Swaziland: Activists challenge constitutionality of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act

Salc : Staff Writer

SALC is supporting three individuals who were charged with sedition for allegedly participating in a march that encouraged Swazis to boycott the 2013 national elections. The definition of sedition in the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act is extremely broad and vague, and this lack of clarity over what conduct is prohibited by the legislation has enabled Swazi authorities to use the offence to suppress legitimate dissent.

The three individuals are accused of contravening section 4(a) of the Act which prohibits conduct that attempts to “bring hatred and dissatisfaction against the Swaziland government and the administration of justice”, and section 4(e) of the Act which prohibits the display of “seditious publications”. All three were granted bail in 2013, and have not yet received a trial date for the commencement of their criminal trial.

The constitutional challenge was filed in June 2014, and was initially before court in September 2015. Due to time constraints it was postponed to 8 and 9 February 2016 for the finalisation of oral arguments. Judgment was delivered on 16 September 2016. The State has since appealed the judgment.

Fact Sheet

Court Diary: High Court, Day 1

Court Diary: High Court, Day 2

Court Diary: High Court, Day 3

Court Diary: High Court, Day 4

Court Papers

Notice of Motion

Founding Affidavit

4th Respondent’s Answering Affidavit

3rd Respondent’s Supporting Affidavit

Replying Affidavit

Applicants’ Heads of Argument

High Court Majority Judgment

High Court Dissenting Judgment