By EDN Reporter
Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku says public transport will operate over the next two days despite threats of a shutdown.
Masuku on Monday announced that the High Court granted a final order interdicting public transport employees from proceeding with the intended ‘unlawful strike action’ planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Masuku said the government decided to take the matter to Court using Section 89 of the Industrial Relations Act, 2000, which states that the Minister may apply for an order in the national interest, if according to sub-section (1), “Any lockout or strike is threatened or taken, whether in conformity with this Act or otherwise, and the Minister considers that the national interest is threatened or affected thereby, he may make an application to the Court, for an injunction restraining the parties from commencing or from continuing such action, and the Court may make such order thereon, as it considers fit, having regard to the national interest.”
Subsection 2 of the Act reads: “Where the Court, upon hearing such an application under subsection (1) makes an order, the parties bound by that order shall immediately refrain from or discontinue such action, and the matter which gave rise to the action shall be 4 deemed to have been referred to the parties concerned for determination.”
“In light of this order, Government expects public transport employees to be at work and transport operators to be on the road tomorrow, servicing people. Any action that is contrary to this order, therefore, amounts to Contempt of Court and the Government is obliged to take the necessary action. As Government, we still maintain that the disruption of public transport is not in 5 the interest of emaSwati,” he said.
Masuku added that there was no way denying people their right to movement can be justified.
“As we speak, children are writing their examinations and we should allow them to do so in preparation for their future and the future of this country without any disturbance. We have people who need to access health services and some need to collect medication, interrupting transport does not benefit such people. We have people who get paid per hour and per day. These people will miss out on two days worth of wages which will affect their livelihoods for a long time. Let me inform the Nation that the Government met with transport operators and agreed that public transport will be available as usual,” he said.
The nation is on tenterhooks as the threats of a shutdown has many people stressing about what life will be like over the two days. Pro-democracy activists have called for a nationwide shutdown. The Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union (SWATCAWU) as well as the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) also plan to protest in the capital.
Masuku said the government encourages all emaSwati to make use of the toll-free emergency line 112 to report any disturbances related to the illegal strike.
“We believe sanity will prevail and no liSwati will be inconvenienced in the next two days,” he said.
By EDN Reporter