Illegal crossings into SA by Eswatini citizens have increased as unrest continues.

The number of people crossing into South Africa illegally from Eswatini has increased in recent days. Some are fleeing the civil unrest while others are crossing into the country to buy food and other goods. Eswatini is experiencing a shortage of daily essentials such as fuel and food, due to the ongoing protests against King Mswati III’s rule.

Shops and schools remain closed in Eswatini following several days of violent pro-democracy protests, looting, and the vandalising of property. Some roads remain blocked in that country, making it difficult to deliver goods. Citizens are now crossing illegally into Nkomazi in South Africa, to top up on their daily essentials. Many people who reside in this part of Mpumalanga, have relatives in Eswatini.

This area has a number of informal border gates which people use to cross into and from Eswatini on a daily basis. The outbreak of the coronavirus has also led to some using informal borders to avoid health protocols. Meanwhile, Nehawu in Mpumalanga has joined the EFF at the Mananga border post in Nkomazi to picket in solidarity with the people of Eswatini.

Cosatu Provincial Chairperson, Life Monini, said as a federation they thought it is important to join hands with other organisations to highlight the plight of the people of Eswatini.

“What is happening in Swaziland [Eswatini] is just pure exploitation. We have been speaking to our counterpart here in Swaziland [Eswatini] for some time now, now that they stood up and voiced their frustration and their anger and you have a regime that is killing its people. More than 40 people, you should know 40 have been killed. We have more than 200 people that sustained serious injuries, they are in hospitals nailed by the soldiers unleashed by the king himself,” said Monini.

Monini added that the king should listen to the people. He said blockades will be intensified next week because they cannot sit back while their African brothers are struggling. He said workers and some of the leaders in the country are on the run and it is clear that they might want to run away from the regime and come to South Africa.

“We cannot ignore what is happening in Swaziland [Eswatini] because it is wrong and injury to one worker anywhere in the world is an injury to us as workers, members of Cosatu and workers in general in the world so, we are saying we are not going to sit back, we are going to support the people of Swaziland [Eswatini] with everything that we have,” he said.

Operations at the Oshoek border post have returned to normal and trucks carrying goods have been cleared to cross into Eswatini.

Meanwhile, MTN has confirmed that the Eswatini Communication Commission gave it a directive to suspend access to social media and other online platforms until further notice.

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