Swaziland News Jul 2009

For all your Swazi News


Two heads baby’s visitors banned

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By PHEPHILE MOTAU AND SIZWE MAZI - SWAZI TIMES-01-Jul-2009

MBABANE- The public has been banned from visiting the mother of the baby with two heads who was born in Hlatikhulu Hospital on Saturday.

The mother and her baby were transferred on Saturday evening from Hlatikhulu Hospital to the Mbabane Government hospital where they are under tight security. When this newspaper visited the hospital, a nurse in the maternity ward said they had since been banned by elders from allowing visitors to the mother.

“The girl will talk to the media about the issue when she is ready to do so. If anyone wants to see her, she should call her first so that she could give us permission. We have been given strict orders to keep her away from the prying eyes of the public and media,” she said.

She also said the baby was okay and the only problem was that they were hungry because the mother could not breast feed yet. She said the mother needed something to drink in order for her to produce milk for her baby. Meanwhile, doctors and nurses who assisted the woman give birth were left shocked . Dr. Nkosinathi Ncube during an interview said nurses and the doctors on duty that day were traumatised with regards to the birth of the child with two heads.

Ncube said the nurses were shocked because this was not common in Swaziland. Infact, he said he was not aware of any reported case about a child born with two heads. “Though I did not make the delivery, but nurses and the doctors could not believe it,” said Ncube.

The doctor said even family members found it hard to stomach the news of the delivery. First to arrive to check on the baby was its father who was called by nurses. The baby’s grandmother also visited her grandchild and had to undergo counselling after the news of the baby was relayed to her. “A team comprising nursing staff counselled them,” said Ncube.


Do not ban the media please — MISA

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By ZWELIHLE SUKATI on June 30,2009 - SWAZI TIMES-01-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Media watchdogs believe that the media should not be censored on reporting about the rare medical case.

Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Swaziland Chapter Comfort Mabuza said the story is in the interest of the public because it is the first of its kind in the country’s medical history. He noted that there was a similar case in South Africa that was also reported about. “It is not a happy story for the family but reporting about it is in the interest of the public,” he said. He pleaded with the media to exercise caution when reporting about the matter and preferably not identify the family.


Parents complain over exclusion in child rights education

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By SAZIKAZI HLOPHE - SWAZI TIMES-01-Jul-2009

SIPHOCOSINI – Parents are ignorant on child rights because they have not been educated on them.

This was revealed by parents during dialogues on child protection held at Siphocosini High School last week.

The dialogue for parents, teachers and children was organised by Super Buddies Club in collaboration with Save The Children and PSI. The parents said this after being informed on child rights and responsibilities in a dialogue facilitated by Mandla Mazibuko of Save the Children.

“We have been left out in child rights education. We are totally ignorant and children take advantage of that. Sometimes when we ask them to prepare food, they refuse and tell us that it is their right to be given food. Today we have learnt what children’s rights and responsibilities are and what are children’s,” commented one parent during the dialogue.

Mazibuko explained to parents what child rights and responsibilities are. “It is a child’s right to be educated. But after you have paid their school fees it is the child’s responsibility to learn and pass. So when your children demand their rights, advise them to show their responsibilities,” he said.

Sponsorship Another parent complained of having secured sponsorship to further his child’s education, only to be rewarded with a bad attitude by his child. “After all my efforts the child has refused to go to school and says he is too old. What does a parent do in this instance?” he asked Mazibuko.

In reply, Mazibuko said there may be emotional needs that led to the child’s irregular behaviour. He said providing for a child did not end with food, shelter and education, but it also includes emotional needs.

The attending parents asked children to: * Listen to their parents * Respect teachers * Stay in school and commit to learning * Understand their home circumstances and not demand more than their parents can afford * Equally share in household chores * Communicate with parents on issues affecting them * Have big dreams


Nedbank makes E44.8m profit

Business Section

Nedbank makes E44.8m profit - SWAZI TIMES-01-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Nedbank Swaziland Limited realised a profit of E44.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.

According to the Nedbank Swaziland Limited Annual Report for 2008, this was an increase in profits of about 26 per cent.

“The results were overall pleasing for 2008. Headline earnings increased by E9.2 million or 25.6 per cent from E35.6 million in 2007 to E44.9 million in 2008,” reads the report in part. It also says earnings per share increased from 150 cents to 188 cents. “This encouraging performance was a result of focus on the bank’s balance sheet diversification, that allowed less reliance on expensive fixed and term funding and increased share of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) advances,” it elaborates in part. Nedbank Swaziland Limited is the only financial institution that is listed in the Swaziland Stock Exchange (SSX) and the Nedbank shares have been in high demand among investors.

Deposits The report goes on to say the bank saw a steady increase in retail deposits during 2008, as well as a 15 per cent year-on-year growth in transactional deposits. “The increase in headline earnings resulted in dividend per share growth of 30 per cent to 60 cents, compared to 46 cents last year,” it says.

It goes on to say the bank’s decision to diversify the bank’s portfolio had improved the bank’s margins, as evidence in the 22 per cent growth in net interest income, despite a 14 per cent reduction in loans and advances. It also says with the current prevailing economic environment that comes with reduced economic activity, the bank would face challenges in achieving its strategic objectives.

“These will remain focused on growing high interest bearing assets, penetrating the business banking and DME sector, whilst ensuring that profitability is improved through correct pricing of its products and services,” reads the report in part. The report says the bank’s assets grew by 38 per cent when compared to 2007.

“The bank’s balance sheet grew by 38 per cent, bringing total assets to E1.7 billion compared to E1.2 billion in 2007. As the bank’s strategy was to improve the asset mix, where focus was on restructuring of the book to diversify the loans and lesson concentration risk, this strategic focus resulted in a year-on-year reduction of loans and advances by 14 per cent to E817 million,” it reads in part.

It further says key strategic areas of focus for the bank for 2009 to 2011 included expanding and growing bank assurance, focusing on SME, business banking and retail mass market, focusing on customer service, becoming the employer of choice, focusing processes and country credit limits, as well as focusing on bank charges among many other key focus areas.


US rapper the game headed for Mavuso!

Recreation Section

By PHEPHILE MOTAU - SWAZI TIMES-01-Jul-2009

MBABANE – American Hip Hop star Jayceon Taylor, popularly known as The Game, will perform in the kingdom on July 19.

The artist will be in the country courtesy of Swazi Boy Entertainment and will perform at Mavuso Trade Centre. This was announced yesterday during a press launch of the event at Solane’s Executive Lounge.

Mthunzi ‘Shadow’ Zwane of Swazi Boy said it was a privilege for him to announce the biggest concert in the country. He said the concert would be of benefit to the underprivileged in the country and they would be working together with some NGO’s especially those dealing with children.

“The Game will be in the country as part of his LAX tour and he will perform only in the country here in Africa,” he said. He said the artist would perform alongside Theo of Mafikizolo, Jaziel Brothers and Swazi Boy’s first lady Lando Dlamini. DJ Papz will man the turntables on the day. He said tickets to the show would be out soon and next week Monday would be the latest day of release. He also said they would not produce more than 20 000 tickets.

Targeted He also said the Hip Hop artist had a huge following among the 12-35 year age group and so the show would be on Sunday during the day because it was targeted for the whole family. He also urged the public to support them and make the show a success because it was the first of its kind. Zwane said The Game would definitely come to the country as he had already been paid. He said they were aware that other entertainment stables had tried bringing international acts but failed, but he said it would be different with Swazi Boy.

He also said they had roped in Channel O as their media partner to market the show to the rest of Africa. He said security would be tight on the day as police would make sure that those without tickets were not allowed within 100 metres of the venue.

Preparations He added that they would make preparations with the artist’s management about those who would want to take photos with the artist. Tickets will cost E180 for those in the stands, unreserved sitting will cost E280 and this will be for those in the pitch. Those who wish to be in touching distance with the artist will have to fork out E450. Zwane said VIP packages would be available and the costs would be announced soon.


Dancers, employees down tools at Mantenga

Recreation Section

By SABELO MASIMULA - SWAZI TIMES-01-Jul-2009

Ezulwini – Drama unfolded at Mantenga Cultural Village yesterday as dancers and other employees downed their tools

The employees hinted last week that they anticipated engaging in a strike action because they were aggrieved about the working conditions. However, they aborted it for fear of losing their jobs. The employees have now turned around and say their fear could no longer help their situation.

Deductions They alleged that their working conditions were getting worse each day. They alleged that they were normally paid their salaries on the 25th of each month, but they were still not paid yesterday at 11am for the month of June. Graded tax deductions, overtimes and working under no formal contracts formed part of the grievances the employees had.

Meanwhile, the village’s Managing Director, Jan Lombardt, attributed his employees’ action to lack of understanding privatisation. “When I got here a parastatal was in charge of the entity, obviously there are a lot of changes that come with a private company, and I think my employees’ dissent comes from the lack of understanding the latter,” said Lombard.

Refusing He acknowledged their grievances and said he had instructed his employees to form a committee that would be legally recognised by his management. “I am not saying my employees should not voice out their concerns. They must voice them through legal and recognised channels, like a committee. To this date they are refusing to obey this directive and my administration is lost on how to deal with their problems,” said Lombard.

Regarding a thatched hut that was set on fire, Lombardt alleged that his employees were responsible for the fire, but the employees, on the other hand, alleged that it was Lombard. One of the employees (name withheld) said she allegedly saw him committing this offence. In mitigation Lombard said he could pnot destroy his own entity.

The employees argued that he allegedly wanted to redirect focus from the problems using the fire.


Gadhafi presents King with 6 camels

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By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES-02-Jul-2009

MATSAPHA – A gift of six camels to His Majesty King Mswati III from Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi arrived yesterday.

The two females, one male and three calves (two female and a male) camels were on board a cargo plane, Trans Attico Cargo. The plane with the king’s precious gift from Gadhafi, landed at the Matsapha International Airport at about 4pm. Notably, the plane did not land at the usual tarmac, but near the airport’s Swaziland Fire and Emergency Services’ station, which is about 500 metres from the main airport.

When it landed, the king’s Private Secretary Sam Mkhombe and his delegation went to meet the flight crew. After exchanging pleasantries, the animals were loaded into two government trucks to a destination that was not disclosed for security reasons.

Attention The off-loading and loading took almost an hour, and the animals were seemingly agitated by the attention from the members of the public. Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze was the only Cabinet minister present during the hand-over of the gift.

In an interview, Dr Abubaku Bellazi said the country’s weather was suitable for the camels. However, he was quick to state that he was not well versed with the country, but hoped the animals would do well. Mkhombe said a team of veterinaries were working round the clock to ensure that the king’s gift survived in the country. About the camels’ worth, Dr Bellazi said: “I do not know, but what I know is that they are a gift from the leader to the king. And of note, these are a special breed.” The veterinary said they left Libya on Tuesday, and were expected to jet out of the country today.


Govt reviewing immigration laws

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By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-02-Jul-2009

LOBAMBA – In light of the problems encountered by the country regarding its travel documents, government has decided to review the country’s immigration laws

Home Affairs Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze disclosed that the laws to be reviewed were the Immigration Act, 1982, the Passport Act, 1971 and the Citizenship Act of 1992. The minister said this was prompted by recent developments where the United Kingdom (UK) issued an order that citizens coming from Swaziland would, from yesterday, require a visa when visiting the former colonial power. The decision also affects a few other countries.

Gamedze said the UK pointed out a number of loopholes in the country’s immigration system, which has necessitated the review of all the laws. He also disclosed that government had undertaken a number of initiatives in order for the country to regain its visa-free status. These include the introduction of machine-readable passports (diplomatic, service and ordinary passport as well as the travel document). He said government would also introduce a new computerised Entry Visa, which will replace the rubber stamp type of visa. This is expected to be piloted within six weeks.

unhappiness Members of Parliament expressed unhappiness that government had taken too long to address the concerns by the UK government until it decided to implement the visa requirement decision. Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo said this matter was raised a long time ago but government did not do anything. He said the issue was similar to the airplane situation where the UK House of Commons raised a concern about Swazi-registered airplanes until the matter reached the European Union where Swazi planes were now banned. Motshane MP Robert Magongo wanted to know when government got to know about this matter.

Meanwhile, Siphofaneni MP Gund-wane Gamedze and Majahodvwa Khumalo of Lobamba were not happy about the fact that the minister had delivered his message in the English Language.

The minister explained that, while it was true that they received the inform-ation sometime back, government still had to purchase the necessary equipment to make the required passports. He emphasised that government was not sitting on its laurels but was doing something about the matter.


Sex videos, loud music in buses investigated

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By MBONGISENI NHLEKO - SWAZI TIMES -02-Jul-2009

MANZINI – The Swaziland Commercial Road Transport Association (SCARTA) has commissioned committees to investigate reports that some public transport vehicles play sex videos.

The committees made up of representatives from bus operators, mini buses and kombis were commissioned during a meeting held on Thursday last week. SCARTA Secretary Ambrose Dlamini said the committees looked for the vehicles that had the sound systems, TV sets and DVD players. He said they also conducted interviews with the drivers and conductors.

Dlamini said the committees were expected to deliver a report to the executive committee today. “It is the report that will give a clue on what is happening,” he said.

Concerned Dlamini said though the complaints had not reached the SCARTA office, they preferred not to take them lightly because they were concerned about good customer care. The concerns were raised in the media last week by a concerned parent who had boarded one of the vehicles that was playing sex movies yet children were part of the passengers.

Another concerned customer brought a complaint about the blaring music that is played in the vehicles. “Even if you are expecting an important call, you can’t receive it because you can’t hear the caller. One day I was sorting out funeral arrangements and I could neither make nor receive calls whilst still in the kombi. “When I asked the conductor to tell the driver to reduce the sound, I got a threat that they would drop me off,” he said. Dlamini could not specify what action would be taken against those who would be found to be practicing this bad thing.


EU to look into threats to SACU

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-02-Jul-2009

MBABANE – The European Union (EU) is reported to have committed to look into the ‘contentious’ issues that have threatened to rip apart the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

This will come as a relief, especially to neighbouring countries, especially those who recently signed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (BLS). Angola, Namibia and South Africa (ANSA) refused to sign the interim EPA.

After the signing, SA’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davis reportedly threatened to put up trade barriers in order to prevent cheap clothing from the EU entering the country through the BLS countries. Analysts viewed this threat as a sign that SACU was nearing collapse, as this move would deprive the BLS countries off revenue from the shared customs pool and would spell the end of regional integration, an important tool for global trade.

