JOHANNESBURG – Lindiwe Zulu, a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) said the country has once again pledged its solidarity with the people of Eswatini amid growing calls for democracy.
It has been a year since the landlocked country was rocked by the worst pro-democracy protests against King Mswati III rule in its history which left dozens of infrastructure dead and damaged.
The protests in Eswatini were mainly led by People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), the largest opposition party in the kingdom after a 25-year-old law student, Thabani Nkomonye, was killed by police.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Eswatini in November, but talks on a political dialogue with King Mswati have stalled.
Zulu who is also South Africa’s Social Development minister said the government has renewed its efforts to address Eswatini’s crisis.
“The African National Congress must be very firm about ensuring that democracy must be developed, and people must be allowed to freely express themselves in Eswatini.
“And we must go beyond just saying that SADC is going to be engaging. We must engage with those progressive organisations in Eswatini who want to see change,” Zulu said.
In April this year, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa’s third largest political party, staged peaceful protests along the country’s borders in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces with neighboring Eswatini demanding the resignation of Mswati.
King Mswati III, who came to power in 1986 at the age of 18, has ruled Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, for 36 years though his reign is under siege now due to human rights violation and misgovernance.