Swaziland News

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September 2008

 

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It's not time to press the panic button - Percy

Main Section

Arthur Mordaunt-The Times of Swaziland-24-Sep-2008

MBABANE - Government believes that it is not time to press the panic button over events happening in South Africa.

While admitting that the situation was tough, Government Press Secretary Percy Simelane said they were not pressing the panic button yet.

"We are hopeful that they’ll nurse and massage the situation well for the benefit of all South Africans, its neighbours, Africa and the world. This is a great challenge but we hope they are going to handle it in an adult manner," said Simelane.

He was reacting to recent occurrences in the republic where the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) has recalled President Thabo Mbeki. In reaction, about 13 cabinet ministers, including the Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, have resigned.

Simelane said changes, particularly those which are political, whether good or bad often affected the neighbour.

"For instance, there are fears in that country that big businesses might move out their cash from South Africa. That spells doom for the economy of that country and obviously our economy will be badly impacted," Simelane said.

He said it was unfortunate that these changes which might affect Swaziland were happening almost simultaneously.

"Mozambique and Lesotho are going to the polls, for example. That has the potential to affect us. We have just been exposed to the situation in Zimbabwe, which also had its own impact in the country," he noted.

...tensions will continue for some time - NCA

MBABANE - National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Coordinator Thulani Maseko said the tensions in South Africa would still continue for some time.

"This is because many view the decision by the ANC to recall Mbeki as a follow up to the Polokwane conference, where Mbeki was removed from the presidency of the party," the lawyer said.

Asked what impact this would have on Swaziland, Maseko said the ANC’s policy was that African states should democratise. He said the change of personnel in ANC offices did not mean that this position was going to change.


You will pay E320 per month for broadband

Business Section

Nomile Hlatshwayo-24-Sep-2008

MBABANE - Members of the public will pay a minimum of E320 per month to access broadband.

This will be a charge to allow one to download 128 kilobytes per second (kbps), upload 64 kbps, with a capped volume of two gigabytes (GB) per month.

However, those interested in having broadband will have to wait for a few months, as the roll-out to the public will be launched officially early next year.

From yesterday, the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) is allowing people and institutions to test the broadband in order to unearth teething problems that will then be addressed before it is launched.

According to the Managing Director Nathi Dlamini, the broadband, referred to as ADSL, will be classified into two categories: individuals and businesses.

The ADSL broadband stands for Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line, a modem based technology that turns ordinary telephone line into a multi-tasking access medium.

The ADSL brochure states that individuals will be connected for the 128 and 256 kilobytes per second (kbps). One will have to pay E550 for the download of 256 kbps, with the same upload volume and three GB.

For businesses, the least that will be paid is E650 per month with the maximum being E1 550 per month.

The ADSL broadband service provides one with high speed Internet access at a flat fee. It enables users to send and receive information much quicker than traditional dial-up and one could use their telephone for voice calls while online. The service packages are based on a 24 month contract.

Dlamini noted the benefits of having broadband to individuals, businesses and the country as a whole.

"As broadband is high Internet speed, it has many benefits for individuals, businesses and the country as a whole. For individuals, the broadband helps in that one spends much less time to interact with others and sending data, which means higher productivity and they are guaranteed to achieve more in less time," he said.

For businesses, Dlamini said the broadband would particularly be of benefit to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"This will assist SMEs in particular to expand their businesses, as they will get to sell more of their services faster because they have more bandwidth and will be able to host their own websites. Basically, the broadband will promote what is referred to as e-commerce, as these days trade is no longer done physically but electronically. This, therefore, means the broadband will bring world markets to the homes of business people," Dlamini remarked.

In terms of benefits for the country, Dlamini explained that their infrastructure would assist government, especially in its bid to decentralise services to rural areas. He said it would promote such things as e-education, e-health as well as create employment opportunities for many Swazis.

With regards e-health, the broadband will assist in tele-medicine services such that a private doctor in town could be connected and diagnose a patient who is in the rural areas without having to be there physically. Likewise with teachers in urban schools; one teacher can be connected to many schools and hence this will improve the quality of education in rural schools."

Broadband will also result in the introduction of call centres in the country; something Dlamini believes will lead to more business as well as employment opportunities for many Swazis.


'bombers' condemned even in death

Main Section

The Times of Swaziland-24-Sep-2008

MANZINI - The suspected bombers who were killed by their own bomb on Saturday night have been condemned by a wider section of society even in death.

The general feeling from members of the public is that they deserved to die because they were all out to disrupt peace in the country.

The talk of the town here is that no one should feel pity for the suspects because their acts were very dangerous to human life and property.

At the Manzini Magistrate’s Court where the South African man who survived the explosion was expected to appear for his first remand hearing, people kept condemning him and his acts.

"They all deserved to die. There is no reason why they thought and decided to use force in a peaceful country like Swaziland. What we need here is dialogue and no bombings," said an irate young woman.

A middle-aged man who preferred to be identified as Bashise said the men tasted their own medicine.

"What exactly were they doing? Do we really have to use force to see things change in the country? They suffered the consequences of their crude acts," he said.

A court clerk said the Swazi nation should praise God for saving innocent lives from the suspected bombers.

She said it was good that the alleged bombers failed to accomplish their mission but died in their line of duty.

A witness in another case Mandla Ginindza said what happened to the suspected terrorists will serve as a deterrent to would-be bombers.

"This is good lesson. People will know from now on that inhlambi ifela emantini (a diver usually dies in the deep end of water) and lisotja lifela emsebentini walo (one usually dies in the line of duty)," he said.

A royal family member Prince Simelane said the bombers deserved such a painful death because they were also planning to destroy many innocent lives.

The prince said God, who the Swazi nation strongly believes in worked wonders for the country and implore people to keep praying for peace. He quoted from the Holy Bible in the book of Isaiah 54:17 where it says ‘No weapon former against me shall prosper."

Former Speaker in parliament Mgabhi Dlamini was heard on national radio also condemning the acts. He said the nation should go and pray at the scene of crime so that the same thing happens to other would-be bombers.

Police Deputy Commissioner Isaac Magagula said they strongly condemned the acts of terrorism and that it was incumbent upon every Swazi citizen to ensure that the perpetrators who disrupt peace and stability in the country are brought to book.


Mswati calls on Western powers to support Zimbabwe

Main Section

Nyasha Perekwa -The Zimbabwe Guardian-25-Sep-2008

KING Mswati III of Swaziland has applauded the efforts by the principals and negotiators to the unity talks in Zimbabwe and asked called on the international community to support the initiatives in the country.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York today the King said the recent power sharing arrangement should be respected by the international community.

“It is for this reason that we applaud the recent signing of the power sharing agreement and the establishment of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe,” said Mswati III.

“We look forward with optimism to the rebuilding process and removal of all bottlenecks,” he said reiterating the call he made in Zimbabwe at the signing ceremony on September 15 when he officiated at the signing ceremony.

Mswati II said without the support of the international community and the developed world, the rebuilding process in Zimbabwe will remain a mirage. He also called for the same support to be extended to the whole African continent and the rest of the world.”.

“In this regard, we urge the international community and the developed world to fully support the people of Zimbabwe. In the same spirit we wish to see peacefully negotiated settlements in all conflicts that prevail in Africa and in different parts of the world.”


SWATCYP congratulates elected artists

Recreation Section

Nombulelo Matsebula- The Swazi Observer-25-Sep-2008

THE Swaziland Theatre for Children and Young People (SWATCYP) has congratulated artists who have made it into parly, especially Macford Sibandze.

This follows that Sibandze has been one of the leading theatre activists in Swaziland.

"Sibandze started way back when he was still a teacher at Mqolo Primary School then Mpaka Railway and he is still a theatre artist, we would like to congratulate him in his success in the elections" SWATCYP Secretary General, Maswati Dludlu said.

He said now that Sibandze is 'rightly positioned' the association believes he will partner with colleagues, Frans Dlamini and Timothy Myeni in parly to influence law and policy making for theimposement of the theatre industry in the country, which is at its lowest ebb.

The Secretary General pin-pointed areas that the new parliarment need to address which include; updating copyright laws and performers' rights which are outdated, mainstreaming HIV and AIDS education among theatre artists, introducing theatre as an extra currivulum programme in schools, introducing theatre as a community development tool, establishing the film industry which should be absorbing a lot of existing theatre talents, among others.

Dludlu registered their disappointment in what he termed 'infighting' within the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture Council.

"We must say we are very disappointed that there seems to be internal problems in council. Instead of spending time addressing the above issues, there is infighting which of course, is affecting the ordinary artist on the ground."

He requested those involved in the misunderstanding to engage in meaningful dialogue, for a way forward.