According to the SA’s Business Day, Davies said, at media briefing before his budget vote speech in Parliament on Tuesday, that he had met with the EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton in Paris last week where she committed the EU to review the rules of origin provisions at the heart of SA’s problem with the interim EPA. He said Ashton’s commitment was ‘significant’.

Rules “She told him the EU would work with SA to align the rules of origin provisions in the interim EPAs with those in the Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) between SA and Europe,” the report reads. Work had already begun at a technical level to achieve this alignment, Davies told reporters. An independent economist who preferred anonymity said the ‘commitment’ by the EU to address the concerns was commendable.

“In fact, it would work in our favour as the BLS countries if these contentious issues were addressed and solutions sought as a way forward, instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. This is the attitude in our countries, to take things for granted, which would eventually lead to surprises in SACU mainly because SA is the engine of SACU and most of the BLS countries rely heavily on the customs union for revenue income. We hope the EU and SA, together with the other countries involved, will really seek to solve these concerns amicably,” he said. The interim economic partnership agreements allow for the import of single stage manufacturing clothing imports into SA whereas the TDCA required a two-stage manufacturing process. This prevented Europe being used as a conduit for cheap clothing imported from elsewhere. Davies said if the rules of origin provisions in the partnership agreements were not amended, SA would have to put up border controls and demand rules of origin certificates. This would make free movement in goods within SACU more difficult.

Goods An alignment with the TDCA would mean that no single-stage goods would be allowed into the SACU market. This would achieve policy coherence within SACU ‘for now’, although in the long term this could be undermined by issues such as export taxes, infant industry protection and more favoured nation status. Introduction of these provisions could result in SACU becoming just a free-trade area rather than a customs union, Davies warned.

“As the full economic partnership agreements will require individual SADC members to take on obligations with the EU in new trade- related policy areas such as investment and services, before the region builds regional markets and rules in these areas, they could impact on the future trajectory of integration,” Davies said in his speech. He hoped the competition authorities would expand their “activist” role in curbing anti-competitive conduct which remained ‘disturbingly pervasive’ in the economy.


EU to look into threats to SACU

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-02-Jul-2009

MBABANE – The European Union (EU) is reported to have committed to look into the ‘contentious’ issues that have threatened to rip apart the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

This will come as a relief, especially to neighbouring countries, especially those who recently signed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (BLS). Angola, Namibia and South Africa (ANSA) refused to sign the interim EPA.

After the signing, SA’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davis reportedly threatened to put up trade barriers in order to prevent cheap clothing from the EU entering the country through the BLS countries. Analysts viewed this threat as a sign that SACU was nearing collapse, as this move would deprive the BLS countries off revenue from the shared customs pool and would spell the end of regional integration, an important tool for global trade.

According to the SA’s Business Day, Davies said, at media briefing before his budget vote speech in Parliament on Tuesday, that he had met with the EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton in Paris last week where she committed the EU to review the rules of origin provisions at the heart of SA’s problem with the interim EPA. He said Ashton’s commitment was ‘significant’.

Rules “She told him the EU would work with SA to align the rules of origin provisions in the interim EPAs with those in the Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) between SA and Europe,” the report reads. Work had already begun at a technical level to achieve this alignment, Davies told reporters. An independent economist who preferred anonymity said the ‘commitment’ by the EU to address the concerns was commendable.

“In fact, it would work in our favour as the BLS countries if these contentious issues were addressed and solutions sought as a way forward, instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. This is the attitude in our countries, to take things for granted, which would eventually lead to surprises in SACU mainly because SA is the engine of SACU and most of the BLS countries rely heavily on the customs union for revenue income. We hope the EU and SA, together with the other countries involved, will really seek to solve these concerns amicably,” he said. The interim economic partnership agreements allow for the import of single stage manufacturing clothing imports into SA whereas the TDCA required a two-stage manufacturing process. This prevented Europe being used as a conduit for cheap clothing imported from elsewhere. Davies said if the rules of origin provisions in the partnership agreements were not amended, SA would have to put up border controls and demand rules of origin certificates. This would make free movement in goods within SACU more difficult.

Goods An alignment with the TDCA would mean that no single-stage goods would be allowed into the SACU market. This would achieve policy coherence within SACU ‘for now’, although in the long term this could be undermined by issues such as export taxes, infant industry protection and more favoured nation status. Introduction of these provisions could result in SACU becoming just a free-trade area rather than a customs union, Davies warned.

“As the full economic partnership agreements will require individual SADC members to take on obligations with the EU in new trade- related policy areas such as investment and services, before the region builds regional markets and rules in these areas, they could impact on the future trajectory of integration,” Davies said in his speech. He hoped the competition authorities would expand their “activist” role in curbing anti-competitive conduct which remained ‘disturbingly pervasive’ in the economy.


Cassava can earn farmers up to E10 000 per hectare

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES --07-Jul-2009

MPHAPHATI – A farmer can earn profit of up to E10 000 per hectare per annum through growing cassava.


HIV patient paid to market herbs

Main Section

By BHEKI GAMA - SWAZI TIMES-07-Jul-2009

MANZINI-A man who convinced HIV positive patients to abandon conventional medicine for herbal remedies has alleged that he was paid to lie.

Themba Dube, who is also HIV positive, said he used to talk on Channel Swazi as someone who had been cured of HIV after taking a herbal concoction prepared by a popular herbalist based in Manzini. The herbalist is one of many who have slots at the TV station.

The two met in 2006, and started working together for close to two years, during which time many were convinced that the herbal remedies were a solution to HIV and AIDS. Dube alleged that he would be paid anything between E100 to E300 per week for lying.

Dube said he would lie on television that the herbal concoction had succeeded where antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) had dismally failed. For this, Dube was remunerated by the herbalist who is also double as the host of the programme every Sunday. “Yes, I was paid commission for my television appearances wherein I used to lie that I had been cured of AIDS by his concoction,” he said, adding that the little money he was paid made a difference since he was not employed and had been sick for a long time. Dube revealed that many ill, especially HIV positive people, would flood the herbalist’s residence the following day in search of a cure after every television appearance.

Sickness Dube’s relationship with the herbalist started when he appeared in a TV interview about his sickness. “In the interview on TV, I explained that I had been to every doctor, prophet, herbalist and tried almost everything. The following morning the herbalist called and said I should not have said that because I had not tried him. He then offered to give me free medical attention only if I agreed to market his products.”

Dube said he could recall lying that a wound on his knee started healing and drying up after he abandoned ARVs for the herbalist’s remedies when in fact the wound had already been healing before he met the herbalist. “He knew that it was the wound under my foot that was giving me a tough time which he failed to heal. I had to lie to continue drawing an income,” he admitted.

He said the herbalist forced him to abandon ARVs and he did for a period of three months during which time his health deteriorated. “It then dawned on me that death was imminent and I approached the RFM Hospital where I pleaded with the health workers to help restart me on ARVs,” he said. Dube said during the time he defaulted, he continued going to the RFM Hospital for refills and pretended as though he was religiously on ARV treatment. He said after he was restarted on ARVs, he started on a path of recovery, something the herbalist flaunted as results of his concoction on his television programmes.

Remedies “Our relationship was destroyed after I told him that his remedies did not work for me and that I only got better after I restarted taking ARVs. He then accused me of being paid to destroy him, and we have been on opposite sides ever since,” Dube said Health Educator at the Swaziland National AIDS Programme (SNAP) Muhle Dlamini said he was aware of Dube’s issue. “This impacts negatively on HIV treatment because people are made to believe that there is a cure and therefore they can sleep around as they wish,” Dlamini said, adding that this led to an increase in the HIV infection rate. A woman who answered the herbalist’s mobile phone said he was not willing to entertain issues pertaining to Dube. The herbalist has since moved his ‘laboratory’ from Ngwane Park to Mbikwakhe in Matsapha.


Woman collapses after drinking Coke

Main Section

By JOSEPH ZULU -07-Jul-2009

SITEKI – An unidentified woman collapsed after drinking a 1.25 litre of Coke during a competition.

This happened at the Judiciary roadshow where the woman took part in a Coca-cola drinking competition without a break.

“The Judiciary and all the organisers will not be held liable if anything wrong happens to you. If you have any illnesses say so now,” said the master of ceremony before the competition started. The woman was the first one to finish but fell hard onto the stage just after taking the last gulp. The fall was so loud, causing a brief panic among the spectators.

One of the organisers tried to fan her with a paper. She lay there still for about a minute before getting up, much to the relief of those who participated in the competi-tion.

She was competing against three men. Just after getting up, she was given her hamper that she had won and staggered off the stage into the crowd where she disappeared. The woman received four T-shirts and a pen !


Major re-insurance company eyes Sd

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-07-Jul-2009

MBABANE – The country may soon have a re-insurance company if plans by renowned ZimRe Holdings Limited to establish a branch in Swaziland materialise.

ZimRe Holdings Limited, formerly known as Zimbabwe Reinsurance Company Limited, is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. According to Internet reports, Group Chief Executive Albert Nduna said the company was set to spread its wings to Swaziland and Botswana, as part of measures to widen the group’s income status. He reportedly said the company was hoping to start operations in the two countries within the next three months. “Our regional operations are contributing much to our performance, hence the need to expand,” Nduna is quoted saying.

Operations The new operations would include insurance, re-insurance, life assurance and asset management. Apart from Zimbabwe, ZimRe Holdings Limited operates in other countries such as Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Uganda. Nduna said operations to establish the new branches were at an advanced stage.

“The economy has gone through dynamism in the Dollarised environment and this is our chance to become a major financial institution in the continent,” he said. When contacted for comment, Registrar of Insurance and Retirement Funds Sandile Dlamini said they had not received ZimRe’s application yet.

He was, however, quick to point out that an application from the company would be welcomed. “ZimRe is a well known re-insurance company, not only in Zimbabwe, but also in the region. We have not received anything formal yet from them but it would be a good thing for them if they showed interest in Swaziland. This is more especially when considering that we still have no company that deals with re-insurance in the country yet,” he said.

Development Dlamini added that having ZimRe would be a big development for Swaziland. “I am actually hoping that they will approach us when the time is right; we would be glad to look at their application,” he said. The registrar explained what re-insurance entails; “The business of re-insurance basically means the company re-insures insurance. ZimRe just accepts business from insurance companies, not individuals; the company does not write insurance directly from customers. What normally happens is that if insurance companies have excess writings more than their capacity, they will re-insure those insurances with companies such as ZimRe.”


‘Do not come back here with your twins’

Main Section

By MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE - SWAZI NEWS-12-Jul-2009

MBABANE

MBABANE—The parents of the conjoined twins currently undergoing counselling and relevant treatment at the Mbabane Government Hospital have been verbally abused by insensitive people who telephonically ordered them not to come back to the Shiselweni region with their babies.

The callers who happen to know the couples because they called them on their mobile phones abusively warned them against returning to the community because they would perceivably bring bad omen to the residents. Other serious and insensitive calls that the leadership of the ministry of health received from people with perceived ‘inhuman heart’ suggested the killing of the twins because they were bad omen yet this could happen to anyone, and the ministry feels they are not a bad omen—and shall never be.

As a result, these telephonic abuses have encumbered the parents of the twins from coping with the counseling they were undergoing at the government hospital. On Friday, they were deeply traumatised until doctors assigned to check on them informed the ministry of health of their condition.

Minister of Health Benedict Xaba and Dr. Vusie Magagula, the acting director of medical services rushed to the hospital to spend sometime with the parents of the conjoined twins, in a bid to give them essential counseling. Legend has it that they should refer them to well known pastor of the Mbabane Alliance Church Rev. Dr. Johannes Mazibuko for spiritual exhortation.

The health minister said he spoke to Pastor Mazibuko about the condition of the parents and asked him to treat the matter with the urgency it deserved, as the words uttered to them by the anonymous callers were so poisonous that the father of the children found it difficult to cope with the situation. The minister of health warned people against abusing the parents, saying what befell them could happen to everyone. He said he also asked one of the senior government officials to report the matter to the chiefdom’s elders at Jericho, South of Swaziland.

“It’s a very bad thing. It’s inhuman to say such a thing to the couples. This is the time when we have to support them emotionally and otherwise. Before they heard these abusive words, they were in trauma already, and if someone comes out and make an insensitive call like this one, then you can see that some of our people are inhuman,” warned the minister of health.

The minister said the couples did not make the babies and it was not through their making that the twins were conjoined. He said reporting the matter to the chiefdom was in accordance with Swazi culture. The minister assumed the people who made the calls thought the couples would bring bad omen to the community, something that was far from the truth. He said they were trying to get hold of the callers.

“I have since been reliably informed that the official I have sent to the chiefdom was preparing to go there. In short he has not met them but in accordance with culture such matters are reported,” said the minister. Pastor Mazibuko confirmed that he got a call from the minister of health, asking him to assist the parents. Pastor Mazibuko said he would try to meet them this week to ascertain how he could help them. The acting director of medical services Dr. Magagula said the father also reported that he was being ridiculed, saying Swazis were celebrated for their respect and wondered why they allowed the evil to cause them to stoop so low.


Finally: Dumisa gets his farms back in SA

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By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-12-Jul-2009

MBABANE—In a matter that has taken over a decade to settle, South Africa based businessman Dumisa Dlamini can now reclaim his status of being a tycoon and can now smile all the way to his farms and hotels.

Dlamini has recovered his E600 million worth of farms and hotel properties. Through this move, Dlamini has outwitted the banks and all other institutions that pulled him down in a boardroom wrangle that resulted in him losing his properties.

Even though Dlamini is a happy man now, he still has a mountain to climb in trying to evict all the people who bought his farms and hotels. Dlamini’s farms were officially restored to him after years of fighting the South African institutions, following a court ruling that reduced him from the status of multi millionaire to an ordinary citizen.

The Department of Land Affairs, the office of the Master of the High Court and the office of the Registrar of Deeds have collaborated to complete a process of giving back his 14 farms. These are the farms where Dlamini used to produce massive amounts of sugarcane, which he exported. A letter authorising Dlamini to move back to his farms and properties was delivered to Dlamini on the June 4, 2009. This letter came from the Registrar of Deeds Department of Rural Development and land Reform. According to the letter, “the liquidators Kleindoomkop must ensure that all the property that were placed under voluntary liquidation and interdicted are revested to the rellevant close corporation, in terms of court order under case no. 11320/2000, automatically then the said properties vest back to its lawful owner.”

