Swaziland News Aug 2009

For all your Swazi News


Help pouring in for poor triplets’ family

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-05-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Good Samaritans have been touched by the starving triplets’ story and have pledged to give them assistance.

Annandale Pre and Primary School, situated at Checkers, has pledged to help the triplets with a supply of food for the next three months, and will also assist them financially when the need arises.

Speaking to one of the directors, who preferred anonymity, they are still finalising collections of donations by some of their pupils who wanted to help after reading the sad article, which appeared in our newspaper yesterday. “We want to visit and see the triplets soon and we will be bringing with us some food hampers, including milk and clothes when we visit them.

“Our pupils were also touched by the story and they decided to help, but we are still finalising whatever they will be donating,” said the Good Samaritan. A male, who only identified himself as babe Dlamini, said he would today donate formula milk (Lactogen) for each child today.

“I am touched by your story and since these triplets need milk, among other things, I will bring three containers of milk for each child. “I am so glad that there are good journalists who can go all the way to remote areas to help in identifying these poor people,” said Dlamini.

Senior Superintendent at the Correctional Services Clifford Vilakati said he wanted to assist the triplets financially. He pledged to donate an undisclosed amount of money to the family. Two women also called this newspaper asking for directions as they said they were around Lubulini and wanted to go see the triplets. They said they would donate some food hampers to the family.


MBABANE – The Ministry of Health has confirmed a third case of swine flu in Swaziland.

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA-05-Aug-2009

MBABANE – The Ministry of Health has confirmed a third case of swine flu in Swaziland.

Masitsela Mhlanga, who is the National Co-ordinator of the Ministry of Health’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Team under the National Epidemic Task Force, said this person (third case) had recently visited South Africa.

It is suspected that this person could have contracted the flu in that country. Mhlanga said he would not divulge the name and details of the third victim but urged people to be cautious at all times and visit the hospital should they suspect any signs of the flu. He explained that there were four others who were being checked for the flu after showing signs of having contracted it.

He also did not provide any further information about them. “Those who have been diagnosed with the flu are urged to stay home until they are better to avoid spreading it,” he said. Meanwhile, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported that a 22-year-old student at Stellenbosch University has become the first confirmed casualty of the H1N1 virus commonly known as swine flu, the department of health said yesterday.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the student died last Friday after suffering from cardiac arrest. “I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family of the 22-year-old university student whose death was confirmed by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) to be due to Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009, also known as swine flu,” he said in a statement written in his personal capacity.

Unfortunate

“The death of a person so young, who was actively building his future career, is indeed unfortunate and deeply regretted.” According to the department’s information, the man went to the campus clinic on July 20 with flu like symptoms. When he did not improve he went to a general practitioner. He left campus and went to stay at his parents’ home over the weekend but after consulting another doctor he was referred to a Western Cape private hospital for treatment. He was treated as a case of atypical pneumonia with antibiotics. Last Monday his condition deteriorated and he was moved to the intensive care unit where he died the following day. A specimen was collected and tested for H1N1 at a private laboratory and specimens were also sent to the NICD for further testing.

“H1N1 was confirmed by the NICD, which is a World Health Organisation reference laboratory, today [yesterday],” said Motsoaledi. “We are encouraged by the fact that the majority of cases in South Africa have so far been mild and we hope that this will remain so despite this unfortunate death,” he said.

He also warned any person with chronic heart or lung disease or who was pregnant that they should seek immediate medical attention if they fall ill, especially those in the age group 14 to 30 years, in which most infections appear to occur.

Doctors who see individuals with flu-like symptoms should consider H1N1 as part of the diagnosis, even when there is no travel history, and treat moderate and severe cases, or those at high risk, early with anti-viral medication, said Motsoaledi.

Swine flu cases do not generally need any special treatment, however, where any doubt exists a doctor or health facility should be consulted.


Suspect drug mule N0.3 arrested

Main Section

By MUSA NHLEKO - SWAZI TIMES-08-Aug-2009

MANZINI – The Manzini Drug Unit (MDU) have arrested yet another alleged drug mule, this time he is from Mozambique

Jose Gabriel Machava (30) was arrested on Wedne-sday afternoon at the Matsapha International Airport while coming from Nepal. Machava arrived at Matsapha at around 5.30pm.

As was the case in the other suspects, he was taken to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital (RFM) for an X-ray and it was discovered that there were foreign objects lodged in his body. He was then taken to a holding cell and had within an hour allegedly discharged 11 sloops suspected to be heroine, not what they found from the two alleged Tanzanian mules.

Yesterday morning Machava discharged 20 sloops and a further 17 in the afternoon raising the number to 48. Further investigations by this newspaper revealed that Machava came to Swaziland from Mozambique. He stayed in the country for sometime before he boarded a plane to Manila from Matsapha. From that country he came back to Swaziland and so far it is still not clear if his contacts are in the country or in Mozambique.

Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the arrest and said the suspect was apprehended before leaving the airport. Masuku said the suspect would make his first court appearance soon.

Machava’s arrest makes him the third person to be arrested by the MDU officers on allegation of conveying illicit drugs into the country. The suspects, Chicho Manyanya Iddi (30), Raymond David Marakala (39) both from Tanzania have appeared before Manzini Principal Magistrate David Khumalo.


My mother, my father!

Main Section

By Innocent Maphalala SWAZI TIMES -08-Aug-2009

I have learned some lessons in my life – many lessons. The most important one, however, was this very important piece of advice I got from my father.

He said to me, “Son, whenever you are served some food to eat, always start with the meat.” He impressed upon me, the importance of at first ignoring the vegetables, starch (porridge, pasta or rice) and focusing all my attention on the meat.

He said this went for all types of meat too – chicken, pork, beef, impala or even fish. He emphasised that in life, we were all supposed to leave room for disappointment in whatever circumstance we found ourselves but eating your meat before everything else on your plate reduced to almost zero, your chances of being disappointed. I was only seven or eight at the time but I remember pretty well, the look on his extremely wise face as he explained that eating your vegetables was not only important but also healthy. He explained the benefits of such vitamins as A, B3, B9, C, and K, which are all found in vegetables.

Warned He said carbohydrates were important for energy and more of the same but meat contained proteins. “However, it is not only for the proteins that I suggest you should start with the meat,” he clarified back then. He said those who started with the porridge or vegetables like cabbage, spinach and beetroot invariably risked losing the meat to a new arrival. It could be a friend or a visiting distant cousin who had just alighted from the long-distance bus carrying his suitcases and a few pumpkins to give to the family as gifts.

“Your meat will be taken straight from your plate and given to this person,” he warned. He had actually seen, with his two naked eyes, many friends and relatives getting disappointed in this fashion. They all found themselves with no meat in their plates, when they had actually been looking forward to eating it throughout the meal. We all know how we, the Swazi, are so fond of meat. We would kill for it. In fact, some have killed for it.

Not only do we kill chickens, cattle and pigs for their meat but we also kill one another in fights that ensue over who got the bigger piece. Some have been killed by game rangers while trying to kill impala, wildebeest or other animals for their meat. We just love our meat. No wonder Kentucky Fried Chicken is always so packed! My father said I should immediately grab the meat and start munching away each time a plate was placed before me.

He said I should do this whether I was having the meat for breakfast, lunch or supper. I still do it – even when I am with the gents at the corner butchery, enjoying a few pieces of roasted pork and boerewors. I do it when I have lunch back at my place and when I have my last supper in the evening. I do it whether I am eating alone or with...well, visitors.

I always start with the meat – and when I do so, I think of my father. I have actually seen the disappointment on the faces of many of my friends, family members or acquaintances when an unexpected visitor showed up and grabbed the meat without even saying a word. Sometimes, especially when you are having a barbecue with your family and friends, total strangers will pass by and grab a piece of meat, then continue on their way.

Sorrowfully This is also part of Swazi culture. When you find people eating, you do not ask to be included in the feasting. You sit down and start helping them clear the plate. Where will you be then, if this happens and your meat is still there? Better safe than sorry! That was my father for you. He always had these anecdotes and analogies.

I did not remember his advice because I was eating at the time – last Sunday to be exact. I was only watching some traditional singer on my 31cm black-and-white TV screen lamenting the loss of his father. He narrated – sorrowfully - how painful it had been for him to lose his dad at a very tender age. He said each time his friends spoke about their own fathers, tears welled in his eyes. I got thinking...if grown men will have such soft spots for their dads, how about the young ones? With AIDS creating so many orphans in this kingdom and elsewhere, is it not time for us to consider reviewing the primary and secondary school curriculum?

Has the time not come for teachers to stop instructing pupils to write English Language or Siswati compositions with the title: My Father or My Mother? Think about the children, as Lucky Dube – a father who had no father himself - once advised.

But seriously...what will they write about if they have never seen their parents? My apologies to the primary school curriculum designers if I am the ignorant one and they have already done away with such topics in the syllabus. Ssssssssssiyabonga.


SD has 90 days to enact law or lose E200 million

Main Section

By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-08-Aug-2009

LOBAMBA – Swaziland stands to lose around E200 million in aid from the United States of America should the country fail to enact a law combating human trafficking.

The country has to come up with the law within 90 days. Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini has disclosed that there were countries that had told Swaziland that they would not be in a position to assist the kingdom if it did not have the law. He said one of these countries had given the country this ultimatum.

He said the country that had given Swaziland the ultimatum had signed an agreement that the kingdom would get E200 million annually for its health sector. However, after Swaziland delayed enacting this law, government was informed that it could lose this aid.

It could not be immediately established when the 90 days would elapse, however, the news of this was publicised on June 20. Principal Secretary in the PM’s office Mbuso Dlamini referred questions on the deadline to the American Embassy. The PM made the revelation in the House of Assembly yesterday afternoon while piloting the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Bill of 2009, which he had brought to the House with a certificate of urgency. He said the certificate was motivated by the fact that government was trying to meet the deadline.

However, some legislators did not take kindly to the ultimatum. Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo said it was dangerous to agree to this as it would set a bad precedent. He stated, for instance, that one country might dictate that Swazis should stop wearing emahiya in order to benefit from some aid. Chief Nzameya Nhlabatsi also expressed concern about the issue while Hosea MP Mduduzi Mabuza wondered why the help had to come with strings attached.

In response, the premier said the deadline was a form of encouragement from this country. “We experienced a similar situation with countries who wanted us to enact a law fighting against terrorism. This is because we have signed a United Nations convention that compels us to have such a law, but since we are behind, some other countries are starting to put pressure on us. For the record, we had already made up our minds that we would enact the law. In fact, when this ultimatum came, the Attorney General had finished drafting the law,” explained the PM.


SA’s Siphokazi just loves SD

Recreation Section

By Ntombi Mhlongo - SWAZI TIMES-08-Aug-2009

Siphokazi Maraqana was one of the performers during the Bush Fire festival last week Saturday.

The tall artist, who could have made it as a model, proved to be very popular in the country and had a huge following. The humble and down to earth songbird during an interview with Gcwala said she was honoured to be in Swaziland yet again because she liked the hospitality and honesty that Swazis gave her in last time she was here. There seems to be no stopping Siphokazi and below, Gcwala takes you through her music career so far. The moment she entered the music industry, the young talented female vocalist and composer, Siphokazi has shown her unique talent and has since been recognised for her composition skills.

Talented

But little do people know that this talented songstress acquired other qualifications before she truly discovered her musical talent. Even though she was born with an amazing singing voice and musical talent, Siphokazi didn’t jump into the busy industry and try her luck for quite some time. But in 2000 she enrolled for a music technology course at Central Johannesburg College, studying sound engineering and music production.

With the skills she attained from the course, in 2006 Siphokazi released her first project, ‘Ubuntu Bam’ under Native Rhythms. The project marked a new beginning for the composer, as it successfully manoeuvred its way to the top. ‘Ubuntu Bam’ didn’t take too long to become a favourite amongst music lovers and officially put the artist on the musical map.

Afrosoul

Born in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, as young as she was, Siphokazi’s Afro-soul music, with a traditional jazz and gospel feel, touched the hearts and souls of young and old. In no time, the creative composer had proven her worth and smoothly continued to lift her trophy. But before she became a house-hold name, Siphokazi polished her talent as both backing vocalist and as a featured soloist with some of the country’s top talents such as Tshepo Tsola, Ringo Madlingozi, Pat Matshikiza, Simphiwe Dana, Zamajobe and Stimela.

Marking the success of ‘Ubuntu Bam’, Siphokazi walked home a happy woman following the 2007 South African Music Awards [SAMA] after being awarded the Best Newcomer and Best African Adult Contemporary Album.

Prestigious

Adding to her success, she scooped three prestigious awards for Best Newcomer, Best Produced Album and Best Female Vocalist at the 8th Metro FM Music Awards. After the success of her first release in 2008, Siphokazi released another album simply called ‘Ndinovuyo’ produced by Lawrence Matshiza and executively produced by the award winning Malambule.

Let it be said that this female vocalist is no stranger to the stage; she has performed at many concerts, including the opening of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted in South Africa.

When listening to her music, the humble and down to earth artist impresses listeners with a pleasurable sound and once she starts singing, it is amazing to realise how talented she is.

Shiphokazi’s music is backed by solid song writing ability. Her skills as a composer coupled with her studio know-how, gives her music a unique feel. Sipho-kazi’s music is mature, and surprisingly so for a lady this young. With a vocal maturity that belies her tender age and comes across in her music, Siphokazi is practically tailor-made for the mellowed genre.

Jazzy

It’s always great to hear outstanding talent coming from the youth league of South Africa. Siphokazi has proved to be another ambassador for the jazzy afro-soul sound. There is no doubt that the young composer is following the footsteps of legends such as Letta Mbulu, Dorothy Masuku, Hugh Masekela and Mariam Makeba to name but a few Siphokazi is also an ambassador for the One Love campaign in South Africa. She had a few words of advice to her Swazi fans on how they could protect themselves from HIV/AIDS.

“It is important for a person to take care of herself and respect herself so that others can respect her,” the down to earth Siphokazi said. She also said no one could force another person to abstain so it was important to stick to one partner and use a condom all the time. She said it’s also important to trust and be trusted.

She added that it was very important for lovers to talk about what is happening in their relationship and resolve issues and also protect their partners from HIV/AIDS.

Siphokazi said she was proud of performing during the Bush Fire festival because they are very close to her heart. She said it was very important for us to take care of children because they were the future. BY PHEPHILE MOTAU


‘Landers’ turn down ‘Baiano’s E100 000 offer!

Sports Section

By LWAZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES -08-Aug-2009

MBABANE – It seems it will take more time before right full back Mpendulo ‘Baiano’ Kunene and midfielder Felix Badenhorst make their debut for South Africa’s Jomo Cosmos after Mbabane Highlanders also turned down a E100 000 offer from ‘Ezenkosi’ yesterday

Wanderers were the first team to turn down the E100 000 offer from the South African giants last week.

formal

Highlanders followed suit on Thursday after Cosmos owner Jomo Sono had made a formal bid via a letter that he will make a E50 000 down payment and then pay the remainder (E50 000) in June next year. Only Mbabane Swallows striker Mfanfuthi ‘Taribo’ Bhembe looks likely to be cleared first after the ‘Bea-utiful Birds’ and Cosmos agreed on a E250 000 clearance fee.

The South African side was expected to deposit the money into Swallows account before the end of this week.

fee

Mbabane Highlanders chairman of the Mana-gement Committee Musa Masuku confirmed Cos-mos’ offer and stated categorically clear that they will never allow the player to join Cosmos for such a small fee. Masuku said they had already made a counter proposal offer, reportedly E200 000 they had initially asked for.

“We are still waiting for their response because we sent our counter-proposal. It would be better if Cosmos were giving us E100 000 down payment and the rest in June but not E50 000,” Masuku said. This newspaper also gathered that even if the clearance issues of all three players have been sorted out, the trio is unlikely to make their debut for ‘Ezenkosi” as they are still awaiting their citizenship papers.

register

Sono was quoted in the latest Kick-Off magazine stating that he wants to register all three players as South African citizens “because their fathers are from here.”


‘BIRDS’ DANGLING E20 000 CARROT FOR ‘FASH’

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

SOCCER – MBABANE Swallows are dangling a E20 000 signing-on fee carrot for Mbabane Highlanders want-away speedy striker Mfanfikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze whom they intend signing in the new season.

Besides the mouth-watering E20 000 signing-on-fee, the icing on top of the already sweet cake is that the player will also get a E1 500 monthly salary if he eventually pencils his signature with the ‘Beautiful Birds’. ‘Fash’ has already resigned from Highlanders and featured in a recent pre-season friendly game for Swallows.

According to reliable information gathered by this newspaper, all that’s left now is for talks between the two teams to be concluded before the player gets his dues. Forming part of the package for the player is that Swallows have reportedly offered to pay his school fees at Evelyn Baring High where he is doing Form IV. This excludes the match winning bonuses and training allowance he stands to receive from the team. Apparently, ‘Fash’ has found it difficult to turn down this offer and has already indicated to those close to him that nothing will change his mind about playing for Swallows this season.

Actually, the player declared to this publication that Highlanders should forget about changing his mind as he was determined to realise his wish to play for the fierce rivals. The only snag in the deal being concluded now is that Highlanders directors are standing by their stance that they will not release the player until he meets the team’s management committee (MC) over his resignation. This was made clear to this newspaper by the team’s directors’ Chairman Charles ‘Ace’ Jele who made it no secret that they were not impressed with the player’s attitude after accusing him of deliberately selling the team’s MC a dummy when efforts are being to meet him.

Efforts to trace comments from Jele hit a snag on Friday but sources close to Highlanders have revealed that the team will not take anything less than E60 000 for the player’s clearance.

Highlanders’ PRO Dumsani Sibandze explained that the player’s issue was being handled at directors’ level and admitted that the team had still not been granted their wish to meet him over his resignation. The player, on the other hand, pointed out that he was ready to meet with Highlanders’ MC anytime but insisted that it will not change his decision to move to Swallows. The player is expected to start training with Swallows when schools close soon.


SENATE ON THE BRINK OF EXPLOSION

Main Section

By Alec Lushaba - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

SENATE ON THE BRINK OF EXPLOSION

This is by no means an act of defiance on my part to the Honourable Senators, but natural justice and duty calls that we reflect on the Senate Select Committee report which sought to determine whether Senate was brought into disrepute by the incident that happened at Pigg’s Peak Orion Hotel on Monday 30th March, 2009.

In an act of showing public protest, Senator Ndileka Dlamini is said to have walked out of the room just when Senate President Gelane Zwane was about to make her address, letting out some distasteful remarks in the process, directed at the Senate President.

For argument sake, let’s agree that that what the Senator did was wrong and had she had any grievance against the President, proper structures should have been engaged as an honourable member to address it.

I am, however, aware, reading from the report, that the Senator alerted her colleagues about the matter to the point of the Deputy President being aware but nothing formal was done.

misuse

But what concerns me and hopefully many others who followed the media reports this week, is not the Senator’s act per se, but the misuse of an institution by those who have to protect it to settle their scores.