"Finger-pointing and infighting won't solve any problem and this is bringing the name of arts and culture into unnecessary disrepute. In fact, this has always taken arts backward."


Highlanders threaten to boycott MTN opener

Sports Section

Sabelo Ndzinisa- The Swazi Observer-25-Sep-2008

SOCCER - DAGGERS have been drawn between Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) CEO Vuli Kunene and the Board of Governors as they are in disagreement on the programme for Saturday's MTN Premier League grand-opening games.

This newspaper has gathered that the Board of Governors stamped their authority and overruled Kunene on the programme for these games.

Kunene had already released a full programme for the day's activities but certain members of the Board forced some changes in the fixture, which will now see the derby involving Mbabane Swallows and Mbabane Highlanders being the main match, starting at 8pm.

Initially, this game was supposed to kick-off at 4:15pm as per Kunene's programme.

The Board further questioned Kunene on the inclusion of a National First Division game pitting Hellenic FC against Pigg's Peak Bush Bucks in the programme.

The suspicion is that Kunene may have been influenced to include Hellenic, which ironically is a team being owned by his close friend and Mbabane based lawyer Mduduzi 'Tsotsi' Mabila.

As a result, the Board decided to make amendments to the programme, something that did not go down well with Kunene who had already informed the sponsors, MTN on the day's activities.

Kunene met with the Board of Governors on Tuesday evening to discuss the programme but was forced to effect the changes. Reliable information has further revealed that there is strong likelihood that the games might now be shifted to Sunday.

Apparently, MTN was informed of the changes yesterday and according to Kunene, an official statement regarding the games will be released today.

"There is nothing I can say about this issue at the moment, a statement will be issued tomorrow," was all Kunene could say when quizzed on the matter yesterday.

Efforts to trace comments from Board's Chairman Moses 'Mkhulu' Motsa were unsuccessful as his cellphone rang endlessly without being answered yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Board endorsed changes to the origional fixture with Swallows being given host status as compared to Highlanders.

Already, the changes have invited the wrath of Highlanders who have made it clear that they won't honour the fixture unless they remain the hosts.


Farmers' consortium initiates Cape gooseberry project

Business Section

Teetee Zwane -Swazi Observer-25-Sep-2008

THANKS to TechnoServe and Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE), a consortium of farming associations will be pioneering their first crop of Cape gooseberries this spring.

The consortium, Komati Fresh Produce Farmers (KFPF) will be planting these gooseberries near Tshaneni in the lowveld. TechnoServe is providing technical assistance and market linkages with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) while SWADE is providing the pack house, which is critical to the business' success.

TechnoServe's Stanley Mkhwanazi said 36 homesteads in the area would participate in the initial planting. "Cape gooseberries are small orange berries with a tart taste and are commonly consumed both fresh and in jams. The fruit is ideal since the plant does not require much fertiliser and flourishes even in poorer soils," he explained.

He said KFPF's gooseberries would be exported to a leading international grower and distributor of berries based in the United Kingdom with operations in Cape Town.

"Swaziland's climate and land can provide an ideal supply of fruit in the winter months when neighboring countries cannot produce adequate supply. The buyer is keen to buy berries produced in Swaziland and has requested several tonnes of gooseberries every week of the year, with the potential to increase orders," he added.

Mkhwanazi said KFPF would coordinate an initial planting of about 10 hectares of gooseberries in the area around their central pack house near the Mananga border post.

He said the seedling generation would begin in September and the seedlings planted in November. Mkhwanazi added that the gooseberries would be ready for export from March to July next year and should the harvest prove to be successful, the project could be replicated in other regions of the country.

"SWADE has worked with KFPF on projects in the past and provided the company with a pack house which will be used for gooseberries and other crops," he said, adding "TechnoServe will provide technical and agricultural support throughout the first seasons of gooseberry planting and harvest."

He said in addition, TechnoServe would assist in securing financing for the consortium to ensure funds for purchase of farming inputs and management of the crop.

"Cape gooseberries have great potential in Swaziland since they have an ideal market and are well-matched for Swazi growing conditions," noted Ian Redman, TechnoServe's horticulture consultant and initiator of the project.

"Recent meetings with KFPF, its farmers, SWADE and TechnoServe have confirmed all parties' enthusiasm for the upcoming gooseberry season," added Mkhwanazi.


Hungry primary school pupils boycott lessons

Main Section

Faith Vilakati- The Swazi Oberver-25-Sep-2008

IN a rare occasion, Moti Primary School pupils yesterday boycotted classes and took to the road complaining of hunger. The school had to close as early as 10am.

The 200 pupils were toyi-toying and singing songs in the presence of teachers and the school committee members who then decided to call the KaPhunga Police.

Moti is situated at Kakholwane on the road to KaPhunga.

The singing and whistling raised suspicions to the neighboring homesteads which resulted in a number of parents rushing to the school.

Upon arrival, the parents found the principal, Walter Mkhwanazi and some teachers watching the proceedings while the others were whispering to each other.

The pupils said they were hungry thus could not concentrate in class as there was no food at the school.

It all started on Monday when the pupils were told that there was no money to grind maize that had been delivered by the World Food Programme the same day.

Apparently, the maize was delivered when the pupils needed it the most. They had allegedly gone for days without food (sidonono).

A Grade Seven pupil, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were annoyed by that the school said there was no money to grind the maize.

“The principal was aware of this, given that yesterday (Tuesday) a note was written and put at the gate, the very one he would use when he went home, alerting him about the strike. We are not sure whether he took it for granted or what. We don’t believe that the school does not have money to grind maize, at least two bags,” said a pupil who asked to be protected.

One of the parents said when they questioned the principal what the problem was, he did not give any response but went to one of the classrooms in shame.

“We were all surprised. At first we thought the school was on fire and rushed there solely to help, only to find the pupils toyi-toying.

“In my life, I have never seen that and I am worried as to what kind of children have we raised,” said an 83-year-old man, who preferred to be called Mkhulu. .

Mkhwanazi said he was still too shocked by his pupils’ behaviour because he had never thought they were capable of striking.

“I could not believe my eyes when they did it, it was the first time I saw such since I joined the profession, the pupils surprised me,” said Mkhwanazi.

He said he feared that the pupils might decide to vandalise the school property, hence it was closed.

He said they were expecting all the pupils to be at school today.


Bombers targeted the Swazi Observer

Main Section

Senzo Dlamini - Swazi Times-25-Sep-2008

MBABANE - The Swazi Observer Newspaper is said to have been one of the targets of the alleged bombers.

The suspected bombers, according to a well-informed source within the police service, were keen to send the Observer up in flames on the claim that it was a pro-government entity.

The newspaper, founded in the early 80s, is one of the many projects owned by Tibiyo Taka Ngwane whose Managing Director is Ndumiso Mamba.

"This was revealed to us (police officers) by one of the surviving suspects (Amos Mdedzi) during interrogation moments after the bomb blast on Saturday night," said the insider.

The source said the 44-year-old Mdedzi, who hails from Limpompo in neighbouring South Africa, survived the bomb blast at Lozitha Bridge last Saturday at around 11pm.

The bomb blast claimed the lives of fugitive lawyer Musa ‘MJ’ Dlamini, 37, and another man said to be of Asian origin.

The survivor, as per the source, succinctly told the investigating officers that they had targeted other areas like the Police Headquarters, offices of the Elections and Boundaries Commission and the Lozitha Bridge.

"He told the police that they failed to gain entry into the targeted areas because of tight security at the entrance, hence they tried to console themselves by bombing the bridge," said the impeccable source. Police PRO Superintendent Vusi Masuku, when interviewed yesterday, had this to say: "Yes, there were certain areas which were targeted by the alleged bombers, including the Swazi Observer offices." Masuku said he was not sure of the reasons why the Observer was placed as one of the targets.

Myzoe Magagula, the Chief Executive Officer of the Swazi Observer, said she was not aware that her company was on the suspected bombers’ hit list.

Mdedzi, the suspect bomber, has been slapped with four charges.

He made a brief appearance at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.


Dad has children with his daughter

Main Section

Zwelihle Sukati-Times of Swaziland-25-Sep-2008

MBABANE - A Swazi man has been arrested in South Africa for impregnating his own daughter three times.The children are now aged eight, five and three years old respectively.

The 52-year-old man relocated to South Africa over a decade ago to stay at Kanyamazane.

The man, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of his daughter, was arrested in Mpumalanga, South Africa and was last week found guilty of nine counts of rape by the Nelspruit regional court. The rape and incest case has been making rounds in the South African media and has drawn much public attention.

The father is said to have started having sex with his daughter when she was 13-years of age. She is now 23.

The daughter is said to have told the court that her father would say having sex with him was fine. "He said it was important that my blood should mix with his, that I should carry his blood in me," she told the court.