This correspondence followed a lengthy spell of hustling by the South African authorities, who were having a hard time in restoring Dlamini’s properties. According to a memorandum written by the Registrar of Deeds P.E. Maseko to the office of the Master of the High Court instructing the release of Dlamini’s farms, Maseko said, “We refer to our three letters of correspondence dated 11/07/2008, 31/07/2008 and 11/08/2008. To date, there had not been any response from your office regarding the position as stipulated in the content of those letters.

We place on record that we have now (been) duly served by the Sheriff of the High Court with an upliftment order setting aside the liquidation. We are duly bound to comply with the order as served therefore restoration of the properties to the above close corporation (Klein-doornkop Broidery) should take place.” The Registrar stated that it was noted by the liquidators on a letter dated July 8, 2008 that the interdict against Dlamini’s company must be cancelled.

“On perusal of the order of the Court, it is noted that the letter was issued in 2002 however the office of the Registrar of Deeds was only served with such an order in 2008. We enquire as to why the liquidators had not uplifted such an order when they should have acted as such (sic).

“At present our office is contaminated with numerous irregularities whereby we request your office to take up the matter with the irregularities, whereby we request your office to take up the matter with the liquidators concerned as to the manner they acted,” he states in the correspondence.


Cops arrest 8 people for E2.5 million cigarettes

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By BRIAN MOHAMMED - SWAZI TIMES -12-Jul-2009

MBABANE - Six Mozambicans and two Swazis were arrested while two trucks carrying 350 boxes of cigarettes worth E2.5 million were detained.

The arrested group include Pedro Fransisco (34), Linoh Dinis Macuacua (20), Lorento Joachim Ferro (28), Lourindo Roselina Come (41) Agusto Thomas Mangate (22) and Don Carlos Said (35). Others include Bheki Ncongwane (33) from Kalanga together with Mayibongwe Ginindza (28) of Mfabantfu. The arrest of the eight comes at the wake of Acting Commissioner of police Isaac Magagula’s riot act he read last week of curbing the ever-increasing incidents of detention and arrests associated with the trade of cigarettes in the country.

Following such, Magagula dispatched an eight-member Task Team to tackle the investigations on the operation of the tobacco product traders in the country.

Highlighted This came after Customs and Excise Department Legal Advisor Sibongile Hlatshwayo was attacked by four armed men and reports carried by our sister publication Times Sunday highlighted that some faceless traders claimed responsibility of the attack. It has been gathered that on Thursday night, upon following a lead on the cigarettes trade the team caught up with the two trucks loaded with cigarettes in Nhlangano at Shiselweni forest at around 1 am. Information gathered is that the cigarettes were part of a consignment of 500 legally bonded boxes of Pacific cigarettes, which had been kept in a warehouse in Matsapha.

It has been further gathered that upon locating the truck in Nhlangano, members of the task team demanded documentation of the consignment, before the Customs Department went to the warehouse to count stock only to find that only 150 were inside the warehouse.

Detained Sources said the 350 detained boxes were part of the 500 that were legally stored in the warehouse. It has transpired that the cigarettes had documentation that was not with the truck occupants but was with Customs department, which is tasked to monitor the movement of the cigarettes. When reached for comment Commissioner of Customs Thembinkosi Mpanza confirmed the latest incident regarding the issue of the cigarettes.

Also reached for comment was police publicist Superintendent Vusi Masuku, who confirmed the detention of the cigarettes and the arrest of the eight. “They were charged with contravening section 80 of the Customs and Excise Act of 1971 by wrongfully and intentionally possessing illicit goods being the 350 boxes of Pacific cigarettes,” he said.

Remanded Masuku added that yesterday evening they appeared before Nhlangano Senior Magistrate Peter Simelane and were remanded back in custody until Monday. Prosecutor Nkosinathi Maseko made an application that the two trucks registered MLZ 75-20 and MLZ 62-40 together with a Polo sedan be in police custody pending the finalisation of the matter


Cops ripping tourists off

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By The Editor on July 15 - SWAZI TIMES-15-Jul-2009

On Sunday, July 5 at around 3:15pm near Nkoyoyo along the highway I was stopped by traffic police officers for speeding.

The speed limit was 80km/h and I was doing 80km/h. As I had been fined two months previously on the same road, and this time I made sure not to exceed the speed limit.

When I said that I was not speeding, the officer responded aggressively that I was saying he was lying. When I requested to see the reading on the device, he said it reseted after 30 seconds. When I asked the officer if he could produce a calibration certificate for the device, he merely said the device was calibrated.

When I again said I was not speeding, the office responded aggressively that he could meet me in court the following Monday to contest the issue. As I was on my way back home to South Africa, this was obviously not an option for me, so I reluctantly paid the fine. During this time, two more foreign registered cars were stopped, however, a number of Swaziland registered cars passed us and none were stopped.

Upon inspection of the receipt I received, I noticed it only states ‘exceeding the speed limit’, with no details as to where the offence occurred and the speed I was supposed to have done. I am under the impression that foreigners are targeted as the traffic officers know that none of their fines will be contested.

Opportunity One does not even have the opportunity to see the reading on the speed measuring device. It is sad to see that the situation in Swaziland is fast becoming corrupt as is the case in other African countries, this during a time that Swaziland cannot afford to lose tourists. I am now considering other destinations for my holidays.

Regards W. de Graaf Pretoria.


PM wants to ban lotto from Media

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By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES-15-Jul-2009

MANZINI – Government is considering banning the advertisement of gambling in the government media.

This was announced by the Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday during a meeting with grantees and managers of mission schools that was held at the Nazarene Teachers Training College.

The PM then expressed hope that other media houses would take leaf from the same book and follow suit. Dlamini noted that the country’s youth has been lured, often through modern technology such as cellphones, into a life obsessed with gambling.

“It also creates the false illusion that happiness can be gained from winning a large amount of money from a bet when in fact it often achieves little more than jealousy and quarrelling as we have recently witnessed.

“Usually, given the odds involved, a gambler is simply throwing away scarce resources,” the premier said. He said government had a responsibility to ensure that all such activities do not dominate our society and risk corrupting children, and turning Swaziland into a nation of gamblers. Dlamini then appealed to the grantees and managers of mission schools to use their influence of the mission schools to continue promoting and rewarding respect for good moral values in their schools.

He further encouraged them to speak out at every opportunity to guide others. One of the popular games running is Top Lotto. Comment from the company’s Director Victor Gamedze could not be obtained as his mobile phone rang unanswered.


Coca-Cola promises govt a bright future

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By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-15-Jul-2009

MBABANE – The Coca-Cola Foundation International has promised to supply government with more equipment as part of a fruitful relationship.

The equipment is said to be expensive and comes in containers. Recently, the foundation donated equipment to the government estimated to be over E3 million.

During a brief visit yesterday at the government hospital to see how the equipment was being utilised, the Coca-Cola Foundation top official Fred Yochum assured the Minister of Health, Benedict Xaba, and his entourage which included other ministers, that they were sending more containers soon to benefit the hospital.

He said the equipment costs millions of Emalangeni and they were positive that the hospital and the ministry would make use of it effectively. “I am glad to find that the current equipment is being used well and is helping the Swazis here. Let me also acknowledge the relationship government has with us, this means we will go a long way in helping each other,” said Yochum. The minister was accompanied by ministers Jabulile Mashwama, Prince Sihlangusemphi, Princess Tsandzile and Wilson Ntshangase.

Mashwama also extended her gratitude to the Coca-Cola Foundation and said it was good to see it picking Swaziland to help and that it would go a long way in improving the healthcare in Swaziland. The entourage visited a few wards including the ICU before sitting for a briefing. Also present during the event was CONCO General Manager Manqoba Khumalo and outgoing GM Jose Neves.


Baby born without head

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By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-16-Jul-2009

MBABANE – There is a growing trend of children being born with deformities, one such being a baby that was born without a head in Swaziland.

According to the Ministry of Health, this case is not isolation, as public health institutions have recorded babies born without limbs, spinal cord or the internal organs protruding. The latest case of such deformities is that of conjoined twins who share the same body and vital organs but have separate heads.

Deputy Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula confirmed the strange cases. He could not go into specifics regarding the statistics, as it would entail digging their files from the past financial year, which is a time-consuming exercise. The Deputy Director was responding to this newspaper after it had learnt from some nurses working in paediatric centres around the country had revealed the strange occurrence.

“We don’t really know how it happens but nature usually intervenes as most of these babies are usually still-born (born already dead),” said Magagula. He said the causes of such deformities could be many, part of which may be associated with HIV and AIDS. “We have always had still-born babies in our hospitals but the frequency with which it is occurring these days is alarming. The strange thing about this situation though is the increasing number of babies who are born with a variety of deformities,” said the doctor.

Magagula said the ministry was considering a number of options to address this problem, one of which was developing a policy that would compel expectant mothers to undergo ultrasounds (technology used to look inside a mother’s body to see an unborn baby). The doctor said this would help them detect the problem early so that they can seek medical advice while there was still time.

He said they were particularly concerned because of the high number of children that were born daily in the country. He stated, for instance, that on average, there were close to 100 children born every day in the country’s health facilities. Magagula only decried the fact that government still did not have enough equipment to successfully and effectively carry out this task.

About three weekends ago, a baby was born with two heads at Hlathikhulu Government Hospital in the Shiselweni region. The mother of the baby is said to have showed up at the hospital when she was due and the medical condition was only detected during child birth.


Nisela director bids farm for E4.3 million

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By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES -16-Jul-2009

NHLANGANO - Director of Nisela Farm Troy Minne was the eventual buyer of a farm measuring 214 1330 hectares for E4.3million.

Minne was the highest bidder, whilst second highest was Douglas and Sandy Wales (father and son) of Hlatikhulu at E4.1million. Mbabane lawyer Paul Shilubane first bid for the farm at E1.5 million, but the figure was accumulated after Minne and Wales also bid.

Deputy Sheriff Douglas Littler was the auctioneer. The auction started at 12:30pm and lasted less than an hour.

The farm is portion ‘H’ of Kubuta Estate No.222, situated in the Shiselweni district and was held under the title deed of transfer No.158/1992 dated April 3, 1992. It is fenced and has a water supply system by borehole, which is servicing one of the dwelling houses on the farm. The Mhlathuze River transverses the property and the farm is well watered by canals. The main house has three bedrooms, kitchen, dining-sitting room/living and two bathrooms.

Other im-provements are servant’s quarters and also the workers’ compound, which houses approximately 20 labourers. Less than 20 people attended the auction and one was making his bids through the phone of the deputy sheriff.


Zimbabwe bids to host 2009 COSAFA Cup

Sports Section

By LWAZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES -16-Jul-2009

MBABANE – After South Africa’s Mpumalanga Provincial government’s withdrawal, Zimbabwe has made a sensational bid to host the 2009 COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup, the Times Sports Desk.

The bid to host the 2009 COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup was made by Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA), working in tandem with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority who believe that this could be a big public relations coup for the country in its bid to attract visitors ahead of the 2010 World Cup showcase.

To host the annual soccer tournament, Zimbabwe needs to secure US$700 000 (about E5.6 million), which is needed to cover the cost of running the region’s flagship football tournament in either September or October this year. The country will also have to provide on top of the sponsorship package accommodation, transport and food for the participating teams and acceptable venues for the big tournament.

According to a report carried by Zimbabwe’s daily newspaper, the Herald, just having about a dozen senior national teams, camped in Zimbabwe for a week or so in the battle for the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup, will be a massive boost for the campaign to convince the world that the country has the capacity to host big football contingents. Poland have already confirmed that they will camp in Zimbabwe, should they qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals while Fifa president Sepp Blatter is also due to visit this country before the showcase in South Africa. Now, focus has been turned to the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup and a number of high-profile meetings have since been lined up that will feature the Zifa and ZTA leadership, the local business community and the executive arm of the regional football leadership. The first Indaba is scheduled for Harare this week. Zifa president Wellington Nyatanga last month confirmed his association’s willingness to host the tournament in a letter to the Cosafa chief operations officer.

“Further to the Cosafa Executive meeting held in Johannesburg concerning the Cosafa Senior Challenge Tournament, the Zimbabwe Football Association is pleased to advise you that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is in agreement to partner Zifa in hosting the Cosafa Senior Challenge Tournament in Zimbabwe,” wrote Nyatanga. “We now await your decision for authority to host the tournament and also the budget thereof. Please find attached a copy of the letter from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, which is self-explanatory. We hope and trust that our bid to host the tournament will be successful.”

COSAFA Chairman of the Organising Committee, Timothy Shongwe confirmed that Zimbabwe have shown great interest in hosting the tournament and had made an official bid. “We did receive their request to host the tournament but we need some guarantees before we consider giving them the right to host the tournament. Good thing is that they are being backed by their government,” Shongwe said. He said the tournament is scheduled for the first week of October. “We are waiting on them to come back to us after they have satisfied all the areas we highlighted,” Shongwe said.


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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By The Editor on July 16 - SWAZI TIMES -16-Jul-2009

RIPPLE EFFECT

Sir,

Could you kindly allow me a short space in your widely read newspaper, the Times of Swaziland to air my views to our economists, financial and legal advisors, parliamentarians and all those who care to know about the financial crisis that has its ripple effects all over the world.

Ripple Effect What do I mean by a ‘ripple effect’, you may ask? The following are best examples of a ripple effect. When you throw a stone into a dam with still water, you’ll see a splash and hear the sound as the stone hits the water. You might notice concentric circles rippling out from the centre point of where the stone hit the water. It is a guarantee that the thrown stone will always have other effects. It might frighten a nearby duck that leaps out of the water, hit another rock and bounce off, or scare the hell out of a bunch of fish, or scare the hell out of a group of crocodiles conspiring on their next attack as it sinks to the bottom of the dam. What started as a stone’s throw into the dam has caused change through a single and simple act.

The link to the financial crisis The above example explains exactly how the financial crisis is affecting economies the world over. The US started this by giving mortgage to non-deserving people, the people did not pay their bonds, banks suffered, the banks’ executives continued milking the already dead cow by announcing huge profits in order to get huge bonuses. It is for this reason that headlines like ‘Company A makes over E300m profit’ get shivers down my spine. These figures get inflated for the bosses to get bonuses, and guess what these bonuses can pay their entire employee base for a month or two if re-invested in the organisations. The ripples started on the once stable dam (world economy), the ripple effect hit the UK bank Northern Rock. More banks filed for bankruptcy.

