The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see www.state.gov for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal

flag
bar

Title:  Swaziland Human Rights Practices, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State
Date:  March 1996




                                 SWAZILAND


Swaziland is governed as a modified traditional monarchy with executive, 
legislative, and (with some limitations) judicial powers ultimately 
vested in the King (presently Mswati III).  The King rules according to 
unwritten Swazi law and custom, in conjunction with an elected 
Parliament and an accompanying structure of published laws, implementing 
agencies, and an independent judiciary.  Despite the 1993 parliamentary 
elections, the election of regional and local councils in September and 
October of 1994, and municipal elections in the spring, political power 
continues to rest largely with the King and his circle of traditional 
advisers.  The 1968 Constitution, originally suspended by the present 
King's father in 1973, remained in suspension.  The King occasionally 
issued decrees, based upon this 1973 suspension, which carry the force 
of law.

Both the Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force and the Royal Swaziland Police 
operate under civilian control and are responsible for external and 
internal security.  The police harassed and arrested political activists 
from prohibited political organizations.  There were credible 
accusations of excessive force, abuse, and torture by the police in the 
interrogation of criminal suspects.

Swaziland has a free market economy, with relatively little government 
intervention.  The majority of Swazis are engaged in subsistence 
agriculture, although a relatively diversified industrial sector now 
accounts for the largest component of the formal economy.  The economy 
relies heavily on the export sector, especially the soft drink 
concentrates, sugar, and wood pulp industries, composed primarily of 
large firms with predominantly foreign ownership.  A governmental 
organization maintains large investments in all major sectors of the 
industrial, agricultural, and services economy.

There was little change in the overall human rights situation.  Citizens 
are not able to change their government.  The Government restricted 
freedom of assembly, continued prohibitions on political activity and 
parties, harassed journalists from both the only independent newspaper 
and the government newspaper, and detained or arrested members of 
political groupings.  Police continued to use excessive force, 
especially during the interrogation of criminal suspects, and the 
authorities rarely punished offenders.  The Government's frequent use of 
a nonbailable offense provision, strengthened by act of Parliament in 
1994, continued to cause overcrowding in detention facilities.  Prison 
conditions are poor.  The Government framed new industrial relations 
legislation, containing draconian penalties for various violations of 
the law, which both unions and organized business rejected.  Legal and 
cultural discrimination and violence against women, and abuse of 
children, remained serious problems.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from:

  a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial killings.

  b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

  c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment

There were credible reports by criminal defendants of the use of torture 
during interrogation.  A number of defendants accused police of 
employing the "Kentucky" method of interrogation, where suspects are 
made to squat, their hands cuffed behind their knees, a thin pole run 
between hands and knees, and the suspect hung between two desks.  
Officers then kick the suspect until a confession is extracted.  Other 
forms of police brutality continued to be a major problem.  Criminal 
suspects routinely complained that police beat them in the course of 
interrogations, and occasionally complained of being suffocated through 
use of a tube around the face and mouth.  The Government failed to 
prosecute or otherwise discipline police officers for such abuses.  
Courts did, however, throw out confessions induced through such physical 
abuse.  On two occasions, the Government charged police officers with 
the rape of a criminal suspect; both cases ended in the officers' 
acquittal.  

The Government finally released the report of an official inquiry into 
the 1990 "Black Wednesday" incident when police and army units beat 
University of Swaziland student protesters.  The report condemned the 
actions of the police, finding the use of force "brutal and excessive," 
and recommended the criminal prosecution of the then assistant 
commissioner of police, who directed the beatings.  The Government has 
so far taken no action against the former assistant commissioner.  
Student commemoration of this event in November 1994 led to accusations 
of property damage and harassment of nonparticipants, the early closure 
of the University at year's end, and student protests and a hunger 
strike by expelled students in January and February.  University life 
returned to normal after the King ordered the reinstatement of all 
students and the commencement of classes in February.

