Cape Town – The eSwatini government should work towards normalising the political environment by unbanning opposition political parties, the ANC said on Thursday.
“We call on the eSwatini government to work towards the normalisation of the political environment by unbanning opposition political and other parties, releasing political activists and engaging in meaningful dialogue with opposition parties, its citizens and trade unions to find a collective solution to the socio-economic circumstances in the country.
“The use of security forces to quell political dissent and the failure to address legitimate civilian concerns complicates the conflict and adds fuel to the fire. Economic and political stability is further compromised,” the ANC said.
The ANCs International Relations Sub-Committee chairperson, Lindiwe Zulu, said the ruling party was deeply concerned by the “strikes, riots and the growing instability in eSwatini especially over the last few days”.
Zulu said the party reiterated its call for good governance and democracy in eSwatini.
“We call on the government to heed this urgent call by moving away from autocracy, strong handed crisis management and brutal repression of legitimate civilian concerns,” Zulu said.
“We further call on [Southern African Development Community] SADC to be seized with this matter before it escalates beyond control.”
Protests started in eSwatini’s Manzini region on June 20 when young people took to the streets in a push for the right to democratically elect the prime minister, currently appointed by King Mswati III. Protests have since turned violent.
On Tuesday, acting Prime Minster Themba Masuku announced a 6pm to 5am curfew, meant to minimise unnecessary movement to ensure the safety and security of eSwatini’s people.
Footage of a burning building belonging to eSwatini Beverages went viral on social media on Wednesday. The brewery, which King Mswati partly owns, was reportedly torched on Tuesday night after the government imposed the curfew and blocked internet access.