Turning a blind eye to reality When I read the local newspapers, our local economists started commenting about the financial crisis affecting only the powerhouses of this world. My question then was, when big economies come crushing down, then what about our small Swaziland? I think I was just being paranoid about the whole thing because this was not an issue to our parliamentarians, it was just my problem. When this started our government, instead of trying to understand the whole thing, they went ahead with their expenditures turning a blind eye to the reality of tumbling world economies. I cannot start counting the expenditures; it would be a waste of time and space. Today, in less than 12 months since the financial crisis started, the number of companies filing for bankruptcy are estimated to be 14 in Swaziland; the country which was not so long ago announced to be immune to the financial crisis by its economists. Try to imagine the dent that this puts on our reputation in terms of investment conditions. Who would ever want to invest in a country where in a space of eight months, 14 companies file for bankruptcy? This is bad. Think about the job losses. I guess the work for those whose responsibility is to lure investors into the country to provide employment has just been made worse. All your efforts have just been washed down the drain. It really is a sad situation.

Do we have a contingency plan? In this kind of a situation, the powerhouses of this world applied a contingency plan, that is governments of the affected nations bailed out the bankrupt companies to give them a lifeline. Here is my question to our government. Do we have the capacity to apply damage control? Please note that I am not talking about World Bank loans here. This is not the time to make more debts. I am also not talking about printing more money because we might end up having a E1m note which is worth nothing like our brothers and sisters in one of our neighboiring countries. Can our government intervene and bring back to life the closing companies and hence the many jobs for the Swazi nation? Lobengula MT Dlamini ePitoli

If the answer to my question is not positive then I will add another question: are we ready for an increased crime rate because of unemployment? Uprisings become a reality when people have nothing to eat.

Recommendation It would be very lame, undiplomatic and unprofessional for me not to at least give a recommendation at this point. My recommendation would be for our government to start investigating on the extent of the situation. Instead of our honorable parliamentarians being busy investigating fights by their female counterparts, among other unnecessary issues, they should focus on this issue. I believe it is of national concern. They should find a strategy to avoid more company closures, because I believe more are still to follow suit.

My other recommendation is directed to the executives of companies, please stop being greedy and for once stop inflating your profits for your fat bonuses. Start taking pay-cuts and stop the bonuses to sustain your businesses. I have heard of a company requesting its employees to volunteer to work for a month without pay or to take unpaid leave, talk about cost cutting measures. This might not be practical for the majority of Swazis who live from hand to mouth, however it is can be applicable to our executives, PSes and honorable parliamentarians (tip for our government to save money). Start working on strategies to sustain your companies in these tough economic times. This is not time to bury your heads in the sand and claim it won’t catch up with you. Be proactive and keep your businesses going.

Opinions and Ideas In closing I would like to say whatever is written in the articles is solely my own opinions and does not in any way reflects the opinions of any company or organization I am affiliated with. In all due respect any opinions or ideas expressed herein are not meant to insult the authorities of our country. The opinions and ideas expressed herein are also not in any way associated with any terrorism activity.

In crafting this piece I made it my responsibility and I tried my level best not infringe on anyone’s personality rights. If it in any way and by any change stepping on anyone’s toes, please consider it unintentional, because there is not offence intended.

Yours Truly Lobengula MT Dlamini ePitoli


Buy a Lovers Plus Condom and get E250 inside

Recreation Section

By NTOMBI MHLONGO-20-Jul-2009

MBABANE- Population Service International (PSI) will be giving away money to the public when they purchase their condoms in their latest campaign.

The condoms are the Lovers Plus brand and those that have been specially made for the upcoming Bushfire Festival. In an interview with the company’s co-ordinator Thabile Maripe, she mentioned that the promotion will begin tomorrow and run until August 23.

About 56 of the Bushfire condoms contain E250 and will only be available in outlets in Manzini and Mbabane. “It’s not only the money but the condoms also contain free testing and circumcision information. Both of them are sold at normal price but the Bushfire ones contain the money so if you buy those you are at an adavantage,”she said. The company is amongst the over 20 sponsors of the Bushfire Festival which will take place at the end of this month at House on Fire.


Inyanga offers TB drugs to patients

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By BHEKI GAMA - SWAZI TIMES-20-Jul-2009

MANZINI-A popular herbalist is accused of distributing drugs which should be issued by a qualified medical doctor.

The herbalist gave a Mankayane woman tuberculosis (TB) drugs without taking the necessary tests to established whether or not she had TB.

The pills were brought by her husband who had gone to consult the traditional healer over her continuous bouts of cough. “When the cough continued, she came to this hospital,” said a doctor at Mankayane Government Hospital, adding that she explained to him that she had been coughing for over two weeks. “She then displayed drugs which she said she had been told to take for two weeks,” he said, adding: “It was clear that the drugs were Rifafour, prescribed to TB patients by a doctor and should be taken for six months.”

The doctor said after questioning the source of the tablets, he established that they were issued by the herbalist to her husband. Her husband had gone to see the traditional healer over her sickness, probably after watching him (healer) advertising himself on television as someone who had a cure. “But these drugs should be taken religiously for six months or the patient would develop resistance to TB treatment,” he explained.

The doctor said he could not rule out the possibility of counterfeit TB drugs in the hands of such healers. He said he lost track of the patient as he was preparing a report on the issue to be taken to the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, but said he was still pursuing the issue, which he said should be addressed sooner than later. He said he wanted the report to establish the source of the drugs so that those involved could be dealt with accordingly. However, he decried drug regulation in the country, saying it left a lot to be desired. “If there is no proper regulation of the usage of medicines, we are at risk as a nation,” he observed.

He said herbalists and others practising traditional medicine should be regulated to avoid a health crisis. “What concerned me deeply was the fact that the population was in danger of developing drug resistance if TB drugs are distributed anyhow,” he said, mentioning that drug resistance led to MDR strain, which is harder to treat. He said anyone was at risk of getting MDR directly from an MDR sufferer.


40 years for rape

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By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-20-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Rapists in the country face jail terms of up to 40 years if convicted of the crime of rape. This includes women who shall now also be charged for rape.

The least maximum sentence is 18 years behind bars while the highest is 40 years as a guest of the state in any of the correctional services facilities in the kingdom. The gravity of the sentences depends on the age of the victim and whether the offender is committing the crime for the first or second time. The sentence is a few years lighter if the criminal is a first offender and heavier if the crime is committed by a repeat offender.

Double offenders will be known through a National Register for Sex Offenders, a document that will be established to record names of all people convicted of sexual offences in the kingdom. The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill of 2009 defines rape as an unlawful sexual act committed under any coercive circumstances, false pretences or fraudulent means or with somebody who is incapable, in terms of the law, to know the nature of sexual actions. It also includes having sex with somebody under duress, psychological oppression and fear of violence.

Force The Bill defines coercive circumstances as using force against the person or property belonging to the person, threatening to harm the person or her property and abusing power or authority to the extent that the victim is afraid of resisting. False pretences or fraudulent means, according to the proposed law, means leading the victim to believe that she or he is having sex with a particular person when, in fact, it is with a different person altogether.

In terms of the Bill, someone who is incapable of appreciating that the act is sexual in nature is somebody who is asleep or unconscious when the act occurs. It also means instances where the person is under the influence of drugs, medication or alcohol as well as when the victim is mentally disabled or below the age of 16 years.


IMF puts SD’s growth at 0.4%

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-20-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Although the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to decline sharply this year, the IMF projects it will remain positive at 0.4 per cent.

The IMF believes that this is largely due to a contraction in manufacturing and mining, and a rebound in sugar production. IMF is an acronym for the International Monetary Fund.

According to reports sourced from the internet, IMF staff mission led by the IMF Mission Chief for Swaziland, Norbert Toé paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole, Minister of Economic Planning and Development Prince Sihlangusemphi, Central Bank of Swaziland (CBS) Governor Martin Dlamini, senior government officials and members of the donor community and the private sector last week to review recent economic developments and discuss the impact of the global downturn on the Swazi economy and the authorities’ policy response.

crisis Sithole confirmed the courtesy visit, saying the projection made by the IMF was a reflection that the global economic crisis was affecting the Swazi economy negatively. “Yes, the IMF was here from July 8, 2009 and they were expected to leave yesterday (Thursday). During their stay, they looked at the country’s economic figures, which we made readily available and they did their own projections on the country’s economic status. They noted that even though the country’s growth rate will decline this year, it will remain positive at 0.4 per cent,” Sithole explained.

projection Asked on how government viewed this projection, as government’s projections for 2009 indicates that growth will be less than two per cent this year, Sithole said this was just an IMF projection and that it remained to be seen if this projection would actually be realised.

“The IMF also noted that the growth rate for many countries will decline this year because of the global economic crisis, but they have also noted that despite this, the country’s growth rate will remain positive,” he added. The report sourced from the Internet says Toé said Swaziland was adversely affected by the second round effects of the global economic downturn, albeit to a lesser extent than similar small open economies.

“Real GDP growth in 2009 is projected to decelerate sharply, but remain positive at 0.4 percent, largely on account of a contraction in manufacturing and mining, and a rebound in sugar production. Inflation is projected to decline to single digits as pressures related to food price increases in 2008 subside. Rising transfers from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) enabled the Central Bank of Swaziland to accumulate international reserves,” reads the report in part.

It goes on to say Toé noted that the country’s fiscal position, which recorded a surplus during the 2008/2009 financial year was expected to swing into a deficit this current fiscal year (April 2009 to March 2010) on account of escalating expenditures and a decline in SACU revenue. mission “While some fiscal loosening to support domestic demand in the face of the significant weakening of economic activity in Swaziland may be warranted, the mission stressed the need to maintain fiscal sustainability over the medium term through appropriate revenue and expenditure policies. Stepped up domestic revenue mobilization efforts should include fully operationalising the revenue authority and implementing a value-added tax to broaden the tax base,” reads the report in part. It further says Toé noted that cuts in expenditure would also need to be undertaken while allowing for additional spending on education, health, and other priority programmes.


Weslians present king with cow

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-20-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Manzini Wanderers presented His Majesty King Mswati 111 with a cow for attending the SwaziBank Cup final in April.

The Weslians forked out E4 000 to buy the cow that was to be given to the king as a gift for watching the team’ lose 1-2 to Mbabane Highlanders at a packed to the brim Somhlolo Stadium on Sunday April 5, 2009.

This was revealed by the team through its financial report presented to the supporters during their meeting at Salesian High School. Team treasurer Mbongeni Mkoko disclosed that the cow was given to the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) to take to His Majesty.

“We want to clarify on the E4 000 king’s gift that appears on the report. The gift was in appreciation of the king’s presence during the SwaziBank Cup final. It was a historic event and the team felt honoured to show their joy to His Majesty,” he said.

FA President Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa opted not to comment on the matter when asked yesterday. The maroon and white ensemble was presented with the rare opportunity of posing with His Majesty after the match. That was despite painfully losing courtesy of a stunning brace by Khayelihle ‘Karas’ Dlamini, who beat goalkeeper Basil Mthethwa via free kicks. The match was also watched by the team’s patron, Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, who openly cheered the club.


Let’s hope free education won’t compromise quality

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - SWAZI TIMES -20-Jul-2009

Let’s hope free education won’t compromise quality

Sir,

Kindly allow me space in your widely read newspaper to air my views on the recent vusela exercise being undertaken by our education ministry on free primary education. Firstly, may I convey our gratitude or the ministry’s efforts to relieve parents of the yearly financial burden, but let’s hope it won’t compromise the quality of education.

Secondly, may I point out that after serving the above ministry for the past 28 years, 25 of which I’ve been heading schools, I learnt quite a number of things; one of which is the pace at which our ministry responds towards schools requirements.

We asked for furniture for four consecutive years, but it was received this year in the fifth year of request. Some schools were damaged by storms years back and reports about the destruction were done, but nothing came forth. It was left to the parents to repair the damage.

May I also point out that out of all the government ministries our education ministry is the only ministry, which over-taxes its employees (teachers) as well as the parents. For every supply to the schools the ministry demands the principals to provide transport, e.g. books, exercise books to name just a few. They are all delivered at the regional offices instead of setting dates of delivery and deliver them directly to the respective schools.

Discipline I wonder if our honourable minister’s speech on teachers’ discipline is anything to go by when he says if any teacher impregnates a pupil then his principal will be in the same boiling soup of being disciplined. Maybe he meant that any wrong deeds by his own sons and daughters would also see him removed from his post. Principals have never condoned undisciplined teachers. We strongly condemn love affairs among scholars as well as teacher-pupils relationships.

But it must be noted that there are many factors leading to our failure in controlling the above problems. For example, teachers stay in rented flats. Can you control someone who stays away from you? We hope being bedroom guards would see principals earning an allowance for being a good guard. Our government all along has been complaining about large budgets spent on salaries due to the large numbers of government employees. Now our own ministry is making empty promises of taking care of schools needs and employees, like security, secretaries, groundsmen, maybe even drivers for some of the few schools with cars. Let’s wait and see if that could be possible.

Our schools have no accommodation, most of them have an acute shortage of housing, and public transport in most places is not enough.

Problematic The policies of getting relief teachers are also problematic. In a school of 16 staff members you find that sometimes two members get either sick or maternity leave. The head of department can teach for both teachers and is expected to teach his own subjects. The ministry needs to swiftly assist on these issues. Some of our human resource persons do not replace the required personnel on time.

May I finally urge our leaders to see to it that free education is of good quality for our innocent young stars. We hope they do not intend to only empower private schools, and provide cheap labour for their own children who are not in our system. Being Swazi, I believe whoever dishes food for a family, his own children must be fed from the same bowl. If not then there is a problem.

Worried RM


 

  Section

 -21-Jul-2009

 


conjoined twins pass on

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES -22-Jul-2009

MBABANE - The conjoined twins who were taken to South Africa on Thursday to receive medical observation from medical specialists have since died.

They are said to have died at a private hospital in South Africa. It could not be gathered as to when exactly the twins died as the Ministry of Health officials were only informed about the twins’ death yesterday morning. The twins were given birth by a 22-year-old mother at the Hlathikhulu Government Hospital two weeks ago.

They were then taken to the Mbabane Government Hospital before being transferred to South Africa. The twins were joined from the neck, having two heads but one body in which they shared limbs and the vital organs including the heart.