I say this because the Select Committee was supposed to investigate whether Senate or Parliament’s image was brought into disrepute by the behaviour or better put misconduct of Senator Ndileka. What we get from the report and what it recommends is not what they were set out to do. What they ended up doing was to investigate the merits of the misconduct, which the Deputy Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, acting in his capacity as the representative of the Prime Minister had done and thought had closed the chapter. But because that act had already let many Senators that had to be sorted off the hook, a way had to be found to revive the matter and be brought to Senate.

From where I stand, judging by the comments of the many Senators who appeared before the Committee, including the DPM and the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Lutfo Dlamini, there was no need for this ‘flawed’ motion to go through Senate, in the form that it was.

In order to put the matter into context, let me explain my point of view. Senator President Gelane Zwane is in her second term as President of Senate having succeeded Moses Mathendele Dlamini who in the previous administration was appointed Foreign Affairs and Trade minister. Senator Gelane was, as it is today, to be deputised by Senator Ngom’yayona Gamedze. It has been like that and it would seem, they worked well together judging by their public disposition in the previous term.

Senator Gelane, who is otherwise an acting Chief of KoNtshingila, was elected President amid court and traditional set-up battles fighting for her chieftaincy throne.

We have had many stories and allegations of sinister moves to oust her and her battles to remain in charge.

insecurity

Reading from the report, you get a sense of insecurity from the President’s part and maybe her conduct, which was unfortunately not addressed by the Select Committee despite being mentioned by some Senators including the DPM, who said her chief and Senate President can talk in a threatening or intimidating tone at times.

The issue of the President and her deputy not seeing eye-to-eye was not public knowledge, until it was reported and even suggested by the Select Committee that in an event the report is tabled for adoption, the Deputy President should not preside over it because he too is an interested party.

It is now difficult to determine which part makes him so much of an interest party that he could not preside over the matter. Is it because the matter was brought to his attention or that the President is not comfortable to have her rivalry could use it to his advantage? I suspect the latter. Senator Ndileka is an unfortunate scapegoat who found herself being caught up in grand political fights, which she never intended.

expulsion

From the President’s insecurities, it appears the Senator Ndileka’s case was that she needed to show everyone that she was still in charge of Senate and anyone who fails to toe the line faces expulsion or even suspension. Let me state that a simple case of individuals not getting alone does not warrant a select committee to investigate. That they beat up each other inside or outside the Parliamentary precinct does not warrant an investigation.

There have been major issues that were thought to have brought the image of Parliament into disrepute before and Parliamentarians wisely decided not to entertain them or be involved.

In the 7th Parliament, there was an issue of Speaker Mgabhi Dlamini who was caught collecting cow dung at Ludzidzini Cattle Byre unauthorised. His issue was viewed seriously by authorities and cabinet had to persuade him to resign from his position. Parliament declined to be involved. At the beginning of the term of the 8th Parliament, there was also another ‘Mafutseni’ scandal, where Lobamba MP Marwick Khumalo was also asked to resign from his position and again Parliament decided that it would not entertain the matter. Senator Themba Msibi, who was a member in this case, was also investigated by Cabinet in a similar case of bringing cabinet into disrepute on the infamous ‘Kai Kai’ scandal and was cleared by an independent investigator of the charge.

In this case, therefore, what was it that brought the Senate into disrepute, the insults and walk out or that it was the President the protest was directed to or both? Senator Moi Moi Masilela genuinely asked the committee how many cases they were going to investigate if a minor case of two individuals not getting along can be treated in the manner this one has? This is what makes me to conclude that this matter is bigger than Senator Ndileka. She is just a victim of grand politics which now tend to play themselves out to the public. This entire report should be dismissed and will make a mockery of an honourable upper chamber because it is baseless, besides being flawed.

tensions But that will not normalise the tensions in Senate. What Senate now needs is to recall the President and the Deputy President from their positions. It is clear that the tensions are now high and, therefore, they can no longer execute their work diligently, but instead will waste the remaining four years of their term frustrating each other, giving favours to friends and reprimanding their foes. This is more so if such power can be used in a manner that will reprimand all those who are not in your camp.

Senate must take responsibility and correct this mess by doing the honourable thing. At the rate things are going, if the situation is not effectively addressed, Senator Thulile Msane may soon get her silencer and do what she has threatened to do if her alleged petition to remove the President fails. I hope the Senators are honourable enough to see through this so-called Senator Ndileka’s investigation and act on their own problems honestly and objectively before they disgrace themselves and the appointing authority.


Her Majesty receives E30 000 donation from Big Fish

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, who is the Patron of Philani MaSwati Charity Organisation, on Friday received E20 000 donation from gospel artist Sipho ‘Big Fish’ Makhabane during a presentation held at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.

Makhabane also presented E10 000 which was directed to the Epilepsy Association of Swaziland whose patron is Prince Bandzile. The Epilepsy Association was identified by Makhabane as beneficiaries of part of the proceeds from the Joyous Celebration concert as he had promised earlier on. When presenting the donation, Makhabane who is the director of Big Fish Music, said the money would assist Her Majesty in her quest to help the elderly.

“I have been informed that Her Majesty will be visiting the elderly in the different areas around the country. I, therefore, felt duty bound to donate to the organisation as they prepare to go out and assist the needy and elderly people,” he said. At the same event, South Africa-based Swazi Businesswoman Buyile Mthethwa in conjunction with Mthethwa brothers Nhlanhla and Shadrack, all from South Africa, donated 150 blankets. Buyile pledged to continue supporting the organisation in the near future.

David Nkosi, who is a husband to Her Majesty’s aide Senanile Nkosi donated 10 bags of maize. In response, Her Majesty them, for extending a helping hand to Philani’s efforts of helping the elderly people in the country. She commended Makhabane for his endless donations to various people around the county. She commended him for remembering his place of origin, saying a lot of people often forget to comeback home and assist once they are well off.

“I remember a touching incident where you donated to people in your area of origin and the elderly ended up crying as they were overjoyed. I also found myself crying upon watching the news,” Her Majesty added. Indlovukazi also mentioned that Philani would be going out to the countryside to donate to the elderly and highlighted that the different donations presented will go a long way in helping the elderly since they come in different forms.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman of Philani MaSwati Bishop Mavovo Mkhonto said the charity organisation would next week visit Tikhuba, Ngudzeni and Nkwene where they will give food, clothes and blankets to the elderly.


Sikhuphe Airport to cost E1.5 billion - PM

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

The Sikhuphe International Airport will cost the taxpayer E1.5 Billion, Prime Minister Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini said.

Part of the money – approximately E180 million - was donated by the Republic of China on Taiwan.

The PM was speaking at the airport construction grounds on Friday after conducting a guided tour of the project on progress made so far.

“Most of the money for the construction of the airport came from the taxpayer. We are also grateful to the Taiwanese government for the E180 million, which was used in the construction of the air traffic control tower and other essentials.

The PM said he was confident that the airport construction would be complete by June next year. He said the Sikhuphe dream was conceived in 1980, during the reign of King Sobhuza II.

“We were pleased when His Majesty King Mswati III cut the sod in 1999 for the construction of the airport. Though we have made tremendous progress to date, we still have a huge task to market the airport and solicit aircraft companies to use it. We are confident that eventually, the airport will be busy. Dlamini said it was also pleasing to note that the airport was constructed by Swazi companies – Inyatsi Construction in joint venture with S&B.

He said the airport would improve infrastructure and in the area and make jobs available. “The airport will also bring water to the area, which will also be used by the community,” he said. Taiwan Ambassador Leonard Mashesha Chao said the assistance given by Taiwan for the construction of the airport was a fine example of the commitment Taiwan has to strengthen relations with Swaziland.

He said Taiwan and Swaziland were celebration 41 years of marriage.

Chao said he was confident that the airport would help boost international trade and make Swaziland accessible. Minister of Economic Planning and Development Prince Hlangusemphi said the resumption of construction had proved critics wrong. “Some said it would never start, whilst other said it would be a white elephant. They will all be proved wrong.”

The Prince said the airport construction was guided by the International Civil Aviation Organisatioin (ICAO).


HIGCSE RECIEVES THUMBS UP

Main Section

By Fanyana Mabuza THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

In a strange twist of events the newly introduced IGCSE and HIGCSE education syllabus received resounding support from educators who had gathered for the launch of the ‘Right to Know’ and ‘Right to Education’ programme launch at the Mountain Inn on Friday

The project seeks to empower stakeholders outside the ‘classroom’ like parents to have more say in the way their children are educated and is supported by a South African based organisation, Idasa.

Speaker after speaker lauded the newly introduced system, which replaces the O’Level syllabus in the country, saying it was one of the best things to happen to the country’s education system. They said it was one system that enables learners to be proactive unlike sitting down and listening to one person behind a blackboard.

They mentioned that the local press had, out of ignorance, taken the syllabus out of context and went further to publish damning reports, some to the effect that South Africa institutions of higher education would not accept local pupils with this qualification. Former Principal of St Mark’s High school Marjorie Ballarin heaped praises to the new system saying it allowed students to take charge of their education and uyltimately their destiny, unlike in the past where teachers stood in front of the classroom while spoon feeding the pupils without allowing them to take charge of their own learning. “The system forces pupils to read and at times be ahead of the teacher who merely plays a facilitating role. In this way, children are fine tuned into thinking critically while thoroughly reading to provide answers themselves, unlike being spoon-fed by a teacher,” she said. She mentioned that she was dismayed by the negative reports surrounding such a syllabus, adding that even though she was no longer a teacher, but had educational interests at heart, and was current sitting on the Board of Governors of the Waterford KaMhlaba United World College whom she said used such a system. Waterford KaMhlaba ia among the most decorated educational institutes in the country, an indication that if the system could work for this college, then it was the way to go for schools in the country.

Other speakers mentioned that the syllabus was ‘rubbished’ by a negative press which was all out to trash the system before it even took root in the country.


EXPOSED: ANTI CORRUPTION COMMISSION DEPUTY IN HOT SOUP

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By Alec Lushaba - THE SWAZ OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mumcy Dlamini has told the Anti Corruption Commission (acc) to withdraw the warrant of arrest issued against SPTC MD E.Nathi Dlamini last Friday.

The warrant was issued by Chief Justice Richard Banda after the ACC had moved an urgent application for the arrest of the MD.

Dlamini is alleged to have failed to forward minutes of Cabinet and that of the SPTC Board of Directors where they approved the implementation of the Next Generation Networks (NGN) multi-million project.

At the time the application was moved at the High Court, the DPP was out of the country in South Africa together with the ACC Commissioner Justice Michael Mtegha, where they were part of the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ndumiso Mamba’s delegation. It is said upon her return on Friday, the DPP was only told of the warrant late after she had been asked for comment by the Weekend Observer.

The order was expected to be effected on Saturday, a day before the Swazi Telecom Charity Spectacular at Somhlolo National Stadium. The DPP is said to have summoned the ACC and her team for an urgent meeting on Monday where she was to be briefed on the warrant.

When approached this week, Dlamini confirmed that she met the ACC team and found that there was no substance on the charges to warrant an arrest. “We decided that there was no reason to take it further,” she said.

It is said that the ACC Deputy Commissioner Tebogo Fruhwirth who was the investigator of the matter, was not in the meeting as she was on her way to Zambia. It is argued that before the warrant could have been sought, the ACC should have first asked for an order forcing SPTC to release the documents to the Commission. “If they failed to abide by the order, they should have then gone back to court to seek the warrant of arrest for defying a court order. Whilst the ACC has certain jurisdiction of demanding certain information, it cannot just apply for a warrant of arrest before seeking an order of the court to demand that information. It is on those bases that their application for the warrant fails,” an expert in law stated. It is said that the documents sought from the SPTC MD could have been sourced from either like Cabinet or the SPTC legal advisor, who is the Board Secretary.

Motshane MP Robert Magongo once raised fears about the Deputy ACC Commissioner that she was in cohorts with some personalities to victimise certain individuals, but his assertion was dismissed as baseless. Whilst at SPTC as a legal advisor, Fruhwirth was credited for objecting to the Spirit Telecom project which was pushed by then Minister of Tourism, Communication and Environment, Thandi Shongwe.

Her contract was never renewed when the current MD joined the organisation from SIPA.

Those close to her allege that she took interest in the affairs of SPTC when rolling out its Next Generation Networks (NGN) project, which is alleged she still views as Spirit Telecom incarnate.

It is said she could have avoided the conflict of interest blunder had she allowed other investigators at ACC to investigate the matter. As a result of last week’s application, insiders at SPTC have told the Weekend Observer that the MD feels publicly humiliated and disgraced by the ACC action that it has harmed his dignity unjustly. In fact, there are fears within the organisation that the MD is even contemplating resigning from his position as he feels he is taking too much from forces he can’t even recognise.

Justice minister waiting for Commissioner’s full brief Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Ndumiso Mamba is waiting for the Anti Corruption Commissioner Justice Michael Mtegha’s full brief on the withdrawal of warrant of arrest against SPTC MD E.Nathi Dlamini. Mamba told the Weekend Observer that he has already been briefed by the DPP on the case, but will not comment until he has been briefed by the Commissioner.

“The ACC does its work on behalf of the Commissioner. The Commissioner has been away in Malawi I have not been able to talk to him about the matter after being briefed by the DPP. It will be premature at this stage to state my views on the matter, even though I am already aware of it,” he said. ACC deputy Commissioner Tebogo Fruhwirth, an ex-employee of SPTC is accused of having abused her powers and office in seeking the warrant of arrest against the SPTC MD.

‘Scorpions’, Judges and prosecutors coming – assures Mamba

In a move that demonstrate government’s commitment to deal with corruption in the country, the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is finalising arrangements to bring South Africa’s Special Crimes Unit, formerly known as Scorpions, prosecutors and Judges to handle high profile corruption cases here. The Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ndumiso Mamba met with his South African-counterpart Jeff Radebe accompanied by the Anti Corruption Commission Commissioner Justice Michael Mtegha, DPP Mumcy Dlamini, deputy AG Sabelo Dlamini and Special Investigations Unit’s Mumcy Dlamini last week.

“We were finalising the Cooperative Agreement which we must sign before the end of the month or early next month. Cabinet has given me the full mandate to proceed with this exercise and soon Radebe will be here to sign the agreement which cabinet has seen and approved,” Mamba said. He said their aim was to make sure that they don’t take chances with the corruption cases.

“When we start, we want to have everything ready. “At the same time, the technical agreement will allow us to send our teams to learn from their experienced counterparts in a form of attachments and exchange programmes,” he said. He said on the legislative sector things were moving very well, with the Electronic Evidence Bill now having been passed by both the House of Assembly and Senate will soon be submitted before His Majesty King Mswat III for his assent.

“I will soon be submitting the Sexual Offences and Domestic Bill before Parliament having now gone through Cabinet. “Last Friday, the Leadership Code of Conduct Bill was issued in a gazette for public scrutiny and will too be going to Parliament. We are well on course in ensuring that our legislative framework is improved and comply with the Constitution,” he said.


Asking questions is being disrespectful in our culture - Mhlanga

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By Fanyana Mabuza - SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

The Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers SNAT, Muzi Mhlanga has noted that the culture of asking questions and debate was dead in the country.

He noted that these qualities had been killed off by a number of unfriendly legislations that impacted on such ideals, among them the Terrorism Act, adding that also the way we were brought up did not promote debate, since a child cannot stand face-to-face with an adult, as that is regarded as being disrespectful.

“There is too much fear today in our society such that people are not even willing to engage in debate. This has even rubbed in at schools where the debate sessions are slowly becoming an extinct commodity due to the fear of choosing the wrong topics. Today, you have to be very careful of what you say or question, lest you are identified as a ‘Comrade Civil Servant’ or other such tags,” Mhlanga said.

This, Mhlanga mentioned in the wake of reports that government was preparing laws that would purge political activist civil servants from the public service, meaning that asking too many questions could lead you to be labeled that and expelled from the service.

“In Africa, politicians took criticism harshly, however good intentioned it could be. This has stifled debate in almost all sectors of society, including schools,” he said. On the question of private schools versus private schools, Mhlanga noted that the current Minister for Education was going around threatening some such entities without searching for solutions that would halt the rampant spread of such private schools, some which even lacked basic amenities like toilets.

“Again this topic needs a thorough debate, but with the prevailing atmosphere, questioning the Minister would be interpreted wrongly in some circles and result in dire circumstances. We have to open up the playing field to allow the free exchange of thoughts and criticism or we will end up with a worthless education, the same thing we are trying to enhance right now.”


Cane cutters reject 1c bonus and resign

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By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES -13-Aug-2009

MHLUME – About 196 sugarcane cutters yesterday opted to resign than to accept a daily one cent bonus and E1 wage increment.

The workers were demanding for a salary adjustment of E8 but the Bhefranel Investment Director, Frans Vilane, offered a E1 salary increment plus a one cent bonus for a job well done. After the two parties reached a deadlock in the negotiations, Vilane gave his employees two options, and that was to either accept what his company offered or resign.

The employees during their mass meeting chose the latter. Not even officials from the Labour Department could convince the angry employees. The salary negotiations between the workers and the employer started on Saturday after the employees decided to down tools at the cane fields, demanding E7 on top of the already offered E1 and the one cent bonus.

Per day, the workers are expected to cut about 113 metres of sugarcane by six lines after which they will take home E35 plus E15 allowance. At the end of the day the workers took home E50. Salary reviews for the sugarcane cutters are made every August.

The workers are remunerated monthly and eat at the staff canteen courtesy of the company. The workers expressed their discontent and accused their employers and labour officials of not taking them seriously. They argued that it was an insult for them to be offered a one cent bonus in the face of all the hardship they endure in the line of duty.

“Our lives are always in the line as we have to brave poisonous snakes and the hard conditions we work under,” cried Mfanufikile Maphanga. He has been working in the industry for the past three years. The not so pleased workers took turns relating their frustration. They believed they were not being taken seriously because they were not represented by any union body. They alleged that they were at times forced to work with worn out protective clothing material. This allegation was, however, rubbished by Vilane.

Vilane in an interview confirmed having offered his employees an extra E1. per day as an increment plus the one cent bonus. “They want E7 more and unfortunately that cannot be the case. As of tomorrow (today) I am hiring new staff,” said Vilane. He went on to state that the salary increment was in line with the Regulation of Wages (Agricultural Industry) Order Notice, 2007.


Boyfriend inspects private parts’

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By MANQOBA NXUMALO - SWAZI TIMES-13-Aug-2009

MBABANE - A rape survivor has narrated how her former boyfriend used to make unpleasant comments about her private parts and had her open her legs for an ‘inspection’.

This was to check if she had been having sexual intercourse with other males. Gugu Gama* revealed this during a trial at the Nhlangano Magistrate Court where she was testifying against Bongani Comfort Ndlela (32) who kidnapped and raped her in a forest for three days.

Ndlela, who is facing three counts of rape and kidnapping in that in June 7, 8, and 9, 2003 he kidnapped and raped Gama, further hacking her with a bush knife, is now appealing against the conviction and sentence. He was sentenced to nine years in respect of the rape charges and one year for kidnapping by Senior Magistrate Peter Simelane. He yesterday appeared before Judges Mbutfo Mamba and Stanley Maphalala where he argued for his acquittal.

