Mbabane: Commuters in the main urban areas of Eswatini were left stranded after public transport operators engaged in a strike action. The protest action resulted in the death of one of them after he was shot by the police in Luyengo.
The striker’s demands are a combination of political and industrial relations demands. They are calling for a minimum wage of E4000.00 and that they get paid overtime. They are also calling for the release of the two incarcerated Members of Parliament Hosea’s Mduduzi “Bacede” Mabuza and Ngwempisi’s Mthandeni Dube.
As a result of the protest action, stores and businesses in the main towns and city’s including the capital were forced to close down. The protest action by the public transport operators coincided with rioting school children creating an atmosphere of mayhem. Such was the chaos in different locations across the country such that schools were also forced to close. Even those schools whose students were not engaged in the strikes were closed down and had their students sent home because of security concerns.
In Manzini the road from the bus terminus to Manzini Central High School was barricaded at each end and no traffic was permitted to enter or leave the terminus. The same occurred in Mbabane where the Sishayi Nxumalo Avenue that traverses between the mall and the taxi rank was cordoned off. Tyres were burned and rocks littered the entrance point to the two entrance points.
The freeway between Manzini and Mbabane was also blocked in Matsapha at Ndlunganye and it was only after members of the army intervened that the road was opened to traffic. To a large extent, the police and other security forces exercised restraint as they attempted to contain the situation. The only place where there were reports of a fatality was at Luyengo where one of the operators was shot by a policeman from the area’s traffic department. This incensed his colleagues to the extent that they threatened to go and burn the policeman’s homestead.