Mbabane: Swaziland Unions of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (SUFIAW) Secretary General, Vincent Vus’muzi Ncongwane has mourned the death of Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) President, Jan Sithole.
Sithole passed away last week at age 67 at his other home in Nelspruit, South Africa as confirmed by his wife, Marilyn Sithole. According to the wife the politician and Times of Eswatini columnist complained of sharp pains in his chest before succumbing.
Ncongwane stated that the news of the passing of the former SFTU strongman turned out to be one of those days he would like to hate. He said Sithole was not just a giant because of his heavily built structure, but also of his presence and his booming voice. “So when I say a giant sleeps, I mean him,” said Ncongwane.
He further stated that there were difficult times at the birth of the Swaziland Federation of Labour (SFL), of which at the time Ncongwane was Secretary General while Sithole held the same position at the now defunct Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU).
“With the passage of time, we both learnt that despite that our federations were not singing from the same hymn book, we had to work together in the interests of the Eswatini workers, in which process, we became friends,” mentioned Ncongwane.
The relationship between the two federations led to working with Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) whose president at the time was Muzi Mhlanga. “We were then all able, at the directions of our principals, to form the Labour Coordinating Council, which coordinated the workers’ response to the challenges faced by the workers, which was the precursor to TUCOSWA,” said Ncongwane.
He heaped praises to Sithole’s leadership quality, acknowledging that there were countless comrades the departed politician had worked with during challenging times.
“Mine is to state that I learnt a lot from Sithole about the power of workers and working together, which is an antidote to employer and state power; yes, he was very powerful as he went about planning how to deal with other unionists, yanking them out of their comfort zones and keeping them awake,” stated Ncongwane, adding that theirs is to now fine-tune those levels and see how to take the struggle to the next level.
“Whatever the views of the powers that be, may be about you, what they cannot take away from you was that you represented your members’ interests well, of course not alone,” said Ncongwane. Ncongwane said working with and knowing Sithole had been enriching to him and
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