MBABANE: President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community(SADC) Troika on Politics, Defense and Security had to rush to eSwatini on Tuesday as the torture, shooting and killing of civilians by Mswati’s soldiers continued particularly in the rural areas.
This comes after King Mswati allegedly told the SADC Special Envoys that he would be open to a dialogue after his Incwala ceremony but he continued to unleash his forces to shoot and kill civilians merely for democratic reforms.
Reached for comments, Mlungisi Makhanya, the President of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said as a movement, they were grateful to the South African President for handling the issue of eSwatini with the urgency it deserved since he assumed the SADC Troika Chairmanship.
“We are grateful to the President for the urgency he demonstrates in dealing with the Swaziland issue. We have been in-contact with a number of countries who are on Troika where we make updates about what is happening in Swaziland”, said the PUDEMO President.
The South African Government announced on its Twitter page that President Cyril Ramaphosa undertook a working visit to eSwatini for deliberations on political and security developments in the this tiny Kingdom.
Eswatini is in the midst of a political crisis after King Mswati banned the delivery of petitions and subsequently unleashed soldiers and the police to shoot and kill dozens of civilians.
A preliminary report by the Human Rights Commission has confirmed that forty-six(46) died while two hundred and forty-five(245) were injured during the June 2021 unrest, this include women and children.
But leaders of political parties and the civil society said currently, they have evidence suggesting that over seventy(70) civilians were killed by Mswati’s forces.
Resigned pro-democracy police officer Cebile Shongwe who was on ground during the unrest revealed that the number was actually more than one hundred(100) adding that some citizens were allegedly thrown into fire alive by soldiers.
Phila Buthelezi, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told the State owned Swazi Observer that the President would arrive on Tuesday, however, he did not elaborate about the purpose of the visit.
“Basically, I can confirm that the president will be arriving tomorrow(today) for one day visit. We are not sure of the details loko kwatiwa ngulabadzala”, said the Minister.
The visit by the SADC Troika Chairperson comes amid reports that King Mswati continued to unleash his forces on unarmed civilians while avoiding an urgent political dialogue saying he would avail himself after performing his rituals during the Incwala ceremony.
Thobile Matsebula, an agriculture employee at Mhlume(RSCC) Sugar Mill told this Swaziland News last week that she was brutally assaulted by King Mswati’s soldiers at Lonhlupheko on her way to join a protest organized by TUCOSWA, a workers federation.
Matsebula said the soldiers and the police stopped a bus they were traveling in, and grabbed her and other workers, they were then kidnapped and taken into a nearby bush that connects Lonhlupheko and Hlane Game Reserve.
“While inside the bush, they ordered us to lie-down, we were heavily assaulted”, she said.
The ongoing killing and torture of citizens including women and children has been condemned by various international and eSwatini human rights organizations.
President Cyril Ramaphosa(pic: SA Gov)