Fight to free SA man in Swaziland
THE mother of Amos Mbedzi, who is serving 85 years in Swaziland's Manzini prison, has been ill since her son was arrested.
The family's spirits were lifted when they heard political parties and community groups were planning to launch a campaign demanding his release.
Mbedzi, a member of the SA Communist Party, was convicted of murder, unlawful possession of explosives, entering Swaziland illegally and sedition. He was arrested in September 2008, when a bomb that he allegedly planned to plant at a bridge frequently used by King Mswati exploded.
Mbedzi was in the company of two friends, Musa Dlamini and Jack Govender, who both died when the bomb detonated.
His niece, Confidence Nevhutalu, said yesterday that since Mbedzi's arrest, the family had been struggling to make ends meet and were drained.
"My grandmother fell ill and I had to drop out of university. My uncle's daughter may drop out of the Free State university because she is in arrears with her fees," Nevhutalu said.
She said while Mbedzi was employed by the Limpopo department of local government he looked after the family in Venda.
She said it takes the family two weeks to get official clearance to go and visit him in Swaziland.
"We are required to write a letter with our full details and wait for approval. It normally takes two weeks before we get the permit.
"My uncle is always in good spirits when we visit him, but my grandmother last visited him while he was still on trial."
Mbedzi's three children have not seen their father since his arrest because they have no passports.
"Home Affairs in Venda told their mother they require the signature of both parents and are not willing to compromise when we point out their father can't come because he is in prison."
Chairman of the Swaziland Solidarity Network, Solly Mapaila, is adamant that Mbedzi is innocent.
"He could not have killed his comrades, he was found guilty on charges that were politically motivated," said Mapaila.
The campaign for his release will be led by the SACP, ANC, Cosatu, ANCYL, YCL, Swaziland's People's United Democratic Movement and the Swaziland Solidarity Network.