The Nelspruit court further learnt that the old man would have sex with his flesh and blood at least three times a week.

"He said I should respect him and that I would live longer," she said before court.

She had her first child in the year 2000 when she was in Grade 8. She had to drop out of school.

Three years later (2003) she gave birth to her second child while her third child was born in 2005.

She said her father would instruct her to come to his bedroom every morning to kiss him. The survivor of abuse is the third of 12 children. She alleged in court that her father would get very angry with her if she obeyed her mother.

"The father, who is originally from Swaziland, is also reported to have been physically abusive and never allowed her visitors," reported the Sowetan newspaper.

"As I grew older I realised that what he was doing was wrong and I started refusing, but when I did he would stop talking to me, deprive me of food and ill treat me compared to my other siblings," she told the court. She and her mother and siblings left home after laying charges against her father in 2006 and are at presently staying at a place of safety.

Miranda Tlou, a clinical psychologist who counselled the survivor, told the court that the woman did not trust men in general.

The abusive father, who was found guilty by the court, is to be sentenced on October 10, 2008.


Tight security after Swazi bombs

Main Section

BBC News-26-Sep-2008

Security has been tightened in Swaziland, where authorities are investigating a failed bomb attack near one of King Mswati III's royal palaces.

Swazi investigators are conducting a joint probe with counterparts from neighbouring South Africa into last Saturday's attempted bombing.

Meanwhile, a government official acknowledged there had been previous attempted bomb attacks.

He said an opposition group had claimed responsibility for Saturday's attempt.

Two activists - one Swazi and one South African - were killed planting the device near the capital, Mbabane, while a South African survivor was detained.

Government spokesman Percy Simelane told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that the opposition People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) had said it was behind the bombing.

'Failed to convince'

Authorities say they have found other bombs near railways, bridges and roads, but Mr Simelane played down the threat from Pudemo.

"They have a following but unfortunately for them, that following is not bigger than the number of people who are for the system," he said.

"It is simply because they have failed to convince the people that they want to kill the people, and we do not call that democracy."

Even so, authorities have increased police presence around government buildings in Mbabane over the last week, the BBC's Thulani Mtwethwa reports.

The attempted bombings come amid a rise in opposition to one of the world's last absolute monarchies.

The Swazi opposition says they are a result of people's frustrations with a ban on political parties.

Swaziland held its first parliamentary election under a new constitution a week ago.

On the day of the election, authorities blocked protesters who said they wanted to shut down the border crossing between landlocked Swaziland and South Africa.

South African unionists held protests on their side of the border in solidarity with Swazi activists.

Some Swazis blame King Mswati III for plunging the country into poverty and failing to tackle an Aids epidemic.

The king has been in power since 1986.

His government recently organised a lavish $12m (£6.6m) party to celebrate the king's 40th birthday as well as the 40th anniversary of the country's independence from Britain.


Are men visually stimulated?

Recreation Section

The Times of Swaziland-26-Sep-2008

MBABANE - Why do men love to watch porn? Has it anything to do with them liking to fantasise, visualise? Or is it that men are visually stimulated?

So, if they like porn so much how can we learn from it?

Believe me there is a lesson!

The thought of masturbating in front of your man is daunting, but seeing as men are visually stimulated, some would be fascinated by their partner masturbating for them.

How do you sum up the courage without feeling self- conscious? In a particular movie I watched recently, such a scenario was the case. The gentleman had suffered from erectile dysfunction, but because of seeing his wife please herself, his testosterone kicked in and the rest is history!

So Swazi women, where do we start considering the fact that we come from such a conservative society.

A friend of mine suggested a couple of tequilas, but you can’t always rely on that; and what about the ladies who do not drink? Society teaches us that good girls don’t do that, but you can’t be a good girl all the time, especially when you are with your husband.

This is based on the ever popular notion that men want a lady in public and a freak in bed!

Now focusing on our society, as much as we would like to believe we are a conservative nation there is a lot of outside influence so it’s best to conform to it. Take note though if you strongly disagree then do not.

The biggest issue here is: how do you break the ice without feeling stupid? It all boils down to self confidence.

"It does not matter how many times your partner tells you how sexy you are because as long as you don’t feel sexy you wonder and worry about how he sees you," said a female friend.

Chances of reaching your peak are diminished because you are not relaxed. You’ll be a stiff board and no man wants a frigid woman!

It seems some guys would be offended by the notion of a partner masturbating in front of them. But the real deal here is a woman will play with herself to arouse the partner and the rest is history – that’s just to clear the air.

Likzo, a male friend of mine, says that’s the way to go, as it spices things up in bed. He reckons that if you keep doing one and the same thing as a couple, it becomes routine then boredom sets in, leading your partner to pornographic material.

Now here is expert advice and tips on how to loosen up and relax without relying on tequilas:

Being relaxed is a requirement for any woman who wants to have an orgasm or experiment in bed. However, achieving a state of complete relaxation is really not as easy as locking yourself up in a room and closing your eyes. When you do this, you often achieve only a ‘shallow’ level of relaxation. To achieve rest in both body, mind and yes, spirit, you should try the following tips.

* Go to a place that’s quiet. This can be your study or bedroom or any room in your home. Don’t cheat yourself by simply closing your eyes. If the radio or TV is still on, you really won’t be able to relax with all that external noise. Now sit (or lie down) comfortably and start to focus on just one thing: your breath. Breathe deeply, making sure that the air reaches down and truly fills your lungs and then exhale through your slightly open mouth. Just doing this a few times will already start to relax your tense muscles.

* It has many names – your aura, your natural electricity, your internal glow – whatever it is, one can hardly deny that we all function through and around a subtle energy network that energizes our whole being. If breathing is the first step to relaxing your physical body, then conjuring peaceful thoughts help relax this energy system.

While continuing to focus on your breathing, think of anything that brings about peace and serenity in you. This can be a childhood thought, a favourite spot in your local park, or even a cup of warm chocolate. Whatever it is, envision it and capture its essence in your mind.

These relaxation techniques are not just for you, but something you can share with your sexual partner. Often, sex is not good because one is simply too physically tired, or mentally exhausted, or both!

* Create a relaxed environment. Ensure that wherever it is you guys will be making love is a calm and relaxing environment. For instance, make sure that your bedroom is clean and that few scented candles are burning. Soothing music and a bouquet of fresh flowers by the bedside never hurt either!

*Relax and clean your bodies. Not a lot of people really want to jump into bed and have sex immediately after a long day’s work. So the best way to relax and get rid of the day’s tensions is to take a bath together.

* Lastly, sexual massage. Nothing beats a sexual massage to continue relaxing her body, while at the same time priming her senses for good sex. Give a thorough yet seductive massage and you guys will be in for a great romp between the sheets!

This will not obviously happen overnight, but as the famous saying goes Rome was not built in a day and bear in mind that before you experiment with such, communicate with your partner.


Storm is over!

Sports Section

Lwazi Dlamini - The Swazi Times-26-Sep-2008

MBABANE - The storm in the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) tea cup is over.

The MTN League grand opening goes ahead tomorrow at Somhlolo Stadium, and Mbabane Swallows will host their bitter rivals, Mbabane Highlanders in a 6pm kick off- clash.

The PLS and aggrieved party, Mbabane Highlanders held a meeting yesterday, where they ironed out the differences and the ‘Black Bull’ are ready to do battle with their traditional rivals.

Mbabane Highlanders chairman of the Management Committee (MC) Musa Masuku confirmed that the PLS apologised for everything that had happened and the game is on.

"We will honour the game after the PLS called us and gave us a hearing. We just wanted them to show us respect, especially as an interested party in this matter," Masuku said.

Manzini Wanderers and Royal Leopards will raise the curtain in a 3pm kick-off encounter.

PLS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vuli Kunene, in a press statement, then invited the nation to come in their numbers to support the Grand Opening of the 2008/09 MTN league.

"The PLS, in conjunction with MTN Swaziland, have put together a package that is designed to ensure that the forthcoming season is one that reaches unprecedented highs in the history of the sport. This season will see a number of innovations in the packaging of football," he said.

"Better exposure for football to the masses through optional use of all the various types of media (print, electronic and multi-media). Better offering for the people who attend games through the provision of additional entertainment and competitions for people both at the stadiums and those who will follow the progress of the leagues through the various media," he said.

He added: "Enhanced competition through the unprecedented amounts that are offered as prize money for both the Swazi MTN premier league and Swazi MTN national first division," he noted.


ACC; A Corruption Circus!

Main Section

The Times of Swaziland-26-Sep-2008

The Anti Corruption Commission is grounded, once again, at a time we need it most.With all the outrageous transactions coming out of the 40/40 tenders, the commission should be the busiest.