Prison conditions are poor but not life threatening.  Food is generally 
adequate, although sometimes family members must bring food to 
supplement the sparse prison diet.  Medical care is inadequate.  Use of 
the nonbail provision led to continued overcrowding in government remand 
centers, where suspects are held during pretrial detention (see Section 
l.d.).  Women and juveniles are held in separate prison facilities.

  d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law requires warrants for arrests in most circumstances, except when 
police observe a crime being committed or have reason to believe that a 
suspect will flee.  Detainees may consult with a lawyer of their choice 
and must be charged with violation of a statute within a reasonable 
time, usually 48 hours, or, in remote areas, as soon as the judicial 
officer appears.  The authorities generally respect these rights in 
practice.

The Government continued to limit provisions for bail for crimes 
appearing in the Nonbailable Offenses Order, effective August 24, 1993.  
The Minister of Justice may amend the list, which currently has 10 
offenses, by his own executive act.  An 11th offense, involving 
narcotics, is reportedly in the preparation stage, because of growing 
concern regarding drug use and drug dealers in Swaziland.  The mere 
charge of the underlying offense, without any evidentiary showing that 
the suspect is involved, is sufficient to employ the nonbailable 
provision.

In January police arrested 12 members of a banned political 
organization, the People's United Democracy Movement (PUDEMO), when 
members atttempted to hold a political rally in Piggs Peak.  The 12 were 
released after a weekend in jail, with no charges filed.

The Government does not use exile for political purposes.  There are no 
formal barriers to prevent the return of dissidents.

  e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Judicial powers are vested in a dual system, one independent and based 
on Western law, the other based on a system of national courts which 
follows unwritten, traditional law and custom.  In treason and sedition 
cases, the King can circumvent the regular judiciary by appointing a 
special tribunal, which may adopt rules and procedures different from 
those applied in the High Court.  However, this power was last used in 
1987.

The modern judiciary consists of the Court of Appeals, (composed 
entirely of expatriate, usually South African judges), the High Court, 
and magistrates' courts, which are independent of executive and military 
control and free from intimidation from outside forces.  The expatriate 
judges, often distinguished members of their respective bars, serve on 
the basis of 2-year, renewable contracts.  Local judges serve 
indefinitely on good behavior.  In magistrates' courts, the defendant is 
entitled to counsel at his or her own expense.  Court-appointed counsel 
is provided in capital cases or when difficult points of law are at 
issue.  There are well-defined appeal procedures up to the Court of 
Appeals, the highest judicial body.

Most citizens who encounter the legal system do so through the 
traditional courts.  The authorities may bring ethnic Swazis to these 
courts for relatively minor offenses and violations of traditional law 
and custom.  In traditional courts, defendants are not permitted formal 
legal counsel but may speak on their own behalf and be assisted by 
informal advisers.  Sentences are subject to review by traditional 
authorities and to appeal to the High Court and the Court of Appeals.  
By law, the public prosecutor has the authority to determine which court 
should hear a case, but in practice the police usually make the 
determination.  Accused persons have the right to transfer their cases 
from the traditional courts.

In April the Government arrested seven members of PUDEMO in Piggs Peak 
when they attempted to mark the 22nd anniversary of the suspension of 
the Constitution with a public commemoration.  The seven were held for 
10 days and then released on bail.  Originally charged with contravening 
the 1973 Emergency Proclamation for holding a political meeting without 
a permit, the Government later dropped this charge and accused the seven 
of various minor offenses relating to their arrest.  At trial six of the 
seven were acquitted for lack of evidence, and the seventh convicted of 
malicious damage to police property.  The court postponed sentencing, 
allowing for restitution by the defendant to the Government.  The trial 
of 49 members of PUDEMO and its sister organization, the Swaziland Youth 
Congress (SWAYOCO), arrested by police in late December 1994 when the 
two groups staged a public rally in Siteki, has been delayed by the 
court several times.  The 49 have been charged by the Government with 
holding a political meeting without a permit, possession of political 
pamphlets, and disturbing traffic.

Tighter Judicial Service Commission (JSC) supervision of magistrates and 
the institution of a training and inspection magistrate group to 
supervise courtroom performance led to significant reductions in 
judicial delay in l994.  However, delays in bringing cases to court this 
year led to several brief sit-down strikes by criminal detainees 
protesting their continuing detention without trial.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

  f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence

The law requires a warrant from a magistrate before police may search 
homes or other premises, and police generally respect this requirement 
in practice.  However, police officers with the rank of subinspector or 
higher have the right to search without a warrant if they believe 
evidence might be lost through delay in obtaining a warrant.  While 
searches without warrants occur occasionally, the issue of legality of 
evidence rarely arises in court.