Gama had told the magistrate that she was in love with Ndlela, but the relationship came to an end when Ndlela made remarks about her private parts. The exact words Ndlela said when ending the relationship will not be repeated here because they were not only insensitive, but also very gross.

She told the magistrate that not only did Ndlela make the remarks about her private parts, but would also make her open her legs so that he could check if she had not slept with other men. When cross examined by Ndlela’s lawyer, Bongani Dlamini, if she had found anything to be distasteful or wrong about their relationship she replied that Ndlela would beat her up using a cable and that he would disappear without anyone, not even his parents, knowing where he was.

She said she would be asked by Ndlela’s parents if she knew where their son was and she would always respond to the negative. She added that when she came home from work she would be forced to open her legs so that Ndlela would do an ‘inspection’. “Again, every time I got paid at a factory in Nhlangano, he would dispose me of my earnings by force. Every time I came late he would say I was with other men,” Gama said. However, Ndlela, who was conducting his own defence, argued that his grounds for the setting aside of the conviction were that the complainant was the mother of his six-year-old child and he had been framed by his accuser’s parents.

He also argued that no medical report was brought to court. He also complained that the sentence was too harsh for him as a first offender and was not backdated. Appearing for the crown in the matter was Qondile Zwane while Gcebile Dlamini was the interpreter.


‘New’ offside rule

Sports Section

By CHRIS DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-13-Aug-2009

EZULWINI – If the on going FIFA Premier League Referees’ Course is anything to go by, then teams and their supporters will be shocked to learn that a goal can be scored from an obvious offside position and still count

As the course got underway, even the referees and their assistants were no longer sure if they knew and understood the rules of the game as a session about the offside rule got them confused. It was gathered that a player can always score from an offside position, which even a helicopter pilot can see from his flight.

It continues to say if the player leaves the pitch deliberately while the play progresses, he must be cautioned when the ball is out of play. This rule effectively means a defender who may somehow slide out of the pitch or just leave through injury or any other reason is very much the last man in defence despite him being out of bounds. The striker who receives the ball unmarked is played on by the defender who went out of the pitch hence there will be no flag from the assistant referee and consequently no whistle from the referee. An example of this happening at a recent game was also shown to the referees and the goal was allowed.

The defender had a slight collision with the attacking player and rolled out of the pitch only for the ball, which was temporarily cleared, to find its way back to the striker who received it and scored completely unmarked as his marker was outside the pitch. “You don’t leave the pitch hoping the referee will call the unmarked player offside because at that time, you didn’t get permission from the referee,” Felix explained.

This left the referees stunned such that some agreed with it while some did not, a few remained confused but at the end, the law was well explained and the referees were satisfied. This is set to spark a debate from fans who may not believe that the goal counts from an offside position yet it is all in the laws of the game and applies internationally. This will also mean players who get injured or leave the pitch for whatever reason without the referee’s permission will be counted very much on the pitch until the ball goes out of play


Govt must salvage dialogue

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By The editor - SWAZI TIMES-13-Aug-2009

Comment

The nation is once again expected to join His Majesty the King, Indlovukazi and Cabinet at round tables to deliberate on matters that affect the people of Swaziland.

The expectations are that this dialogue will come out with solutions that have a positive impact on our lives. But does it? No, some say.

This dialogue, not being the first, therefore faces the daunting challenge of erasing the growing doubts about government’s commitment to the process.

Submissions at the mini-dialogue were almost unanimous on the call for implementation of suggested solutions to the problems this country is confronted with if it is to register as a credible tool for transformation and realizations of the country’s vision.

The lack of visible or tangible evidence of progress on matters raised and resolved upon continues to raise protests by those calling for a boycott of the event. Government has the choice of either proving them right or wrong. So far the scales are tilting in favour of the critics.

Attendance

The 99 per cent attendance at the mini dialogue indicates that there are still a good number of people who have not lost faith in the process. These numbers, however, may be lost in the near future as patience is waning over this process as life’s difficulties continue to overcome us yet solutions are there for government to pick and choose. The Smart Partnership Dialogue is not the only process of concern. Others, such as the Job Creation Summit, Agriculture Summit and Anti-Corruption Summit have enjoyed similar national focus and attention, but the results are almost invisible.

Government therefore needs to salvage these dialogues before they become totally meaningless or irrelevant to the people. Our experiences as mediators in the trouble-torn countries in the region should serve as good enough examples or reasons to avoid confrontation which arises from a people who are f


HIV+ hubby kills wife

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By MBONGENI NDLELA - SWAZI TIMES -15-Aug-2009

PIGG’S PEAK – Her decision to leave her husband on Women’s Day after enduring being assaulted by him during their time together was not enough to save her life.

Four days after she had left, he tracked her to her parental home where he stabbed her more than six times while she was asleep with her daughter. He later committed suicide by hanging himself in a nearby bush. This was after she had refused him sex without a condom.

The incident happened in the early hours of yesterday at Malanda, situated in the outskirts of Pigg’s Peak. The couple, according to relatives and church members, had been engulfed in problems after going for an HIV test at the local clinic. The wife tested negative while the husband tested positive.

A marriage counsellor, Dumsile Ndlovu, confirmed that the two had gone for an HIV test but would not be drawn to comment on their results. According to relatives, the problems started after they had gone for the test.

“They were told during counselling at the clinic that they would have to use a condom each time they engaged in sexual intercourse, but the husband would have none of it. She would refuse to have sex with him if he did not use a condom and he would beat her up.

“Other times when she refused him sex, he would call his ex-girlfriend whom he had a child with and tell her how much he missed her just to spite his wife and make her jealous,” the relatives said. After weeks of enduring this torture, the wife then approached their church for assistance.

Counselling

The counselling process in church started but the beatings continued at home until she decided she had had enough and on Women’s Day, she left. Four days later he walked over seven kilometres, from Luhlangotsini to Malanda, her parental home, in the middle of the night arriving after 2am, where he broke into the house she was sleeping in.

I was disturbed by screams of a woman shouting ‘sisi ngaze ngafa’ (I am dying sister). When I went to check what was happening, I found him stabbing her. I tried to hold him, but he pushed me away and started stabbing me too. I was stabbed in the head. Luckily, I managed to escape from the house and rushed to a nearby homestead where I called for help,” said Ncobile Dlamini, sister to the deceased.

Dlamini said neighbours responded to her screams for help but when they got to the house, she found her sister lying in a pool of blood by the door while the husband was no where to be found.

“There was blood everywhere and I could not believe what had just happened,” said Dlamini. Police were called to the scene and a search party for the husband was commissioned.

Residents and police searched the whole night after a suicide note, apparently left by the husband, was found at their home. He was found about four hours later dangling from a tree. In the suicide note, he apologised for his actions and left instructions on what should happen to his children. Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the incident. He said the matter is being investigated by the Pigg’s Peak police. * Names of the deceased have been deliberately withheld because of the HIV status of the husband.


85% of Swazis consult tinyanga — Nhlavana

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By Arthur Mordaunt - SWAZI TIMES-15-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Renowned traditional healer Nhlavana Maseko has claimed that over 85 per cent of Swazis consulted traditional healers

Maseko said people looked for help everywhere and it was folly for Christians and modern doctors to assume that people only sought help from them.

“There should be co-operation between all sectors instead of accusing us of witchcraft and all sorts of things. Some even refer to us as heathens and demon worshippers. For the record, I don’t consult demons, but I consult the ancestors,” said Maseko.

The healer was speaking on Wednesday during the National Smart Partnership Dialogue held at the Mavuso Trade Centre. He had been asked to make a presentation on Care, Treatment and Support provided to people with HIV and AIDS under the topic Social Dynamics and the HIV and AIDS Pandemic.

Maseko reiterated that a high number of people consulted them, including HIV patients. He said the number of HIV patients seeking assistance was high and said he had heard that government was giving HIV organisations a lot of money to fight the virus.

“Out of all those millions, if only you can give us just E1 million, we can make a difference,” said Maseko to a round of applause.

Maseko, however, expressed his unhappiness with doctors practising modern medicine whom he said often looked down upon traditional healers’ methods of treatment but whenever they (traditional healers) found a cure, the modern doctors would take it and patent it as their own.

“It takes about E3 million and six years to conduct tests on our medication. So, everything we use is tested. We use trees and leaves for our herbs and nothing else. We have various experts who treat wounds, all kinds of illnesses as well as experts who can ensure that a mother gives birth to a baby boy instead of a girl,” said Maseko.

Giving the church’s perspective under the same topic, Bishop Bhiya called on Christians to be strong in prayer. He condemned those who advised HIV patients to stop taking HIV treatment


Changes at the World Cup 2010 Committee

Sports Section

By LWAZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-15-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Maseko is among the four new members in the seven-member Swaziland World Cup 2010 Technical Committee, the Times Sports Desk has gathered.

Maseko replaces his organisation’s Marketing Manager, Bongani Dlamini in the sweeping changes within the Committee which had earlier been headed by FA president Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa. Also being roped in is Ministry of Home Affairs Deputy Immigration Officer Anthony Masilela, Director of Information in the Ministry of Information, Martin Dlamini and Qijwa Dlamini from the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP).

Under-secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Maswazi Shongwe and Mthethwa retained their positions in the Committee headed by Matsapha Town Board CEO, Gciniwe Fakudze.

Failure

Announcing the changes within the Committee, Fakudze said with the national team, Sihlangu’s failure to qualify for World Cup 2010 much focus is now on tourism and on how the country can maximise its resources to benefit from the greatest show on earth.

“In that aspect, we have internal and external focus. The internal focus is mainly on creating awareness and marketing the country as a tourist destination hence we launched the football Friday and mini World Cup concept last week,” she said.

Fakudze said externally the focus was on engaging and improving relations with the neighbouring states in particular the host country, South Africa. “We are already doing countdown to 2010. We will be engaging in more campaigns especially in the key areas like border posts, petrol stations and airport to ensure that there is great awareness about the tournament and how the country is the right place to visit for the tourists,” she added.


SPTC MD arrested

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By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-15-Aug-2009

MBABANE - Workers at the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications (SPTC) watched in disbelief as police officers attached to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested their Managing Director Nathi E. Dlamini yesterday morning

Dlamini who has championed the institution into a money-making company was picked up from his office just after 8am and taken to the Mbabane Police Station where he was slapped with four charges. The arresting officer showed him a warrant of arrest dated July 31.

Warrant

It had been widely believed that the warrant had been thrown out by the DPP, Mumcy Dlamini, who is said to have punched holes in it. However, it stood yesterday. The charges faced by the MD relate to his alleged failure to furnish the ACC with documents that relate to the formation and registration of Horizon Mobile Ltd. In a nutshell, the charges have been derived from a letter that the ACC wrote to Dlamini in May where it demanded such.

Charges

Below is a rough summary of the charges faced by Dlamini. l Dlamini is charged for alleged failure to furnish the ACC with certified copies of correspondence authorising or approving the formation of Horizon Mobile Ltd. l Dlamini is charged for alleged failure to furnish the ACC with documents where SCOPE approved anything related to Horizon Mobile Ltd and the fixed mobile project. l Dlamini is charged for alleged failure to furnish the ACC with documents where Cabinet approved the fixed mobile project. l Dlamini is charged for alleged failure to furnish the ACC with documents from the ICT Ministry approving both New Horizon Mobile Ltd and the fixed mobile project. Dlamini’s arrest was dealt with secretly as his matter was heard in chambers and it was difficult to access the charge sheet.

The above summary of the charges was sourced from court employees. It was further established that Dlamini was granted E500 bail, which he paid and quickly returned to work. He could not be reached for comment as on numerous occasions he was reported to be locked in a meeting with his management team. Worth noting is that things have been pretty rough for Dlamini in recent times. In May, the Swazi News reported that the ACC Assistant Commissioner and former SPTC employee, Tebogo Fruh-wirth, had instituted an investigation against her former employer something that smacked of gross conflict of interest. Two weeks ago, the Swazi News reported about a warrant of arrest that was being processed to have the SPTC MD arrested.

Arrest

Last week we again reported that the warrant of arrest had been thrown out. In June, the Swazi News also reported on Dlamini being summoned by Liqoqo to explain how he was managing SPTC and also answer questions relating to the sudden strike by his employees.

Recently, government suspended the fixed mobile project that would have seen a first locally owned mobile phone company. The suspension, as stated by the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini, was meant for government to be up to speed with all initiatives taken by SPTC. What further prompted government to suspend the project was the imminent sale of 10 per cent shares SPTC holds at MTN Swaziland-the only mobile phone company in the country


Mugabe’s govt requests loan from SD

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By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES -15-Aug-2009

LOBAMBA – Zimbabwe, under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, forwarded a loan application to the Kingdom of Swaziland.

This loan is meant to help the crisis-hit country deal with the many financial challenges it encountered as a result of the political turmoil that has charac-terised the once flourishing Southern African state.

The financial assistance was tabled by Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti to his local counterpart, Majozi Sithole. Biti, according to the Ministry of Finance’s first quarterly report, tabled a figure of $30 million, (E240 million) which he believed would be sufficient to address the financial problems faced by the country.

The E240 million was not entirely expected to come from Swaziland, but embodied Zim-babwe’s financial needs. During the meeting with Sithole, Biti handed over a document containing a detailed financial plan for Zimbabwe called STERP, which covers a wide range of sectors. Minister Sithole, responding to appointed MP Mandla Dla-mini’s question yesterday on how Swaziland could afford to give Zimbabwe money when the kingdom was faced with its own challenges, said Swaziland had made an undertaking to help Mugabe’s government despite the existing financial shortfalls.

Deficits

“The decision to assist Zimbabwe was taken here in Swaziland and the other countries that were part of the meeting and have worse budget deficits reaching as high as 15 per cent also promised to assist,” Sithole said. The minister said they had already forwarded to Cabinet the means through which Swazi-land could finance Zimbabwe, such as offering the country a credit facility. When meeting with Sithole, Biti emphasised that his main problem was cash flow to enable him to meet day-to-day financing requirements.


Ex-Miss SD tiffany is dead

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By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-20-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Former Miss Swaziland 2008/2009 Tiffany Sibong-akonkhe Simelane has died after committing suicide on Monday afternoon.

The death of the 21-year-old ex-beauty queen comes exactly 22 days after she relinquished her title to current Miss Swaziland Nompilo Mncina.

News of Tiffany’s death began spreading like wildfire from Monday night after her demise was posted on the popular social networking site Facebook.

Her death was yesterday confirmed by her uncle, Bongani Eugene Zwane, who said the former Waterford Kamhlaba pupil died while undergoing treatment at the Mbabane Clinic.

Zwane could not divulge details regarding the suicide, but unconfirmed reports are that Tiffany took her own life by swallowing weevil tablets.

Also, reasons for her to commit suicide remain subject to speculation as the family had no idea what could have influenced her decision to end her life.

Even though there was further talk of a suicide note that she left behind, the devastated family could not officially comment on this.

"I was called at around 5pm on Monday and told that Tiffany had been taken to the Mbabane Clinic and I rushed there only to find that she had succumbed to death," the uncle said, in a sombre tone.

Zwane said information he had was that Tiffany was rushed to the Mbabane Clinic by her mother who had received a call in the afternoon that her daughter was in a critical condition.

However, another version is that she was rushed there by a well-known Mbabane socialite.

"When she got to the Clinic she was quickly attended to, but succumbed to death as she was certified dead between 15-30 minutes later," a devastated Zwane said.

The uncle said after being certified dead, Tiffany was then taken to the Mbabane Burial Benefit Society mortuary where she is currently being kept.

Revealed

He further revealed that the suicide act unfolded at Tiffany’s rented flat as she had reportedly moved out of the home she shared with her grandmother at Fonteyn in Mbabane.

"I don’t know where the house she stayed in is located because I’ve just returned to the country in the last two weeks," Zwane said.

Tiffany’s grandmother said she was still not ready to make a comment.

She referred further inquiries to Tiffany’s mother whom she said had gone to the Mbabane Clinic to meet with the doctor who had attended to the late beauty.

However, the mother also refused to comment as she asked the grandmother to refer questions to Zwane.

Tiffany was crowned Miss Swaziland on the night of July 26, 2008 at a glittering ceremony held at the Royal Swazi Sun Convention Centre in Ezulwini.

She won a grand prize of a yellow Fordka worth E30 000.

Her reign will be remembered mostly by the run-ins she had with organisers of the Miss Swaziland Beauty Pageant as she would sometimes disappear without a trace.

A week before she stepped down from the throne, Tiffany, in an exclusive interview with the Times Sunday Style section, said she regretted ever being Miss Swaziland.

She thanked God that time had come to relinquish the crown, which she said had brought her a lot of stress so much that at some point "I thought I was really going crazy".

She described the title as nothing, but a liability to her as she had never benefitted


New passport deadline extended to March 2010

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-20-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Many people will be happy to know that the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to extend the deadline for acquiring the new passports to the end of March next year.

Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze the decision to postpone the deadline from the initial date of December 31 was necessitated by the large number of requests they had received from members of the public.

"It is the nation that called for the deadline extension after fears that they would not be able to meet the one set for December and we listened to their request hence the deadline will now be the end of government’s financial year, end of March," the minister said.

Over a week ago, parliamen-tarians also requested the minister to extend the deadline because they felt a majority of the public would not meet the December deadline due to slow government processes.

This was during the debate of the ministry’s first quarter performance report by the parliament portfolio commit-tee.

Notified

Gamedze also notified the nation that passports were not only available in Mbabane, but other areas like Nhlangano, Manzini and Hlathikhulu.

"A lot of people come to Mbabane with the hope that they will speedily get the passports only to find that the operations are the same as those in the other areas which is why I urge people to go to the nearest town instead of coming to the capital city," he said.

The minister further drew attention to the fact that those people who do not have the new passports as yet were free to use the old ones.

"There is nothing wrong with the old passports as they are still valid, the only thing we did was to make December 31 the deadline for acquiring the new ones which has now been extended to March which means the old documents are valid until then," Gamedze clarified.


Nothing wrong with witchcraft assertion, says Pastor Justice

Main Section

By SENZO DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-20-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Pastor Justice Dlamini says he sees nothing wrong with his assertion that like- ned Incwala to witch- craft.

Dlamini, who called this newspaper yesterday, expressed shock that T.V Mthethwa, the acting Ludzidzini Governor, was livid as a result of what he termed as ordinary preaching.

Accusing

He challenged Mthethwa to perfectly state where he might have strayed in his preaching as largely opposed to just pointing an accusing finger at him.

"I was only preaching the word of God," confidently said the pastor. "I was not in a political rally."

The Worship Centre Pastor said it would be not a bad idea for the people accusing him of having demonised Incwala to listen to the tape of his preach- ing in order to get a clear mes- sage.

Sacred

He declined to commit himself on whether he still maintained that witchcraft was indeed practised during the sacred Incwala ceremony.

Mthethwa said it would be folly for him to respond on the grounds


It is illegal to keep ‘cocks’ in town

Main Section

By Mkhulisi Magongo - SWAZI TIMES-20-Aug-2009

MBABANE – The Council, on the other hand, says there is no crime in keeping chickens in the city including the suburbs but there is a specified number to keep and no ‘cocks’.

