Cape Town, 25 January 2023 – It is with deep anger and sadness that we learned of the brutal murder of our comrade and friend Thulani Maseko on Saturday, 21 January in Swaziland. Comrade Thulani was shot dead in cold blood at his home in front of his family. The murder of Thulani Maseko happens in a time of extreme and excessive state-sanctioned violence and repression against pro-democracy activists. Shortly before Comrade Thulani was murdered, King Mswati III made comments threatening those who dare stand up to the regime. Dangerous statements like these demonstrate the deep political battles faced by ordinary people in Swaziland demanding an end to one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies.
Comrade Thulani, a lawyer, human rights defender and pro-democracy activist, was integral to the establishment of the Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power’s first Permanent Peoples Tribunal on Transnational Corporations in Manzini, Swaziland in 2016. He was one of the jurors and contributed to the indictment that brought to light a key issue for communities that are affected by extractivism – they did not give their consent; they did not have the right to say no. Comrade Thulani’s wisdom and insight enriched the Permanent Peoples Tribunal process which allowed us to host further tribunals in 2017 and 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are deeply appreciative of Comrade Thulani and honour his commitment and bravery to defend human rights for the peoples of southern Africa, especially those in Swaziland.
We demand that independent authorities take the necessary steps to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice without delay. It cannot be the norm that human rights defenders face execution for standing up to dictatorship and authoritarianism. We condemn the brutal slaying of Comrade Thulani and all human rights defenders who have bravely stood up to power.
Rest in power Comrade Thulani. While the loss is immense, we remain inspired by your character and tenacity as fuel for the struggle in defence of human rights and freedoms for the peoples of southern Africa. To the family of Comrade Thulani, we extend our deepest condolences and wish you strength in this time of deep sorrow.
A luta continua!
For more information contact:
Boa Monjane, Southern African Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power: 073 662 7149 or email@example.com
Maxine Bezuidenhout, Dismantle Corporate Power Campaign Programme Officer: 084 776 9001 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Ashley, Southern African Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power: 082 085 7088 or email@example.com
ONLINE VERSION: https://bit.ly/3j5Tuug