There is no evidence that the Government systematically monitors private 
correspondence or conversations.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

  a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech, especially on political matters, remains limited, 
including in the Parliament.  The media, both government-controlled and 
private, practice self-censorship in regard to the immediate royal 
family and national security policy.  On three occasions the Government 
prosecutor ordered the arrest of newspaper personnel.  In March four 
journalists of the government newspaper were arrested and briefly 
detained for the publication of allegedly confidential information 
regarding a rape case before the local courts.  In June four 
journalists, two from each of the daily newspapers, the government-owned 
one and the privately owned one, were arrested and briefly detained for 
technical violations of the Books and Newspaper Act of 1963.  The 
Government prosecutor unsuccessfully attempted to close the newspapers 
as a condition of the granting of bail for the four men.  The government 
journalists, after a short trial in July, were found guilty of the 
various technical offenses of the Newspaper Act, and of publishing 
confidential information in the rape case, and sentenced to fines or 
short jail terms.  The paper has appealed the convictions, and the 
journalists remain free on bail.  Following a printed apology by the 
independent newspaper in August, the Government dropped the charges 
against that paper's journalists.  Also in August, the Government 
arrested three journalists of the government newspaper and briefly 
detained them for the publication of allegedly defamatory material, and 
for contempt of court, concerning published remarks directed at a judge 
and prosecutor.  No formal charges have yet been filed in the case, and 
the defendants remain free on bail.

The day after the story appeared, the paper ran an apology, and 
suspended the editor who wrote the allegedly defamatory piece.  The 
Government showed its hostility to the press in other ways as well:  the 
Government continued to refuse to grant the expatriate owner and 
publisher of the independent newspaper a renewal of his work permit (now 
pending for over a year), and in an incident in June, a member of the 
royal family assaulted a photographer for the independent paper taking 
pictures of a vocational student protest at the royal palace.  Nearby 
police observed the assault but did not intervene.  Despite the 
harassment, both papers continued to treat a wide range of sensitive 
topics, and to criticize government corruption, inefficiency, and waste.  
The government-owned television and radio stations--the most influential 
media in reaching the public--generally followed official policy 
positions.  Private companies and church groups own several newsletters, 
magazines, and one radio station that broadcasts throughout the region, 
but these avoid political controversy.

The practice of self-censorship and the prohibition of political 
gatherings limits academic freedom.  After a student-led commemoration 
of Black Wednesday at the university in November 1994 led to accusations 
that student activists had damaged property, and harassed 
nonparticipants, the University Senate voted to close the university.  
The university then established an informal inquiry panel to interview 
students and pass judgment on their fitness to attend class, and in 
January denied entry to a number of students who refused to sign an 
agreement governing student behavior.  After renewed protests by the 
student body, and a hunger strike by the students concerned, all 
students were admitted to class on order of the King, and classes 
resumed.

  b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

King Sobhuza's 1973 decree prohibits political parties, as well as 
meetings of a political nature, processions, or demonstrations in any 
public place without the consent of the Commissioner of Police.  The 
authorities did not generally grant permission to hold meetings but did 
not rigidly enforce the 1973 decree.  Political organizations often met 
without the required permission, without repercussions, including PUDEMO 
and the SWAYOCO.  However, the threat of police intervention is 
pervasive, and on at least two occasions police harassed political 
groups taking part in political activities, such as peaceful meetings, 
rallies, and demonstrations (see Sections l.d. and l.e.).  In June riot 
police used whips and batons to break up a march on the royal palace by 
vocational students protesting inferior classroom conditions.  Police 
have also on several occasions monitored a regional discussion group 
formed among senators from the Parliament.

