COSATU to help evicted Swazi sugar cane farmers

The President of South African trade federation COSATU met with Swazi sugar cane farmers. She promised to help them regain control of their land from Swaziland’s absolute monarch king Mswati III.

COSATU President Zingiswa Losi met with sugar cane farmers from Vuvulane, Mafucula and Shewula in Manzini, Swaziland on Tuesday. Here she got first-hand information on the ongoing evictions and harassment of the farmers by the Royal Swaziland Sugar Company and the Swaziland Sugar Association, Read more of this post

Stop Western Sahara plunder, Jacinda

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern spoke of human rights and international cooperation at the UN. But what will she do about the fact that two New Zealand companies are the last buyers of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara?

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attracted a lot of media attention at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week. Read more of this post

Students saved South Africa

The Nelson Mandela Centenary will be making headlines around the world on July 18. But 50 years ago, Mandela was in prison and the ANC were virtually defunct within South Africa. Instead, it was a students’ organisation that reignited the struggle against apartheid.

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela and his contribution to the defeat of apartheid in South Africa, as well as the inspiration he still holds for oppressed people around the world, we must remember to also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO). Read more of this post

Systembolaget demands improved standards at Leeuwenkuil

According to a former employee, Swedish liquor retailer Systembolaget says it will consider terminating its contract with South African wine producer Leeuwenkuil unless standards at its vineyards are improved.

In February Emil Boss, a former employee at Swedish retailer Systembolaget, visited South African vineyard Leeuwenkuil and Middelburg, one of the farms that supply the grapes to Leeuwenkuil, who in turn sell wine to Systembolaget. Read more of this post

Norwegian rapport uncovers harassment and illegal wages on South African wine farms

A confidential audit report from Norwegian government-owned alcoholic beverage retailer Vinmonopolet has uncovered harassment, unionization prohibitions and salaries below the minimum wage at several of its wine producers in South Africa.

The report is based on inspections of 22 South African wine facilities in March and April. Is was prepared for Vinmonopolet by American safety consulting and certification company UL, and conducted “to investigate and identify social compliance gaps within the wine supply chain in the Western Cape Province.” Read more of this post

Swaziland is world’s most unequal country

According to a new briefing paper, published by British charitable organization, Oxfam, Swaziland is the world’s most unequal country, followed by Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa.

The Oxfam briefing paper says that Swaziland has become the world’s most unequal country, because of a “very poor mix of policies.”Swaziland’s “government has failed to put measures in place to tackle inequality, with poor scores for social and progressive taxation, and a poor record on labour rights,” the paper concludes. Read more of this post

South African farmworkers get Norwegian award

The Commercial Stevedoring and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) have won the Norwegian Artur Svenssons 2017 international award, for fighting poor conditions in South African wineries.

The award, that includes a 740.000 rand prize, is awarded by Norwegian trade union confederation Industri Energi, who organizes workers in the Norwegian oil-, gas- and land-based industries. The confederation has 60.000 members. Read more of this post

The democratisation of Swaziland: inside or outside job?

swaziland-pudemo-2013-194The small absolute monarchy of Swaziland is best known for its tourism, “unique” culture tied to its monarchy, and the cultural and spending exploits of playboy-king Mswati III, not for its repressive regime and ongoing struggle for democracy.

Swaziland is nominally a middle income country that is seldom condemned by world leaders and rarely mentioned in the international media, even though it is one of the most unequal, poverty-stricken and unfree countries in the world, and even though King Mswati spends millions of dollars on prestige projects and personal jets while his subjects starve. Read more of this post

Do Swazis want democracy?

bheki_New Afrobarometer-report shows that Africans still cautiously embrace democracy. In the small absolute monarchy of Swaziland, support for democracy is low but rising. In many other countries it is falling.

‘Do Africans still want democracy,’ independent research network Afrobarometer asks Africans in a new report? The answer seems to be a cautious and qualified ‘yes’. In Swaziland, a small absolute monarchy where parties are banned and the king appoints the government and controls everything from the economy to the judiciary, numbers are very low but rising. Read more of this post

Bitter South African grapes

empty-shelves-where-the-robertson-wine-should-have-been-in-danish-supermarket-min-kobmand-in-november-photo-peter-kenworthyA 14 week strike against Robertson Winery in the Western Cape over poor pay and work conditions ended in November, forcing the Western Cape government to investigate apartheid-like conditions at several South African wineries.

Monthly salaries below the South African minimum wage of 2778 rand (=160 £). Falling ill from using dangerous pesticides without training or protective gear. Being fired for being a member of a union or complaining. Apartheid-like racism and lack of government protection. Read more of this post