Sunday, February 14, 2010


Swaziland National Union of students

“We are members of the community before we are students”

The January Movement led by Swaziland National Union of Students [S.N.U.S.]

The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) we want to convey our heartfelt appreciation to the many progressive friends of the Swazi students who have been issuing statements of solidarity to the oppressed students of Swaziland. We are encouraged and our spirits are renewed knowing that the progressive world community is with us and believes in the correctness of our struggle against this undemocratic kingdom of King Mswati III.

We were not aware that our struggle had struck the right chord, we thought we were alone but today we know that indeed the world community of progressive organisations will never let us struggle alone and this has made us to struggle even with more determination. We would like to single out the Swaziland Solidarity network (SSN), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and its sister unions, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Denmark allies, and many other organisations that have helped profile our struggle.

Today comrades we report that owing to the insurmountable pressure that the regime found itself under when it charged comrade Sicelo Vilane it decided to withdraw charges against him without stating the reasons why. Also, all our comrades that were abducted by the police during our last rally in Manzini were released without charge. We do not believe that this was because of the benevolence of King Mswati III’s government but rather to the pressure that you patriots of the world have put.

SNUS would also like to tell the government led by the illegally appointed Sibusiso Dlamini that the students are angry at the response that his government has given to students demands. In fact, the response is short of showing us the middle finger. The government was given four demands but responded only to two and in the most sarcastic of ways without regard to the seriousness and urgency that the students viewed their demands. Government has not even dared to respond to our concerns on free quality education for all students as well as how she will register our union. Instead government has written a one page responce where she states that she will not address the issue of personal allowance now but would rather talk about it once the scholarship policy has been passed into law. She says that the present scholarship will be revisited and students will be ‘consulted’ in due course.

Our problem is that government wants to pass the scholarship clandestinely and we wonder who will represent the collective interests of students if she does not want to register SNUS. We have dealt with this government long enough to know her cunning plans. We say today that we will no longer be begging government to respond positively to our demands, we shall now be on the streets mobilising and organising until government feels the heat and realise that we are serious and angry.

Our successful night vigil in Manzini deliberated and agreed that the problem in this country is not per ser individuals that do not want to listen to us, but is the foundation in which this country is built. Students realised that the problem in this country is a lack of democracy; it is the lack of power to the people to choose the government of their choice, hence this arrogance from the present administration. It was therefore agreed that the January 30 resolution must be reaffirmed and pursued to the bitter end.

Students also welcomed the formation of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign expected to be launched this coming week. Such noble initiatives have unwavering support from the students and come at the right time when students have vowed to make this country ungovernable and Tinkhundla unworkable. As students we have taken it upon our shoulders to ensure that democracy comes in our life time and we believe that Swaziland can no longer be an island of dictatorship in a sea of democracy. Students will hold a rally this coming week ass a build up to this watershed moment in the Swazi struggle.

Lastly, SNUS is expected to meet the South African Students Congress (SASCO) on Monday. SASCO has a history of always being on the side of the oppressed, poor Swazi youth and students in particular. Even at this hour of need, they have opened their arms and welcomed the students to their shores and to that we are more than grateful.


1) Scrap off the scholarship policy
2) Provide Free Primary Education to all pupils at Primary School
3) Register SNUS an official voice of students across colleges and universities
4) Increase our pathetic personal allowances

Comrades, we say the struggle continues and victory is certain!!!!!!

For more contacts
Thabo Dlamini
SNUS Secretary General
+263 1943

Maxwell Dlamini
SNUS organising Secretary
+268 6533564

Bheki Khumalo
SNUS President
+268 607 3442

Friday, February 12, 2010

Swaziland student arrested for belonging to union: official

IC Publication Report

Swaziland police detained a student leader after he was found with a union membership card while taking pictures of a protest march, a union official said on Friday.

Sicelo Vilane from Oxford College has been in custody since his arrest on Wednesday. He was arrested along with other student leaders while picketing over the government's refusal to recognize their union.

"His only crime was that he took pictures of police torturing and tormenting a student during the protest…he was taken to police headquarters in Manzini, where he was tortured," alleged Swaziland National Union of Students secretary Maxwell Dlamini.

Police spokesman Vusi Masuku denied torturing Vilane.

"He was arrested because he was found in possession of material which indicates that he belonged to illegal entities that are banned in this country under the terrorism act," Masuku said.

Political organizations and organized labour unions in the small kingdom are banned by law since 1973.

Government led by king Mswati III is known for cracking down on political activists and pro-democracy campaigners.

Since the protest, all tertiary institutions in the country have been closed.

Also see the link

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Comrades, it is with great regret that we announce that it has since got to our attention that one of the students who was arrested yesterday has since been charged with Terrorism and will tomorrow appear at the High Court. Cde Sicelo Vilane, a journalism student at Citec College (the exact name of the college has not yet be confirmed), was one of the people who converged at the Manzini city centre as part of the student protesters and was abducted and tortured.