Several traditional forums exist for the expression of opinion, 
including community meetings, national councils, and direct dialogue 
with village chiefs, but they depend on the sufferance of leaders and 
are ineffective channels for expressing real political dissent.

  c.  Freedom of Religion

Followers of all religious faiths are free to worship without government 
interference or restriction.

  d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation

Swazis may travel and work freely within the country.  However, for 
travel abroad, under traditional law, a married woman requires her 
husband's permission to apply for a passport, and unmarried single women 
require the permission of a close male relative.  A new Citizenship Law 
passed in 1992 removed several ambiguities relating to Swazi citizenship 
and nominally enabled nonethnic Swazis to obtain passports and 
citizenship documents.  Bureaucratic delays, however, plagued 
individuals seeking these documents during the year, in part due to the 
common perception that nonethnic Swazis are not real Swazis.  Mixed race 
citizens in particular are sometimes subject to unfair and 
discriminatory treatment.

The Government treats several thousand ethnic Swazis from the former 
homeland of KwaZulu in South Africa as virtually indistinguishable from 
local Swazis and routinely grants them travel and citizenship documents.

Swaziland's treatment of refugees is considered good by the United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the various 
nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) involved in the care of these 
groups.  The UNHCR officially registered several hundred refugees in 
Swaziland, the majority coming from east and central Africa.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government

Citizens are not able to exercise this right.  The King retains ultimate 
executive and legislative authority, and political parties are 
prohibited.  Passage of legislation by Parliament requires the King's 
assent to become law, which he is not obliged to give.  When Parliament 
is not in session, the King may legislate by decree under his residual 
emergency powers.  The King chooses the Prime Minister and, in 
consultation with the Prime Minister, the Cabinet.

The King has been under increasing public pressure, including from 
within his own Government, to modernize the political system.  In 
September the King publicly announced the need for a new constitution, 
and promised early consultation and drafting of such a document.

Women have full legal rights to participate in the political process.  
In the Parliament, two women were elected to the 65-member House of 
Assembly, and four women elected--and two appointed--to the 30-member 
Senate.  There are no women in the Cabinet.  Three women serve as 
principal secretaries, the most senior civil service rank in the 
ministries.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

The Government permits domestic human rights groups to operate.  In 1995 
two local human rights groups spoke out on human rights issues and 
served as a mediators in land and labor disputes.  The groups criticized 
the Government on a number of occasions, including the Government's 
handling of university student protests, the arrest of journalists, and 
the lack of accountability and transparancy in government circles.  
There were no visits by international human rights organizations.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status

The 1968 Constitution remains suspended.  However, the Employment Act of 
1980 forbids employers to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, 
sex, or political affiliation.  Under the Act employees may bring suit 
against employers for discrimination, and there are also provisions for 
criminal prosecutions.  However, there is no record of any suits or 
prosecutions.  Reportedly, the Act has been used on occasion to bring 
moral suasion against employers.  

  Women

Violence against women, particularly wife beating, is frequent, despite 
traditional strictures against this practice.  Women have the right to 
charge their husbands with assault under both the traditional and modern 
legal systems and frequently do so, usually in extreme cases when 
intervention by extended family members fails to end such violence.  The 
traditional courts, however, can be unsympathetic to "unruly" or 
"disobedient" women and are less likely than the modern courts to 
convict men for wife beating.  In one well-publicized case, a husband 
received a $135 fine (500 emalangeni) for beating his wife to death.  
Rape is also a common crime and is regarded by many men as a minor 
offense.  Even in the modern courts, sentences frequently amount to no 
more than several months in jail or a fine, or both.  The Legal Code 
addresses legal protection from sexual harassment, but its provisions 
are vague and largely ineffective.

Several NGO's provide support to groups affected by discrimination or 
abuse, including the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse which has 
relations with other civic organizations as well as the Government.  
They provide forums to discuss spousal and child abuse and to educate 
the public on the rights of abuse victims.

Women have traditionally occupied a subordinate role in Swazi society, 
and the dualistic nature of the legal system complicates the issue of 
women's rights.  As traditional marriage is governed by uncodified law 
and custom, women's rights are often unclear and change according to 
where and by whom they are interpreted.  In both traditional and civil 
marriages, wives are legally treated as minors, although those who marry 
under civil law may be accorded the legal status of adults, if 
stipulated in a signed prenuptial agreement.