When the twins died, specialists were reported to be busy assessing their condition and looking at possibilities of them being operated. When they left the country, they were accompanied by their mother, who has not yet returned to the country. The death of the twins in South Africa was confirmed by Health Minister Benedict Xaba who said he had received a phone call informing him of the news.

“I have just heard the sad news. However, I do not have much information as when I was informed about the death, I was in a meeting,” said the minister. Also confirming the death was the Acting Director of Medical Services Dr. Vusi Magagula. “We have already been informed that the twins have died. However, it is too early to give out more information,” he said. When asked which private hospital the twins were in, he said he could not divulge those details yet. Asked if specialists had begun operating on the twins, Magagula said they had still been observing them and they were still busy conducting the tests.

“The operation was far from being conducted, as tests were still being done. The tests were to be the determining factor,” he said.


‘Legalise sex work’

Main Section

By MBONGISENI NHLEKO - SWAZI TIMES -22-Jul-2009

MANZINI – Commercial sex work should be legalised.

This was the observation of some smart partners during the National Smart Partnership Mini Dialogue held at Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

The group that had been assigned to dissect ‘Social Dynamics and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic’ noted that commercial sex should be made legal. Vusi Matsebula of the Swaziland AIDS Support Organisation (SASO) said sex workers needed to be taught on ways of their trade, so that their trade could be regulated.

“The trade must be regulated. If commercial sex work is regulated, it would be easier for the workers to report customers that have robbed them to the law,” he said. Matsebula also noted that the sex workers would also be empowered because they would operate freely and generate revenue.

He noted that as long as the sex workers operated in darkness, they stood to contribute immensely to the spread of HIV. He further stated that there was a big problem with stigma and discrimination, which made many people skeptical about going for HIV tests. Businessman Nhlanhla Zwane said there was serious lack of information hence the need for the media to step up a bit in that aspect.

“The media should look into itself on what it can offer in terms of fighting the spread of the disease,” he said. He then complained about the abundance of alcohol, which is perceived as the best form of entertainment, when in actual fact it is the driving force for the HIV disease.

Media Director in the Ministry of Information Communications and Technology Martin Dlamini also echoed Zwane’s words, saying indulgence in alcohol by the youth who are much into social life was a great problem. He observed that strong regulations for the consumption of alcohol should be considered.


Prostitutes face E15 000 fine

Main Section

REPORTS By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - swazi times-22-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Prostitutes face fines of up to E15 000 if they are convicted of committing prostitu-tion.

Alternatively, they can spend as many as six years in jail for the crime.

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 prescribes these penalties for prostitutes. Section 17 (1) of the Bill states: “A person who intentionally lives wholly or in part on rewards, favours or compensation for the commission of sexual acts or sexual violations by another person commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six years or to a fine of E15 000.”

The proposed law states, however, that if the person committing this offence is a child, she may not be convicted. The law defines a child as someone below the age of 18 years.

Sentence The fine and jail sentence referred to above applies to people who make a living from earnings of prostitutions. The Bill also proposes a penalty of E20 000 or a jail term not exceeding 10 years for people who benefit from prostitution. Those who recruit others to join the profession also face arrest.

“A person who procures another to engage in prostitution commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or to a fine of E20 000 or both, but where the victim is a child the term of imprisonment shall not exceed 20 years without an option of a fine,” states Section 15 of the Bill.

It also prescribes a similar fine (not exceeding E20 000) for someone who operates a brothel. According to the Bill, it will not matter whether the person owned the brothel or was a manager but so long as he or she was assisting in its running that person will be liable. It will be a defence though if the individual can prove that he or she was not aware that place was being kept or used as a brothel.



MORE ON SEXUAL OFFENCES BILL

E6,000.00 FINE FOR EXPOSING PRIVATE PARTS.

MBABANE - Exposing ones private body parts including genitals, breasts and anus will land indiviuals in hot water.

The proposed law imposes a fine not exceeding E6,000.00 or three years in jail for an individual who contravenes this law. It will be a crime when this is done for the sexual gratification of that person or a third party.

However, it can be a defence of the accused that the exposure was done for cultural purposes or breastfeeding in the case of women.

The accused can also defend himself if the act was done for medical purposes, gathering evidence or by a parent who might be checking if the child has been sexually violated.


Chartered Accountants invited to join SIA

Business Section

Chartered Accountants invited to join SIA-22-Jul-2009

MBABANE – All Chartered Accountants (CAs) who have been awarded the designation by recognised accountancy bodies outside the country are invited to be members of the Swaziland Institute of Accountants (SIA).

Executive Director of SIA Barnabas Mhlongo said the institute had the statutory responsibility of promoting and strengthening the profession in the country, in terms of the Accountants Act of 1985 as amended.

“This responsibility includes taking a leading role in the training and development of aspiring Swazi accountants and also encouraging as many qualified accountants as possible to join the institute and to participate in its activities.

We would, therefore, like to extend an invitation to everyone who has been awarded the Chartered Accountant designation by a recognised accountancy body and who is a member in good standing of such a body; they should apply for membership with the institute,” he said, further appealing to them to participate in the activities of the institute.

Mission He said the SIA was the only body which, by law, could award the Chartered Accountant designation in Swaziland and that part of their mission was to grow the number of CAs in the country. “This is because we strongly believe that accountants in both the private and public sectors have a vital role to play in Swaziland’s economic development,” he said.

Mhlongo further outlined the benefits of joining the SIA as: membership to an internationally recognised institute that is a long-standing member of highly respected bodies such as the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Federation of Accountants (ECSAFA) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC); the opportunity to take part in SIA’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities; the opportunity to play a role in shaping the ongoing advancement of the accountancy profession in the country.

“Another opportunity is that they take part in SIA events as well as to meet and interact with senior representatives of regional and global accountancy bodies, including the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants,” Mhlongo added.


‘Rapists’ to lose their jobs

Main Section

By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-23-Jul-2009

MBABANE – People convicted of sexual offences in or outside the country might soon find themselves jobless.

Such individuals will also be prohibited from being adoptive parents, foster parents and care-givers.

Those who are not employed but seeking employment will be forced to inform their potential employers, in their applications, that they were once convicted of a sexual offence. This will happen should Parliament pass and adopt the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 as is. The proposed legislation gives employers the responsibility of firing their employees convicted of such crimes.

It will not happen anyhow though as the employer must first establish whether there is any position the affected employee can be transferred to within the company. If no such position exists, the employer would have no choice but to terminate the services of that worker.

Section 56 of the Bill stipulates that, once the Bill becomes law, there shall be a National Register for Sexual Offenders. This register will contain names of sex offenders, whom the court shall order details about them to be written there. According to Section 63 of the Bill, such people will be prohibited from being employed in certain types of jobs. For instance, they will be prohibited from being employed to be in charge of children, physically or mentally disabled and being foster parents.

Entities that run facilities providing the above services will apply to the Registrar seeking to know if an employee or candidate for employment has ever been convicted of a sexual offence. Section 65 (1) (d) and (e) states: “An employer shall, subject to paragraph (e), take reasonable steps to prevent an employee whose particulars are recorded in the register from continuing to gain access to a child or person who is physically or mentally disabled, in the course of his employment, including, if reasonably possible or practicable to transfer such person from the post or position occupied by him to another post or position.

“If any steps to be taken under paragraph (d) shall not ensure the safety of a child or a person who is physically or mentally disabled, the employment relationship, the use of services or access, as the case may be, shall be terminated immediately.” The proposed legislation, however, makes a provision for the offender to apply, after 10 years had elapsed since the conviction, that his name should be removed from the register.


Kuwait pm arrives with a high-powered delegation

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-23-Jul-2009

MATSAPHA – Kuwait Prime Minister Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah jetted in the country yesterday afternoon with a high powered delegation.

The premier who was welcomed by Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini with the Cabinet ministers, royalty, parliamentarians, chief executives and members of the public, is expected to meet His Majesty King Mswati III today. He touched the Swazi soil on a large jet at exactly 5:15pm.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Lutfo Dlamini said the premier was here on official business to meet business people as he also had a delegation of businessmen. “Actually, they will be meeting with the business people at Royal Villas tonight (last night) before calling it a day in preparation for the meeting with the King. He is then expected to meet the King at Royal Villas tomorrow (today),” Dlamini explained.

Asked further on the importance of his visit, Dlamini said they were also here to discuss the possibilities of opening an embassy in Swaziland. “The Prime Minister, as you saw, is here with top business gurus from his country and they say they want to strengthen business ties with us. So this trip is vital in a sense that the country is benefitting from the coming here of the premier. Opportunities of businesses being opened here are inevitable,” added Dlamini.

The premier also arrived with a long list of members of the press who almost brought the airport to a halt as they were everywhere.

By MKHULISI MAGONGO


Queen Mother dances up a storm

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES -23-Jul-2009

MLAWULA – Ligcabho Lamhlekazi, Correctional Services and sibhaca dancers, got the Queen Mother dancing up a storm yesterday.

This was when she celebrated the birth of King Sobhuza II, which also marked a public holiday. The Queen Mother was so taken by the traditional dances, that she left her seat and joined in dancing various songs together with Balondolozi (King Sobhuza’s wives), who formed part of the guests.

Addressing the gathering, the Queen Mother said this day was just an outing and was special because it was a day when one of the country’s greatest leaders was born. The event was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, whose Minister Macford Sibandze was the MC of the day.

The Indlovukazi was in a jovial mood on the day as she even joked, saying since the day was so special, journalists would put aside their cameras and join in the dancing. “I am happy to be here today because this day is great to me.

“I am also happy at the fact that we are not only celebrating the late King Sobhuza II’s birthday, but enjoying the cultural activities which the king also loved so much,” said the Queen Mother, much to ululation of those in attendance. After dancing, the guests and members of the public were treated to sumptuous meals.


The Game under investigation

Recreation Section

By Times - SWAZI TIMES-23-Jul-2009

LIVERPOOL – He thrilled his fans at Mavuso Trade Centre on Sunday, but the famous American rapper The Game is being investigated by United Kingdom police.

He has been gaining a lot of media attention recently, all while overseas on tour. While most has come thanks to his on stage disses to Jay-Z, he’s recently gained attention because the UK police are investigating him in connection with an altercation with a fan.

According to reports, The Game was performing at Liverpool’s O2 Academy last Wednesday, when a fan jumped on the stage for a photo. Instead of getting a photo with his favourite rapper, he got punched. A member of the rapper’s entourage allegedly struck the man in the face, leaving him with lacerations and a broken cheek bone.

A witness told British tabloid the Daily Star, “He socked (punched) him when he got his camera out.” The incident spawned an investigation by UK police. At press time, it’s unclear whether charges are expected to be filed against the member of Game’s entourage. His Lamborghini Tour is scheduled to continue as planned.

However, the negative attention that has surrounded the tour has caused authorities in other cities to make ‘special’ preparations for Game’s arrival. Police in Rotorua, New Zealand are already primed for the rapper’s August 15th appearance in the city, saying they have set up a “special operation” to deal with the rapper’s show at the Rotorua Sports-dro-me. The tour runs through August, and will make stops this week in Amsterdam, Germany, Den-mark, Sweden and head on to France and Aus-tralia next month. (Source: ballerstatus.com)


SACU trouble for Swaziland

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE -23-Jul-2009

MBABANE – There might be trouble for countries like Swaziland, as the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenue pool has already registered an estimated E9 billion shortfall for the year end to March 2009.

This could threaten the country’s budget, as SACU receipts make up over 60 per cent of the country’s revenue. According to News24.com, South Africa would have to help finance the other SACU member states, which include Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana since SA would have to assume responsibility for the deficit in the SACU revenue pool.

“This union earns its revenue from regional import and excise duties for the region, which are subsequently divided among member states. The SACU income has however, been shrinking owing to reduced economic activity, particularly in South Africa. A R9 billion shortfall has already been registered for the year end to March 2009,” the report says.

Estimates on how much is expected from the SACU revenue pool are done every year by all the SACU member states and when the actual figures of the money collected are recorded and there is surplus, it is then shared among member states.

SACU income over the past financial year has been considerably less than the estimates and further shortfalls in the SACU income pool are expected in the next two years. The report adds that in terms of the SACU agreement, the shortfall must be recovered from member states and that any surpluses are divided among the member states. It says that Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland already owe R5.6 billion.

Impacted

“But it seems unlikely that South Africa can collect the R5.6 billion Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland owe. These countries have already been severely impacted by the economic crisis, which has brought their government revenues under tremendous pressure. Botswana, the richest of these members which, under normal circumstances, is least dependent on income from SACU, because of its income from diamonds, will probably see its diamonds exports tumble to an estimated 55 per cent this year,” reads the report.

Matthew Stern, Director of consultancy group Development Network Africa (DNAfrica) is quoted saying the income of Lesotho and Swaziland, which funds more than 60 per cent of both countries’ budgets from SACU transfers, could decline by 50 per cent by next year if the shortfall is recovered and the decline in the SACU income is taken into account. “This would cause a systemic shock which Lesotho and Swaziland could not handle,” he reportedly said. On another note, the report says imports through the SACU member states were almost 46 per cent lower in the first five months of 2009 than in the corresponding period in 2008.

When reached for comment, Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole disputed the fact the South Africa would have to fund the other member states but agreed there may be a shortfall this year.

Handouts

“SACU member states do not get handouts; instead we all get what we deserve from the pool. When the SACU member states did their forecasts for the year, they did anticipate the actual outcome to be below the anticipated figure. Therefore, it is possible that there will be a shortfall, although I cannot confirm that it is the E9 billion.

I do dispute the point which says South Africa will have to fund the other member states because if there is a shortfall, our technicians will have to sit together and find the best possible way forward. The shortfall is funded by the revenue pool and not South Africa,” Sithole explained. He further said there was a scheduled meeting for Finance Ministers from all the SACU member states in September where all these issues would be discussed in depth.

According to the South African Treasury, budgeted payments to the Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland for the next two years amount to R27.9bn and R26.2bn, respectively


Scholarships under threat

Main Section

By The Editor - SWAZI TIMES-23-Jul-2009

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

l would like to express my personal views concerning this ‘free’ education most people are talking about these days.

I agree 100 per cent with the government’s provision of free education at Primary school level, but concerning secondary and gigh school education, I have many doubts.

