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Sale of Firewood on public roads banned

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By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-12-Sep-2009

MBABANE – There will be no more roadside firewood sale for the public, especially motorists.

The Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs yesterday banned the sale of firewood on public roadsides as the country continues to be faced with a problem of unsustainable harvesting of indigenous flora, particularly fuel wood and medicinal species.

Speaking during a press conference, Minister Macford Sibandze said; “The increasing number of fuel wood piles along public roads and depots in all the regions of the country is evident to this unfortunate state of affair. The consequences for this practice are the prevailing environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, unnecessary contribution to climate change and other socio-economic problems.”

In terms of section 5, 7 and 19 of the Flora protection Act No.5 of 2001, it is illegal and an offence to pick, pluck, cut, uproot or dig out any indigenous flora for the purpose of commercial gain or export. Minister Sibandze further said: “The ministry urges members of the public, particularly those who are involved in this illegal activity, to desist from it with immediate effect. Government through the department of forestry, has been making efforts to create public awareness and train some stakeholders on appropriate management of indigenous flora and applicable legislation.”

“We appeal to all stakeholders, especially the honourable chiefs, Royal Swaziland Police as well as Customs and Excise officials to cooperate with the ministry in enforcing the Flora Protection act,” said Minister Sibandze. In a snap interview by the Swazi News with some aspiring businessmen and women who sell such firewood along the public roads, a majority of them were unhappy with the ban. “We are doing this for a living and the wood we sell is from the common and abundant trees in the country. If we are stopped from doing such a business, does this mean we should resort to crime?” asked one gentleman.


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