Ramaphosa’s trip to eSwatini welcomed, but activists demand candidness
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Pretoria – Civil rights movement #NotInMyName on Tuesday welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to eSwatini to engage King Mswati III amid a deepening political crisis in the small neighbouring kingdom.
Last week, #NotInMyName president Siyabulela Jentile and secretary-general Themba Masango led scores of activists in Pretoria, demanding action from the South African government – including closing the eSwatini High Commission.
Activists from different eSwatini pro-democracy organisations also joined the protest in Pretoria.
During the picket, the activists from #NotInMyName closed off Blackwood Street adjacent to the eSwatini High Commission, 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.
On Tuesday, the Presidency announced that Ramaphosa was travelling to eSwatini, and he would meet the king during his sojourn.
“#NotInMyName calls on President Ramaphosa to strongly highlight the human right atrocities and violations that are being committed by the monarch and to also stress the fact that transparency and good governance are highlighted by the public’s fundamental right to comment on laws and regulations; on the disposition of state funds and revenue, as well as the decisions taken by those who are in power,” said Masango.
“President Ramaphosa in his capacity as chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security must make it clear to the monarch that reactivating authoritarian systems to crush dissenting voices demanding democracy as the order of the day will not be tolerated by Southern African Development (SADC) and the international community in general.”
Masango said activists in South Africa would not fold hands while citizens in eSwatini continue to live in constant and persistent fear of prosecution.
“#NotInMyName will continue to advocate and lobby all forward-thinking people to make sure that the eSwatini regime is stopped from subverting civil liberties through thwarting and prosecuting dissenting voices,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Presidency said Ramaphosa was travelling to eSwatini on a working visit for deliberations on political and security developments in the kingdom.
Ramaphosa, who is the chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community’s organ on politics, defence and security co-operation will have an audience with King Mswati III.
“The audience with King Mswati III follows a visit to the Kingdom by special envoys on October 21 and 22, who had been directed to visit the kingdom by President Ramaphosa in his capacity as chair of the Southern African Development Community organ on politics, defence and security,” said acting Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale.
Ramaphosa was accompanied to eSwatini by Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Naledi Pandor.