1. Is there any guarantee that the quality of our children’s education will be up to standard?

2. Where will that money for free education come from? Are we not going to find ourselves heavily taxed to provide for that ‘free’ education?

3. What guarantee do we have that the legislators at Lobamba will not somersault and tell us that there are no more funds to offer scholarships for our children? Are we not going to find ourselves forced to pay for our children’s university and tertiary fees?

(What about the majority of parents who do not earn more than E3 000 per month? Will they be able to pay university fees for their children?)

Even at this very moment, are all Swazi youth getting scholarships?

May I also draw your attention to the fact that a majority of parents can afford to pay for their children’s school fees, and that +/-99 per cent of them cannot be able to pay for their children’s university and tertiary fees (sibocaphela kutsi imfundvo lephakeme ingagcini iyebantfwana beticebi).

Demand

Lastly, unions are wrong when they demand free education because they know very well that government can- not provide both free education and scholarships at the same time (Swazis have to choose between free education and scholarships). They are literally asking the government to withdraw scholarships for our children because Swaziland is not in a position to provide free education and scholarships at the same time (TIME WILL REVEAL THE TRUTH!).

P. Hlatshwayo


Prime Minister issues targets for ministers

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI AND MABANDLA - SWAZI TIMES -25-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini has lived up to his words of ‘business unusual’ by compelling Cabinet ministers to either deliver what is expected of them or be fired.

The Premier has set performance targets for his Cabinet team, which must be achieved by the end of the year while others will be followed up even in succeeding years of their term of office or face the boot.

Cabinet ministers and their respective principal secretaries have appended their signatures on the 2009 Government of Swaziland Performance and Appraisal Programme (Ministries’ Targets and Activities) as commitment to achieving the laid-down targets by December 2009.

Indicated

The PM has indicated that the set targets are intended to highlight a number of priority areas including health, education, food security and job creation – all of which are central to reducing poverty and increasing the standard welfare of Swazi citizens. When he took office, Dlamini stressed that ministers will sign contracts that face termination if they fail to deliver what the nation expects. He stressed that serving the full five-year term will not be automatic as it has been previously.

Motivating

“Establishing time-bound targets is unquestionably an effective technique and valuable management tool for motivating and encouraging our ministers and senior ministry staff to play a robust part in meeting the nation’s priority objectives within a reasonable period of time,” the PM said in his foreword to parliamentarians when submitting the targets report recently.

The Head of Government said the ministries would report quarterly to the Policy and Programme Coordination Unit (PPCU) on progress towards achieving the performance targets. The PPCU will then review the progress before forwarding a report to Cabinet after which every ministry will submit to its parliamentary portfolio committee a copy of the report approved by Cabinet.

Extended

The programme will be extended into each subsequent year of the present administration, the PM said. This is the first time government or a Prime Minister has come up with a strategy that favours the public. In the past some ministers saw their terms of office through failure or no failure. It must also be noted that most Cabinet reshuffles were witnessed during the time of the current PM in the past.


Foreigners to benefit from free education

Main Section

By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-25-Jul-2009

MBABANE – With the advent of free primary school education, foreigners are set to benefit from the programme.

However, they will be required to pay special fees that will be determined by the Minister of Education. This will only apply in public schools. Public schools are those wholly controlled by government or the state has more than 51 per cent shareholding.

The new Free Primary Education Bill, 2009 stipulates that the minister will have to first consult with cabinet as well as the principal and school committee of the school where the foreign child wants to enrol.

The minister though can also issue a gazette that allows certain foreign nationals to be determined by him not to pay the specified fees.

The proposed legislation states that, once enrolled at a public school, the foreign pupil will have the same rights and privileges extended to Swazi nationals who are receiving instruction at the same school. However, “A foreign pupil shall not be enrolled at a public school if the pupil’s enrolment has the effect that a Swazi child or exempt pupil who is entitled to enrol there and has applied for enrolment is not able to be enrolled.”

If the foreign pupil falls under the category of pupils who are expected to pay the special fees set by the minister and then fail to pay the money in full, the minister has a right to take the parents or guardians of that pupil to court in order to get full payment of the money due.

“Notwithstanding that Swazi children and exempt pupils may not be able to be enrolled, a foreign pupil may be enrolled at a public school, or in any subject, course or programme at a public school, if the enrolment is in a vacant place that the committee established for foreign pupils and whose continued availability is dependent on the fees payable by foreign pupils enrolled in it,” states Section 4 of the Bill. The Bill has been approved by government. It is yet to be tabled and debated in Parliament.


Georgeous Avanian- SA’s next best thing in music

Recreation Section

By PHEPHILE MOTAU - SWAZI TIMES -25-Jul-2009

Swaziland was treated to a rare talent of beat boxing by South African artist, George Avanian who is popularly known as Georgeous.

This was during The Game’s show at Mavuso Trade Centre and during the show’s pre party at Cafe de Flore. He played many different tracks using his voice and this truly excited those who attended the shows. Some even suggested that he was only miming and a CD was playing in the background because the guy is very talented.

Gcwala got an exclusive interview with Georgeous and he told us about his background and life journey until now. Georgeous is only 18-years-old but that can be disputed by the fact that he drives a Hummer, bought with his own money. He said the biggest misconception was that he was just a white boy with rich parents, yet that was not so, as he made all his money.

The talented artist said he paid his school fees for the rest of his high school. He said he started his music career when he was very young as music was always in his blood and his family members are also avid music lovers.

Success

He also said he believed that success was 5 per cent talent and 95 per cent hard work. He also said he performed in clubs in his home country from a very young age and also used to work in a restaurant during his school years. He added that he also owns a company in South Africa which is called Beat Box South Africa. He also said he was also sponsored by Sneakers chocolate and that can be seen from his car as it is branded with the company’s name.

He said although he had become successful in life, he knew that education was very important and that was why he had enrolled for a degree in Media and marketing. He also advised every teenager that education was indeed very important and that they should work hard to achieve great things in life.

So far, he has toured Europe and visited countries like France, where he performed alongside international DJs. He also performed alongside international artists such as Wyclef Jean.

He promised that he would release an album soon and in the next month, people could see him on South Africa’s Got Talent.

Beat-boxing has always stemmed from Rhythm, Blues and Hip-Hop, his unique talent however lies in his ability to combine the above and if the crowd demands, he easily incorporates other popular genres, such as, House, Classical, Jazz, Rock or Pop into a symphony of music that lifts, invigorates and moves crowds across all racial and cultural barriers, from the Sandton ‘Palms’ to ‘The Rock’ in Soweto! Georgeous moves the stage, moves unlike any other Beat-boxer on stage and is guaranteed to move any crowd... worldwide!


Swallows’ jewels!

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES -25-Jul-2009

MBABANE - It seems like Mbabane Swallows will be the team to watch this season after the ‘Beautiful Birds’ engaged in a Grace Mugabe-inspired shopping spree.

The MTN League defending champions, despite losing their talismanic goal poac-hers Mfanafuthi ‘Taribo’ Bhembe and Etienne Massoye to South Africa, are searching for more jewels in the forthco-ming season. The team is closing in on Mhlambanyatsi Rovers’ cult hero Lwazi ‘Zidane’ Maziya, Mbabane Highlanders’ Mfanf-ikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze, Th-okozani Mkhulisi and Ifeanyi Ezewudo.

The Beautiful Birds are due to spend a fortune for the quartet, who might also be joined by Malanti Chiefs and Sihlangu strong defender Sifiso ‘CJ’ Dlamini. Apart from the Sihlangu number one goalkeeper, Mkh-ulisi, the other three are almost certain to join after tendering their resignation letters early last week. And the team stated categorically clear that they would want to sign the players before next week’s Swazi Telecom Char-ity Cup.

Team secretary Sibusiso Manana refuted the figures mentioned in the media about some of the players they are chasing, but said as a team they have a policy when it comes to recruiting players. “We do have resignation letters for both ‘Fash’ and Lwazi, but negotiations for their clearances have not yet started. Our wish when we recruited them was to use this season, starting with the Swazi Telecom Cup,” he said.

packages

Commenting about the players’ packages, he said they had a limit that they do not exceed, and refuted claims that, they have offered Rovers midfielder E40 000 as per the player’s claim to his former team.

But investigations from this publication have disclosed that the club has offered ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze about E20 000 signing on fee, plus a monthly salary of about E1 500. This was also confirmed by a source at Highlanders who said the player had so much for Swallows than at Highla-nders. “He disclosed that he was offered a huge signing on fee plus a salary that he cannot resist. He came to bid me farewell this week,” the source said. The player said there was an offer on the table that is still subject for discussion, but he stressed that he was ready to once again don the red and white Swallows’ jersey.

“We will agree on the terms first, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said. They have also offered the same amount for Nigerian defender Ezewudo, who was also wanted by Mbabane Highlanders. His papers are almost in place and he is likely to make his debut next week Sunday. It was however, uncertain as to what the team has pledged as an offer to Sihlangu goalkeeper Thokozani Mkhulisi, who is hard at training with the Birds.

Yesterday, Malanti Chiefs defender Sifiso ‘CJ’ Dlamini confirmed that he has held talks with the league champions with the view of joining them this season. “We did talk, but nothing as yet has been finalized. So I can’t say I will sign or not, because even if I can agree terms, my fate will still have to be decided by Gumede. I have nothing against Gumede to betray him,” he said.


A happy ending

Main Section

By Innocent Maphalala - SWAZI TIMES-25-Jul-2009

This one goes to all our brothers in jail. Gentlemen, our hearts, thoughts and prayers are always with you.

We know you sometimes get to read this page and reminisce about the good old days, when you were still with us outside.

You listen to the radio from booming speakers inside your cells and try to smile as the deejay plays your favourite music. We understand how hard it is to wake up at 4.30 am, especially in these cold winter days and take equally cold showers, stark naked in front of everybody within a dirty and slippery shower-room.

We just cannot bring ourselves to comprehend how one could wear the same colour (brown) everyday. You do this without any complaints or grumbles, every day of the week, including Sundays. Brown is good but not for everyday use.

Half-cooked Neither is black-and-white, even if you are a Mbabane Highlanders fan. Our hearts also break when we think of how you are forced to eat supper at 4pm and then locked up for the rest of the day. You are expected to say, ‘goodnight’ to your buddies at this early hour, just when most folks outside are about to start enjoying themselves – free from work or school. The supper itself is not so palatable.

Half-cooked beans have always been known to cause flatulence. We can imagine the smell when every inmate starts farting, as each stomach reacts angrily to the half-cooked legumes. We understand how difficult it is to be allocated a square metre to rest, sleep and basically live in every day of your incarcerated life. It is a sad state of affairs. Just as it is a sad scenario that the only currency in use inside jail is cigarette. We have heard that money is as good as useless in there. Relatives and friends who check on you have to bring cigarettes, even if you, our brothers, do not smoke. We have heard that you use the cigarettes to keep at bay, sadistic sodomites who practise homosexual acts on weaker inmates willy-nilly. We hear that cigarettes also come in handy if you want at least two pieces of meat with your meal. You give one ‘stick’ to an inmate and a chicken thigh is yours. Such is the power of the cigarette where you are – and we shall endeavour to bring you more ‘sticks’ while you are inside.

Hacked Of course, the term ‘brothers’ should not be misconstrued to mean the marauding rascals known everywhere as the ‘Kamdodi’ (dumpsite) crew. We want nothing to do with these thugs. They are better off in jail. They have stolen far too many ‘home theatres’ at bushknife-point for us to have any sympathy for them.

They have hacked too many innocent people with their home-made pangas and machetes in their irrational bid to dispossess us of wallets containing amounts like E33, E82 or at most E151.17. Those rogues belong in jail. They are not our brothers.

In fact, we hope they are not anybody’s brothers at all. The term should also not be understood to include serial killers; armed robbers who killed their victims before making off with valuables; rapists who force themselves on innocent women and babies; callous car thieves who steal from poor folks who were still struggling to repay bank loans through which the vehicles were purchased and outlaws who go around flashing knives and unlicenced 9mm pistols at everybody.

The term ‘brothers’ should be read to mean only the good men serving long jail terms for crimes they did not commit. This, especially refers to our brothers who were falsely accused by cunning, conniving and usually ugly women, of rape. I am not just saying this. A 25-year-old woman who lied about being raped is herself in jail today.

She has been sentenced to three years – without the option of a fine – for perjury. This is lying under oath. The man she accused spent eight months in jail before his accuser told the truth.

Unfolded Angry as anybody could be, the magistrate said to the woman; “You should be ashamed of yourself and the only sentence I can think of, for you is a jail term.” The lying lady will now wake up at 4.30 am, have supper at 4 pm and shower in icy cold water, together with the rest of her criminal girlfriends. Good for them.

But seriously...shouldn’t this happy ending to this otherwise sad tale be an eye-opener to the police and judiciary officers who preside over rape cases? The debacle unfolded in Atteridgeville, South Africa but we have many such cases in the beautiful kingdom of Eswatini. Women cry, “rape” to get back at men for various reasons. The man could have impregnated another woman; dumped the ‘victim’ unceremoniously; married a pretty young thing or simply had a minor tiff with the liar.

Sparks and I overheard a courting couple fighting inside their one-room flat recently. The mean-mannered man slapped the wanton woman around (which we discourage) and the woman laughed out loud. Yes, she burst out giggling. “Heh, heh...yah! You are going straight to jail. I’m going to the police station right now. I won’t say you slapped me. I will say you raped me!” Awucabange-nje!


ENERGY INDABA 2010

Business Section

Liz Hart-26-Jul-2009

Exploring Solutions for Africa's Energy Challenges

ENERGY INDABA 2010 – A Time for Innovation, Solutions and Alternatives is the event theme chosen by the Steering Programme Advisory Committee for ENERGY INDABA 2010.

ENERGY INDABA 2010 The flagship African energy event, ENERGY INDABA 2010, is an annual event on the African business calendar with a specific focus on exploring solutions for a new energy future for Africa. With the recent and ever increasing world-wide attention to Energy, ENERGY INDABA 2010, provides an ideal platform to encourage debate and provides the ideal networking climate for companies and individuals to interact.

The event forms part of the African business calendar, which will promote sustainable development initiatives across the African continent.


Donkey kills child

Main Section

By MBONGENI NDLELA - SWAZI TIMES -27-Jul-2009

PIGG’S PEAK – An impoverished nine-year-old girl sent on an errand to fetch water from a river with a donkey, died tragically when the animal turned on her on Friday morning.

