a population of about 1 million, has the world’s highest percentage of people living with the virus that causes AIDS. More than a quarter of Swazis between the ages of 15 and 49 are believe to carry HIV.

Swaziland is seeking international loans to cope with its budget crisis. Xaba says AIDS patients should not lose hope, but news of dwindling drug supplies has worried patients.

Without AIDS drugs, “we shall die,” said Patrick Mngometulu, an AIDS patient who has been on government-supplied drugs since 2003.

“Mothers who take ARVs will be worse affected. ARVs help children not to get HIV infection from their mothers. So if mothers stop taking the ARVs their children are in danger. We lose hope, and the situation will decrease productivity of the infected,” Mngometulu said.

Thembi Nkambule, director of the Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS, said the government has made strides in combating AIDS, moving from 15,000 people on ARVs in 2005 to 60,000 today. But now, she fears gains will be lost.

“Swazis will die in numbers. Hope will be lost,” Nkambule said.

A pro-democracy movement in Swaziland, southern Africa’s last absolute monarchy, has gained some ground since the government announced in March its plan to freeze civil service salaries and sell off state-run companies. But the government has cracked down hard on protests, and reformists have had to contend with reverence for the monarchy among many Swazis.

Activists have criticized King Mswati III of living lavishly while most Swazis live in poverty, and of harassing and jailing pro-democracy activists.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Business Report, South Africa

28 June 2011


Nzimande: SA must not bail out Swaziland

South Africa must not “bail out” the government of Swaziland, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Blade Nzimande, said on Tuesday.

He was addressing the 5th central committee meeting of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Midrand near Johannesburg.

Support could be given to the Swaziland government only if it allowed for free and democratic expressions by the people of that country.

“The SACP demands the unbanning of all political parties in Swaziland and the creation of conditions for free and full political participation by all in building a democratic Swaziland.”

Turning to popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, Nzimande added that the SACP condemned “the state-inspired violence directed against protestors and civilians in general in these areas.”

But he noted that the uprisings marked “a decisive resurgence of popular agency in the Arab world, breaking the bonds of fear and repression, and asserting a profound democratic yearning for popular sovereignty.” - I-Net Bridge