The chairman of the ACC however, says they don’t have the means to do so.

During former Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini’s term, the ACC did not have ‘teeth’ in the necessary law to facilitate its operations. During former Prime Minister Themba Dlamini’s term, the necessary law was passed. Now it suddenly does not have ‘arms and legs’ to carry out its duties.

The ACC chairman, who is yet to take a matter to court for prosecution, has reported that it can hardly move around because of inadequate transport and other support. Four cars to 30 staff members.

ACC members are being threatened with physical bodily harm by suspects without adequate protection from the country’s security forces.

It is also reported to be receiving very little, if any assistance within government departments where officers are sending them on a wild goose chase by providing wrong information. Nothing is being done to such officers departmentally.

It is now evidently clear that every prime minister will be launching or re-launching the ACC with no real intention of having anybody prosecuted during each term.

With a government that is reportedly losing E40 million a month to corruption, one would have expected government to provide the commission with at least 10 percent of this amount monthly in order to save 90 % of the loss to begin with.

How can one of the most important departments in government be treated like a government hospital?

Swazis have been quiet for too long and to such a level that government thinks we are fools. We long dismissed the ACC as a farce but we were promised otherwise.

There is nobody in office today to answer for this as acting prime minister is globetrotting with the king, but whoever is to assume the role of Prime Minister should expect no holiday on questions regarding the (non) operations of ACC. There is no looking to the new MPs to help get this unit fully operational because if it were able to do its job from the beginning, some of them would not be legislators as we speak.

So much for government’s commitment to fighting corruption in this country.


3000 Zheng Yong workers riot

Main Section

Starsky Mkhonta- The Swazi Observer-26-Sep-2008

TEARGAS and rubber bullets had to be used by police yesterday to disperse 3000 striking workers from Zheng Yong Garment Factory who went on rampage after they were locked out of the gate by management.

It all started at about 7am when the workers reported for work only to find notices at the gate notifying them that the company would remain closed with effect from September 25. The management notified the workers that the company shall remain closed until the court makes a ruling on the sit-in strike resolution which they took on Tuesday afternoon. They then went amok, chanting political songs.

Police arrived and advised them to leave but they refused. After a second warning still the workers refuse to leave the area. Police the fired teargas canisters. All hell broke loose.

So terrible was the situation such that passing motorists and other innocent people were also not spared.

Police who had arrived a little earlier were also seen running for cover, as all sorts of objects and other missiles were thrown at them.

When the workers reiterated the police called for reinforcements.

It was then that the workers went into the other nearby factories, FTM Garment and HOs Enterprise where they forced the other workers out.

Windows were shattered as they threw missiles.

At FTM, almost all the factory shells windows were shattered and the fence also brought down. The Zheng Yong impi proceeded to the neighbouring HOs Enterprise where windows were also shattered.

Two vehicles owned by HOs Enterprise directors were also not spared. It is said a car belonging to the co-directors Tommy Ho and Joe Ho were targets and they had their windows smashed.

Police continued chasing after the rioting Zheng Yong workers. They were chased into the forests where again they set the forest alight and fire brigades had a hectic time putting out the huge flames.

For the better of yesterday, all the three factories were under patrol by the police officers who kept a close eye on any stranger loitering around. The amount of damage and loss caused as a result of the riot were not readily available when this report was compiled.

Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Mauku warned union leaders to make sure that strikers do not disturb those exercising thier right to work. He also warned against stoning police, saying they were there to protect life and property.


Hillary wants police union chief arrested

Main Section

Timothy Simelane- The Swazi Obswerver-26-Sep-2008

POLICE Commissioner Edgar Hillary has applied for a court order to arrest Secretary General of the unregistered Police Union Khanyakwezwe Mhlanga.

Hillary, through government lawyer Mndeni Simelane from the Attorney General's Office says Mhlanga is illegally mobilising officers to protest, yet the union is not legal.

He filed an urgent court application yesterday in which he wants Mhlanga to desist from demanding salary back pay for his act or be committed to prison for 30 days.

Mhlanga told the Swazi Observer that he received summons from a sheriff yesterday morning informing him to appear in court because there was an urgent application against him.

"My only offense is to demand back pay for police officers and better living conditions for all officers. I am a family man living with my wife, yet I share a house with two other couples. If that is not appalling, then nothing Is."

Mhlanga also said the junior officers want the Royal Swaziland Police to respect their right to bargain collectively.

"Whether Hillary arrests me, or I get victimised in any other way, I will not oppose the application because I know what I stand for. I know Hillary will be doing it from dirty hands. I have been victimised left, right and centre almost on a daily basis, but I will not stop calling for the back pay for all officers."

He wondered why the police were always using force against him, yet the union has appealed for negotiations on many occasions, to no avail.

"They don't want to talk. They are always intent on using the muscle."

He said a march organised by the junior police officers, billed for today, was put on hold because of a few issues that need to be ironed out.

The junior police officers recently failed to get a court order to be declared a legal bargaining council for all junior police officers.


African leaders speak out at UN against devastating impact of fuel, food crises

Main Section

UN News Centre-26-Sep-2008

The soaring cost of fuel and basic foods over the past year has left many countries in sub-Saharan Africa unable to adequately fund critical activities, such as health care and the provision of safe drinking water, their leaders told the General Assembly.

Guinea-Bissau’s President João Bernardo Vieira said the sharp rise in the cost of oil had been particularly destabilizing on the economy of his country, which is already among the poorest in the world.

"The lack of energy compromises seriously all socio-economic activities, hospitals in particular and the distributions of potable water, which is indispensable to guaranteeing hygiene and public health," he said.

Mr. Vieira said it was unfair to expect that countries such as Guinea-Bissau will have the economic wherewithal to absorb or adjust to the rise in energy costs when it still has to fund basic services for its citizens.

"What means do we have at our disposal to face the perverse consequences of a system which is poorly based in speculation and which has nothing to do with the law of offer and demand?" he asked.

"How can we invest and improve our infrastructure in such vital areas like health, education and agriculture if we are compelled to continuously spend large parts of our already limited resources to buy fuel?"

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said it was crucial that national efforts to tackle the food and energy crises are complemented by appropriate international measures, including debt cancellation for low-income food-deficient countries.

"Adequate support for food production programmes is absolutely necessary" he told the Assembly. "We call for more research into better seed varieties and assistance in irrigation technology and improved water harvesting methods necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change."

He reiterated his country’s faith in multilateralism and called for greater democratization in the UN, saying that the present configuration made it subject to the use of the 15-member Security Council by the powerful countries "as a readily available legitimizing forum for their political machinations."

The Council, whose decisions are binding, must therefore be democratized through increasing its membership, he added, also calling for the Assembly, whose decisions are not, to be revitalized to make it more effective, reasserting “its pre-eminent role, its authority and its capacity to guide and direct other organs of the UN system.”

Swaziland’s King Mswati III said the high fuel and food prices were compounding existing stresses on poor countries caused by climate change, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

"It is encouraging to note that the United Nations, in particular the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), continue to assist developing countries in finding lasting solutions to the food crisis," he said.

He added that developing countries such as Swaziland were hopeful that the current Doha round of global trade negotiations, which have stalled, can still be successfully concluded.


Deputy Sheriffs Suspended

Main Section

Sabelo Mamba- The Swazi Observer-26-Sep-2008

FOUR deputy sheriffs have been suspended for alleged gross professional misconduct. They are Sikelela Dlamini, Bhekithemba Dlamini, Pat Jele and Sandile Myeni.

High Court Registrar Lorraine Hlophe, who is the head of deputy sheriffs, said the sheriffs were under investigations.

Hlophe was, however, not in a position to reveal the nature of their offences.

She said her office had also not renewed their contracts of employment.

Hlophe said 17 deputy sheriffs have had their contracts renewed for six months.

“We have given them six months to see if they are worthy to be deputy sheriffs,” she explained.

“It doesn’t mean they are faultless. It’s just that some have been given warning whilst others managed to correct their mistakes. We will definitely recall them should they break the rules.”

They are Bheki Mavuso (Manzini), Melusi Qwabe (Manzini), Sandile Dlamini (Manzini), Bongani Mamba (Hhohho), Joy da Cuhna (Lubombo), Koert Va Vuure (Shiselweni), Florah Dube (Hhohho), Themba Dlamini (Hhohho), Simile Dlamini (Manzini), Ntokozo Mabuza (Lubombo), Menzi Dlamini (Hhohho), Sabelo Maziya (Lubombo), Joseph Sigwane (Shiselweni), Wiseman Dlamini (Hhohho), Sipho Nyatsi (Hhohho) and Sakhile Ndzimandze.