Sinda Mabuza, Director of Environmental Health Services, said most people were aware that they can keep chickens in their homes in the city, but they should not exceed 12 chickens.

"The same thing applies to dogs, people should keep their dogs indoors because if we find them roaming the streets and posing danger to society, we have the instrument to shoot them thus they will find themselves without dogs," said Mabuza.


MTN not heavily affected by the global meltdown

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-20-Aug-2009

MBABANE – MTN has not been heavily affected by the prevailing global economic meltdown, according to Chief Executive Officer Tebogo Mogapi.

Speaking during the MTN Media Breakfast held at Mountain Inn yesterday, Mogapi said even though he could not discuss the MTN financials yet, he was positive that they were ‘riding the wave of the financial crisis’.

"We have not been impacted that heavily by what is happening; we are holding on by our strings. We do appreciate, however, that we may be affected in the coming months, but not to the extent of being forced to make serious decisions. There will be ripple effects of the crisis in the next few months, but we are hopeful that the effects won’t be bad," he said.

Mogapi disclosed that they had just commissioned the new Network Management Centre.

"Though this was mainly meant to withstand competition, we are still ready for it. We have commissioned the centre and have beefed up operations, especially in marketing," he said. He also said they had almost doubled the size of the network in the last two years.

"We now have about 160 base stations that are operating; 20 are waiting to be switched on soon. For 2009, about 29 out of 30 sites were planned for completion in June, but they were eventually completed in July," he explained.

In terms of geographic coverage, MTN has covered 92 per cent and 94 per cent with population coverage.

Some of the new base stations include: Mkhitsini, Dwalile, Velezizweni, KaMkhweli, Hosea, Mphaphati and Macudvulwini, to name but a few.


2010 World Cup will be successful, only if we believe in ourselves - Hlobi

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Aug-2009

MINISTER of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Hlobsile Ndlovu is worried by the pessimistic attitude being displayed by the people of Southern Africa when it comes to the region’s capacity to host the 2010 World Cup.

“I think this is the time when we should start believing in ourselves. People should remove the negative thoughts from their minds and begin to believe that South Africa will successfully host the World Cup.”

Ndlovu said it was observed in Namibia there are critics that South Africa will not be able to host the World Cup because of the high crime rate. But she said it is surprising because even the other countries which have been able to host the same tournament also have crime. “In Swaziland too, I have observed that there is a high level of negativity. But people should start believing in themselves”.


SD blessed with beautiful landscape’

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Aug-2009

SWAZILAND has been blessed with a beautiful landscape, but surprisingly, the country is not so clean and the appealing scenery is blemished by all form of litter Prime Minister Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini has observed.

Addressing the media upon his return from Namibia yesterday, Dlamini said it is high time the country was swept clean of all the dirt littered in the highways, towns and the countryside, especially in the wake of government’s drive to attract the droves of tourists who will be attending the 2010 World Cup. He said people should brace themselves for one of the biggest clean-up campaigns which would be held in Swaziland soon but also stressed that the success of such an exercise would be determined by everyone’s full cooperation.

“In terms of cleanliness, we have learnt a lot in Namibia. “Windhoek, the capital town of that country is very clean. In fact, the Namibians pride themselves in having one of the cleanest cities in Africa.” Dlamini encouraged Swazis to emulate Namibia’s good example. The prime minister arrived through the Ngwenya Border Post yesterday after attending the Boundless Southern Africa grand tourism expedition where he represented His Majesty King Mswati III.

The expedition was attended by all nine SADC Heads of States in which one Africa’s most colourful modern day explorer Kingsley Holgate passed through. The prime minister left the country early this week, and his delegation comprised of three Cabinet ministers. They are Macford Nsibandze, who is the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Dlamini, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development and Hlobsile Ndlovu, the Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs.

The Boundless Southern Africa Brand is a means of marketing the various transfrontier conservation areas in the region. Holgate and his team left Durban on May 11, driving across demarcated routes, spotting areas of interest for visitors, mingling with communities and spreading the message of conservation. “Holgate delivered all that he picked during this expedition, and everything will benefit Southern Africa next year during the World Cup in South Africa,” the prime minister said. The prime minister said the Sikhuphe International Airport, which will be completed before the World Cup begins next year, places Swaziland in a good vantage point to attract tourists to the country.

Meanwhile, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Pastor Lindiwe Gwebu said she had met with her counterpart in that country, and the mayor and councillors of Windhoek, where she learnt about the sophisticated waste management methods used by that country.


FORMER MISS SD FUNERAL DILEMMA

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Aug-2009

THE family of former Miss Swaziland Tiffany Simelane, who committed suicide on Monday, is at loggerheads regarding when she should be buried.

At an impromptu press conference last night, it transpired that the family is miles apart on deciding when she should be laid to rest.

As a result, there will be a memorial service for her tomorrow, afterwhich she will not be buried but will be sent back to the mortuary, something that rarely happens in Swaziland. Tiffany’s memorial service will be held at the Mater Dolorosa Church in Mbabane, at about 12:00 noon. A family representative promised that further details pertaining the funeral would be furnished during the memorial service.

flowers

All colleagues, family, friends and other mourners have been advised not to bring or buy flowers for the late former Miss Swaziland, and all who wished to do so have been requested to make a donation to the Swaziland Hospice at Home instead. In a statement, the family said they were still equally confused by Tiffany’s death.

“The family has been saddened by the death of our beloved daughter. Words fail us; we are indeed as confused as the rest of the country about her death.” The family has also pleaded with the public to bear with them in this hour of bereavement. “We pray and ask God to be with all who have known and lived with her during the short period she was with us.”

Tiffany made her last public appearance on the night of the crowning of the new Miss Swaziland Nompilo Mncina and it was there that she officially handed over the crown.


Wives fight over hubby who died 10 days after wedding

Main Section

By MANQOBA NXUMALO - SWAZI TIMES-22-Aug-2009

MBABANE- A woman whose husband died 10 days after their wedding has been denied permission to bury him at Ngculwini in the district of Manzini.

Yesterday, Judge Qinisile Mabuza dismissed an urgent application brought by Titus Khoza (the deceased’s biological father) and Thandi Khoza (his new wed) to have Timothy Khoza buried at Ngculwini and that his other wife, Miriam, be stopped from arranging her own burial place.

Thandi had averred that when she married the deceased on May 30, 2009 the deceased had divorced with Miriam.

She said a final decree of divorce was granted on June 27, 2005 and produced a court order as proof of her assertions.

However, the deceased’s other wife, Miriam, denied that a final decree of divorce had been granted. She alleged that her marriage to the deceased was never dissolved and that the marriage of Thandi to the deceased was useless as it was contracted, while there was already a valid existing civil rites marriage between the deceased and herself.

However, Judge Qinisile Mabuza found that there was no final decree of divorce granted to the deceased. She said this meant that the deceased was still married to Miriam and ordered that the civil marriage between Thandi to the deceased was null and void.

"My finding does not in anyway affect the second applicant’s rights and ownership of her home at Ngculwini that she shared with the deceased.

"The law relating to the custom of kukhonta is governed by Swazil Law and Custom. The order of the court is as follows; the application is dismissed and each party is ordered to pay its own costs," read the judgement


SD receives E20 million health grant from Japan

Main Section

By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-22-Aug-2009

MBABANE –Efforts to improve health status in the country received a boost, thanks to a US$2.57 million (over E20 million) grant from the Japan Social Development fund (JDSF), to be administered by the World Bank.

The signing ceremony was held in Mbabane recently. The project is the result of a collaborative partnership between the Governments of Swaziland and Japan, and the World Bank.

According to a JDSF representative, this grant will finance critical maternal and child health inputs.

embodied

The representative said child mortality and maternal health are Millennium Development Goals and are priorities for the government of Swaziland as embodied in the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Govern-ment’s Programme of Action (2008-2013).

Minister of Economic Planning and Development Prince Sihlangusemphi said; "We are resolutely committed to accelerating the improvement of health services, especially to vulnerable groups, including children, because we believe that our children are our future. This grant will go a long way towards helping government to achieve its goal of improving health services for its people. It is also testimony to our commitment to engage both home-grown, as well as international development partners to strengthen service delivery."

The project, to be implemented in the Lubombo region, focuses on an under-served area. The country’s maternal mortality ratio is 589 per 100 000 live births against a target of 140. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 38 per cent for women aged 20-24, peaking at 49 per cent for women aged 25 to 29 years.

Experts agree that engaging communities and focusing on mothers and children is vital for reducing the infection rate.

gateway

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ruth Kagia, the World Bank Country Director for Swaziland said; "Mothers are the gateway to family and child health. The project will help provide essential health care information and counselling to mothers and mothers-to-be. In partnership with the Government of Japan, the World Bank is pleased to support Swaziland’s efforts to strengthen these key areas".

Minister of Health Benedict Xaba has welcomed the project and assured commitment in supporting implemen-tation together with local development partners, especially the Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS), a leading health services NGO that will assist the Ministry of Health in implementing the second project component.

World Bank Health Specialist and project leader Kanako Yamashita-Allen said; "The project financing agreement signed is testimony to the excellent spirit of cooperation that exists between the Govern-ment of Swaziland and its development partn-ers.

"We look forward to a speedy and effective project implementation so that the project can achieve its sustainable development objectives," he said.


‘Shakes’ Mashaba’s E260 000 jackpot!

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-22-Aug-2009

MBABANE – The failure to secure a sponsor for the COSAFA Senior Challenge could prove costly for the National Football Associ-ation of Swaziland (NFAS) decision to hire a full-time coach for the national team, Sihlangu

The football mother body will still fork out about E260 000 in the salaries of Sihlangu coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba for the remainder of the year despite that Sihlangu will be virtually inactive – on the international competition scene. The coach earns a staggering E65 000 monthly salary. He earns E15 000 more than the country’s Prime Minister in the latest released government salary structure.

Sihlangu will only play friendly games during the stipulated FIFA dates for the remaining part of the year after bombing out of the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers last year.

The next official interna-tional competition Sihlangu will participate in is the Confederations of Afri-can Football Championships (CHANA) qualifiers only set to start next year.

The COSAFA Senior Chall-enge was thrown into disarray since the withdrawal of South Africa’s Mpuma-langa Provincial Govern-ment citing economic meltd-own more than a month ago.

host

Zimbabwe joined in the fray in a bid to host the event but it did not have the E5.6 million needed to host the sub-continental event but according to information from Zimbabwe’s state-owned leading newspaper, The Herald, ZIFA and the Ministry of Tourism, who were eager to host the event, is finding it a tad too much to secure a sponsor.

South Africa were the last champions of the regional tournament, following their triumph in Witbank last year. Sihlangu were tossed out via a coin after being level on points and goals with Madaga-scar. FA CEO Frederick Mngo-mezulu yesterday said they had still not heard anything regarding the tournament.

"We will have to wait for a correspondence from COS-AFA on the latest regarding the tournament. As soon as we are updated we will notify you," he said.

The present scenario means Sihlangu will only get to play in an official tournament early next year in the domesticated version of the Africa Cup of Nations known as CHAN.

The COSAFA Senior Chall-enge Cup was the team’s last hope for an official tourna-ment this season, after crus-hing out of the ongoing 2010 AFCON/World Cup Quali-fiers.

list

However, the FA has annou-nced a long list of interna-tional friendly matches for the team during the next four FIFA weeks before year end.

The team will next month play Namibia’s Desert War-riors away. The next games will be confirmed at a later date


Deputy Sheriff ordered to return herd of 27 cattle

Main Section

By SIBUSISO NGUBANE - SWAZI TIMES-23-Aug-2009

MBABABE—Deputy Sheriff for the Shiselweni Region Joseph Dlamini has been ordered by the High Court to return a herd of 27 cattle he unlawfully attached from Bonginkhosi Mkhabela in December last year.

Mkhabela had filed an application at the High Court where he sought an ordering for the return of the 27 cattle which were taken from one Bhekani Mkhabela. Judge Thomas Masuku on Friday ordered that the cattle attached from Mkhabela on December 3, 2008 be restored to Bonginkhosi’s possession forthwith. Justice Masuku also ordered that Dlamini and Thoko Mkhabela, who was also a respondent in the matter, should pay the costs of the application which include costs of Counsel as certified in terms of Rule 68 (2) of the High Court rules as amended.

Dlamini is said to have attached the cattle with an order which did not identify Bonginkhosi’s cattle.

In his judgement, Justice Masuku said it was clear that the attachment was unlawful and contrary to the terms of the order confirmed to be executed. He said such a situation cannot be in the interest of the public and the general interests of the administration of justice being allowed to prevail.

"The situation is exacerbated by the fact that two deputy sheriffs and a posse comitatus of police officers failed to read, properly understand and appreciate and therefore property execute the terms of order dated March 11, 2005," said Masuku in his judgement.

The judge mentioned that executing court orders is serious business for it has the propensity to interfere with people’s possession of their property.

He said for that reason, scrupulous care and sedulous attention must be given to the letter of order of court concerned so that violence to the terms thereof is not heralded. "As a result of failing to understand the court order in the instant case, the first applicant’s property was irregularly attached, a situation which cannot be countenanced. It’s for the reason that I come to the view that to exercise this court’s discretion against hearing the applicants would be incorrect and unconscionable and would tend to legitimate what is clearly unlawful," lamented the judge.

Unnecessary

Justice Masuku said he found it unnecessary to decide the issue superannuation of judgement and orders raised by the applicant’s attorney. He declined to deal with that issue for the reason that it is abundantly obvious that the attachment and removal of Makhabela’s cattle was unlawful and clearly unauthorised. He said to deal with that issue would have been, in his view, result in superfluity.

"For the foregoing reason, I am of the view that the application should succeed with costs. The first respondent, on his version, made common cause with his colleague, the substantive Deputy Sheriff, in the execution of the order and in effect opposed the application," he said.

The judge found it appropriate to mulct him with costs together with his co-respondents. He noted in particular that it was only in the heads of argument that costs on the punitive scale were only applied for.

Judge Masuku ordered that the costs are to be levied at the scale between party and party and are to be paid jointly and severally by Dlamini and Thoko, the one paying the other to be absolved.

Advocate Lucas Maziya appeared for the applicants, while lawyer Mduduzi Mabila appeared for Dlamini with S C Dlamini appearing for Thoko Mkhabela.


Lord have mercy on this boy

Main Section

By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-23-Aug-2009

EZULWINI—He lives like an animal, in fact he lives the life of a dog. He is not fed like a normal human being as his food is dished in a plate and placed outside next to him and due to the fact that he can’t move his limbs, he feeds with his mouth like an

EZULWINI—He lives like an animal, in fact he lives the life of a dog. He is not fed like a normal human being as his food is dished in a plate and placed outside next to him and due to the fact that he can’t move his limbs, he feeds with his mouth like an animal.

He competes with dogs for the food which he rarely receives from his step-mother. His growth is stunted and he is disabled.

During the day, he sits outside his family flat in full exposure to rain and the cold on his own with no one looking after him. He has survived the worst cold winter days, fierce storms and hot days on that spot, which is a couple of metres from the rented flat where his parents live.

Neighbours are wondering how he has managed to survive for the 11 years he has lived due to the miserable life he is made to live.

When we paid him a visit this week, he was found sitting outside alone and he was very dirty. Judging from the white hunger line in his mouth, he was starving and thirsty.

There were dogs that were feasting on his waste which was spread on the lower parts of his body and there are fears that one day the dogs would not just clean him up but will just eat him as he is not in a position to defend himself due to his disability.

We arrived at his home at about 5pm and we found him sitting in his usual spot, outside in the open. There were children who were playing a distance away from him in the yard and were oblivious of his presence.

He was half naked and next to him were two plates, which according to neighbours had not been filled with food on that day. There was also an old blanket which was placed on the ground next to him and we were told he used it whenever the temperatures got worse.

This is the sad story of 11-year- old France Khumalo, who was dumped by his mother at the Mbabane bus rank about five years ago. His father was working at the Mbabane bus rank—as a kombi driver.

However, his father is no longer employed now as he was recently fired from his job of being a bus rank marshal. His step-mom is not employed either and she spends almost all her time inside the house mentoring her one-year-old child, while the disabled France lives outside with the dogs.

When we arrived at the homestead, his step-mother was comfortably babysitting her one- year-old child. When we asked about France, she said, "I have tried everything for him and now I do not know what to do."

She said she suggested to her boyfriend that France should be taken to his boyfriend’s parents but the boyfriend refused.

"I told him to take the child to his biological mother and again he turned me down," she said.

She also said she had now lost hope with the child and was waiting for God to decide France’s fate because she had tried everything to save his life but all efforts have failed.

"There were times when he got sick, I took him to hospital and they turned me back, telling me that I should tell his mother to bring him," she said.

She explained that it was due to this reason that whenever he got sick, she did not take him to the clinic any more but whatever sickness he suffer with, healed itself. France is in desperate need for shelter, food and clothes.

Readers are invited to contribute either financially or materialistic to save France.

If you are touched by France’s plight, please call the Times SUNDAY Editor or the Reporter at 404 2211. Or send an email to sundayeditor@times.co.za, sunday@times.co.sz


Why not help Taiwan?

Main Section

By The editor on August 23,2009 - SWAZI TIMES-23-Aug-2009

Why not help Taiwan?

Sir,

Taiwan has been a good friend of Swaziland for many years and has offered a helping hand when the country has had disasters. When Swaziland complained about the shortage of doctors and drugs, Taiwan sent a number of doctors and drugs to help Swaziland and this help can still be seen in government hospitals.

In fact, Taiwan has been helping in what-ever way possible. Taiwan has had some disasters, earth quake, floods, landslides, etc causing many deaths and needed volunteers to help in the rescue mission.

All Swaziland offered was just sympathy, yet Taiwan needed manpower and probably hoped that countries like Swaziland would come handy but poor Swaziland leadership did not see the need to help this faithful friend.

One day, Taiwan will reconsider this one way friendship and take the appropriate action. The comments by the outgoing ambassador from Taiwan must be taken seriously.

Mbho Shongwe Via email


... Let the games begin!

Sports Section

By LWAZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-23-Aug-2009

Weekend Sports Editor

"Opportunity dances with those who are ready on the dance floor," These immortal words by Essayist Helen Keller will come to fruition this afternoon when the ultimate competition – the MTN League, kicks off in grand style at the country’s Mecca, Somhlolo National Stadium.

Every season is a maze of twists and turns, of good and bad luck but all teams know how important it is to win the first game of the league. It could define the entire season.

Life, itself, is full of ‘what ifs’. Everyone can write an alternative history of how things could have been very different, if only. Never more so than in sport – in the marathon MTN league – where fractions can be the difference between ever-lasting glory and enduring ignominy.

All the pre-season talk will be replaced by action on the pitch today as Manzini Wanderers clash head on with Mbabane Highlanders in a lunch-time kick-off match (1:30pm) before the main match where Mbabane Swallows begin the defence of the league title they won in extra-ordinary circu-mstances last season against three times cha-mpions, Royal Le-opards at 3:30pm. We can only say…Chudze Manikiniki!