He says that he was carrying a camera to take pictures of the event in order to give the Times offices, particularly a journalist he works closely with. He told me from his jail cell (I was one of the first people to visit him yesterday) at the Manzini police station that he took pictures of police torturing and tormenting Pius Vilakati, UNISWA President, and while going back to take more pictures of other students one police officer followed him and grabbed him from behind and demanded that he delete the pictures. He was taken to the police headquarters in Manzini where he was tortured while being asked why he was taking the pictures. He told them that he was working closely with a Times journalist, Joseph Zulu, and wanted to give him the pictures.

The police then phoned Zulu and inquired if he knew Cde Sicelo and he responded to the affirmative. He was then searched and a SWAYOCO card bearing his name was found. He was then tortured viciously and then charged with contravening Section 19 (1) (b) of the Terrorism Act. Today he spent the entire day at the police station and no efforts was made that he be taken to court even though according to law suspects must have appeared before a Magistrate by at least 48 hours of their arrest. Owing to the many comrades that were abducted and tortured yesterday, we could not trace the comrade's whereabouts only to get to know today. Even though the comrade has been arrested and tortured viciously, police have not made efforts to contact his parents to inform them of his arrest and we had to call them late after lunch today to alert them that their son had been arrested.


Maxwell Dlamini, SNUS National Organising Secretary,
+268 653 3564

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

COSATU condemns kidnapping of Swazi students

The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the reported kidnapping of students in Swaziland by the state security forces this morning at 10am. According to the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), “up to now their whereabouts is still not known”.

The comrades are:

  • Pius Vilakati, the president of Students representative Council at the University of Swaziland,
  • Maxwell Dlamini, National Organizing Secretary of the Swaziland National Union of Students,
  • Sipho Simelane, SRC member at the University and
  • Thembela Ngcamphalala also vice chairperson of Kwaluseni branch of SNUS and branch organizing secretary of SNUS Kwaluseni.”

This is related to the on-going class boycotts by the students which led to the closure of the only University in the country and other five tertiary education institutions in the country which are SCOT, William Pitcher, Ngwane Teacher Training College, Nazarene Teacher Training and Nursing College in the past week.

This follows a brave show of courage and defiance by students under SNUS to challenge the oppressive regime and defend their right to learn. The students have organised activities that have become known as the January movement, wherein they ensured that they mobilise all students and the whole country around the need to defend access to quality education for all and the urgency of democratising the country as part of transforming not only education, but the entirety of Swazi society.

The demands of the students include:

  • Registration of SNUS as the official voice of students,
  • Increase in personal allowances, Scrapping off the scholarship policy which is currently in draft form and denies many students from poor background the possibility of further education and training
  • Provision of free primary and quality education for all primary school pupils.

We are further told that here was a proposed meeting for the students of Swaziland where the state made all efforts by using force to stop the meeting.

The message about today’s arrests and disappearances came through while South African Civil society was holding a meeting at the South African Council of Churches (SACC) headquarters in Johannesburg to receive final report on preparations towards the historic launch of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) taking place next week between South African and Swazi organisations here in Johannesburg.

The meeting conveyed its profound solidarity and salutations to the students and urged them to soldier on, knowing well that the world is fully behind them. The meeting went on to call upon South African organisations; students, youth, churches, NGOs, trade unions, political parties and all social movements to join the call to do something decisive in support of the suffering people of Swaziland. This confirmed the urgency of a global campaign for democracy in Swaziland, hence the importance of the efforts underway to co-ordinate a sustained and effective movement for a new and democratic Swaziland.

We urge everyone to phone the Swazi Police Commissioner to register your concern and increase pressure for their release. He is:

Isaac Magagula

Tel: +268 404 2502

Mobile: +268 606 2300

For more details contact:

Philani Ndebele (Media and Communications Officer

ACTION Support Centre


Mobile: 076 942 3565 or



Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets

Braamfontein, 2017


P.O.Box 1019

Johannesburg, 2000

South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24

Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940

Mobile: +27 79 499 6419


Solidarity with SNUS in Swaziland

Dear Comrades in SNUS

Africa Contact in Denmark extends our warmest compliments to the leadership of SNUS and its members for your strong manifestation in support of better education in Swaziland. We are proud to be your allies in the struggle for a democratic and free Swaziland.

We are therefore shocked and deeply upset to learn that several student leaders have been abducted and held incommunicado by the regime in Swaziland.

These comrades are: Pius Vilikati, President of the Students Representative Council at the University of Swaziland; Maxwell Dlamini, national organizaing secretary of the Swaziland National Union of Students; Sipho Simelane, SRC member at the University of Swaziland; and Thembela Ngcamphalala, vice chairperson of the Kwaluseni branch of SNUS and branch organizing secretary of SNUS Kwaluseni.

We will do everything we can to ensure their safe and swift return.

The abductions are proof that the regime in Swaziland is willing to use all and any means at their disposal to crush the democratic movement in Swaziland.

Africa Contact is therefore going to request a meeting with the Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Møller, to inform him of the serious and worrying developments in Swaziland and to oblige the Danish government to protest against the recent abductions.