Hlophe urged the sheriff to always refresh their memories by studying the rules to avoid finding themselves on the other side of the law.


Rain Comes Down as Nation Votes

Main Section

The Weekend Observer-27-Sep-2008

The secondary elections were for a large part smoothly conducted yesterday, showing a marked improvement from the chaos of the primary elections.

At some areas, voting was over after three hours because the polling were scattered at each Inkhundla. At most polling stations, there were no reports of disturbances. But a fight nearly broke out at Lobamba Lomdzala when supporters of Marwick Khumalo clashed with those of Lynette Charles. DJ Nice, who lost a court case against Marwick, was said to have thrown his weight behind Lynette Charles and was her agent.

At Zombodze Emuva, an impi of supporters of defeated Titus Thwala tried to stop the elections – but heavy army and police presence stopped them dead on their tracks.

At Dvokolwako, a snake was killed after it proceeded to vote against the wishes of the majority.

On the eve of Cabinet being dissolved and Bheki Dlamini taking over government operations – yesterday’s vote was a mixed bag of expectations, even from those who do not support the Tinkhundla system.

Even former Prime Minister Themba Dlamini had nothing but praise for the EBC for a job well done.

This morning at 8 o’clock counting will start at the various tinkhundla centres and for some it will be the beginning of their five-year parliament term whilst others are still going to contest the results in our courts.


KING'S STERN WARNING TO TERRORISTS

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla-the Swazi Times,-27-Sep-2008

HIS Majesty King Mswati III says terrorists must be told in no uncertain terms that their acts have no place in the country and the rest of the civilised world.

The King made the remarks yesterday when addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in the United States of America. He assured the world that Swaziland fully supports international efforts to fight and defeat terrorism in all its forms. His Majesty is on a working trip to the United States of America and is accompanied by Inkhosikati Make LaMasango. “Mr President, the Kingdom of Eswatini joins the rest of the world in condemning all forms and acts of terrorism. We support efforts for the full implementation of the global counter-terrorism strategy in order to send out a clear message to all perpetrators of terrorism. In line with the United Nations Convention on Terrorism, our Parliament has recently promulgated the Anti-Terrorism Act,” the King said. His Majesty was referring to the Suppression of Terrorism Act, 2008 which provides for a 25 year jail term or such number of life sentences, as the courts may impose on terrorists. It also outlaws the possession of material that may be used to carry out or aid the carrying out of terrorist acts. His Majesty’s words come a few days after a quartet of terrorists attempted to bomb the Lozitha Bridge, in a plot that backfired, killing two. Fugitive lawyer Musa Dlamini and a coloured Indian Jack Govender were blown to pieces when the bomb went off, turning the car in which they were driving into a lump of twisted metal. Police arrested a South African man, who is currently helping them with investigations. As part of its efforts to counter terrorist acts, the police service established a special task team on the state of bombings that were carried out around the country. His Majesty insists that peace, stability and security – which form the primary goals of the United Nations – remain key pillars to meaningful development. “When these conditions prevail, our peoples can concentrate their energies and resources on the pursuit of productivity and wealth creation,” the King said. His Majesty, who recently assumed the chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, said the region was committed to upholding the pillars of peace, stability and security for a better life for all. --- --- --- ---- ---- --- --- --- ---- ---- --- --- --- ---- ---- --- --- --- ---- ---- ---


Prince Sobandla tees off King's Cup Golf tournament in style

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO -the Swazi Times,-27-Sep-2008

(At Royal Swazi Spar) EZULWINI -In his usual jovial mood, His Majesty King Mswati IIIs represe-ntative, Prince Sobandla teed off the 2008 King's Cup Golf tournament here yesterday. The teeing off by the former Minister of Home Affairs at hole .

EZULWINI – In his usual jovial mood, His Majesty King Mswati IIIs representative, Prince Sobandla teed off the 2008 King’s Cup Golf tournament here yesterday.

The teeing off by the former Minister of Home Affairs at hole situated behind Libandla Room at exactly 12.48pm was cheered by the spectators, who included the tournament’s chairperson Gcebile Dlam-ini, and Tourism Environ-ment and Communications PS Mduduzi Magongo.

Luck

The king’s represent-ative in his speech wished all the golfers luck in their pursuit for the grand first prize money of E200 000. He said the tournament which was already underway, having commenced on Thursday in a battle of the professional golfers, is no doubt catalyst for tourism and hospitality.

"We have every reason to celebrate, sit down and look back at the successes and difficulties that we had encountered along the way," he said. He said all answers pertaining to the obtaining economic challenges would come from the golf tournament which has proven that it is not only a golf tournament, but market of ideas.

"Business networking and other professional deals are in most cases finalized in the golf course, the office in this instance could be for none other than formalizing and signing of those deals," he added.

Central to his address, was highlighting the synergy drawn between tourism and sports through the tournament that has drawn a number of foreign professional golfers.

"Today we are witnessing some of the strategies wherein tourism and sports come together and assist in the drive of not only attracting tourists into the kingdom but also the creation of investment opportunities," he said.

Editions

Yesterday was the 5th teeing off of the tournament. The first two editions were tee-d off by His Majesty King Mswati III. Other previous editions were done by former Prime Minister Themba Dlamini and Prince Lonkhokhelo. The reigning champion of the tournament is Moses Shongwe who won himself the then E40 000 first prize money. This year the winner will pocket E200 000 first prize money.


LaMbikiza rescues Wanderers

Sports Section

Ntuthuko Dlamini- The Weekend Observer-27-Sep-2008

SOCCER - Inkhosikati LaMbikiza gave Manzini Wanderers a timely boost ahead of today's Top Lotto E650 000 PLS Cup match against Manchester United, donating soccer boots worth E21 000.

The boots were presented to the team by Ntombi Mngometulu, who represented the Inkhosikati during a function held at the Tum’s George Hotel on Thursday evening.

Present during the function were the team’s Management Committee (MC), elders and the players. Conspicuously missing were the team’s newly installed sole Director Vincent ‘Skebhe’ Dlamini, MC Chairman Pat Gamedze, team manager Jerry ‘Mbazo’ Gamedze, to mention but a few.

The sponsorship consists of four pairs of goalkeeper gloves, 16 soccer boots and 16 shin guards. The Inkhosikati thanked the players for the loyalty that they have displayed in the team after staying even during the most challenging times. “It is very common with players to desert their teams when they are engulfed by such problems, which were threatening the existence of the team, but we are proud of you for your loyalty. We hope that today’s incentives will encourage you to play well and bring back the team’s glory days.

“We would like to make it clear that the sponsorship belongs to the team, so the equipment will only be used during the games. But, we are still scouting for other potential sponsor for the other training equipment,” she said. The maroon and white outfit captain, Manqoba ‘The General’ Tsabedze, thanked the Inkhosikati for the sponsorship on behalf of the players. “As players we are greatly honoured about the sponsorship as it came at the right time.

“I would like to plead with the players that we win our game on Saturday (today) for the Inkhosikati to show appreciation to what she has done for us. We are very pleased that we have such people in the team who will be also ready to assist even in such challenging situations we have gone through,” said the shy-looking midfielder mastermind.

It was a funfilled night for the team as players such as Phumlani ‘Botsotso’ Jele and Themba Manana kept everyone in stiches with endless jokes throughout the function.

One of the jokes that sent the house to stitches was when the players were presented with the soccer boots and one of the seniors players was heard saying: “Labaya eSiteki abatfoli.” He was referring to Timothy ‘MaDrip’ Mathonsi and Thabiso ‘Bremer’ Manzini, who were reported to have resigned from the team with intentions of joining Eleven Men In Flight.


RSSC feels the price hike of fertiliser

Business Section

Nomile Hlatshwayo- Swazi Times-29-Sep-2008

MBABANE - Just like all other businesses in the agricultural industry locally and beyond, the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) has also felt the brunt of high fertiliser prices.

The 2008 Annual Report states that the high inflation in the cost of fuel, electricity, coal and fertiliser had been a challenge during the year.

"It will require renewed effort and innovation to ensure that improved productivity will offset the increases in these costs," it says.

The report says, however, that despite this the local industry remained one of the producers of low cost sugar internationally.

"The Swaziland Sugar Industry and RSSC continue to be in the five ‘low cost’ group of sugar producers in the world. RSSC’s agricultural and milling achievements were amongst the best in the region," it says.

In terms of water issues, the report states that the flow of water in both the Komati and Mbuluzi Rivers continued to be of concern as the impact of the previous very dry months affected recharge, with the result that average flows were far below the long term mean.

At the beginning of April 2007, Maguga Dam was approximately 77 percent full and Mnjoli Dam was 61 percent full.

