Johannesburg - Five political and trade union leaders in Swaziland who were arrested during a sting operation by the Swazi police have been freed from jail.
One of the arrested leaders was the chairperson of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) Dumisani Fakudze, who was the first to be arrested on Friday, following a warrant for his arrest which his party claimed was authorised by King Mswati III.
Other leaders who were freed included Wandile Dludlu of the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo); Sibongile Mazibuko, president of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress; Sikelela Dlamini, general secretary of the teachers’ union, as well as trade unionist Jan Sithole.
Thokozane Kenneth Kunene, a CPS member who is living in exile in South Africa, said more arrest warrants were issued, but police failed to execute them.
“The police confiscated from our national chairperson many party documents which they deemed to have the potential of being treasonous due to their call for the democratisation of Swaziland,” Kunene said.
“The CPS is not deterred by the obvious intimidation and scare tactics of the Mswati regime. The command by Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, that leaders and members of progressive forces must be arrested, is a sign of deepening desperation to hold on to power.
“Political parties remain banned in Swaziland since April 12, 1973, when the late Sobhuza II unilaterally repealed the constitution, banned political parties and bestowed all executive, legislative and judicial power upon himself, thus creating an absolute monarchy.
“The CPS reiterates the people’s call that #MswatiMustFall!”
While Pudemo has a large political following in Swaziland, Kunene believes that his party is also gaining ground in South Africa.
“There are more than 500000 Swazis
living in South Africa and most of them are economic migrants. They are joining the CPS. We are also recruiting South Africans whose family lineages could be traced back to Swaziland.”
Kunene, however, indicated that some of his members were forced into exile in 1998, after political repression was allegedly escalated in Swaziland.
“About 15 people left Swaziland during political repression in 1998 and came to settle in South Africa where they were registered as political refugees. I came in 2005. We were 35 and we were also registered as refugees in South Africa.”He operates from his party headquarters in the Joburg CBD.