The South African Development Community (SADC), at the command of President Cyril Ramaphosa, will deploy envoys to Eswatini, following days of violent protest.
SADC envoy to Eswatini
President Cyril Ramaphosa dispatched a team – which includes former minister of energy Jeff Radebe – to seek an audience with King Mswati III.
Alongside Radebe, Ramaphosa also deployed Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Candith Mashego-Dlamini.
They will be joined by Ramaphosa’s special advisor on international relations Maropene Ramokgopa, SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi, as well as representatives from Botswana and Namibia.
Parliament on Thursday said Ramaphosa “appreciates His Majesty King Mswati III’s availability to receive a delegation”.
The envoys are expected to travel to the Kingdom this week.
The deployment follows after a high school was set on fire and civilians were wounded in Mbabane earlier this week.
Pupils and students have been protesting for a number of weeks, boycotting lessons and calling for free schooling, as well as an end to the regime under King Mswati III.
“His Majesty’s government has taken the decision to close schools indefinitely with immediate effect,” Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini said in a statement.
At least 80 people were injured in Eswatini on Wednesday, a union leader said, as security forces cracked down on escalating pro-democracy protests in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
Civil servants’ union NAPSAWU said 50 of its members were taken to hospital in the capital Mbabane, with another 30 hospitalised in the city of Manzini.
Call for intervention
The Swaziland Solidarity Network’s Lucky Lukhele said “no one is spared”.
“Not even the elderly or children are safe, [if] you are walking to a shop you are targeted.”
Lukhele called for urgent intervention “from the leaders of the SADC region that can talk some sense into King Mswati.”
Additional reporting by AFP