The girl had inexplicably tied herself with a rope on the neck while giving guide to her grandfather’s donkey when the animal suddenly galloped and dragged her more than a kilometre, seriously bruising and killing her instantly.

Shock

The accident, which has left residents of Nsangwini reeling from shock, occurred at Meleti. Meleti is situated in the northern Hhohho between Nsangwini and Nyonyane.

It was gathered that the deceased, Nothando Dlamini, had gone together with her sister Nonhlanhla to fetch water in a nearby stream. They normally used the donkey to ferry the 20-litre containers.

Leading the donkey was the young girl while her sister followed behind.

The girl, who dropped out of school last year because of lack of funds, had tied a rope onto her neck which then was tied onto the donkey’s neck. It is said that just a few metres on their journey to the river, the donkey started galloping past the girl. It dragged her while in full sprint. This resulted in the rope tightening on the deceased’s neck, a thing that made it difficult to free her.

The speeding donkey dragged the girl into the thick bush and into rocky surfaces and injuring her in the process. According to sources close to the matter, her sister tried to stop the donkey but this could not bear any fruit as it simply outpaced the girl.

An 18-year-old boy who was on his way from school is said to have also tried to save the situation by trying to stop the donkey. Mpendulo Dludlu of Nkonyeni High school is said to have dropped his books and rushed after the donkey. He whistled to signal to the animal to make a stop. But still it never stopped until the arrival of two more men. Another man who was driving in a car is said to have jumped out of the moving vehicle and tried to outpace the animal.

Cornered

Brave Bhekinkosi Ngwenya, who was in company of another man, successfully cornered the donkey just near a ZCC building around Maguga. He finally freed the injured girl but she was already dead. According to a witness, the deceased had many injuries and visibly broken bones. “She had a huge fracture on her head and countless injures on her body. Blood was everywhere and it was a sorry sight,” revealed the witness.

Police were called into the scene and found the donkey tied onto a tree. Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the incident. He said the Pigg’s Peak police are investigating the matter. The donkey or ass, is a domesticated member of the horse family.


Matsapha airport cocaine bust

Main Section

By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES -27-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Police made a drug bust at the Matsapha International Airport when they caught a man who had swallowed 42 cocaine sachets.

On Friday morning, police at the airport pounced on the unsuspecting passenger who it is said was from Brazil. A source close to the matter said that the police suspected the man, and asked to conduct a search on him. Police Public Relations Officer Superintedent Vusi Masuku confirmed that a 30-year-old Tanzanian male was arrested and charged with Pharmacy Act.

He explained that the police requested the man to accompany them to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital where he was put under the X-ray. “The X-ray showed that there were foreign objects in his stomach. And each time he answered the call of nature – slubs would be excreted. He has so far excreted about 42 sachets,” Masuku said.

He said the police were still to weigh and evaluate the drugs. Masuku said the suspect would appear at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court today. This is not the first case as about two years ago another foreigner was busted after he tried to smuggle cocaine at the airport as a mule. He was later convicted.


889 govt cars unaccounted for

Main Section

By INNOCENT MAPHALALA - SWAZI TIMES-27-Jul-2009

MBABANE – At least 889 government veh-icles could not be accounted for, over a period of four years, because they had been stolen, missing or boarded.

Boarded vehicles are those that are removed from the road and disposed of, usually through auctions. Sicelo Dlamini, Central Transport Administration (CTA) Transport Officer, has admitted that this happened right under his nose.

Dlamini made this admission before investigators who conducted a forensic audit of the CTA. The audit covered a period of four years, beginning from 2003/04 to 2006/07. It was conducted by KPMG Management Services, whose report has already been submitted to Cabinet for implementation.

According to government Stores Regulations, departmental Transport Officers are responsible for the official acceptance of vehicles and heavy plant from the CTA, together with any tools and equipment. They also have to maintain a register of all vehicles and plant. They are also supposed to ensure that all vehicles and plant are returned promptly to the CTA if they are no longer required by their departments.

Investigators

However, Dlamini told KPMG investigators that very few ministries appeared to ensure that their departmental transport officers adhered to the laid-down procedures. He said such officers were of no real assistance to the government garage. All accidents involving government vehicles are also supposed to be reported, by the police, to Dlamini, as the Transport Officer.

The outcome of any police investigation, including the decision of the court if a prosecution has taken place, must be reported to Dlamini. According to a report in our possession, Dlamini informed the investigators that, despite being the Transport Officer, he did not participate in the purchase, boarding and registration of vehicles.

He said this was done by Mphumelelo Mamba, the Chief Operations Engineer. He said on delivery of new vehicles, keys were handed to Mamba, who arranged for the first registration of new cars. Dlamini also told the investigators that management of the government fleet of cars was an embarrassment. He admitted that ‘there appeared to be regular vehicle thefts.’ The Transport Officer informed investigators that for years, he was not allowed to do his job, as Mamba did almost everything.

He said “only recently” had he been allowed to participate in the purchase, boarding and registration of government vehicles. It was the finding of the Commission of Inquiry that 889 vehicles had been reported stolen, missing or boarded. The mystery is that many of these vehicles were later serviced or refuelled – after the date on which they were reported stolen, missing or boarded.

Specify

The report does not specify exactly how many of the 889 cars were stolen and how many were missing. It does not specify either, how many were boarded. However, the report makes it clear that the exact number of vehicles owned by the Swaziland Government was not known at the time of the forensic audit.

CTA employed a private contractor to conduct an audit of government cars, an exercise carried out between November 13, 2006 and October 25, 2007. Its results are not included in the KPMG final report.


Few things the Swazi govt should work upon

Business Section

By The Editor - SWAZI TIMES-27-Jul-2009

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Sir

The Hhohho community would like to give great thanks to the Swaziland government for constructing the Mliba-Matsamo and Tshaneni road. This road is very beautiful and is useful to the nation and also will bring development. The Swaziland government should construct the Pigg’s Peak-Bulembu and Barberton road, to make it easy for neighbouring countries to bring development into Swaziland and it could be better to construct other two short roads such as; the Magoga- Pigg’s Peak road, about 30 to 40 kilometres as a bypass road to Buhleni Royal Residence.

The Magoga-Pigg’s Peak road is now in bad condition. It is not easy to use it during rainy season because there is a steep mountain, which is called Mdvonsa but if it can be tarred, it could be easily used and can be another short way to Ebuhleni Royal Residence. I think the construction of these roads can bring a prosperous civilisation to Northern Hhohho, Pigg’s Peak and to the Lubombo Sugar Companies, Matsamo, Barberton, Mananga, Lomahasha, Mhlumeni borders as well as to the Big-six Lavumisa.

Another issue is that in Swaziland there are only three vocation centres to rehabilitate the disabled people, basically at Mbabane, Malkerns under Manzini region and the last one at Nhlangano. No vocational rehabilitation centre in the Hhohho and Lubombo region, why? The Hhohho people only require a small vocational rehabilitation centre for the disabled people and another small one in the Lubombo region. On the other hand government should look and work on the issue of grants for the disabled people like bogogo nabomkhulu.

rehabilitation Disabled people in vocational rehabilitation centres make a lot of money for the government, after selling the goods while bogogo nabomkhulu bring nothing to the government but they are getting grant after every three months. Vocational rehabilitation centre at Malkerns needs to be improved by constructing about five or six flats for the staff accommodation because that place is in the forest and there are no rental houses and transport.

Concerned citizen Pigg’s Peak


Man (28) arrested for sexual assault in bus

Main Section

By MUSA NHLEKO - SWAZI TIMES-28-Jul-2009

MANZINI – A man has been arrested for allegedly indecently assaulting a woman aboard Zulu Kaya Lami after spraying her with his semen on Friday.

The suspect Bheki Shongwe (28) of Mantabeni area had boarded the bus to Manzini from Mbabane when while standing next to *Lucy (27) inside the bus he allegedly had an erection and later sprayed the seated passenger.

The shocking incident happened as the bus was passing Elangeni towards Manzini and it turned out that when Lucy boarded the bus which was already full, Shongwe who, was seated, stood up in showing respect for the fairer sex. Lucy sat and thanked Shongwe for his kindness not knowing what he had in store for her.

The shocked woman, who was surprised by seeing Shongwe’s private parts, could not believe it when she saw drops landing on her shoulder and she did not waste time, but went to report to her friend who was at the front what had just happened. The friend reported the matter to the bus conductor and they went to investigate. Shongwe did not hide what had just happened.

Mduduzi Malindzisa, a marshal at the bus rank, confirmed the incident and said when they asked Shongwe what was wrong with him he told them that he was on his way to see a prophet on the sickness. “He confessed to us that he has a high libido and once he sees a sexy woman he just released semen uncontrollably.

“He said he was on his way to see a prophet to help him with this problem and that is when we decided to take him to the police station, where he was arrested,” Malindzisa said. Apparently the woman was not wearing a mini skirt, but those who saw her said her skirt revealed a bit of her thighs as she was sitting and he is said to have told the police that his zipper was not functioning properly.

He is said to have told them that it was easy for his private parts to protrude. Shongwe was charged with indecent assault and he yesterday made a brief appearance before Principal Magistrate David Khumalo who remanded him back into custody till next week Monday for trial. This was after he had been granted bail fixed at E1000, which he had not paid by the time of compiling this report.


Cold forces MPs to adjourn early

Main Section

By Arthur Mordaunt on July 28 - SWAZI TIMES-28-Jul-2009

LOBAMBA – The current biting cold yesterday forced Members of Parliament to adjourn their sitting early.

The legislators could not withstand the cold and supported a motion calling for an early adjournment. This happened about 15 minutes before the House was due to go on its regular 15 minute break at 4pm.

Sparking the motion for the adjournment was a complaint registered by Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo who reminded the House about a concern registered by his brother and Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo about the lack of a functioning air conditioning system within the chamber, which was subjecting the legislators to unbearable cold.

Deputy Speaker Esther Dlamini, who was chairing the proceedings, informed the MPs that there was nothing that could be done about the system. She said after MP Marwick had registered the concern, the office of the Clerk to Parliament engaged the services of a company, which attempted to fix the air conditioning system. However, they discovered that the system could not be fixed, but a completely new system needed to be installed.

Cold

MP Marwick took up the matter and stated that it was too cold inside the chamber such that his feet were numb. “A number of my colleagues are waiting for the break so that they can go and bask in the sun in order to retain some heat. Some honourables are no longer attending sittings due to the cold while others come in here and keep quiet due to the same problem. We are not interested in explanations but we want the system fixed. I, therefore, move that the House should adjourn until the problem is fixed,” said MP Marwick.

He was seconded by Ntfonjeni MP Henry Dlamini. Agriculture Minister Clement Dlamini wondered if the air conditioner could not, at least, be switched off and was informed by the Deputy Speaker that it was not even functioning.

Lubulini MP Timothy Myeni differed from his colleagues and stated that he could not feel the cold and was actually feeling warm while Nkhaba MP Enock Dlamini felt adjourning the sitting was a bit radical and suggested that at least some heaters should be purchased.

This call was seconded by MP Thuli Dladla who said Parliament staff should go and buy the heaters during the 15 minute break.

However, MP Marwick shot up and reminded the House that his brother had raised the matter on Standing Order 58 (2), which is used whenever there were prevailing conditions that were making it impossible for the House to function. He also reminded them that such a Standing Order had been invoked before when there was no water in the Parliament toilets and the House had been adjourned indefinitely. Business resumed once the problem was fixed.

In the end, the Deputy Speaker called on the Agriculture Minister to move for an adjournment until Wednesday by which time it is hoped that the heating system would have been fixed.


E1 million car sold for E6 000

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-28-Jul-2009

MBABANE – A Mercedes-Benz valued at E1m, which was stolen in South Africa has been sold for a meagre E6000 by a hijacking syndicate that also allegedly operates in Swaziland.

The stolen vehicle belonged to former Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Conservation and Environment Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko who resigned her position after reports that she hurriedly purchased the luxurious car and lost it overnight after her husband was hijacked outside their home in Alberton.

South African newspaper, The Star, yesterday reported that the hijacking syndicate targets luxurious vehicles and allegedly uses Swaziland to hide stolen automobiles before sending them to customers in African countries. After Nomantu’s vehicle was hijacked by the syndicate, it was reportedly quickly driven into Swaziland before it could be taken to its eventual destination, Tanzania, where it was sold for the paltry E6000.

Arrested

The Star reported that three members of the hijacking syndicate had since been arrested. According to the newspaper, an unidentified police officer revealed that the syndicate’s modus operandi is to smuggle a car into Swaziland as quickly as possible and then drive it to its eventual destination, Tanzania. The gang reportedly targets 4x4s and sends them to its customers in African countries.

Last Friday, the three arrested hijack suspects namely John Phalane, 29, Lefa Moloi, 25, and Sibusiso Sithole, 32, who appeared briefly in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on charges of robbery with aggravated circumstances. The case was postponed.

Phalane and Moloi were remanded, while Sithole’s 40 000 bail, granted on July 3, was extended. Phalane and Moloi were arrested in Katlehong on June 11 and pointed out Sithole, who was arrested in Spruitview. A police officer told The Star that more arrests would follow soon.

Phalane, who has an artificial leg after being shot during a hijacking arrest, is a convicted hijacker who is also facing a charge of housebreaking and theft, The Star reported.


Maize farmers opt for informal markets with higher price

Business Section

By Faith Shongwe - SWAZI TIMES-28-Jul-2009

MBABANE – Despite the fact that the local maize producers are currently receiving the highest maize price in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, many have opted to sell their maize in the informal market.

This was an observation made by Chairman of the Swaziland Grain Producers Association Bhizeni Tsabedze, who said most of the farmers they had talked to had said the price offered in the informal market was better than the price currently offered by the National Maize Corporation (NMC).

The regional maize market price has in fact gone down to approximately E1 600 per metric tonne but the NMC is currently paying local maize producers E2 000 per metric tonne. This is the price that was offered last season. Tsabedze said; “We normally go around the country visiting our members and what we found during some of these visits was that most of the farmers were not too happy about the price offered by the NMC and as such, they are selling maize to the NMC at the rate they would sell in previous years.

They complained of the high input costs and have opted to sell their maize in the informal market,” Tsabedze said. Elaborating he said; “The farmers prefer to sell their maize in the informal market because they are currently receiving approximately E50 for 17.5 kilogram of maize yet the price is far lower elsewhere.”

