Monday, October 31, 2016


The United States is to provide US$6.35m in drought relief. That is just US$1m short of the US$7.3m the Swazi Government is paying as a deposit this year for a private jet for King Mswati III.

Swaziland declared a national emergency in February 2016 and called for international aid to help feed 300,000 people affected by a prolonged drought. 

In April 2016, the Swazi Government agreed to spend E96m (US$7.3m) on a deposit for an Airbus A340-300 that will eventually cost E200m to buy. There are also expected to be additional costs for upgrades to the interior. 

King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, already has a private jet, but he considers it too small. The King is continually criticised outside of Swaziland for his lavish spending. He has at least 13 palaces, a fleet of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. 

Meanwhile, this week it was reported by Swaziland Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs that 756,000 out of 1.2 million Swazis currently live below the international poverty line of US$1 or E13 a day. 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide food, seeds, hay and potable water to more than 50,000 people across four regions in Swaziland.

See also



Friday, October 28, 2016


One in three females in Swaziland is at risk of sexual violence as a child, an NGO leader reported.

Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) Director Cebile Manzini told media, ‘The fact that one in three females are at risk of experiencing sexual violence before they turn 18 years old means that gender-based-violence (GBV) in Swaziland is a national disaster.’

Manzini said GBV in Swaziland had reached disaster proportions. 

Manzini told media on Tuesday (25 October 2016), ‘No human being should live their lives fearing they might be violated. The dignity, respect for integrity, assurance of safety, protection and justice must be upheld by the state.’

Manzini said without new legislation, GBV in the kingdom would persist and offenders continue to go unpunished. 

Sexual abuse of children in Swaziland is not new. Swazi police said there were nearly 1,000 cases of child sex abuse reported between January 2014 and May 2015.

Swazi culture condones sex abuse of children, especially young girls, and there is little evidence that this is going to change.
Child rapists often blame women for their action.
The State of the Swaziland Population report in 2009 revealed that women who ‘sexually starve’ their husbands were considered responsible for the growing sexual abuse of children.
Men who were interviewed during the making of the report said they ‘salivate’ over children wearing skimpy dresses because their wives refused them sexual intercourse.

See also


Thursday, October 27, 2016


There’s nothing sweet about the Swazi sugar sector
by Jeff Vogt Equal Times, 26 October 2016

The government of Swaziland, the last absolute monarchy of Africa, is well known for its human rights violations, including the rights of workers. In recent years, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has admonished the government for its refusal to register trade unions, for prohibiting assemblies and demonstrations and jailing trade union activists and their lawyers, writes Jeff Vogt.

Workers’ rights violations are so serious and widespread that the United States suspended trade preferences to the country under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in 2014. Despite minor steps taken to respond to the criticism, such as registering the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) after a three-year delay and releasing imprisoned activists a few weeks earlier than scheduled, the country remains a difficult place for workers. This is particularly true in the sugar sector.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), in cooperation with TUCOSWA, has released a new report – King Mswati’s Gold – which details serious labour violations in Swaziland’s sugar sector.

Sugar is one of the country’s most important exports, to the region and to the European market. However, as detailed in the report, sugar largely benefits one person – King Mswati III. The sector is largely controlled by a national development fund, Tibiyo, which is controlled by the king, his relatives and his cronies, even though it is meant to benefit all citizens.

The report explains that for many workers, long hours and very low wages are the norm. Most workers, especially those who are seasonal or casual, have no written contracts of employment. Some workers have to walk hours each day to and from work in the dark, and once they arrive they are forced to work in dangerous conditions with little to no protective equipment – when applying pesticides or cutting cane. Women are routinely subjected to pregnancy tests and are not hired if tests are positive.

Additionally, some of the land used for sugar production was confiscated by the government, with little to no compensation for the communities forcibly expelled from their land.

To our disappointment, we also found that labour violations were just as common on the Fairtrade certified farms in Swaziland. The ITUC has shared a copy of the report and Fairtrade has issued this reply.

We do note that informal communications have indicated that Fairtrade will conduct an investigation of their certified farms on the basis of this report. We hope and trust that Fairtrade will take the appropriate action to ensure that certified farms will comply with the labour obligations of the Small Producer Organisation (SPO) standard, which applies to these farms.

We would also call on Fairtrade to improve the SPO, which has a number of important deficiencies, including no language on working time except for minors.