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South Africa Could Receive at least 400 000 Swazi Refugees if Unrest Persists

Swaziland Flag

-Naadiya Adams

Tensions are running high in Eswatini as a civil revolt unfolds in the Kingdom formerly known as Swaziland. Violence erupted amid citizens’ call for an end to the Monarch rule that has governed the country for centuries.

King Mswati III became the youngest ruling Monarch at age 18 in 1986 and has since lived a lavish lifestyle much at the expense of the Swazi people. Pro-democracy protests have plagued the streets of Africa’s last monarchy as the people call for a democratic society. At least 21 people have been reported dead in the unrest, and the violence continues.

Radio Islam spoke with the Swaziland Solidarity Network, a forum based in South Africa, about some of the implications facing South Africa if the violence persists in neighbouring Eswatini. He also gave clarity on what the people of Swaziland are demanding.

“Initially they were saying, they can accommodate the Royal family, but after Swazi soldiers started violent killing and brutalizing the people the tone has completely changed,” said SSN spokesperson, Lucky Lukhele.

According to Lukhele, protesters are now calling for “an overhaul of the system” as the killing cannot be condoned. According to Lucky, at least 40 people have already been killed for simply walking the street in a matter of 48 hours.

“The King created this mess and he can no longer be part of a crisis he created,” says Lukhele.

Lukhele says the SSN is calling on the South African Government and the President in particular to use his influence in getting a message across to King Mswati lll to “Stay wherever you are” but more so, they are urging the government to intervene ahead of what they describe will be a “catastrophe”.

“If more people are dying the leaders of SADC and South Africa, in particular, will be asked one question ‘What did you do? Why didn’t you be proactive to stop the bloodshed that King Mswati is unleashing on his people” explains Lukhele.

According to Lukhele South Africa could see an influx of at least 400 000 Swazi refugees if the violence continues. At least 15 refugees have already been seen in the Mpumalanga region.

The network believes that an urgent intervention is necessary as the looting of funds by the royals is sending the population into poverty.

“Every unemployed Swazi could be paid R1500 and the elderly could receive up to R2500 if the money was not being channeled to the kings,” says Lukhele

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