Four children poisoned, one dies

Main Section

By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-24-Aug-2009

NHLANGANO- Police are investigating the poisoning of four children that has resulted in the death of an 18-month-old baby.

The gruesome incident, which has left residents tongue tied and baying for the mother’s blood, happened about two weeks ago at Magubheleni area under Gege constituency.

The four children were rushed to a local clinic after they complained of disc-omfort in their stomachs as well as severe abdominal pain. They were transferred to Mankayane Government Hospital where they were treated and later discharged. The 18-month-old baby, however, succumbed to death and was buried last weekend.

Residents are growing frustrated that no one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

They allege that the mother of the baby may have been behind the incident, claiming that she fed the children six weevil tablets.

The name of the mother will not be revealed as she has not been charged with any crime but was only questioned by the police.

The mother stayed with her child at her parental homestead as it is alleged she was dumped by her boyfriend in the early stages of her pregnancy.

Both parents were not present at the homestead when the incident occurred.

Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said active inves-tigations into the matter were ongoing.

"It was suspected that there was foul play in the incident and a post mortem was conducted on the baby. The samples were then taken for forensic analysis and we are awaiting results.

The three other children were treated and discharged," he said.

The mother of the child is estimated to be aged about 17 or 18 years old.


Two Swazi students killed in sa car crash

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-24-Aug-2009

NGWENYA – Two Swazi students studying in South African colleges died on their way home in a fatal accident on Saturday.

There were three people onboard the car when it was involved in an accident and the other passenger survived but was also seriously injured. He is currently recuperating in a South African hospital.

Although details on what might have happened are scanty at the moment, information gathered is that the two students were travelling along the Carolina/Belfast road when the accident occurred.

The two students are said to have died on the spot while the other one was quickly rushed to the nearest hospital by the police.

In an interview with a South African police inspector who preferred anonymity (since some of the next of kin are yet to be informed) the accident is not the only one which happened on this road that day as other two lives were lost just after lunch when a VW Golf overturned and crashed onto a tree, killing both occupants instantly.

"We have a case of Swazi people who were killed in an accident and one of them survived at the Belfast road. As per the procedure, the police are still investigating the matter and we have not informed all the families yet.

Accidents

There were actually two accidents which happened on this road where other people were killed and they happen to be Mozambican," said the inspector.

Asked on how they were able to identify the deceased as Swazis, the inspector said they were driving a Swazi registered sedan and they were able to identify them through their student identity cards found at the scene. "We found that they were all students in colleges in sa as they had student cards," he said.

Quizzed on the procedure when a person dies in a car crash in South Africa, the inspector said once they get contacts of the families, they call them and ask them to come and identify the bodies while they proceed with their investigations.

"You may find that in any case, the accident might have been caused by a reckless driver or stray cattle, so we need to investigate the circumstances leading to the crash and like I said with this one we are still busy with investigations," added the police officer.

When this newspaper visited one of the families yesterday afternoon, the parents had left for South Africa for the accident scene and were reportedly returning very late.

Police spokesperson Super-intendent Vusi Masuku, when asked on the accident, said the local police had not received any report yet by last night.


Govt might need E20m for swine flu outbreak

Main Section

By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-24-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Should there be a countrywide outbreak of swine flu in the kingdom, it is estimated that government might need around E20 million to stem the tide

The money will be used to mitigate the impact of the A (H1 N1) influenza by strengthening the readiness and response capacity. Such funds will include capacity building for management and staff in the country’s exit and entry points, training of medical practitioners, media campaigns as well as securing medication.

This is according to the Ministry of Health’s national contingency plan for the virus.

According to the contingency plan, the highest amount (E16 million) could be used in purchasing the medication as it is expected that each vaccine might cost as much as E800. The plan estimates that it might be necessary to treat as many as 5000 people per region. The accurate costs will be released once the vaccine has been developed and ready for use. At present Tami Flu is used for treatment. South Africa’s swine flu death toll has climbed to eight, as the virus spreads around the country, health authorities said on Thursday.

A 21-year-old woman in the capital Pretoria and a 38-year-old pregnant woman in the southeastern city of Port Elizabeth were the latest victims to die after contracting the A(H1N1) virus, the National Health Laboratory said in a statement.

Out of the eight confirmed swine flu deaths, three have been pregnancies, four had no underlying conditions while the other had hypertension and was diabetic, the laboratory said.

South Africa has recorded 3,485 confirmed cases of the virus, making the country the worst affected on the continent. The country’s first case was detected on June 18.


Bushfire Fest Stealing top Spot From the Reed Dance

Recreation Section

The Zimbabwe Standard-24-Aug-2009

Time was when the Umhlanga or Reed Dance, the traditional rite of passage for young Swazi girls was the only major event people associated with the Kingdom of Swaziland.

The Bushfire International Festival of the Arts, which this year was held from July 31st through August 2nd, looks set to change all that.

Started three years ago by Justin Thorne the three-day festival attracted an audience of more than ten thousand people, many of them from beyond Swaziland’s borders.

On the programme of this year’s predominantly music festival were such names as local artists the Bhunya Bombers, an acappella outfit and singers such as Nana and rapper Jazz P.

South Africans Hip Hop Pansula, Busi Mhlongo, Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela were also there while Zimbabwe was represented by one of the country’s most promising reggae prospects Mic Inity and rapper Outspoken. From further afield Mali’s Habib Koite, and Dobet Gnahore from Ivory Coast, easily the most exciting female artist I have seen for a very long time.

She, along with Mahlasela and Koite are part of the highly successful Acoustic Africa project put together after record imprint Putumayo released an album of the same name.

Acoustic Africa has toured Europe and the United States successfully and for the Bushfire performance they were joined by Aly Keita on balaphone.

For many, Acoustic Africa, which despite its billing was amplified, was the highlight of this year’s festival.

Despite the language differences the three collaborated on each other’s songs seamlessly. But as Habib Koite told Standardplus they first got together in 2006 and toured Europe and the United States at one point playing 41 gigs in 47 days.

“First we wanted to do it,” he explained, “to work together to sing in each other’s language, it’s like an adventure.”

And what an adventure it’s been!

Koite, Mahlasela and Gnahore, seemed to be having so much fun during their performance but it was the lithe 27 year-old Gnahore’s electrifying presence that lit up the stage.

Though she is an excellent singer with a couple of albums under her belt, most of the audience will remember her for her dancing which was pure poetry in motion.

Another highlight was Maskanda diva Busi Mhlongo who gave a performance that belied her 62 years.

Though she is still receiving treatment for the cancer diagnosed in 2006 she gave her all and left the audience asking for more. She was followed by ‘white Zulu’ Johnny Clegg who was also in fine form.

He took the audience back in time when introducing Woza Friday he reminisced how he and Sipho Mchunu, his erstwhile partner in Juluka, played the song at Swaziland 12th independence celebrations in 1978! Mozambique’s Jose Mucavele who accompanied himself on guitar also gave a performance that was well received.

Besides the music there were a lot of other performances. Festival attendees got a chance to try out their percussion skills when Steve Barnett aka The Silent Conductor handed out 300 djembes and got every one playing at the same time. It was a beautiful rumble! Then there were all the stalls selling curios and delicious Swazi cuisine.

Thorne said though Bushfire is attracting more people every year the intention is to keep it a three-day affair. This year, despite the unseasonable downpour on Saturday night through most of Sunday fun was had by all and some of us can’t wait for mo’ fire in 2010.


Sir Ranulph Fiennes: the final hurdle

Main Section

The Telegraph UK-24-Aug-2009

Sir Ranulph Fiennes was invited to top the lot by climbing Everest. from Sibusiso Vilane from Swaziland, the first black man to reach the summit of Everest.

After a lifetime of perilous expeditions to the remotest regions of the earth, Sir Ranulph Fiennes was invited to top the lot by climbing Everest. The trouble was, he was over 60, some of his fingers had been reduced to stumps, he had heart problems and a fear of heights. Undaunted, he took up the challenge. Here he describes his quest to reach the roof of the world.

Everest, the highest mountain in the world, attracts climbers of all levels because its summit can be reached by novices with little or no technical climbing ability, provided that they are fit, their climb coincides with good weather, and they are lucky. In the 56 years since Everest was first climbed, 2,700 people have summitted and 212 have died on the mountain. If you decide to have a go, whatever your age, you will have a one-in-12 chance of not coming back.

Not being a climber, I had for 60 years no interest at all in scaling any mountain. But in 2003 I received a letter out of the blue. It was from Sibusiso Vilane from Swaziland, the first black man to reach the summit of Everest. He had climbed the 'big E’ (American for Everest) from its southern (Nepalese) flank and now wanted to have a go from the northern (Tibetan) side. There are many opinions as to which is more difficult or more dangerous.

Sibu’s corporate sponsor, Harmony of South Africa, wanted his second climb to promote harmony between black and white South Afri­cans, and a mutual friend had suggested that, being part South African and having been brought up in Cape Town, I would make a good climbing partner for Sibu. What they had failed to tell him was that I had never climbed anything more difficult than Primrose Hill in London, or that I had a fear of heights. I turned down Sibu’s invitation.

A year later, Ginny, my wife of 36 years, died of cancer and I wanted to wrench myself out of my resultant state of misery. I had, since my youth, hated heights, and it struck me as a good time to try to confront and thereby get rid of this irrational phobia. I asked Sibu if his offer was still open. He said it was but that I must first get accepted by Jagged Globe, the company of professional mountain guides whose Everest base camp, yaks and Sherpas had helped Sibu’s previous climb and who were handling his next one.

Simon Lowe, the boss of Jagged Globe, was honest with me. 'We have to have insurance cover for all our clients,’ he explained, 'and you, Ran, are not ideal. You have frostbitten fingers, no mountain experience, a cardiac problem and you’re 60. You will have to prove your ability up front. We have a two-week Alpine course to teach rock and ice climbing and basic rope work. If you were to pass that course, we would then need to check you out for altitude up to 20,000ft on our Eight Volcan­oes course in Ecuador.’

I agreed, and joined 15 other 'students’, mostly 30 years younger than me, tram­ping up icy ridges and ripping open my newly acquired and expensive climbing trousers with my equally new set of crampons. I was taught various complex climbing rope knots – and forgot them within a week of ending the course. But the instructors passed me, and I moved on to the volcanoes.

The first six, all close to the capital, Quito, were quite low and easy; the seventh, Cotopaxi, was some 19,000ft high and easy; while the last, Mount Chim­borazo, four hours’ drive south-west of the polluted pall of the capital, looked extremely impressive from below. I was by then the only remaining student on the course. Pepe, my guide, led me to a hut at 4,800m (15,748ft), from which the volcano’s steep ascent route rose up a rocky gully.

Pepe’s previous ascents included one on which he tried to rescue a Norwegian and his guide who had been struck by lightning. He found a neat black hole had been drilled through the Norwegian’s helmet and skull. Both men’s axes and crampons were molten metal; the lightning strike had travelled down the wet rope from man to man.

'Don’t ever climb in thunder weather,’ Pepe advised. I assured him that I wouldn’t.

I began to feel bad at about 19,500ft when my head throbbed and my pulse raced, but, fearful of an unfavourable report to Simon Lowe, I slogged on and just about made it to the top without collapsing. My heart rate was well over the 130 beats per minute that my NHS cardiac surgeon, Dr Gianni Angelini of Bristol Royal Infirmary (who had given me a double bypass the year before), had warned me never to exceed.

Back in Britain, Jagged Globe signed me up to join Sibu for their Everest 2005 outing. That summer, with two friends, I plodded up Kilimanjaro, not quite as high as Chimborazo. At about 500ft below the summit ridge I suffered sharp angina symptoms and only just made it to the top. I did not tell Jagged Globe. (Coincidentally, two 50-year-old South Africans died that night on Kili’s summit, both of heart attacks.)

None of these training climbs had actually tested my fear of heights, since all had steered clear of dizzy voids. But I knew that I could make it to 20,000ft, and Everest would be only an extra 9,000. So the outlook was good.

A year after my wife died, I married Louise, whom I met while lecturing to the Chester branch of the Royal Geographical Society, of which she was a member. We agreed to honeymoon, that March of 2005, at the Everest base camp in Tibet before the climb with Sibu. Our two-man tent was closely surrounded by many others and at night you could hear your neighbour’s slightest movements. I would advise against anyone having their honeymoon there.

Louise left the camp after a fortnight when the first acclimatisation climb up to the advance base camp (21,000ft) began. Sibu, I soon learnt, was very much fitter than me, as were the other dozen or so Jagged Globe climbers. Ian Parnell, the professional climber and photographer with whom

I walked, gave me valuable advice to avoid altitude troubles, largely by drinking up to eight litres of water a day.

Our group leader, David Hamilton, a tall, friendly Scot, helped by his number two, Neal Short from Liverpool, presided over a mixed bunch who fortunately got on well enough for the two months of forced togetherness in the same cramped communal tent. We ate, played cards and just waited, in between successive acclimatisation climbs upwards to the next highest camp, called the North Col, or back down to the lower base camp. Advance base camp (ABC) was, through topographic necessity, situated above 21,000ft, at which height the human body deteriorates or, in Ian’s word, 'rots’.

Our group included rock-climbing fanatics from South Africa, a Norwegian karate expert on his second Everest attempt, and Fred Ziel, a Cali­forn­ian doctor whose fingers and nose had been badly frostbitten on a previous climb (from the other side of Everest). Also, Jens Bojen, born in Denmark but a British citizen of Grimsby and a trawler captain. At 62, a year my senior, he would be the oldest British summiteer ever if he reached the top.

At ABC many of us suffered from bad migraines, and Dr Fred doled out Diamox tablets, which are meant to help. As the month of May went by and high jet stream winds on the summit ridges continued to prevent ascent attempts, we began to grow anxious. More than 400 people had arrived at ABC, mostly in groups like ours, but there were also individual climbers, some of whom had spent all their savings to climb Everest. As bad weather continued throughout May, many of them grew desperate and decided to 'go for it’, despite the lethal conditions up high. Some died, and others limped back down past our camp having lost fingers or toes up on the ridge.

Since the Indian monsoon was due to hit Everest in the first week of June, at which time further summit attempts would become suicidal, we all faced the prospect of failure. Luckily a weather window appeared at the last minute, and on May 31 David Hamilton led the fastest members of our group out of ABC and up the steep snow slopes to the North Col camp high above.

Neal’s group, including me and three other 'slow’ climbers, followed 24 hours later. For three long days we slogged up ridges of rock, snow and ice, accompanied by a non-stop strong wind. For the final push, each of us would be helped by a Sherpa carrying our heavier gear. My Sherpa, Boca Lama, was small but very strong.

At 27,560ft we reached the last 'camp site’ before the summit ridge, a ragged collection of wind-ripped tents, many of which had been reduced by the last months’ winds to mere skeletal frames. This was often called the Death Camp, for various dead bodies had over the years been found inside the tents, including that of an Italian climber the previous week.

I saw Sibu sitting by a tent and, before I heaved myself, exhausted, into Ian’s tent, I waved at him. He waved back slowly. I assumed that he was on his way back down from the summit with David and the others, all of them a day ahead of our group. I learnt later that, after summitting, Sibu had run out of oxygen and was found by a Sherpa, slouched and bewildered, some two hours’ climb below the Death Camp. He was lucky to be alive.

A few days before, a Slovenian climber had died on the summit ridge, and a Bhutani, close by him, ran out of oxygen and began to hallucinate with hypoxia. He stumbled by an old corpse, probably the one with green boots that most climbers remember, and thought he saw this dead man 'pointing’ at a nearby orange object. This turned out to be a half snow-buried oxygen bottle, still containing some oxygen. The Bhutani clipped it to his system and survived to tell the tale.

After a few extremely uncomfortable hours trying to rest in the cramped tent with Ian, Boca and I left at 11pm, by the light of our head torches. Ian, I knew, would soon catch up.

Just above the tents, feeling strangely dizzy, I began to haul myself up a fairly steep stretch of striated limestone. This was an outcrop of the so-called Yellow Band, where the body of the climber George Mallory was found in 1999.

The team that found his body, mostly Americans, wrote afterwards that they 'looked at the face of the Yellow Band and… where a falling body that had picked up a good bit of speed might come to rest… we found ourselves in a kind of collection zone for fallen climbers… Just seeing these twisted, broken bodies was a pretty stark reminder of our own mortality… It was obvious from the contorted condition of their bodies that these climbers had suffered long and terrible falls.’

With this 'collection zone’ close by in the pitch-black night, Boca and I took special care to clip only to the safest-looking rope.

I adjusted my head torch and began to clamber up the wall of mixed rock and ice, breathing hard and feeling weak. I fumbled and dropped a small water bottle in an insulated cover. I never heard it land, and thought briefly of the yawning void below my scrabbling boots.

I could feel my pulse hammering against the inside of my helmet as the fixed and ice-encrusted Sherpa-rope, to which my climbing device or ascendeur was attached, briefly gave way. Only a few inches, but enough to scare me rigid. This was not the only rope, but it looked less old than the others. Each year Sherpas position new ropes up the ascent route, and in many places you come to a snakes’ nest of coils. The key to safety is to avoid clipping on to the wrong rope which, somewhere above you, has been frayed to breaking point by rock fall or chafing in the wind and will break as soon as you trust it with your body weight.

The previous month, down in our base camp honeymoon tent, Louise had woken me in the night. 'Listen,’ she whispered. A keening, distant scream was plainly audible from the mountain. The sound slowly faded and raised the hairs on the back of my neck. 'That’s the cry of a lost soul,’ Louise said. 'I don’t want you going up there.

I dreamt the other night, but didn’t want to tell you, that your rope will break somewhere high.’

I assured Louise that I would take care with all ropes. But now, in the dark, all the old ropes looked as icy as the new one.

The dizziness increased and, some 40 minutes above the Death Camp, the heart pain I remembered from Kilimanjaro came back, but with a big difference; this time it was like, I imagine, an anaconda’s hug. The post-bypass surgical wire that held my ribcage together felt as though it were tearing through my chest. I was sure I was having a heart attack, and thought I was about to die. No defibrillator. Then I remembered the GTN (Glyc­erine Tri-Nitrate) pills that Louise had pestered me to carry, which you put under your tongue and which cause you to dilate in all the right places. I crammed a number into my mouth – and did not die.

If you are lucky, GTN will stave off a heart attack and give you time to get to a cardiac unit. Twenty minutes later we were back in the Death Camp from which, after dawn, we descended to ABC, reaching it that same evening. Sibu was safely there. I congratulated him and we made our way next day back to the lower base camp.

Despite my abject failure on the mountain, our charity, the British Heart Foundation, raised £2.2 million for the Ran Fiennes Healthy Hearts Appeal, and a year later Louise and I cut the ribbon of the new MRI scanner unit and catheter laboratory in the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, which our Everest venture had paid for. On Easter Day 2006 Louise gave birth to our daughter, Elizabeth, and, aged 62, I learnt how to change nappies.

