Police officers deployed to eSwatini high commission in Pretoria as activists protest
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ACTIVISTS from #NotInMyName activists yesterday closed off Blackwood Street adjacent to the eSwatini High Commission in Pretoria, next to Union Buildings, adding their voices to the mounting calls for King Mswati III to usher in democracy in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
The activists, led by #NotInMyName president Siyabulela Jentile, called on the South African government to close the eSwatini High Commission to send a message to King Mswati III.
“It cannot be business as usual here while people are being killed by Mswati’s regime. We see that we are being recorded by Mswati’s officials as they gather today. We want to send this message through them. The time is right for the people of eSwatini to enjoy democracy. We are calling for that democracy now,” said Jentile.
“We are going to make sure that with the little influence we have, we help the people of eSwatini to attain their democracy. That so-called Africa’s last monarchy is going to fall, and we will be at the forefront as young people. Mswati is going to fall.”
As the activists gathered, waving placards and singing Struggle songs, several officials of the high commission emerged from windows, recording videos and taking pictures of the protesters outside. Members of the South African Police Service and the Tshwane Metro Police were guarding the main entrance.
#NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango said the time had come for Africans to stand up against despots.
“We must now be able to rise and say not in my name to any form of injustice we see. eSwatini is bleeding today because there is a despot who doesn’t want to share power with his people. South African government cannot stand still and just watch. Closing this high commission would send a clear message to Mswati: that his actions of killing his own people are not justified,” said Masango.
Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network, told the gathering in Pretoria that the delegation assigned by Ramaphosa to eSwatini should strive to hear different voices and not only interact with King Mswati III.
“Today, we have agreed with #NotInMyName in saying this high commission must be closed. South Africa has previously taken such a strong stance before. What is stopping the government of South Africa from sending a message to Mswati? He said killed more than 100 people in recent times,” said Lukhele.
“That team of SADC must not treat the King as the superior individual above the people Swaziland. Political parties, the trade union movement, civil society, students and teachers in Swaziland must also be heard on an equal level with the King. The King can no longer be the sole representative of the people of Swaziland. He lost that spot the day he massacred his people.”
Members of the Swaziland People’s Liberation Movement and the People's United Democratic Movement were also at the picket in Pretoria.
Vusi Shongwe, president of the Swaziland People’s Liberation Movement, thanked the people of South Africa for the outpouring of support and added that activists would not attend any dialogue called by King Mswati III.