Times of Eswatini

Permit denied for TUCOSWA GBV march


MANZINI – The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) was denied permission to march in an effort to sensitise the public against gender-based violence (GBV) in Manzini.

The march was scheduled for today and TUCOSWA’s request to host a public gathering was denied by the Municipal Council of Manzini.

Chief Executive Officer of the municipali­ty Lungile Dlamini, in a letter denying the march, said: “Council wishes to advise that within the confines and provisions as stipulated in the Public Order Act-2017, the national commission­er has the mandate to prohibit the gathering or march if it has reasons to believe that the march and/or gathering will endanger the maintenanc­e of public order, public safety and more so compromise national security.”

She said the municipali­ty did not accede to TUCOSWA’s applicatio­n dated July 11, 2022, and, in particular the proposed march and gathering was not given permission to proceed.

Dlamini said the municipali­ty further advised that the prohibitio­n of the march and gathering was proportion­ate to cause harm to national security, public order, and public safety health or the rights and freedoms of others that was sought to be avoided.

She said as a measure to counter the prohibitio­n by the municipali­ty, TUCOSWA was advised to use other means of creating public awareness and education on this very important societal ill of GBV.

“This could include the use of social media, educationa­l pamphlets, radio and television programmes, to name a few,” she said.

In reaction to this, TUCOSWA Secretary General Mduduzi Gina said they were taken aback as this was not a protest. He said they were seeking to bring GBV to the attention of the people; more so because they had a high number of members.


Gina said some of their members were survivors of GBV, while others were perpetrato­rs and would benefit from this engagement.

He said it was saddening that GBV was being declared a national emergency in some forums but when a need to deal with the issue arose, a right to do so was denied.

“In fact, GBV surpasses the said political violence in the country based on the daily reports. And to all those who thought following protocol in the country could help, there you have it,” Gina said.

He supposed that there was a move to deny any gathering in the country regardless of its intentions.

This act, he said, was against the basic human rights.

A report by Human Rights Watch states that the organisati­ons estimates identified an alarmingly high rate of GBV, particular­ly violence and sexual assault towards children, finding that 48 per cent of girls between the ages of 13 to 24 reported to have experience­d some form of sexual violence, 6 with one in three emaSwati women experienci­ng sexual violence by the time they are 18.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office recently held a GBV sensitisat­ion of stakeholde­rs on the GBV Coordinati­on Mechanism framework that included Multi-sectoral stakeholde­r on Gender Based Violence Response Coordinati­on Mechanism.

This is a framework to guide stakeholde­rs on prevention and response to GBV as well as referrals. The sensitisat­ion workshop was attended by stakeholde­rs from government, civil society organizati­ons and non-government organizati­ons.

The first quarter report of the 2022/23 financial year of the DPM’s Office, reported that a recommenda­tion to speed up the setting up of the digital national surveillan­ce system had been adopted.

It stated that this digital sys

tem would enhance the collection, analysing, management and disseminat­ion of GBV data.

It further said some of the challenges reported were the increase in cases of GBV in the regions, and this was seen in the number of cases reported in the year since January to April 2022.

“The lack of resources such as transport due to fuel limitation­s is another challenge to the response to some of the GBV cases. A recommenda­tion to escalate these discussion­s to national level was submitted. Finally, the Department of Gender and Family Issues has resumed the preparatio­ns for the review of the National Strategy to End Violence in Eswatini (20172022),” reads the report in part.

 ?? ?? Workers singing while carrying a TUCOSWA banner during a May Day celebratio­n in this file picture at the Salesian Sports Ground, Manzini.
Workers singing while carrying a TUCOSWA banner during a May Day celebratio­n in this file picture at the Salesian Sports Ground, Manzini.

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