Later that year my Everest group leader, Neal Short, wrote to me. 'As you were so close, I often wonder whether you are tempted to give it another go,’ he said. 'Maybe you could go from the south side…’

This thought nagged at me, for a number of reasons. I still wanted to rid myself of the stupid fear of heights, which I resented and which the Everest experience had not even reduced. Second, I was aware that the record was still up for grabs for the first person to cross both ice caps and climb Everest. And, third, before I died I wanted to raise the nice round £15 million for British charities. Since my recent Everest failure had raised more than £2 million, I thought a successful ascent might well raise more.

One of the four instructors during my earlier Jagged Globe Alpine course had been the expert climber Kenton Cool who, with Ian Parnell, had completed various first ascents of huge faces around the world and, at that time, had summitted Everest five times. He had once commented, when I told him that Everest had not really provided a vertigo test, that there was a climb much nearer home that would definitely provide 'big drops’: the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland.

'Could I have a go at it?’ I asked him. 'Not,’ he sounded certain, 'without learning to climb.’

Paul Sykes, the founder of the UK Independence Party and the businessman who had funded the the Everest attempt, agreed to sponsor the costs of an Eiger attempt and to work with Marie Curie Cancer Care as our recipient charity. My late wife and two of my three sisters had died within an 18-month period from cancer, and I had witnessed the wonderful work of Marie Curie nurses. This cancer care charity estimated that a successful Eiger climb might earn them £1.5 million.

So I spent a great deal of time in the Alps training and being shouted at by Kenton. As a warm-up, he suggested climbing a sandstone sea stack

in Scotland called the Old Man of Hoy (449ft), which I climbed with Stephen Venables and Sandy Ogilvie, two great British climbers.

After an unsuccessful attempt to walk unsupported to the North Pole in 2000, the fingers and thumb on my left hand sustained severe frostbite and had all been amputated about halfway down. Now I could not properly hold a standard ice axe, so a Welsh company called DMM sponsored me with a pair of special axes with thin shafts and with a cunning hook that, hopefully, would grip tiny holds that my half-fingers slipped out of.

Ian Parnell later wrote, 'Ran’s hand, of course, proved a real hindrance, and at times his “stumps” would prove completely ineffective at gripping the rock.’ I got around this problem, at least partly, by 'dry tooling’, a technique that Kenton taught me whereby you use the very tips of your axes in tiny rock holes or over fractional rock ledges. On overhangs your legs sometimes dangle.

Much of Kenton’s instruction involved the ascent of great frozen waterfalls. A world-famous Australian climber, Greg Child, once came with us to write for a climbing magazine. 'Halfway up to the ledge, I notice a trail of blood,’ he wrote. 'The droplets lead straight to Ran’s nose, which an ice shard has neatly slit. He’s unperturbed, and he sits on his perch with a bloody grin.

'With Kenton in the lead, on a low-angled stretch, Ran steps on the rope in his spiked boots – a climbing no-no.

'“Get off that bloody thing, Ran,” Kenton barks like a rabid drill sergeant. Ran smiles at me and steps aside. For an alpha male accustomed to unconditional authority over his expeditions, his deference to Kenton is quaint. It’s also pragmatic: he knows he’s on a learning curve as a climber, and he’s soaking up everything Kenton can teach.’

The best weather forecasters in the world were and are based at Exeter Met Office in Britain, and they agreed to sponsor Marie Curie by sending Kenton free forecasts, since bad weather on the Eiger often kills climbers on its north wall. In mid-March 2007 Exeter forecast a good five-day weather window, and we began the climb, Kenton up front and Ian Parnell behind me to shout advice. On this mountain, with an amateur, they were each taking a big risk.

The next four days and nights were distinctly unpleasant, but eventually successful. At 10am on the fifth day of our climb, we reached the summit. Six months later Marie Curie closed down our Eiger Challenge Appeal at £1.8 million. Sadly, my extreme fear of heights remained doggedly lodged in my system.

Early in 2008, getting itchy feet, I called Paul Sykes, who kindly agreed to fund a second attempt on Everest from the other side of the mountain, the Nepalese or north side. Kenton agreed to be my guide and Marie Curie announced the next Everest Challenge Appeal, confident that I would reach the top this time and net £3 million.

I tried hard and Kenton was as encouraging as always but, as in 2005, the final 1,000ft (in height) defied my efforts. Utterly exhausted on the final night, I realised that I might just about make the top, but would not make it back down again. So

I failed once more and Marie Curie fell short of its target by £400,000. Back in Britain, I tried to work out how I could ever overcome my apparent inability to deal with Everest’s special problem of the so-called Death Zone above 28,000ft.

My wife Louise had for many years been a top-notch equine endurance race competitor and had made a living from transporting horses, especially nervous ones that nobody else could get anywhere near a horsebox. She was what a TV show would describe as a 'horse whisperer’.

Some years previously she had observed my poor performance in a couple of marathons and had taken my training in hand by switching it to her equine methods. In a nutshell, horses will keep going even when exhausted and even when an endurance event they are taking part in is 100 miles in distance. They have no idea where they will finish, nor when, unlike humans who during any race know exactly how far they still have to go. This knowledge will have a huge effect on morale, especially as your physical condition deteriorates.

I listened to her advice, and to my amazement, using her system, knocked 65 minutes off my Singapore marathon time compared with the previous year, despite high humidity. Maybe, I thought, Louise’s system could be applied to my high altitude problem, too. One of Louise’s horses would climb a hypothetical mountain without knowing where the summit was, or even if there was one. It would just carry on at a certain pace. Perhaps I could do the same.

Both times I had failed on Everest I had worried about the turn-around time. All guides and Everest Base leaders insist that any of their clients who fail to reach a given point en route to the summit by a certain exact time must turn back, whether they want to or not.

After a spate of deaths of climbers in 1996, this turn-around rule had been even more strongly enforced. Because I moved so slowly, I became more and more fearful that I would be turned back before the summit, so I went faster than was comfortable, which neither my heart nor my lungs could take. Failure soon followed. I resolved to think like one of Louise’s horses which, I hoped, would do the trick.

Before Singapore, Louise had urged me to regularly drink special energy gels and recovery potions from the specialists Science in Sport, as used by the world’s top endurance athletes. I disliked the taste of some of these products and normally drank them only during, not before or after, races. Now, for six months before going to Tibet, I took the gels and drinks on a daily basis.

An additional problem had been the pressure to succeed caused, unavoidably, by the Marie Curie publicity machine. In order to raise funds, they had to let the public know well in advance about each challenge. So TV and other media were briefed accordingly, and I felt the resulting pressure of expectations, which only served to exacerbate my existing subconscious desire to speed up and beat the dreaded turn-around time.

The answer was to have no publicity at all until I was 100 per cent certain that I would reach the summit. This would leave only some 48 hours at most for Marie Curie to make their appeal. Not ideal, but possibly enough to garner the missing £400,000. They agreed to this embargo, and despite the recession being then at its most depressed, the City company Brewin Dolphin agreed to sponsor all costs, including base camp accommodation, Sherpas and yaks. Qatar Air met all flight costs, Satcom provided my satellite phone, and John West sent me a yak-load of high-protein tuna sachets so that I could avoid two months of eating spicy base camp food.

The last big change in my approach to Everest was to avoid sparking off my inbuilt competitive nature. If I were to climb with another Brit, even Kenton, I reasoned it would have the bad effect of making me want to keep up. I decided to climb only with a single Sherpa as my guide. Sherpas didn’t bring out my competitive streak, possibly because their gazelle-like speed and great strength was so superior that I didn’t think of them as fellow human beings.

My base camp boss, a well-known Everest character named Henry Todd, appointed Lhakpa Thundu Sherpa as my guide, and I spent eight days with him and my nephew Tony Brown (an American doctor) slowly walking up the Khumbu Valley trail to base camp, a good method of initial acclimatisation. Life in base camp for any wannabe summiteer consists of a series of climbs, each higher than the last, overnighting briefly 'up there’, then back down again. This was part of the generally accepted acclimatisation policy of 'climb high but sleep low’.

The rests in between each sortie can be very boring if you don’t play cards or if you dislike someone in your particular group. I was lucky: Henry had only six clients, including an old friend of mine, a German-American watchmaker named Mike Kobold, and Kenton Cool, who was his guide. A super-fit Hungar­ian gymnasium owner was on her own but climbed together with Mike. Then there was Simon, a GP from Guild­ford, and Yuri, an osteopath from Mexico who had come with his long-time partner Laura, both of them experienced and powerful climbers of big mountains.

Arriving at base camp on April 18, I had a 100,000-word book contract to complete for the publishers Hodder & Stoughton by June 15, which involved a good deal of research material, including 40 heavy books, almost a full yak-load. Between each climb I retired to my own tent and burnt the midnight oil or, to be more exact, a gas-powered heater and bare light bulb attached to a car battery.

To avoid sickness, my book-induced anti-social behaviour made good sense, as a single germ from a friendly cough in the communal tent could end, with lungs like mine, in yet another failure. The whole camp, some 400 people living on a glacial moraine, used local latrines and drank water that flowed through the middle of the sprawling encampment. Khumbu cough, irritated by dust and dry air, was rife, and can be violent enough to cause broken ribs.

I was especially keen to avoid it, since lung tests had shown that my lung flow was only 80 per cent of what it should have been, which the Irish lung expert John Costello explained was 'an important limiting factor in your ability to carry on at 23,000ft and above’. He also found that my ability to saturate my bloodstream with oxygen, a key function when exerting yourself at high altitude, was badly impaired. Coupled with my cardiac status, which dictated never getting badly out of breath, I was not an ideal candidate for an Everest attempt. Since my last heart attack had been caused by a massive blood clot and since high altitude can cause the blood to become thick and prone to clotting, I upped my daily aspirin intake from 75mg to 300mg.

I could not sleep, or even doze, above 16,000ft without being woken by panic attacks caused by a respiratory condition known as Cheyne-Stokes syndrome. So I used oxygen every night at base camp (and above), wearing a hospital nose cannula attached to a climbing bottle when climbing from base camp. I clipped the cannula to a cunningly designed demand valve unit that Henry had thoughtfully located for me. And from the base of the Lhotse Face upwards I used a brilliantly designed Top-Out oxygen mask which an ex-RAF officer, Ted Atkins, had developed from the masks used by Tornado pilots.

Henry and Simon, both over 60, led me on a climb to Camp Two and went so slowly that I really enjoyed the pace for the first and last time ever on an Everest outing. Afterwards, Henry, a past summiteer, assured me that I could make the top even at that slow pace, which was very good for the morale.

Base camp was a far healthier launch point for the summit than the advance base camp in Tibet had been, being 16,000ft, not 21,000ft up. Above 17,000ft the body consumes itself for energy. Sleeping is a problem, even without Cheyne-Stokes, and both muscle wastage and weight loss take place, getting ever worse the higher you are. Above 26,000ft the process of acclimatisation becomes self-defeating.

That most famous of Everest climbers, Edmund Hillary, became, as he grew older, less and less able to visit the higher villages of the Khumbu whose people he continued to help financially for many years. Few individuals over 60 linger long above base camp, but that’s not to say that all will go well just because you are young and fit.

Every few hours by day and by night, the base camp valley echoed with the deep boom of some new avalanche crashing down the cliffs above.

I asked Henry when was the safest time of day to avoid them, but he shrugged and said they happen at any time, not just when the sun shines hot on the snow. The greenhouse effect may well be the cause; the Swiss Alps are running out of snow, having lost half their glacier ice in the last century and 20 per cent of it since the 1980s. One side-effect for the Swiss is an increased incidence of huge rock falls and avalanches.

I was in my tent writing on May 7 when an especially loud rumble sounded from fairly close. A mass of rock and ice roared down, set off by the fall of a high serac, or block of ice, that split away from its host rock. One of the climber groups caught on the main route up the icefall tried to flee, but two were caught and blown into crevasses. Their Sherpa was killed and disappeared.

By mid-May Henry was receiving optimistic met reports from Exeter, and on May 16, after a brief puja, a Buddha blessing ceremony, we set out before dawn to climb through the ice fall and up to Camp One by noon. By nightfall we were asleep in Camp Two, and the following night, after hauling up the steep ice on the Lhotse Face, crawled into our precariously pitched tent at Camp Three.

The next day was long and hard. In the afternoon, on the black rock of the Geneva Spur, I began to flag and, using more oxygen than expected, almost ran out. Thundu and I arrived with another Sherpa to find that no tent had been erected by our group Sherpas. We found a reasonably flat base of frozen ground and, once inside our two-man tent, I clipped my cannula to a fresh oxy bottle and slept like the dead for 10 hours, woken only by the tramp of six men carrying a stretcher case past our tent.

Most deaths on Everest occur on the way down, and above 28,000ft corpses are usually left where they die, rather than risk other lives trying to recover them. People are accused, year on year, of knowingly walking past individuals who are near death without trying to help them. Over my three attempts I have passed many lone figures sprawled in the snow or on rocks beside the rope. Perhaps they were dead or dying; more likely they were resting. Everyone wears all-covering clothes and hoods with goggles and masks. Nobody talks. You simply don’t ask everyone who has stopped to rest (because they are dog-tired, like you) if they are OK.

In 1996, when 15 climbers died in a single day, then you would certainly be on the alert, but this year only five died on Everest out of nearly 300 ascents, and the weather was basically good. More than 150 bodies have never been recovered, even though the majority of people die a few feet either side of the narrow ascent route.

Among those who died having got higher than 26,000ft, 56 per cent died during their descent, 17 per cent after turning back below the top, and only 15 per cent on their way up. Most high-altitude deaths are from pulmonary oedema (fluid on the lungs), and low altitude deaths from avalanches. Deaths by falling, hypoxia or the cold are comparatively rare.

I stayed just behind Thundu and tried to avert my eyes from stray bodies. The previous year I made the mistake of looking at two corpses somewhere between the South Col (the last camp) and a place known as the Balcony. One of these was a 49-year-old Scotsman, Rob Milne, who in 2005 died of a heart attack on exactly the same night and at the same altitude as my own lesser attack on the other side of 'the hill’. Not far above, and by a rock jutting out from the face, I ran right out of steam.

But that was 2008. In May 2009, I slogged on in Thundu’s wake, past the jutting rock and mentally gave it, the scene of my earlier shame, a two fingers sign. In fact, all my fingers, the good and the bad, were firmly engaged with gripping the rope. They were cold, as were my toes, but not as cold as on many polar trips.

I moved incredibly slowly. Four men in a line came past on a parallel rope which looked frayed to me. All were small athletic Asian types in yellow down suits. I wondered if I could ever have moved as fast as they did – maybe 30 years ago. I felt the familiar urge to go a touch faster, but – perhaps for the first time ever – I shouted into my mask, 'Down, Fido’ (which I had practised), and forced myself to plod even slower than before.

The incline became steep, very steep. Everything ached. I thought, 'If the top is more than an hour away, I will never make it.’ 'Shut up,’ another voice in my head replied, 'you weak bastard. There is no top. Just go on. And on. For ever. Plod for ever. Never stop. You are probably well over 28,000ft. Only 1,000 to go.’

One of America’s most famed high-altitude climbers, David Breashears, described the act of upwards movement at such heights. 'Our bodies were dehydrated. Our fingers and toes went numb as precious oxygen was diverted to our brains, hearts and other vital organs. Climbing above 26,000ft, even with bottled oxygen, is like running on a treadmill and breathing through a straw. Your body screams at you to turn around. Everything says, “This is cold. This is impossible.”’

Thundu and I passed a man who was motionless. I tried to talk to him, but no words came. I touched the back of Thundu’s boot and found that Thundu’s voice had also gone. He could only whisper. The still man nodded a bit, so we carried on.

If I thought about the great distance still above, I knew I would not make it. So the answer was clearly not to think of what I was doing. On the Eiger, my rule was never to look at or even think about what lay below me. Now this same rule must be applied about what lay above. This worked, and I believe that I must have spent several hours with my mind on a different planet. (Later, as I descended, I could not believe that I had ever managed to get up there. The climb just seemed to go on and on, always steep, never ending.)

Sometimes I concentrated on the rope alone, gaining 12 inches, hauling up, pausing to grip again. Then another 12 inches. Thundu must have thought we would never get there, but he was extraordinarily patient. We reached the ridge line at the Balcony and, ages later, Thundu indicated that we were at the South Summit. There were rock outcrops; one called the Hillary Step, but none was difficult to surmount compared with many obstacles on the Eiger. Every few steps I stopped to fill my lungs on the steeper steps, and Thundu would always stop to check on me, a genuine mother hen. By the South Summit his whisper had become a rasping whistle, and it struck me that something must be seriously wrong with his throat.

After reaching the South Summit, I changed the repetitive chant in my head from, 'Die high. Die high. No point in dying low’ and 'Plod for ever. Never stop’ to the new mantra, 'Borge Ousland. Borge Ousland’, the name of the Norwegian polar traveller that Dr Mike Stroud and I had striven to beat at various polar records, north and south, for more than a decade. He was one of only two others in the world (a Frenchman, Alain Hubert, was the other) who had crossed both the world’s ice caps, and only one of us would be first to add the highest mountain to complete a neat haul of challenges. I knew that Borge had almost won this race, but travelling with Sibu in 2004, he had turned back at the South Summit.

Thundu turned and touched my shoulder, pointing. My goggles were misted up, so I pushed them up and saw a series of dark rims high above us, outlined by the midnight blue of the moonlit sky: the final serac-laden rim at the world’s highest point.

We reached the summit before 4am and waited for sunrise. I looked over the edge of the tiny snow platform that forms the summit and marvelled at the view. Thousands of feet below, and stretching to the far horizons, an ocean of moonlit clouds was punctured here and there by the black peaks of great mountain ranges that thrust high, but never as high as Thundu and me. The moon was huge and I could almost touch it. I felt happy, relieved and grateful to Thundu. I made the sign of the cross as thanks for letting me get to this wonderful place and to ensure that I would get back down. It was, after all, May 21: Ascension Day in the Christian calendar.

Thundu took some film, but the wind was bitingly cold and we quickly turned back to begin the long, steep descent. On the way down the Hillary Step I knew that vertigo still lurked. I would never defeat it.

Now, back in London, I am working with Marie Curie to reach the £400,000 target for our nurses by appealing to the public and to corporate donors. The recession doesn’t help, but many people are still being generous none the less. As for new mountains, I will leave them to proper climbers and head back to the polar regions. They may be cold, but at least they’re flat.


Bucopho feeds over 200 elderly from own garden

Business Section

By JOSEPH ZULU - SWAZI TIMES-24-Aug-2009

SITEKI – Makhewu Bucopho Gcinuyise Mamba has donated vegetables for the elderly from his flourishing garden.

Mamba boasts of one of the most flourishing gardens in the area and also supplies some of his produce to local super- markets."The garden has cabbages, carrots, onions, spinach, tomatoes and beetroot, and I only use natural manure with no other chemicals," said Mamba.This is despite Makhewu being one of the region’s drought-hit areas and even dirty water is rare for most homesteads. Mamba said the garden uses an irrigation system which he fitted, as well as light bulbs which allow him to work late in the night.

He said he donated to the elderly because they were not able to work. He then encouraged young people to support him.