"To mitigate the potential water shortage and conserve water, RSSC implemented a rationing strategy that reduced water use by 18 percent of requirement at Simunye, which is supplied by the Mnjoli Dam. The implementation of the rationing strategy did not have a significant negative impact on future cane yields, particularly during the winter months, but conserved water for use during the more important summer months of peak growth," the report says.


Malawi to play Swaziland in friendly tie

Sports Section

African Press Agency-29-Sep-2008

The Flames, Malawi's football team, will play Swaziland in a friendly

The Flames, Malawi's football team, will play Swaziland in a friendly match to be held at Kamuzu Stadium in the commercial city of Blantyre on Saturday (October 4) as part of the hosts’ preparations for a crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2010 Africa Cup of Nations tie at the same venue on 11 October, APA learnt here Monday.

Coach Kinna Phiri said the game will be a strength testing match for the Flames as they wait for the Simbas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the same venue.

"We need a friendly game before playing the DRC to test the players’ fitness because the match with the DRC is a crucial one and needs total commitment by both players and the coaching panel," he said.

Currently, he said, the players are undergoing physical training to preparing for the forthcoming matches.


SWADE makes E90m yearly

Business Section

Hlengiwe Ndlovu- The Swazi Observer-29-Sep-2008

OVER E90m in gross revenue is made every year at the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) Komati downstream development project.

Many areas in the northern Hhohho region have now become a hive of agricultural activity following the implementation of some of SWADE's core irrigation development initiatives in the area. Moses Vilakati, SWADE's Komati downstream development project director, last week said the E90m gross revenue in the area is set to grow in the future, given the tentative expansion of some of SWADE's programmes.

Speaking during a farmers' agricultural expo held at Nkambeni, Vilakati said his company's role is to assist communities to develop themselves into business entities. Through SWADE, already many homesteads now have access to portable water within their backyards which is mainly used for home gardens.

Large scale commercial farmers operating largely through associations have also hugely benefited from the water brought closer to them by SWADE.

Vilakati, however, clarified that SWADE's bias is not only tilted to the agro-business especially sugar cane, but to other industries as well.

The agricultural expo brought together a broad cross section of farmers from different parts of the Northern Hhohho region who came all out to showcase their produce.

Even companies specialising in farm-inputs, farm equipment and accessories did not miss out on the big day as they also displayed their products to the farmers.

Vilakati said the expo was good for business as it facilitated trade within the farming industry.

The day was also characterised by an auction sale of a variety of livestock including goats, cattle and chickens.

Indigenous chickens proved to be the main catch of the day, as one of these chickens was sold for over E200.

Commenting on the popularity of the indigenous chickens, Vilakati said it was good to realise that people were now beginning to appreciate indigenous foods, especially because these play an important role in any person's daily diet.


UK immigration upsets Nkomeni Ntiwane

Main Section

The Swazi Observer-29-Sep-2008

SWAZILAND's first High Commissioner to Britain, Nkomeni Douglas Ntiwane is very upset with the UK immigration authorities, following what he termed as racial discrimination against his grandson.

The grandson has been refused a visa to visit his mother, who is a nurse in England. Ntiwane accused the British immigration authorities of traumatising the grandson, aged 15. To make matters worse, the stamp of the visa refusal is on the teenager's passport and the grandfather said he is worried that this could mean his grandson would never set foot in the United Kingdom. "The child wanted to visit his mother but was turned back at Johannesburg's OR Tambo international airport. He was given two choices - to fly for 12 hours to London and be turned back at Heathrow, or to come back to Swaziland. "Fortunately for us, he was driven back home by Swaziland's high commissioner to South Africa, Muntu Mswane.

"The law says a child must be cared for by its mother - but the British seem to ignore that."

Ntiwane said since Swaziland was a high commission territory and no visa is demanded for UK citizens visiting Swaziland, he does not understand why the teenager is being subjected to such.

"If it's not racism, then let's give a name. Does it mean that my grandson will never set foot where his mother works? Should we do the same when a Briton wants to visit Swaziland?

"What makes me upset is that I contributed so much to creating relations with Britain, and what is happening is not what we had in mind."

The teenager is back at school - having tried to visit his mother during the recent school holidays.


Stoned Maidens Admitted

Main Section

Starsky Mkhonta- The Swazi Observer-29-Sep-2008

MAIDENS who attended the weekend's reed dance for the Mamba clan in Shiselweni - have been treated in hospital after they were stoned at Sigwe.

The maidens were in a truck when unknown boys started throwing stones at them - seriously injuring four. They were on their way for the reed dance held at Ngudzeni under King Maja when the incident occurred.

The boys were apparently angered by the songs the maidens were singing, said their leader, Chamkile Mamba.

The four maidens are Phindile Nsibandze, Sakhile Mavimbela, Happiness Dlamini and Thabile Shongwe.

The others were treated and discharged while Phindile has had to remain in hospital after she came worse off from the stones thrown at her.

Chamkile said about 5 000 maidens attended the reed dance, saying the number was impressive when considering the chilly weather. Meanwhile, Chamkile has had to take over leadership of the Ngudzeni imbali after Todvwa Malinga fell pregnant. Todvwa is the daughter of former MP Phineas Malinga who still does not know who the father of his daughter's child is. "There is nothing I can do," a dejected Malinga said.


Methodist Church burnt to ashes, E160 000 destroyed

Main Section

Musa Nhleko - Times of Swaziland-29-Sep-2008

MALKERNS - A Methodist Church was reduced to ashes by fire last week destroying property worth E160 000.

The incident happened last week Wednesday after an employee of a candle making company had allegedly left refuse burning next to the church.

The fire is said to have later spread to other areas after it had been fuelled by strong winds which later saw sparks landing on the thatched roof of the church.

According to Hlobsile Siwela who was found at the scene, the fire started around noon and as they were worried that a water tank was going to be burnt they heard a male neighbour shouting that the church was on fire.

She said they could not believe what they saw as the church roof was on fire.

"We called the police and the Fire and Emergency personnel who promptly arrived but the fire had already burnt the whole roof.

"When they arrived the roof fell inside the church and there was nothing they could do to save the situation," said Siwela.

Before the arrival of the police the male neighbour managed to save a few things inside the church which were mainly chairs and benches.

Expensive

Siwela said an expensive piano was amongst the things that were burnt beyond recognition.

Foodstuff which had been donated by various companies in the area was not spared.

The foodstuff was for the orphans and children who come to church on Sundays.

A rondavel which was next to the church which also had thatched roof was also burnt.

Information gathered from the police is that property that was destroyed amounted to E160 000.

This was confirmed by Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku who said the Malkerns police were investigating the matter.


Manzini bus owners fix bus rank

Main Section

Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla- The Swazi Observer-30-Sep-2008

PUBLIC transport operators took it upon themselves to maintain Manzini bus rank on Sunday.

The drivers said the bus rank had pot holes and the city council had done nothing to help them.

They collected about E5 from each operator in order to get stones and sand to cover the pot holes.

The operators said they were strained by the pot holes because they had to use their own money and yet it was the work of the city council.

Ndumiso Dlamini, a kombi driver, said he would not pay the money for renovating the bus rank.

"It is not our duty to maintain the bus rank and I do not have money," he said.

Manzini Municipal Council Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mathokoza Thwala said the council acknowledged that the bus terminus needed extensive maintenance.

Thwala reaveled that the public transport operators needed to use the satellite bus rank. He said this would ease the congestion that is currently at the bus rank.

"We will then be able to do proper maintenance of the bus rank if there is no congestion," said Thwala.

Thwala further said they were willing to explore possibilities of engaging into partnerships with private and public sectors towards upgrading the bus rank.


Producers blame State for sugar crisis

Business Section

Owen Chikari-Zimbabwe Times-30-Sep-2008

MASVINGO - Two of Zimbabwe's major sugar producers have blamed the persistent sugar shortages and the companies deteriorating cash-flow situation on the government's price controls.

Zimbabwe’s largest sugar producing companies Hippo Valley and Triangle Limited yesterday described the government price controls – widely criticised by the business community as populist but economically crippling – as the major contributor to the poor sugar output.

In a statement to shareholders, the two sugar milling giants owned by Tongaat Hulett Sugar, a South African company, said while sugar output this year was going to decrease, the companies would, however, be able to meet their export quota.

Tongaat Hulett Sugar is a world leader in sugar milling technology. It focuses its energies on cane growing, sugar milling and refining at its operations throughout the Southern African region. It has four mills in South Africa, two mills in Mozambique, two in Zimbabwe and extensive cane operations in each of these countries as well as in Swaziland. In addition to its raw sugar capability Tongaat Hulett Sugar has a central refinery in South Africa with an annual refining capacity of some 600 000 tons. This refinery is complemented by additional refining capacity at Triangle Sugar, Hippo Valley Estates.