Discuss

He also said a meeting was held last week with the Maize Marketing Advisory Committee to discuss the maize price, adding that there would be another meeting to fix the maize price soon.

“The only thing that makes it hard for local farmers to survive is the fact that we tend to buy farm inputs individually, yet in other countries such as South Africa, farmers come together and buy farm inputs collectively.

If we would do this, we could probably reduce the high costs,” he added. When reached for comment, NMC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sifiso Nyoni referred all questions to Technical Manager Sipho Dlamini.

Dlamini said they had not received any formal communication from farmers concerning the current offered price.

Offered

“The thing with most farmers is that they do not seem to be happy with any price that is offered to them. What they need to understand is that we buy maize from them based on the actual weight of what is offered by the farmers and as far as we are concerned, our market pays well. What we have come to realise is that the informal market tends to estimate the weight of the maize offered,” Dlamini said.

Maize producer prices are regulated and gazetted by government in order to protect farmers when market prices fall below the minimum gazetted price. The NMC or any maize purchaser is not allowed to purchase maize from local producers at a price that is below the government gazetted price.


MINISTER HLOBI COMPLAINS ABOUT TOILETS

Main Section

ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-28-Jul-2009

LOZITHA - The cold is not the only thing bothering the legislators.

Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Minister, Hlobsile Ndlovu also noted that the toilets were making Parliament work unbearable. < br/br>
She said it was impossible to move along the corridors due to the strong smell coming out of the loos. < br/br>
Ndlovu suggested that when the Parliament staff was purchasing the heaters, they should also buy some air fresheners for the toilets.


Khayalethu arrested

Main Section

By MUSA NHLEKO - SWAZI TIMES-31-Jul-2009

MANZINI – Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors singer Khayalethu Masuku (31) of Malkerns was yesterday sentenced to three years in jail for three traffic offences, which include drink-driving.

Masuku of ‘Njenge Ndluzela’ fame was arrested on Wednesday evening at around 11pm by the Manzini Traffic Police next to William Pitcher Teachers’ College along the Manzini – Fairview public road. He was driving an Opel Vita sedan registered SD 245 ES.

Following his arrest, instead of being booked at the police holding cells, Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Timothy Myeni is said to have arrived at the station and asked that Masuku be released to him. He is said to have made a promise that he would bring him the following morning (yesterday) to face his three charges of drink driving, stopping a vehicle on the roadway and driving without a licence. Indeed the MP kept his promise and brought him to the police station. Masuku’s wife Thabile is said to have come to get the vehicle, which was parked at the police station.

When he made his appearance before Manzini Magistrate Florence Msibi, Masuku elected to conduct his own defence and he later pleaded guilty to all three charges. Public Prosecutor Nomphumelelo Ngubeni did not lead evidence.

Mistake

Clad in a black blazer and a striped T-shirt, Masuku, when asked by Magistrate Msibi why he had committed the offences, only said it was a mistake. During mitigation the gospel singer said he was sorry for what had happened and told the court that his mind was not right when he decided to drive the car.

“Your Worship, I promise that I will never do it again and I would like to ask the court to forgive me,” said Masuku. Magistrate Msibi sentenced Masuku to two years imprisonment with an option of E2 000 fine on the first count, six months or E800 fine on count two and six months or E800 fine on the last count.

The sentences, according to Magistrate Msibi, will run consecutively, which means he will have to spend three years in jail or pay E3600 as fine. However, by the time of compiling this report Masuku had not paid his fine.

When Masuku was taken to the Manzini Magistrate’s Court by one Sergeant Dumisani Dube of the Traffic Department he wanted to take him to Magistrate Msibi’s chambers.

This was so that Magistrate Msibi would remand Masuku in her chambers but she is said to have told him that she would do so in court, which eventually happened.

This is not the first time that Masuku is arrested for drink- driving as sometime last year, he committed a similar offence and was convicted. After that, he had a wide ranging interview where he promised to remain ‘clean’ and further asked the Christian community to pray for him.


Man (69), lover burn to death

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-31-Jul-2009

EKUPHELENI – A 69-year-old man was killed together with his 35-year-old fianceé on Wednesday evening when a mysterious fire burnt them inside their stick and mud house

The new lovers, Dan ‘Mandlazi’ Nzima and Busisiwe Makhanya, were found burnt beyond recognition by neighbours and residents of this area situated at Motshane, about 15 kilometres North West of the capital city, Mbabane. The two had reportedly been living together for just three weeks and Nzima was planning to marry her the traditional way.

What is more mysterious about the couple’s death is that they were burnt inside the house and failed to come out yet there was no door as it had been removed for unexplained reasons, as yet. The house’s wooden door was found placed inside another house that is still under construction and it was not even the least burnt.

Zeblon Nzima, who is a younger sibling to the deceased man and lives less than a kilometre away from his home, told this publication that another odd thing was that the deceased never screamed or shouted for help when the fire ignited or when they were burning.

The extent to which their bodies were burnt was so horrifying, a resident found at the local market place and happened to have seen the corpses, said; “I shudder at the thought of what I saw.”

He said when neighbours noticed smoke coming out of his brother’s house at about 6pm, they never thought that the building was on fire but assumed they were cooking. However, later, a group of youngsters is said to have informed their parents that Dan’s house was seemingly on fire, which was then that an alarm was raised and all those who heard the call rushed to the homestead to find out what was causing the fire.

“When they got to the house, they found that the inferno had spread to the entire structure and they began shouting my brother’s name to find out if he was inside but there was no response, hence the people assumed that there was no one inside,” Zeblon said.

The residents are reported to have tried to put out the fire but failed, thus they decided to call the Fire and Emergency Services, as well as the police who arrived approximately 30 minutes later. Zeblon said the residents came to inform him about the fire at around 7pm and he quickly went to see for himself whereupon he joined the others in putting out the fire, but still, that was in vain.

“The fire personnel finally came and put out the fire and when they went inside the house they found my brother and his lover dead,” a sombre Zeblon said. He said his brother was found leaning against the wall, next to a burnt mattress while Busisiwe lay dead next to the only house window.

Everything inside the house was burnt to ashes, save for a few pots and dishes that were, however, covered in black smoke. Police PRO Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the deaths and said Mbabane police were currently investigating circumstances that led to the death of the two lovers.


ICT Ministry now drafting Bill for independent communications regulator

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - swazi times-31-Jul-2009

MBABANE – The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) is about to finish drafting the legislation that will result to the appointment of an independent regulator for the telecommunications industry

Just over a month ago, ICT Minister Nelisiwe Shongwe revealed that they were working on a piece of legislation that would usher into being the existence of a communications regulatory commission that would be independent. She expressed hope that an independent regulator would be appointed by the end of the year.

“Currently, there is no independent regulator in Swaziland and communication regulation is performed by the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC). This means that current regulation in Swaziland is performed by an operator that is both a player and a referee,” she said.

When requested to give an update on the issue, Director of Communications in the ministry Stan Motsa disclosed that the preparatory work for the piece of legislation had been completed.

“We have completed the preparatory work for the legislation; in fact, we are just about to finish the drafting of the Bill,” he said.

Motsa disclosed that once they finish the draft Bill, it would be taken to stakeholders. “The process is such that once we finish the draft, we will then have to take it to stakeholders in the industry because we want their inputs. These inputs will then be incorporated into the Bill, which will then be taken to the Attorney General’s (AG) office to fine tune it into a proper draft Bill,” he explained.

From the AG’s office, Motsa said the draft Bill would be taken to Cabinet. “When Cabinet has approved the draft, it will then be advertised and gazetted before being tabled in Parliament. We have to follow all these processes and they take time. However, we are expecting that, just like the minister said, the legislation will be ready by the end of the year,” he said.


Shortfall of 1 500ha required for development

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-31-Jul-2009

THE country has a shortfall of 1 526 hectares required for development under the European Commission’s support programme for smallholder sugar cane growers.

RDMU Consulting Agronomist Sibusiso Malaza said Swaziland has to put more effort in the development projects if it was to see the EC funds committed by December 2010 as per procedures of the 2007-2010 Multi-Annual Indicative Programme. The programme is supporting four pillars; reducing development costs for smallholder sugarcane growers (2007); improvement of transport infrastructure (bridges, roads) (2008); financing some elements of the industry’s social services (2009); and diversification programmes (2010). Malaza said the EC has made available a total budget of €10.8 million (approximately E118.8 million) at €5 000/ha (about E55 000/ha), which equals 2 160 hectares required for irrigation development.

“A contract is soon to be awarded to eight farmer associations covering 630 hectares to be developed under the Komati Downstream Development Programme (KDDP) and Lower Usutu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP) for round 1,” he said, adding that the total estimated cost of this development would be about E35 million. He said the last tender for development would probably be launched in March 2010 to give allowance for all the processes involved to be carried out on time, these including submission of proposals by contractors, adjudication to allow for selected contractor to mobilise equipment, etc. Malaza said the country still faced challenges with regard to meeting the EC’s set timelines, which he said cannot be changed. He said factors that contributed to slow progress of project implementation included problems in getting final detailed designs for projects earmarked for development.

“We’re short of engineering skills in Swaziland and have to import these. Other problems are land disputes which lead to delays while the viability of some farmer associations is also questionable and we end up with high development and operational costs,” added the consultant. “Delivery is very slow and the RDMU is investigating and identifying new ways of speeding up the service delivery process. There is close engagement with the beneficiaries


Moves to oust GDI from E100m MTN project

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By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-31-Jul-2009

DAGGERS have been drawn against a property developer who is in a joint venture with Orbic for the construction of the E100 million MTN Foundation

Undercover forces have since researched the operations of GDI Concepts, whose Managing Director is Ian Williams and sent poisonous emails to media houses, in which they detail several allegations that have been tested and found to be false. The main contractor for the MTN Foundation is Orbic, who then went into a joint venture with GDI Concepts. Williams says he does not want to comment on suggestions that the clandestine forces come from other jealous property developers. “I have no reason to believe my colleagues would do this,” he says.

He however, strongly believes he is being abused by some people who have refused to pay him for the various jobs he has done since he started operations in Swaziland. An email document in the possession of this newspaper names at least 21 people said to be owed by Williams. However, this newspaper called a number of these, who said they were not owed anything by Williams, but that all deals made with his company were above board. Some of the said creditors are known business magnates. Others are hardware shops where Williams bought the goods. He explains that he had built a house for a certain businessman who later failed to pay him. “I got the material for the house on credit from some hardware shops. It is true that I have not paid some of them. All that is because I was not paid when I built a house for the woman,” he says.

The poisonous e-mail also alleges that Williams left loose ends in his various projects in South Africa, where he originates. However, this newspaper called one of Williams’s clients in Malelane, Dr Molopo who said Williams constructed and finished his house without any hassle. He has also completed various projects in Swaziland, and is now working on the Appostolic Church in Thokoza “He did a good job for me and I was happy. Never at any stage was he expelled,” he said. Josephine Nkosi also said she was happy with Williams’ services in Malelane.

An architect Richard Mugnus also said he was willing to discuss his dealings with Williams when he returns from SA, where he went for the weekend. The email also alleges that two of Williams’ business partners, Dale Friedlander and George Falconer left GDI amidsts a cloud of controversy. Falconer told the Swazi Observer that he left the company in good faith and there were no loose ends in his departure. “We went to Nedbank with Williams where we signed for the transfer of shares. I left GDI because I wanted to concentrate on selling of plots. I was not used to the construction industry,” he said. They also went to Robinson Bertrams where the transfer of the shares was confirmed. Meanwhile, Dale Friedlander also said there was no dispute when he left GDI. He said he still held Williams to high esteem as an honest builder.

Poisonous email investigated Williams says he has since instructed his lawyers to do something about the source of the poisonous email. He says when he finds the people behind it, he will definitely sue for defamation. “Depending on how my lawyers advise me, we can even go to the police to track the source. We have the email address but it is possible that that address is fictitious.” The address is known to the newspaper.

No complaints about GDI – MTN MTN Swaziland Corporate Affairs Manager Mpumelelo Makhubu says the company has no contractual obligations with DGI Concepts for the architectural work, which has since been completed. “We only signed a contract with Orbic Architects. We have no control on who Orbic decides to partner with in order to deliver the architectural designs which were adopted by the tender committee.” He says in light of this, MTN has not received any objections about GDI’s involvement.

GDI attaches businesswoman’s house GDI Concepts has obtained a court order and a writ of execution to attach the house belonging to Leo Maziya’s daughter Savannah. Savannah, also known as Sandanezwe has business interests in Swaziland and in South Africa. She allegedly failed to pay GDI Concepts over E845 000 for the construction of her property at Pine Valley. In court papers, Savannah is said to have breached the contract with GDI, subsequently landing in trouble. GDI, represented by Magagula and Hlophe Attorneys have since attached her property and await legal advice from his attorneys. Meanwhile, Williams says his storehouse has building material worth over E170 000, which was intended for the construction of the house.


Nkwene ‘predator’ finally arrested

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By Starsky Mkhonta - SWAZI OBSERVER-31-Jul-2009

THE alleged Nkwene predator has finally been arrested.

Surprisingly, it is not the most wanted prison escapee, Phumlani Motsa as it has always been suspected. The police find is Mbuso Dlamini (22) of Magele near Hlatikulu who was arrested on Monday in town. Dlamini has been charged with four counts, two rapes and two robberies.

In one of the rape cases, he is said to have raped a 63-year-old widow, whom he allegedly attacked while she had gone to collect firewood in a forest near Tincangosini. He allegedly raped the gogo at knife point. Dlamini was spotted by one of the females he had raped a couple of weeks ago while she had her baby on the back. The rape ordeal took place near Mehlwabovu. Dlamini had given police and residents a torrid time by eluding them yet striking on his victims at regular intervals. Upon noticing the rapist, the woman, who was in the company of her mother, rushed to alert the Hlatikulu Police while she left her mother to keep an eye on him. In less than 30 minutes, plain clothed police officers (CIDs) arrived and Dlamini was arrested.

It’s said, having raped the 26-yea-old woman on July 10, 2009; he then raped the 63-year-old on July 15, 2009. The suspect is said to have yesterday confessed. A piece of blue cloth and a bush-knife have been collected as part of the evidence.

The four counts he faces are two of rape, the third is that of robbery in that on July 7, 2009, he robbed one Jabu Simelane of Sibhowe items and money and in the last count, the suspect has been charged of robbing one Sibongile Methula of Emtsintaneni.



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