Changing socioeconomic conditions, urbanization, and the increasing 
prominence of female leaders in government and civic organizations are 
slowly breaking down barriers to equality.  Wives now routinely and 
successfully execute contracts and enter into a variety of transactions 
in their own names.  Nevertheless, despite the 1980 Employment Act 
requiring equal pay for equal work, men's average wage rates by skill 
category usually exceed those of women.  Moreover, a woman generally 
requires her husband's permission to borrow money, open a bank account, 
leave the country, gain access to land, or, in some cases, take a job.

Traditional marriages consider children to belong to the father and to 
his family if the couple divorces.  Children born out of wedlock are 
viewed as belonging to the mother.  In traditional marriages, a man may 
take more than one wife.  A man who marries a woman under civil law 
legally may not have more than one wife, although in practice this 
restriction is sometimes ignored.  Under the Citizenship Act of 1992 a 
Swazi woman married to a noncitizen does not automatically pass her 
citizenship to their children.  

Couples often marry in both civil and traditional ceremonies, creating 
problems in determining which set of rules applies to the marriage and 
to subsequent questions of child custody and inheritance in the event of 
divorce or death.

  Children

The Government is concerned with the rights and welfare of children, and 
a number of laws directly address children's issues.  Examples including 
the Adoption of Children Act of 1952, with a number of provisions for 
protecting children under consideration for adoption, and the 
Maintenance Act of 1970, which includes various provisions regarding the 
enforcement of maintenance decrees for the benefit of women and 
children.  Child abuse is a serious problem in Swaziland.  A government 
task force continued to educate the public on children's issues.  In 
June the Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights 
of the Child.

  People with Disabilities

The Government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, has called for 
equal treatment of the disabled but has not initiated legislation to 
prohibit discrimination against them.  For example, there are no laws 
mandating accessibility for the disabled to buildings, transportation, 
or government services.

Section 6  Worker Rights

  a.  The Right of Association

The Industrial Relations Act (IRA) of 1980 affirms the right of trade 
unions to organize and associate freely.  It permits workers in all 
sectors of the economy, including the public sector, to join unions.  
Unions operate independently of government or political control, 
provided they act as economic, rather than political, organizations.  
The main trade union federation is the Swaziland Federation of Trade 
Unions (SFTU).  The Swaziland Federation of Labor, a breakaway 
federation formed from the SFTU in 1993, gained formal recognition from 
the Government in 1994.

Unions are free to draw up their own constitutions within the framework 
of the IRA.  The Act specifies a number of provisions which must be 
addressed in a constitution, including the election of officers by 
secret ballot.  The Labor Commissioner must approve the union 
constitution, and he can strike out or amend provisions which violate 
the law.  The Government may dissolve unions which fail to maintain 
proper registration with the Labor Commissioner without recourse to 
judicial review, but it has never exercised this authority.  The law 
prohibits strikes in "essential" services, which cover electricity, 
water, fire, health, sanitary, telephone, telegraph and broadcast, and 
teaching services, and many civil service positions.

The IRA details the steps to be followed when disputes arise, including 
what determines a legal or illegal strike.  The Act empowers the 
Industrial Court to settle employment disputes and grievances and to 
enjoin a union from striking.  When disputes arise, the Government often 
intervenes to try to reduce the chances of a strike, which may not be 
legally called until all avenues of negotiation have been exhausted.  
The Labor Commissioner may then issue a 14-day postponement, which may 
be extended upon presentation of further documentation.

There were a number of strikes, usually over wages and benefits, or 
dismissal of fellow workers.  In March the SFTU called a mass stay away 
in regard to 27 demands presented to the Government in 1994.  These 
demands addressed a wide range of issues, including recognition of 
affirmative action, a national uniform minimum wage, ending 
discrimination against women, housing for workers, and inclusion of 
workers in constitutional discussions.  The stay away ended after 2 
days, when the Government agreed to negotiate with unions and business 
over the 27 demands.  In April the Government tabled a new draft 
Industrial Relations Act, which, while answering some of the union 
demands, also contains stiff penalties for mass stay aways and other 
labor action that violate the new Act.  After government foot-dragging 
in negotiations, the SFTU threatened a renewed labor stay away in July.  
The Government, labor, and business agreed at the last moment to a 
formal negotiating sequence involving the 27 demands and the new 
Industrial Relations Act, and the SFTU called off its new stay away.  In 
the fall negotiations continued among the three parties.  