“The grossly uncompetitive sugar prices on the domestic market and the inordinate delays by the government in granting a sugar price increase have been the main contributors to the shortage of the product in the country,” said the companies in a statement.

“Speculative activities by informal traders and the shortage of labour and equipment have also contributed to the shortage.

“We urge the responsible authorities to timeously approve sugar price increases since this has been our major contributor to the current shortage of the product.”

The two companies also said the land dispute between resettled sugar farmers and the former owners in the Mkwasine Estates in Chiredzi had also reduced the sugar output.

Because of low productivity by cane growers, cane deliveries from all growers were behind the target.

The companies said due to supply constraints of sugar from growers, capacity utilisation was currently at 70 percent despite the fact that the milling season was just three months from over.

However, despite all the constraints, the companies said the export quota to the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA), and exports to bilateral markets, would be met.

“All preferential quota exports to the EU and USA will be met despite the constraints while exports to bilateral markets will also be met.”

The companies said the long and outstanding land dispute between the newly-resettled farmers and the two companies should be resolved as a mater of urgency.

Zimbabwe has been grappling with a serious shortage of sugar for almost six years running despite the fact that the two sugar milling giants were producing enough for the domestic market.

The smuggling of the product by senior government officials and refusal by the government to decontrol the price of sugar have impacted negatively on the availability of the product on the local market.

Hordes of Zanu-PF supporters, including so-called war veterans and senior civil servants, including police officers, invaded sugar cane fields at the height of farm invasions in 2000 and subsequently but some have since abandoned their plots due to their inability to produce the crop


Nhleko trying out with Tuks

Sports Section

Kickoff-30-Sep-2008

Swaziland international midfielder Wonder Nhleko has surfaced at First Division Inland Stream side University of Pretoria with the hope of sealing a move after being discarded by Platinum Stars.

Nhleko has spent the past week at TUKS impressing Steve Barker while getting close to clinching a move back to the First division.

The winger has previously played in the First Division for FC AK and spent last season struggling for game time at The Tycoons.

“Wonder is still with us and we are hopeful that we will sign him because he has been looking good at training. We should have a final decision on him by the end of the week. We will just wait for the coach to make up the final decision before we work towards sorting out everything else,” says Tuks’ manager Graham Oosthuis.

Stars made it clear that Nhleko was not in their plans this season and granted him the right to look elsewhere for a club.

The 27-year-old was initially linked with a loan move to Coastal Stream side Hanover Park, but that move fell through


The 40/40 mega bucks through special tenders

Main Section

Mbho Shongwe- Swazi Times-30-Sep-2008

There are two national events that have been conducted this year which, it appears ex-ceeded their budgeted allocations. These are the National Elections and the Double Celebrations, commonly known as 40-40.

Was it a field day for those who wanted to provide services to these events? In other words, were tenders sought to provide the services to these national events? The A.T Administration, not government is on record to have declared that it will fight corruption. Has it succeeded?

How then, one fights corruption if awarding of tenders is still handled behind the scenes or without following the Financial Management Act no 18 of 1967 as amended in 1992 and the Audit Act no 4 of 2005 Rules, Regulations and Principles?

The principles of using funds in the Consolidated Funds, is that, it must first be approved by Parliament. However, Supplementary Budgets in the country are a subject of raping the above financial institutions requirements.

Approval

This means that, the Department, Ministry or whosoever uses the funds in the Consolidated Funds without approval and only go to Parliament to seek approval of spending without approval. This is tantamount to using Parliament as a rubber stamp, a wrong move indeed. In case, one is having many questions, Supplementary Budgets in the country are only deliberated and debated in the House of Assembly. These are the people who have been elected into being Members of Parliament and the ones who will be appointed by the king to this chamber. Therefore, the first main government business to be debated by these Honourables will be the Appropriation Bill of 2009/2012. Furthermore, let my dear reader move with me to the Estimates for the Year from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011, where we will know the allocations of the two national events just completed. Under the Comparative Summary of Recurrent Expenditure 2008/2009, Head 44, which is Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), including Constitutional Affairs section has E8.066m, a 0.11 per cent of the Recurrent Expenditure.

Conclude

Head 50 which is Home Affairs houses celebrations is allocated E61.647m, a 0.81 per cent of the recurrent expenditure.

Under the Analysis of Appropriated Recurrent Expenditure 2008/2009, Head 44, EBC including Constitutional Affairs section; CTA charges E0.587m, Personnel E3.498M, Transport E2.374m, Drugs E0.909m, Consumables E0.498m, Durables E0.15m and Transfers External E0.49m and Head 50, Home Affairs; CTA charges E6.686m, Personnel E23.378m, Transport E2.177m, Drugs E10.497m, Services E0.19m, Consumables E5.159m, Durables E0.4m, Transfers Internal E12.685m and Transfers External E0.475m.

When looking at the activities and operations of EBC, one can conclude that it spent more than the allocated funds hence needed a Supplementary Budget. Or was the other funds allocated under Capital and or Head 60? The allocations in Home Affairs covers activity 61 Celebration. Celebration allocation stands as follows; CTA charges E3 257 480, Personnel E4 664 053, Travel - Transport and Communication E136 413, Drugs E2 075, Professional and Special Services E4 639 466 and Consumable material and supplies E2 489 459 and the total allocation amount is E15 188 945. Common sense suggests that more than the allocated to the Double Celebration was used. But where is the additional funds coming from? Is it coming from Capital and or Head 60?

As for EBC there is no capital budget allocation. Double Celebrations has a capital budget allocation of E17.6m sourced from local funds of which E9M goes to scaffolding, E6.6m to Ludzidzini Arena and E2m to Somhlolo Royal Suite. Therefore, the seen budgetted amounts for 40-40 Celebrations is E17 600 000 plus E15 188 945 equal to E32 788 945.

Whether the 40-40 Celebrations costed the taxpayer this amount or not, it is not the duty of yours truly to tell, but the Auditor General in his/her Financial Year ending March 31, 2009 to report. Could one imagine still reading about Double Celebrations in 2010 when preparing for the FIFA 2010 World Cup Games and the 25 years of the king on the Throne. Looking and understanding all the activities of 40-40; cars, foodstuff, adverts, the glamour, gifts, you name it, could not have costed less than E33m. Could then this mean that somebody may have pushed his/her hand into the Reserve or used the funds hidden under Head 60?

Abandoned

Or will run to Parliament before the March 31, 2009 asking for a Supplementary Budget? Your guess on what these Honourables would do to this request is as good as mine. Head 60, Central Transfer under activity 11 item 10510 has hidden E1 207 935 000 going to unnamed Inter-Ministerial. Imagine E1.21 billion going to unnamed beneficiaries. Could this mean that some funds were taken from other projects, hence those projects will be stalled or simply abandoned? Nobody will openly come forward to answer these questions but these revelations are meant to create a sense of scrutiny on government spending, especially the deviation of funds from one item to another without the knowledge of, unfortunately the taxpayer and even Parliament. Could it be that the funds used in the 40-40 activities are not accounted for?

How could this be since this was a national event? What about the funds that were donated by dubious individuals and companies? Are these accounted for, that is, do they go to the Consolidated Funds? By the way, the E700m invested in a foreign counrty, was to have been returned to Swaziland banking system.

What is happening to this information and about the said amount? Rumours still continue that hard cash is smuggled into other countries for safe keeping by ‘reput-able’ Swazis in high places. Some information was volunteed to the nation that the E28m king’s Jet deposit would be returned with interest. Where is the update on these monies? Other monies invested outside the country may not be properly protected from being accessed by certain individuals.

In fact, how much money is taken and banked in foreign nations, especially from the state pool? Why bother about these legal and illegal transfers of monies taken from the Consolidated Funds? One is trying to reason how was 40-40 funded and by who.

Corruption

Do people remember how the Job Creation Capacity Building E50m was blown off within two months. Some service providers of 40-40 events were paid way before the services were provided. When corruption is so entrenched, even in such national events, who will pretend to want to do and follow the normal tendering and payment procedures?

It is hoped that the office of the Auditor General will pick this up and reveal the rot at all costs. But, then, government does not take this office seriously.

This office deals with audit of all public accounts, the scope of audit is broad, government accounting policies, etc and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a Parliament committee scrutinises the accounting and financial matters raised by the Auditor General with those relevant departments. So much has been produced by the PAC but little, if any is ever implemented.

Read from the Auditor General’s report, "All Ministries/Departments continue to fail to take appropriate action in an effort to reconcile their accounts". Chances are that may be there is no political will, reasons are on the wall for all to see. Continue reading "A lot of capital projects have been under spent by Ministries/Departments citing numerous problems for none implementation".