In Solidarity
Morten Nielsen
Africa Contact - Denmark

Africa Contact - Denmark
Wesselsgade 4 kld - DK2200 Copenhagen N - Denmark
Phone: (+45) 35 35 92 32 (AC) or
Mobil: (+45) 25 39 65 57

Swazi police Abducted students

"Cdes, be informed that our President Pius Vilakati Swaziland National Union of Students [SNUS] has been abducted by the police and cannot be traced. We are worried about his safety following police's recent killing os suspects we have reason to fear for the worse particularly given that he has been a fearless critic of the government and a fierce leader of the students in these recent struggles. I was also abducted and dumped at Sidvokodvo early in the morning but at least I am safe and alive. We are worried that King Mswati's boys can do to a young student leader who wants nothing but the right of students. We however, assure comrades that even at this time of extreme brutality we are not willing to give up, we are determined, we are ready to lay down our lives in defense of our students and their future. We will keep u updated on what is the next step."

Maxwell Dlamini

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The January Movement led by Swaziland National Union of Students

Swaziland National Union of Students

We are members of the community before we are students”



The objective of this press statement is to highlight the essence and objective of the numerous protest actions by students in tertiary institutions following a meeting of all SRC in the country under their umbrella body, SNUS.


SNUS is a membership based organisation which seeks to unite students in all higher institutions of learning in Swaziland for purposes of creating a strong, united and vibrant student movement geared to confront the socio economic and political challenges of the country. On top of the organisation’s agenda is to advocate for an education policy that will be informed by the economic demands faced by the country and the democratisation of our society.

Over the past days SNUS has been engaging on a protest action against the evil, backward, undemocratic and barbaric system of royal supremacy-tinkhundla which does not recognise students as major stakeholders in the education sector and does not include students in the decision-making process because students are viewed ‘kids’ who must be parented without any input from them. Mswati’s government keeps on imposing things to the students of Swaziland, the latest being the mooted scholarship policy currently in draft form. We are faced with a government which does not care about our education and has continued to feed the Swazi children inferior and irrelevant education that deprives them a good life. This is evidenced by government spending in the education sector which over the years has shown that that education is not a priority in this country.

SNUS has in the few months mobilising in the different institutions and has held a series of meetings with SRC and ordinary students to discuss about the catastrophic scholarship policy which will render education a preserve for the few thus shuttering the dreams of many a student. Following a mass meeting held at Bosco Skills Centre in Manzini students therefore resolved to engaged on a two day protest action against the proposed scholarship policy, to demand that SNUS be registered officially, demand that government pays for all pupils at Primary school as per the constitution’s requirement and that government increase personal allowance for students. In its current form the scholarship policy will make education to a privilege which only the affluent few can access. It shall reduce education to a commodity that can be bought and sold at the behest of the wealthy in our society.

The students marched to the Minister of Labour and Social Security on the 1st day of the picket, (Monday 01 February 2010) and then to the unconstitutionally appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, infamously known for not respecting the rule of law. Unfortunately on the second day of the picket (Tuesday 02 February 2010) Mswati’s arrogant and pathetic administrators indefinitely closed four colleges adding to the already closed UNISWA. Thus, as a consequence of this irrational decision, the number of closed tertiary institutions rose to five leaving the union without an option but to temporary suspend the protest action because the closure disorganised and paralysed the struggle. The temporary halting of the marches was done to device another strategy to push government to address the Union’s demands. We have since mobilised the workers of the country under SWAZILAND FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS [SFTU], SWAZILAND FEDERATION OF LABOUR [SFL] AND SWAZILAND NATIONAL ASSOCITION OF TEACHERS [SNAT] to join so that we could have a general strike that will render government ungovernable and impossible to operate till our demands are met.


Following a meeting held on Thursday of all SRC’s in the country we resolved that on Tuesday (O9/02/2010) we are going to picket at the hub of Swaziland (Manzini) to sensitise our people about this scholarship policy as well as draw support from our parents, workers, civil society and other social partners so that we join forces and oppose this policy. We will also be calling for the opening of the colleges and university.

We continue to call upon our parents, civil society, unions, international allies of the oppressed people of Swaziland to join us in the struggle for free education, improved personal allowances, rejection of the scholarship policy, the registration of SNUS and the opening of our colleges and UNISWA. We continue to call for unity and that all efforts be directed at pressurising the government to give in to our demands.

We therefore request for financial support and solidarity from organisations and individuals to settle our current debts we have acquired in the past days as we were picketing as well as to make Tuesday a success. We have been invoiced by the transport operators who provided us with transport to ferry students to and from Mbabane where the picket was held. Any form of help will be appreciated.


1) Scrap off the scholarship policy

2) Provide Free Primary Education to all pupils at Primary School

3) Register SNUS an official voice of students across colleges and universities

4) Increase our pathetic personal allowances

The struggle continues, victory is certain!!!

For any help contact;



268 6533564