Against this backdrop of heightened labor discord, the Government moved 
to strip the SFTU leader of his citizenship, but relented under 
considerable local and international pressure.  SFTU leadership made 
credible accusations of government surveillance and intimidation of 
union activists.  SFTU leadership reported receiving numerous threats, 
including death threats, from anonymous sources.  In August the SFTU 
leader was kidnaped and robbed while driving along a remote highway, and 
briefly held in the trunk of his car.  Union leadership accused the 
Government of involvement, which the Government denied.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts (COE) 
has noted discrepancies between the IRA and ILO Convention 87 on Freedom 
of Association and ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and 
Bargain Collectively, both of which Swaziland ratified in 1978.  The COE 
concerns include the powers accorded government officials to control 
union activity and the strictures on the ability of workers to form 
unions and associate with other unions at home and abroad.  The 
Government tolerates the unions' international affiliations but does not 
recognize them.

  b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The IRA provides for the right to organize and bargain collectively and 
outlaws antiunion discrimination.  Collective bargaining is widespread; 
approximately 80 percent of the formal private sector is unionized.  The 
Industrial Court may refuse to register agreements in the event of 
nonobservance of government directives on wage levels.  The COE has 
criticized this as a violation of ILO Convention 98.  The law obliges 
employers to recognize a union when it achieves a 40 percent membership 
among employees.  Disputes are referred to the Labor Commissioner and 
the Industrial Court, if necessary.  Employers must allow members of 
legally recognized unions to attend union activities on company time.  
Although many employers resist recognition and force the issue to the 
Industrial Court, the Court has generally ruled in favor of the unions 
on recognition.

The law limits the Industrial Court with respect to granting redress in 
the case of unfair dismissal.  The Court may not order reinstatement and 
may award compensation only to the extent of 6 months' salary.  Union 
leadership have on a number of occasions made credible charges that 
management in various industries have summarily dismissed workers for 
union activity.  The Government sometimes instigates such dismissals.  

There are no export processing zones.

  c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced labor, and it is not known to exist.

  d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The Employment Act of 1980 prohibits the hiring of a child below the age 
of 15 years in an industrial undertaking, except in cases where only 
family members are employed in the firm, or in technical schools where 
children are working under the supervision of a teacher or other 
authorized person.  Legislation limits the number of night hours which 
can be worked on schooldays and limits children's work hours overall to 
6 per day or 33 per week.  Employment of children in the formal sector 
is not customary.

However, children below the minimum age are frequently employed in the 
agricultural sector, particularly in the country's eastern cotton-
growing region.  Children are also employed as domestic workers, and as 
herd boys in rural areas.  The Ministry of Labor is responsible for 
enforcement, but its effectiveness is limited by personnel shortages.

  e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Swaziland has a legally mandated sliding scale of minimum wages 
depending on the type of work.  These minimum wages generally provide a 
worker and family with an adequate standard of living within the context 
of Swazi society.  The minimum monthly wage for a domestic worker is 
approximately $50 (180 emalangeni), for an unskilled worker $75 (280 
emalangeni), and for a skilled worker $125 (450 emalangeni).

Labor, management, and government representatives have negotiated a 
maximum 48-hour workweek in the modern sector, except for security 
guards, who work up to six 12-hour shifts per week.  The Employment Act 
and the Wages Act entitle all workers to one day of rest per week.  Most 
workers receive a minimum of 14 days annual leave.  The Labor 
Commissioner enforces standards in the formal sector.

Extensive legislation protects worker health and safety in Swaziland.  
The Government sets safety standards for industrial operations and 
encourages private companies to develop accident prevention programs.  
Recent growth in industrial production has necessitated more government 
action on safety issues.  However, the Labor Commissioner's Office has 
conducted few safety inspections in recent years because of staffing 
deficiencies.  Workers have no formal statutory rights to remove 
themselves from dangerous work places without jeopardizing their jobs; 
nor do any collective bargaining agreements address the matter. 
(###)

[end of document]

flag
bar

Department Seal

Return to 1995 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.