Mamba picked the cabbages with his wife, LaNkhosi and some of his children before handing them over to the elderly.

Mamba said he wanted to ensure that even if donors from other countries gave to the community, they should find that the residents were at least able to produce something and could give to the elderly. "This is an on- going exercise.

I first feed my family, donate to the elderly and then sell the remainder," said Mamba. Mamba said in future he would use the occasion to invite an HIV and AIDS specialist, who would educate the community on the pandemic. He further revealed that he produced about 1 200 cabbages every month from his garden. During the handing over of the vegetables, Mamba was initially disappointed that only a few people came from surrounding areas. A boundary dispute seems to have surfaced again as some of the elderly said they were not sure whether the donation was meant for them.

"It must be for the people at Maphungwane because they have also been invited," said a woman from Makhewu.

It was only later when Mamba sent some people to go to the homesteads calling on residents to attend the presentation that they left their homes and came in their numbers.


Miss Tourism winner to attend London Fashion Week

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

Thandeka Mncadi and other beauty queens who are representing their countries at the Miss Tourism World contest held in China on Friday toured the country’s folk cultural zone

Information sourced from the Global Times was that the beauty queens were expected to make more tours around China before the main event on Sunday and the winner will be invited to London Fashion week.

It is reported that the main event will take place on 30 August, where the Miss Tourism World candidates from various countries are expected to compete for the title. Swaziland is represented by Miss Swaziland second princess Thandeka Mncadi, who seemingly left the country not prepared for the contest.

Mncadi was informed late that she would be leaving thus making it difficult for her to prepare herself. Since she left the country, Mncadi has not bothered to call Miss Swaziland licence holder Vinah Mamba-Gray to give her information about the pageant.

In a previous interview, Mamba confirmed that there was no communication between her and the second princess. She further stated she requested Mncadi to furnish them with her contacts before she left the country but that did not happen.

Mamba-Gray said her efforts to remove the communication barrier between them was proving to be futile as she has tried several times to call Mncadi, but was always reported to be out. Another problem that was faced by Mncadi was that she failed to meet relevant stakeholders when she left the country.

This year’s winner of Miss Tourism World will be invited to London Fashion Week. London Fashion Week is where ideas start, where creative talents bloom and where flourishing businesses are born. The capital celebrates fashion both on and off the catwalk in the city’s renowned restaurants bars and clubs and of course on the street. The Miss Tourism World pageant is an international beauty pageant operated by the Miss Tourism World Organisation, a pageant organiser based in Nottingham, England that additionally runs Miss Bikini World, Model of The Universe, and Model of The World.

The pageant seeks to promote tourism in the world, particularly in those regions where tourism plays a significant roll. Unlike Miss Universe, Miss Tourism World does not prohibit contestants who have children.


Culture, politics hinder women entrepreneurs success

Business Section

By Faith Shongwe - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

IT has been suggested that there is need to remove socio-cultural, legal and political barriers for women entrepreneurs.

Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Hlobsile Ndlovu noted this during the ‘Believe, Begin, Become’ Youth Business Plan Competition final held at the House on Fire on Friday where Thobile Shongwe was announced the overall winner, taking away E100 000 in seed capital.

Ndlovu was represented by the ministry’s Director of Youth Affairs, Bheki Thwala. She said although women entrepreneurs were often overlooked in small enterprise development initiatives, they make a strong contribution to the economic well-being of their families and communities. She said these women were those operating micro and small businesses in the informal sector.

“I have noticed with concern that over the past two years, women have failed to impress the judges in winning the grand prize. Women participants only manage to win the category sectors,” she said. Ndlovu went on to say it was in this vein that she encouraged every woman to stand up and turn their business ideas into huge profits.

“They may often be overlooked in small enterprise development initiatives but women entrepreneurs operating micro and small businesses in the informal economy make a strong contribution to the economic well-being of their families and communities,” she said.

Ndlovu added; “We should, therefore, join hands to remove the socio-cultural, legal and political barriers for women entrepreneurship and to advocate for an enabling environment for business development and gender equality.”


NNAS reduces safari budget to E100 000

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

NETBALL – THE National Netball Association of Swaziland (NNAS) has reduced the budget of the Netball Safari to be held in the country next month to E100 000 after they initially requested about E350 000 from the Swaziland National Sports Council (SNSC)

NNAS Secretary Victor ‘Mavikana’ Dlamini on Saturday explained to teams during the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Zakhele Hall that they were forced to reduce the budget after the sports associations’ mother body had complained that the initial requested figure was too much.

He added that instead of having 100 from each of the country’s four regions they wouldnow accommodate only 60 while the teachers will still be 20 from each region. He also revealed that the equipment to be used during the event was already in the country, hence there is a great need to obtain the money from the Sports Council.

“The International Federation of Netball Association (IFNA) has already sent the equipment to the country. “After the event teams will then benefit from equipment as it will be distributed to all of them.

“We urge the Sports Council to give us the money to host this important event. It will go a long way in helping develop the sport in the country as its emphasis is on teaching it to school going children who will be gathered from all the regions,” he said.


Government vies for thermal power

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane -THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

THE Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy will introduce thermal power station to end the country’s reliance on South Africa’s Eskom for power supply.

Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Princess Tsandzile was responding to questions from Senators who wanted to know what contingency strategies government had to ensure there were more sources of energy in Swaziland. The minister said the only solution was to establish a thermal power station.

“We have coal but we need to find reliable companies to mine it and further establish a thermal power station.” The minister said the establishment of a thermal power plant was at an advanced state.

She said in the time being government was viewing prospects of increasing the hydro electricity power supply at Maguduza and Ngwemphisi. She said a physibility study had also been done on a possible solar power supply project.

“We want this study to be concluded soon,” she said. Swaziland gets 80 % of its power from Eskom. The 20% comes from Luphohlo Hydro Electricity Power Station, Maguga and Dwaleni.


UNICO donates food to pauper, orphans

Main Section

By Calsile Masilela - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

MEMBERS of the University of Swaziland Charity Organisation (UNICO) donated a food hamper worth over E700 and clothing to a destitute elderly, who is taking care of two grandchildren, aged nine and 11, of Nhlambeni area in the Manzini region

Both children are not attending school as their grandmother cannot afford to pay school fees. The family also lacks a proper house to live in.UNICO President Martin Nxumalo said members of the charity organisation felt the need to help the less privileged in the communities. He said they were notified about the plight of an elderly woman identified as Gogo Sihlongonyane by one community member.

Nxumalo said the students were keen on helping poverty stricken elderly, orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) and street children with their needs. Sihlongonyane thanked the students for helping her, saying she would now be able to give something to the children. She encouraged them to continue helping others.

On another note Nxumalo said UNICO would celebrate 10 years of existence. He said currently the members were on a fundraising drive for the costs of the celebration. He invited all members of the organisation and aspiring members to attend a meeting on Saturday at the Commerce Theatre, Kwaluseni Campus starting at 2.00 pm. the 22nd August, 2009 UNICO embarked on her first project; which was a donation to a poor Shlongonyane family at Nhlambeni, Manzini. This family is a grandmother headed family and she takes care of her two (2) grandchildren, Tenele and Simo.

Those present in this project were the Honorable Member of Parliament of Nhlambeni Frans Dlamini, Dlaimini, local resident of Nhlambeni and the UNICO membership of course. The donation was a grocery hamper worth E800.00 and clothing.


E24 000 fine set for misbehaving clubs

Sports Section

By Sabelo Ndzinisa - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

SOCCER – IN a bid to curb the late arrival of teams during MTN Premier League matches, the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) has introduced a minimum fine of E24 000 for such offenders

According to the amended rules and regulations of the MTN Premier League, any club reporting for checking within 15 minutes after the scheduled start of a game will be summarily fined E16 000 by PLS Chief Executive Officer (CEO), which in this case, is Sydney Simelane.

This is contained in Article 4 of the rules and regulations, which further states that any club reporting for checking 15 minutes after the scheduled start of the match will result in the match being called off and the offending side liable to a E24 000 fine. This club would also face disciplinary action, which would result in them forfeiting the said match to their opponents as they would be deemed to have caused its abandonment.

Further, this article states clearly that a club that refuses to be led into the field of play by the referees or match officials will be summarily fined E3 200 by Simelane. In what would be seen as an effort by the PLS to discourage teams from engaging in unsporting behaviour, article 4 of the same rules states that any club walking out, refusing to play a match or whose fans, supporters, officials invade the field of play or throw missiles into the field of play, resulting in match officials stopping the game, shall be deemed to have caused its abandonment. If found guilty, the offending club will not only lose the match but they face a three-month suspension and a fine of not less than E24 000 by the Disciplinary Committee.

Article 7 of the same rules, touching on unsporting behaviour and misconduct, also provides stiff fines for offending clubs. It states that threatening by conduct or words to assault or attempt to assault a referee, PLS official, player, club official, marshal, supporter, fan, spectator, offenders would be liable to a fine of not less than E8 000. This includes uttering abusive, obscene or derogatory words, spitting of saliva onto any person.

assault

This article also states that throwing objects of any kind onto the field of play, its surroundings or unto any persons thus assaulting or attempting to assault and invading the field of play, a fine of not less than E10 000 is on the offering by the DC.

Even worse, assaulting a referee, PLS official, player, club official, marshal, supporter, fan and spectator, the offenders will get a fine of not less than E15 000 by the DC. In addition, this club shall be ordered to compensate the victim for any financial loss incurred due to the assaul


Ministers launch Hloba Swaziland

Main Section

By Calsile Masilela - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Aug-2009

MINISTER of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze says the tourism industry is under serious threat because of reckless littering and dumping of waste.

He said the environmental damage and risk to human health could not be equated with anything. Speaking yesterday during the launch of the national clean-up campaign titled Hloba Swaziland at the ministry’s conference room, Sibandze said it was regrettable that no one was remorseful when it came to discarding rubbish.

The minister said reckless litter had become a norm, such that children saw nothing wrong with buying food items in plastic bags and throwing them anywhere, even out of moving cars. He said the campaign sought to educate and encourage the nation to keep the environment as clean as possible. “Ladies and gentlemen the negligent littering has to stop, let us lift the standard of our country high by simply exercising waste management,” he said.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini urged the different ministries to do their part in terms of preaching the gospel of cleanliness. She said as part of the campaign, they would go to different places as per their ministries’ mandate to educate the public about the importance of keeping the environment as clean as possible.

Pastor Dlamini said as from Thursday, ministers would be educating the public in different sectors about keeping Swaziland clean from any waste.

Illegal dumping regulation coming soon

AS means to regulate the illegal dumping and littering that creates filth in the country, the ministry of tourism and environmental affairs will soon propose and table before parliament regulations specifically to deal with such issues. This was revealed by the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze during a press conference on the launch of the national campaign dubbed ‘Hloba Swaziland’.

He said this would target people who litter in public places; from moving vehicles; those who discard waste into rivers; illegal dumpsites and those who organise sporting events and other social gatherings without making necessary provisions for people to properly dispose-off their waste.

“We will also be working closely with the royal Swaziland police to ensure that all culprits end-up behind bars or are fined a significant amount of money to ensure that we keep our country clean,” said Sibandze. He said environmental inspectors, particularly from all towns in the country would be engaged to carry out some of the necessary inspections and further enforce these regulations together with the police.

Sibandze said in collaboration with the different ministries, he was confident that the campaign would yield good results as intended. He later wished the imbali regiment and visitors a good time during the Umhlanga Ceremony and further urged the maidens to keep the country clean


Over 60 000 imbali registers

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-26-Aug-2009

LUDZIDZINI – Throngs of imbali were on a high note yesterday as they arrived to participate in the annual Reed Dance.

They were ferried in government trucks from across the four regions of the country to Ludzidzini and Ngabezweni Royal Residences. The records show an improvement from last year’s event where about 60 000 registered.

In an interview with Indvuna yeMbali Nothando Nhlengetfwa, she confirmed that their records show a big improvement from last year, as some areas have grown in numbers wholesomely. By 5pm yesterday, both residences had already registered more than 30 000 imbali each.

“Although we can’t confirm how many have registered for now since the process is still ongoing, we are proud to say the records show an improvement than last year. We are looking at more girls by midnight as they will register till that time of the night. Actually, some will arrive tomorrow, so the figures will definitely rise when they leave for Ngabezweni where they will be commissioned,” said Nhlengetfwa.

The Indvuna praised the tindvuna of the various imbali for arriving at the residence safe and keeping the exact number they have wanted- that of having four tindvuna per chiefdom. She said they were looking forward to a fruitful and better Reed Dance this year without any complications and scandals.

“We just pray and hope that the girls will behave themselves to the betterment of the event and make it a memorable one. We will be monitoring them into every step of the way and make sure they behave themselves all the way,” she added. Nhlengetfwa also highlighted that they were still waiting for imbali from South Africa as they had confirmed their participation.

Health officials were already on service as they attended to a certain number of girls who complained of stomach and headaches on arrival yesterday.

They said it was a norm that the girls visit their mobile hospital and it gets worse during the walk from Ludzidzini to Ngabezweni and some usually hurt themselves along the way and need treatment when they reach their destination.

On a business note, business is already booming around Lobamba, as stalls were visited now and again by the imbali. Some of the items flying off the shelves are clothes which are sold at cheaper prices, socks, food and drinks.

Imbali is expected to leave today for Ngabezweni, where His Majesty King Mswati III will in turn commission them to go cut the reed at two places, to be announced by the king.


Suspect cop killer Skelem arrested

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES-26-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Finally, police have arrested the fourth suspect in the murder of their colleague, Constable Jabulani Matsenjwa

Skelem Sithole was arrested on Sunday while at Msunduza, an area situated about three kilometres outside the city centre. Earlier on, it had been gathered that Sithole had already crossed to South Africa with the hope that he would not be arrested.

He had been on the police’s most wanted list ever since he was linked with the murder charge. Sithole is alleged to have stoned Constable Matsenjwa while he was on duty. When he committed the offence, it is alleged that he was with Nhlanganisweni High School pupil Tsepo Ndlovu, Andile Simelane and Kwanele Mncina. It was gathered that police received information that Sithole had been seen loitering around Msunduza in the early hours of Sunday.

He was taken to the Mbabane Police Station, where he was kept before being taken to the Mbabane Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning.

He appeared before Magistrate Xoliswa Hlatjwayo, who asked him if he would engage the services of an attorney. Sithole pointed out that he would definitely need an attorney and urged the court to give him sometime to find one. He was remanded into custody until September 1, 2009 while waiting for his committal to the High Court.


Companies must adjust to new ICT environment

Business Section

By LINDA JELE - SWAZI TIMES-26-Aug-2009

MBABANE – There is need for companies to adjust to the new environment in the ICT sector in order to survive

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), Nathaniel Mahluza said the increasing world competition in the ICT sector and the spread of free trade had generated a situation where the ‘fittest and fastest will survive.’

Mahluza was representing the Minister, Nelisiwe Shongwe during the official opening of the third Telecommunications Senior Management Programme at the Royal Villas on Monday.

“We certainly need to consolidate our traditional fixed wire-line telecommunications services, but we need to venture into new niche markets including mobile and broadband services where we have a competitive advantage,” he said. He added that there was need to diversify human resources strategies to respond to the merging industry needs. Mahluza further said the fundamental pillar supporting the foundation of any development process was education and training.

He said companies that invested in education and training would be leaders in the next millennium. Meanwhile, SATA Executive Secretary Jacob Munodawafa said ICT was pivotal in the economic and social development of a country. He said the benefits derived from improved telecommunications contributed to the strengthening of a country’s economy and people’s lives.

“Our future success will depend on how well we exploit and use knowledge and information to build innovative process, products and services. It lies on producing ideas and services that would be relevant to the world standards,” he said.


Broke Zim bails out COSAFA Cup!

Sports Section

By QONDILE SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-26-Aug-2009

MBABANE – After all the uncertainty, it is now official; Zimbabwe will host her regional counterparts when she stages the 2009 edition of the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup in October.

According to information sourced from the Zimba-bwean Herald, the country’s government gave the green light to the organisers to host Afri-ca’s biggest tournament by pledging funding estimated to be around US$1 million. President Robert Mugabe’s gover-nment, according to Zimbabwe’s largest and biggest selling newspaper, has agreed and accepted that the country hosts the tournament and promised to put its full weight behind it as this was an opportunity they could not afford to lose.

Package

The COSAFA Challenge was in limbo as ZIFA could not secure the US$700 000 package required to successfully cover the costs of running the region’s flagship football tourney. Countries that can tech-nically enter the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup are Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well the little island of Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean, which has geographically been part of the Comoros.

The heavyweights of football in Southern Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Angola have shared honours in the Cosafa Senior Chal-lenge Cup, with each country having won the tournament three times. However, Sihlangu is yet to reach the finals of the annual tournament.

Major

Zimbabwe last hosted a major football tournament involving senior national teams way back in 1985, when the Confederation of the East and Central African Football Association bandwagon rolled in Harare.

Zimbabwean Football Asso-ciation (ZIFA) Chief Executive Officer Henrietta Rushwaya said the mother board, together with other stake-holders, would have to work hard to prepare for the tourna-ment given the state of their stadiums, which she said they were going to work flat out with the local authorities to ensure the necessary improvements were made and brought to acceptable standards in time for the tournament, which has been set for Harare and Bulawayo.

Part of the promises that have been made by the Zimbabwean government include facilitating all the visa entry requirements for all the participating teams, seek accommodation, transport and training facilities and further cover any other requirements by COSAFA in order for the tournament to run smoothly as partners of ZIFA. When reached for comment, the National Football Asso-ciation of Swaziland (FA) CEO Frederick Mngomezulu said they had not yet received correspondence from COSAFA regarding the tournament.

“We are aware that Zimbabwe had expressed interest in hosting this year’s edition of the challenge, but we are still waiting to be informed by COSAFA on the latest developments,” he said.

Challenge

Mngomezulu said they were, however, ready to for the challenge and would definitely be one of the participants should the time come. He said they would be grateful because this would mean an official competition for the national team this year.

“This would be of great benefit to our team and I must say that the international friendly matches we have been playing in the past few months are part of our preparations for the challenge,” he said. Sihlangu will be engaged in yet another international friendly against the Namibian Brave Warriors in Windhoek on September 5.


Health is a priority, says King

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Aug-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has told South African First Lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma that Swaziland has placed strong emphasis on health.

The King was speaking yesterday to Madiba-Zuma who is in the county on a visit. She had paid a courtesy call to His Majesty at Lozitha Royal Palace on arrival yesterday.

The King said he was delighted to learn that the South African First Lady has dedicated herself to health issues. “We recently held the Smart Partnership Dialogue where health issues were on top of the agenda.We are happy that you are here to also have talks on how you can all work together to achieve a common goal on health matters,” said the King.

The First Lady said: “I will be having meetings with my local counterparts to see how best we can work together to solve the problems we face in the health sector. I must say that the challenges we facing are almost similar so we need to work together if we are to solve the problems,” she said.

She will today visit places like Ngwenya Glass, Swazi Candles and also witness the sending off of thousands of maidens to cut the reed.


