22 July 2014 – The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today denounced the guilty verdicts delivered against Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) lawyer Thulani Maseko and magazine editor Bheki Makhubu. The ITF has always maintained that their trial, on charges of contempt of court, was politically motivated and part of the same sustained government attempt to silence trade unions that led to the unfair conviction of Basil Thwala, legal advisor to the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union.
ITF assistant general secretary Stuart Howard, who was one of the leaders of a union delegation to Swaziland in March, said: “We have made our position abundantly clear to the Swazi government and judiciary: this was a nakedly political trial. It is this kind of attempt to muzzle dissent that, following union protests, rightly cost Swaziland its favourable status under the African Growth and Opportunity Agreement (AGOA). It is union pressure that has put the government’s behaviour in front of the ILO (International Labour Organization) and which will ensure that its attempts to gag opposition continue to be exposed – no matter how much the government may try to hide behind Swaziland’s courts.”