How, then, can the economy of the country improve when projects are never undertaken and or completed even though budgeted for in that particular year? Read on about the rot "The newly introduced government commitment system to control expenditure has created a lot of accounting problems for Ministries/Departments because apparently it is not closely monitored". What can one expect if the accounting system is like that? Is this not the gateway for fraud?

Illegal

The Auditor General has recorded it, but who cares? It is reported that over expenditure beyond appropriated funds without Parliament approval is illegal. Then, what does illegal mean to government, rather to those running it? Who has ever been arrested and charged for overspenditure in govt operations? The following Heads have not performed as expected, according to the financial and accounting principles in terms of the Audit Act no 4 of 2005.

I will not mention their names, but only the Head numbers, 02 - 10, 20, 23 - 24, 28, 30, 34, 41, 45 - 47, 49 - 50 and 53. One can now realise how the Auditor General tries to enforce the financial and accounting disciplines in government operations but the government machinery seems to ignore all this effort, as can be seen in the number of Ministries and Departments that continue knowingly or otherwise to bypass the advice and warnings with impunity.

There are about six Tinkhundlas that have misused the Regional Development Funds or had questionable operations and others have the allocations returned to the Consolidated Funds because their Members of Parliament did not find the projects to benefit his/her Inkhundla. Are the Tinkhundla communities aware of this? It is hoped that the 9th Parliament will take the Auditor General’s Report with the seriousness it deserves.


Togo camp chaos!

Sports Section

THAMI PHAKATHI- Swazi Times-30-Sep-2008

MBABANE - With 12-days left before Sihlangu takes on Togo in a must-win joint AFCON and 2010 World Cup qualifier match billed for Accra, Ghana, the Togo camp is in tatters.

According to a report carried by World Cup Blog webpage, the Hawks are not at all pleased with the Football Federation (TFF) and have forwarded a series of demands to be addressed ahead of next week’s game. Among the concerns by the players is that the TFF officials were not professional and letting them down in various ways. The players also allege that the game in Togo was deteriorating because the wrong people are running football in that country making erroneous decisions time and again.

The World Cup Blog quotes Togo’s Emanuel Adebayor speaking on behalf of the players in an in-depth interview with that country’s X Solar FM saying: "It is very worrying to see how the game in Togo has deteriorated because of the unprofessional ways being used to run the game. All the players have sacrificed a lot for this country, but time and time again the administrators let us down. I am forever committed to development of the game in Togo, but something must change in the way the game is run.

"The players come to me with their concerns about how things are going wrong with our country and as the captain I must stand up for them. Most of the players are scared that if they come out to protest they will (be) victimized and it has happened before because they can easily be sacrificed. They won’t sacrifice me because the fans will protest. So when I have this opportunity I should fight for the right thing to be done."

Just recently, Adebayor declined to fly with the Hawks to honour the second leg game against Zambia.

Apparently, he refused to board the flight because he was afraid the plane would crush since he claimed he heard rumours suggesting that the flight was going to crash before they even reach Zambia. The player went on to persuade the Togo Football Federation President Tata Avlessi de Mass to get on board the plane if they wanted him to honour the Zambia game, but since the president was bereaved he couldn’t do so and Adebayor maintained his stand not to fly to Zambia as well.

Sihlangu will play Togo next week Saturday in Accra, Ghana at 1300hrs (GMT). The nation’s pride beat Togo 2-1 in the first leg encounter played at the revamped Somhlolo National Stadium on June 8. Sihlangu needs a win to top Group 11 in the qualifiers. Currently, Zambia are at the pinnacle with seven points while Sihlangu is placed second with four points.


SA bomber will be buried on Saturday

Main Section

MBONGISENI NHLEKO -Swazi Times-30-Sep-2008

MANZINI -The South African suspect bomber, Jack 'Graig' Govender, who died during a bomb explosion, will be buried on Saturday in KwaZulu Natal.

Chairperson the Swaziland Solidarity Network, South African Chapter Solly Mapaila said Govender would be laid to his final resting place in the morning at Chartsworth in Durban.

The well-travelled Govender, who is a former member of the South African National Defence Force, died in a bomb explosion, which he and his other South African allies were trying to plant under a bridge at Lozitha. His remains were scattered all over the accident scene where Swazi lawyer Musa ‘MJ’ Dlamini from Siteki was also killed. Dlamini was buried on Saturday at his parental home at KaLanga near the eastern town of Siteki.

Two men, 44-year-old Amos Mbedzi from Limpopo Province and another unidentified man from Braamfontein in Johannesburg survived the blast. Mbezi is currently remanded at the Matsapha Maximum Correctional Facility after being slapped with four counts. The other man who fled the scene after the accident is still being sought by the police.

Mapaila said it was with great sadness and anger that they learnt of the tragic and brutal passing away of two.

bravest

"The most humble and the bravest of human beings all perished in a single day," he said. Mapaila said the SSN was deeply saddened by the untimely departure of the two most dedicated revolutionaries of its members.

"We dip our revolutionary banners in their living memory as we pay tribute to their contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy in Swaziland," he said. Govender was the founder member of SSN and was the main drive for its establishment. He was the first person to establish contact with the progressive liberation movement in Swaziland post South African democratic breakthrough in 1994 where he had contacts with PUDEMO, SFTU and the then Swaziland Democratic Alliance.

He left South Africa in December 1998 to pursue studies and work in the USA and later travelled the world as a revolutionary tourist to countries such as Brazil, Russia, Malaysia, India, Tanzania, Zimbabwe (where he trained as an MK soldier) and Kenya. He had recently completed some studies in India and was due to be fully ordained as a prophet. He came back to South Africa in February 2008.


Ubombo Ranches High win dance competition

Recreation Section

CHRIS DLAMINI- The Swazi Times-30-Sep-2008

MBABANE -Ubombo Ranches High School are the overall winners of the Swaziland Dance Sport Association (SWADANSA) Schools Dance Competition last Saturday at the Correctional Services Hall, Matsapha.

They were followed by Mhubhe High School. According to results released by the association yesterday, these two schools had the most couples winning despite having less couples participating than other schools.

Schools like Mhlume and Mpolonjeni High recorded the largest number of couples participating.


Cops grab corpse, mourners stunned

Main Section

Starsky Mkhonta- The Swazi Observer-30-Sep-2008

MOURNERS were shocked at Mbowane in Shiselweni over the weekend, when police came and grabbed the body of the man they had gathered to bury.

Close to 200 mourners had gathered at a Nzima homestead for a Saturday night vigil when the police showed up.

The funeral service was for Patrick Musa Nzima who died at Dundee in South Africa where he was working at a game reserve. He was found dead on September 10 at his rented flat. It is alleged he was murdered, as tenants reported hearing noise and when they checked on him the next morning, they are said to have found him in a pool of blood with two scars on the right side of his face.

His brother Dumisani Nzima said they did not suspect foul play in Patrick’s death and were therefore surprised when the police, led by Detective Derrick Makhanya came and took the body away.

He said all they suspected was that Patrick suffered from a stomach bug because he is said to have vomited a lot of blood.

The police are said to have been called by another relative.

A postmortem is to be conducted tomorrow.


New Swazi graft busters sworn in after long delays

Main Section

AFP-30-Sep-2008

Swaziland's new anti-corruption commission on Tuesday pledged to crack down on graft in the impoverished southern African kingdom as it was sworn in after months of delays.

The commission was established in 2007, and although 23 complaints have been filed, a lack of financing prevented it from starting work, the panel's chief Michael Mtegha told AFP.

Actual investigations won't begin until later in the year, he added.

"There is still a lot to be done in educating Swazis on what is corruption," Mtegha told AFP.

He said the commission would host a national anti-graft summit later in the year to highlight the problem in the tiny kingdom, Africa's sole absolute monarchy.

"In this summit we will stress the importance of fighting corruption because the country's development is severely affected by corruption," he said.

Former finance minister Majozi Sithole said in his budget speech at the start of the year that corruption cost the country about 400 million emalangeni (4.8 million dollars, 3.3 million euros) every month.

But political analyst Vusi Sibisi said the new commission was aimed mainly at appeasing international donors who have pressed the country crack down on graft.

"So far there has been no political will from the authorities to combat corruption," said Sibisi.

According to UN figures, about two thirds of Swaziland's 1.14 million people live in poverty and 40 percent of adults are infected with HIV.

In September, Swaziland's king -- who is renowned for his free-spending lifestyle -- staged a lavish celebration to mark 40 years of the country's independence from Britain and his 40th birthday.

The state-sponsored celebration attracted widespread controversy and set the country back by 100 million emalangeni.



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