Tight security at reed dance

Main Section

By Nomfundo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Aug-2009

Imbali yemaSwati leader Nothando Nhlengethwa has assured parents of safety of their children during the week long reed dance ceremony.

Nothando revealed that security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of Imbali.

Speaking during an interview at Ludzidzini Royal Residence during the registration of Imbali, Nothando said since this event always coincides with the Swaziland International Trade Fair, the maidens then tend to divert from going to cut the reed and go straight to the Trade Fair, security measures have been put in place to make sure that this does not happen.

‘We can assure parents that security forces will be out in their numbers this year t ensure the safety of Imbali, what we have done this year is that we have asked emakhosatana and tindvuna from each and every chiefdom to prepare data of each and every member of imbali, which will be used o a daily basis of this event to ensure that the members did infact arrive at the reed dance and are participating fully,” said Nothando.


237 OFFICERS OFF TO SA PEACE-KEEPING TRAINING

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Aug-2009

A SADC peace keeping brigade was yesterday commissioned by His Majesty, King Mswati 111

A SADC peace keeping brigade was yesterday commissioned by His Majesty, King Mswati 111. The team of 237 – 200 soldiers, 27 cops and 10 civilians – will be based in Bloemfontein in South Africa where they will take part in a month-long peace keeping training.

His Majesty King Mswati III told them that SADC beilieves in resolving conflict through dialogue – saying that sending troops in always the last resort in such situations. “Even if you go to the troubled countries to keep law and order, you must go there and find a workable environment. It is important that when you arrive in that particular country you receive a warm welcome and be able to execute your duty without a problem,” said the King.

He also advised the brigade to uphold the Swazi culture of respect, which has become known worldwide – saying he expects the team to raise Swaziland’s flag high through hard work and behaviour. “The training is a good opportunity for you to learn because you will learn a lot of things. You are also expected to be good ambassadors to those you leave behind because they are expected to learn from you when you come back. You should also bring to order anyone who goes astray.” The King is Chairman of the SADC Troika Organ on Defense and Security.

Meanwhile the army Commander Sobantu Dlamini told the King that the brigade is made up of 200 soldiers, 27 police officers and 10 civilians. The Army Commander also told the King that the brigade leaves the country at different intervals as the first group will leave at the end of this month.

The army Commander also added that the aim of the training is to arm the SADC Troops to be able to work as a team and also be able to be part of a African Union known as Standby Force. “The Standby Force comes from the African continent as a whole and will be officially launched next year in Ethiopia,” explained the army commander.

The local brigade is made up of three components -the Military which is led by Colonel Welile Magagula - the Royal Swaziland Police which is led by Senior Superintendent Andrew Sibandze and the civil component led by Chief Immigration Officer, Phineas Dlamini.

Former minister, Mathendele Dlamini was appointed the Head of Mission for the SADC Brigade by His Majesty King Mswati III and will be in the forefront of the whole operation.


Thousands of Imbali turn up for registration

Main Section

By Nomfundo Dlamini THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Aug-2009

OVER 60 000 of Imbali regiment have registered to be part of this year’s Umhlanga Reed Dance at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.

The numbers are expected to rise as more girls were still registering by late evening yesterday. Imbali yemaSwati leader Nothando Nhlengethwa has revealed that this year’s turn up is overwhelming. At about 2pm, Imbali had already started arriving for registration at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.

She also revealed that Imbali from the neighbouring South Africa would be joining the Swazi maidens for the event. “About 500 maidens from Mpumalanga as well as about 30 white maidens will be joining us for this years’ event,” said Nothando. Speaking during the first day of the event, Nothando said imbali had doubled its numbers as compared to last year.

“ It is exciting to see imbali turning out for umhlanga in such large numbers, it shows that they respect the King and the Queen Mother as well as love and preserve their culture. One can encourage Imbali to continue paying homage to Their Majesties,” said Nothando.

She also urged parents to allow their children to participate in the reed dance and assured them of safety of their children. When asked on what measures have been taken as it has since become common that this event coincides with the Swaziland International Trade Fair and the maidens usually skip the event and go to the trade fair, she revealed that measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of Imbali during the event.

“This year I have entrusted emakhosatana and tindvuna from the various chiefdoms with the task of preparing data for the imbali to verify if it is true that the imbali did infact arrive at the reed dance and are fully participating, such data will be used on a daily basis to ensure the presence of each and every imbali and security forces will be out in their numbers to ensure the safety of the maidens,” said Nothando.

She mentioned that she hoped that Imbali would continue to increase in numbers every year. “I hope that the numbers will continue to increase as there are improvements every year, this brings motivation.

Tradition and culture is our pride and joy, it brings out who we are and it tells a lot where we are from and, therefore, it is important that we preserve ourselves till the right time comes.

Without our culture we are nothing.”


Cultural Resources - Swazi Culture - The Umhlanga or Reed Dance

Main Section

By Richard M. Patricks, SNTC. July 2000.-26-Aug-2009

In an eight day ceremony, girls cut reeds and present them to the queen mother and then dance. (There is no formal competition) It is done in late August or early September. Only childless, unmarried girls can take part.

The aims of the ceremony are to: 1. preserve giris' chastity 2. provide tribute labour for the Queen mother 3. produce solidarity by working together.

The royal family appoints a commoner maiden to be "induna" (captain) of the girls and she announces over the radio the dates of the ceremony. She will be an expert dancer and knowledgeable on royal protocol. One of the King's daughters will be her counterpart

Day 1: The girls gather at the Queen Mothers royal village. Today this is at Ludzidzini, in Sobhuza's time it was at Lobamba. They come in groups from the 200 or so chiefdoms and are registered for security. They are supervised by men, usually four, appointed by each chief. They sleep in the huts of relatives in the royal villages or in the classrooms of the four nearby schools.

Day 2: The girls are separated into two groups, the older (about 14 to 22 years) and the younger (about 8 to 13). In the afternoon, they march, in their local groups, to the reed-beds, with their supervisors. The older girls often go to Ntondozi (about 30 kilometres) while the younger girls usually go to Bhamsakhe near Malkerns (about 10 kilometres). If the older girls are sent to Mphisi Farm, government will provide lorries for their transport. The girls reach the vicinity of the reeds in darkness, and sleep in government-provided tents I marquees. Formerly the local people would have accommodated them in their homesteads.

Day 3: The girls cut their reeds, usually about to ten to twenty, using long knives. Each girl ties her reeds into one bundle. Nowadays they use strips of plastic bags for the tying, but those mindful of tradition will still cut grass and plait it into rope.

Day 4: In the afternoon the girls set off to return to the Queen Mothers village, carrying their bundles of reeds. Again they return at night. This is done "to show they travelled a long way".

Day 5: A day of rest where the girls make final preparations to their hair and dancing costumes.

Day 6: First day of dancing, from about 3 to 5 in the afternoon. The girls drop their reeds outside the Queen Mothers quarters. They move to the arena and dance keeping in their groups and each group singing different songs at the same time.

Day 7: Second and last day of dancing. The king will be present.

Day 8: King commands that a number of cattle (perhaps 20-25) be slaughtered for girls. They collect their pieces of meat and can go home.

Today's Reed Dance is not an ancient ceremony, but developed out of the old "umcwasho" custom. In "umcwasho", all young girls were placed in a female age-regiment. If any girl fell pregnant outside of marriage, her family paid a fine of one cow to the local chief. After a number of years, when the girls had reached a marriageable age, they would perform labour service for the Queen Mother, ending with dancing and feasting.


What the girls had to say

Main Section

By Nomfundo Dlamini - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Aug-2009

IT is once again the time of the annual traditional reed dance ceremony

IT is once again the time of the annual traditional reed dance ceremony where maidens from all corners of the Kingdom and beyond the borders converge at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence to pay homage to His Majesty King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi to celebrate being young Swazi maidens.

It is indeed a time when these maidens take pride in their culture as cultural values still play a major role in the way of life of Swazis.

Yesterday thousands of girls flocked into the Royal Residence where they registered, and indications are that this year’s reed dance ceremony will be even much bigger than the previous one. As usual, the girls were in high spirits - singing and dancing to traditional songs as they marched according to their different chiefdoms to register. This is what they had to say:

Philile Ntshangase (22) from Mkhwakeni

What is your name, age and where do you come from? I am Philile Ntshangase. I am 22 years old from Mkhwakweni. How many times have you attended the reed dance? Actually this is my first time Why did you decide to come for the event this year? As an Imbali YemaSwati this is where my pride is, besides at work every Imbali is expected to attend. I also take pride in being a Swazi maiden.

How do you feel about umhlanga? I feel very excited as I will learn a lot of things that I did not know and the fact that now I can do the traditional dance perfectly. What would you say to encourage other maidens to participate next year? I would like to urge them to come and join us; I would also plead with their parents to allow their children to participate in this event as they will get to learn a lot about our culture.

Bongiwe Mdluli (19) from Emlindazwe (Ezulwini) What is your name, age and where do you come from? I am Bongiwe Mdluli, I am 19 years old and I come from Mlindazwe. How many times have you attended the reed dance? Actually this is my eighth time Why did you decide to come for the event this year? The fact that I take pride in being a Swazi as well as to pay homage to Their Majesties and also to take part in this colourful event with other maidens and to socialise - is a reflection of my love for my culture.

How do you feel about umhlanga? This event teaches me to get along with other people as well as being independent. What would you say to encourage other maidens to participate next year? I would like to encourage them to come in their numbers and join us; it is fun to be here.

Tenele Mdluli (20) from eBuhleni What is your name, age and where do you come from? I am Tenele Mdluli, I am 20 years old and I come from Buhleni. How many times have you attended the reed dance? Actually this is my fifth time Why did you decide to come for the event this year? BM: I enjoy the long walk, singing and the running of course, besides I love my culture SO: How do you feel about umhlanga? BM: This event teaches me to preserve my self as a Swazi maiden and to stay pure until the right time comes. SO: What would you say to encourage other maidens to participate next year? BM: I would like to urge other maidens to come in their numbers and join us next year, they should ask for permission from their parents as I always kneel down in front of my mother and ask for permission.


THEY ARE OFF!

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu -THE SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Aug-2009

OVER 80 000 members of Imbali regiment were yesterday afternoon commissioned by His Majesty King Mswati III for the colourful Umhlanga cutting ceremony.

His Majesty, through Indvuna Yembali Nothando Nhlengethwa, directed the regiment to two different places where they will cut the reed. The young members of the regiment will go to Kabhamsakhe while the old ones went to Mphisi Farm.

Her Majesty the Indlovukazi also blessed the cutting of the reed by commissioning the girls who started at Ludzidzini Royal Residence before proceeding to Ngabezweni. The girls were in a jubilant mood when they left both Royal Residences as they sang and danced all the way.

Emakhosikati to His Majesty, cabinet ministers, members of the King’s Advisory Body and other dignitaries were also present to witness the commissioning of the regiment Inkhosatana Sikhanyiso was at the forefront with the Indvuna Yembali as they led in song and dance.

Meanwhile, Minister for Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Nsibandze announced that Zambian President Rupiah Banda was expected to take part in this year’s reed dance ceremony. The minister said the Zambian Head of State was expected to bring a delegation of 34 people.

“Another guest of note expected at this year’s event is the Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister who comes with a delegation of 10 people. We are also expecting the former President of Thailand while Philippine designers will be in the country to showcase their wares. A total of 40 cabinet ministers from the different countries in the SADC region are also expected,” he said. The minister urged the nation to continue with the good hospitality they were known for the world over. He said he was expecting the nation to treat the tourists in a manner that would make them want to come back and visit the country.

The minister also announced the arrival of 475 visitors from Telkom in South Africa. “Journalists from SABC 1, 2, 3 and Head of News from e-TV are also expected to join the nation in the event. We are also crossing our fingers to welcome stars from Generations,” added the minister when addressing a press conference before the commissioning of the girls at the tourism stand at


Let’s be swine flu cautious at Umhlanga

Main Section

By Times - THE SWAZI TIMES-27-Aug-2009

Let’s be swine flu cautious at Umhlanga

With Africa’s biggest traditional event underway and tourists from world over trekking to Swaziland to witness this spectacle, we should not lose sight of a recently emerged danger, Swine Flu, that spreads rapidly where there are gatherings of multitudes.

Recent reports suggest that a fourth case of Swine Flu has been reported in Swaziland and it is a pupil who recently returned from a trip to Durban, South Africa. About 20 deaths confirmed to have been caused by Swine Flu, have been reported by our neighbours.

With Swine Flu tests costing as much as E600 locally, very few, if any, young maidens would have gone to a health centre to verify if their colds and flu’s are not the symptoms of the dreaded flu before setting out to join the thousands of others at the reed dance.

We trust the Health ministry is wide awake to the possibility of a high spread of the flu at the event and has taken every precaution to ensure that all suspect cases are dealt with immediately.

The minister has called upon everybody to take precautions such as wearing face masks, but these were visibly absent at the start of event. Prevention has always been cited by the ministry as being better than cure and we wonder why it has chosen not to practice what it preaches and provide these masks when it matters most.

That the ministry has secured drugs to treat the flu does not mean we should leave the door of opportunity open because the cost of the tests may leave many unable to afford them and by the time government realises there are more cases than it can cope with, a nation would be on the verge of being wiped out sooner than the minister can shout for help to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Zambia president, Zim DPMs for Reed Dance

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - THE SWAZI TIMES-27-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Zambian President Rupiah Banda and Zimbabwe’s two deputy prime ministers are amongst the invited interna-tional guests for this year’s annual Reed Dance (Umhlanga) ceremony.

The Zimbabwe deputy PMs are Arthur Mutambara leader of the break-away Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Thokozani Khuphe, the vice-president of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC. The scheduled arrival of the three leaders was confirmed by acting Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Clement Mabuza.

“The three leaders are coming to the country after being extended an invitation by the kingdom during the International Smart Partnership Dialogue in Uganda,” Mabuza said. Mabuza said the arrival of the leaders was being handled by his ministry and the King’s Office. The acting PS said the invitation was mainly for the leaders to experience the euphoria of the Reed Dance ceremony.

Possibilities

However, there are strong possibilities that Khuphe may not be able to stay until the main day of the cultural event, which is meant to celebrate the chastity of young girls – who are locally referred to as Imbali yemaSwati. “Khuphe has sent a written correspondence that she may not be able to witness the event’s main day because of other engagements,” Mabuza said.

Another glitch at present is that Mutambara has not yet confirmed his date and time of arrival in the country. Meanwhile, Khuphe is expected in the country this afternoon at around 3:10pm as confirmed by Mabuza, who also revealed that the Zimbabwe deputy PM was expected to be in the country until Sunday.

On the other hand, Banda is expected to jet in tomorrow at around 11:30am and independent information gathered is that the president will also have the opportunity of meeting with locally resident Zambians during his visit.


King disperses 80 000 maidens

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZ TIMES-27-Aug-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III dispersed an excited and energetic imbali.

NGABEZWENI - His Majesty King Mswati III dispersed an excited and energetic imbali. Over 80 000 maidens were commiss-ioned to cut the reed yesterday.

The high spirited imbali from across the country were dispersed by the king to go and cut the reed at Mphisi Farm and Bhamsakhe, respectively. When announcing the two venues, Indvuna yembali Nothando Nhlengetfwa through an instruction from the king, sternly warned the girls to be on their best behavior.

The multitudes of maidens responded with wild ululations of “Bayethe,” which saw the king, who seemed to be in a good mood himself, smile. “Imbali, the king has spoken and has ordered that you go and cut the reed in two places. The young imbali will go to Bhamsakhe while the older imbali will cut the reed at Mphisi farm. The King expects you to behave well,” said the Indvuna.

The girls, in a joyous mood, left the palace at exactly 5:30pm with tight security provided by the army, police and warders. Asked about the figures, Nhlengethfwa confirmed that the number rose steadily from yesterday where they had registered roughly 60 000 maidens. She said yesterday, the number had risen to 82 000. ‘This is a big difference from last year.

“This goes to show that the imbali just love their culture,” added Nhlengetfwa. Present during this occasion were Emakhosikati, Prime Minister, members of Parliament as well as the general public.


Pastors summoned to ludzidzini

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - THE SWAZI TIMES-27-Aug-2009

MBABANE – The Swaziland Conference of Churches (SCC) has been summoned by traditional authorities over the statements made by Pastor Justice Dlamini of the Worship Centre over the Incwala Ceremony.

During the National Prayer held at the Somhlolo National Stadium two weeks ago, the charismatic pastor openly told over 300 Christians that Incwala was unholy. Dlamini went on to allege that this was the time whereby witchcraft was being practised.

The national prayer had been organised by the SCC which happens to be the church’s mother body. It was gathered that the SCC Executive Committee was summoned by traditional authorities who included the acting Indvuna Timothy Velabo Mtsetfwa.

This newspaper has it in authority that two executive members of the SCC met the traditional authorities yesterday morning where they were asked to explain what the purpose of the prayer was and further explain how they allowed Pastor Justice to talk about the Incwala during the prayer service. Two members of the SCC were found at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.

The SCC President Bishop Steven Masilela was with his vice Reverend Titus Ndzima. It was gathered that before they left, they were informed that should the traditional authorities feel that they need more information from them, they would be summoned again.

Confirmed

When contacted later, Bishop Masilela confirmed that they had been summoned by the traditional authorities. “Although I would not like to get into details of what was discussed but I can confirm that we met with the traditional authorities,” he said.

Masilela said they were pleased to have the opportunity to give clarification on the matter. “Indeed we were pleased to get such an opportunity and we hope that we will be able to address the issue without any problem,” he said. In a previous interview acting Ludzidzini Governor TV Mtsetfwa said they took the statements made by Dlamini seriously and that they would deal with the issue.


WFP food aid gives hope to HIV positive primary school pupils

Main Section

By Nathi Gule - THE SWAZI TIMES-27-Aug-2009

Hlane - Two HIV positive primary school pupils from Hlane in the Lubombo region have regained hope of successfully continuing with their studies because of the food support they receive at their school

The two pupils, *Jabulisile Nsoko and Mantfombi Vilane, who are in Grade Six and Seven, respectively, at a local school seem to have all odds stacked against them. They live in an area that experiences recurrent drought having received poor and erratic rainfall for over seven years now. The Lubombo region is also one of two regions that have the highest HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women receiving antenatal care.

Not only are they orphaned, but being HIV positive has made life more difficult for them as they have to take medication every day, often on empty stomachs when there is no food at home. However, the two girls eagerly journey to school every morning knowing that they are guaranteed a meal.

Medication

The girls rely on food assistance provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with the Government of Swaziland at schools and health facilities. Jabulisile and Mantfombi both receive daily school meals as well as a monthly take-home ration of nutrient fortified corn-soya blend (CSB) from Good Shepherd Hospital where they collect their medication. The CSB is provided to people undergoing anti-retroviral treatment (ART), directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) for tuberculosis patients and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) at health facilities, as part of the treatment programme.

Jabulisile (15) says she would not cope without the school meals programme because she is never guaranteed food at home. She lives with her unemployed mother, grandmother and eight cousins. Her father passed away in 2004. “I always look forward to going to school because at least I am guaranteed a nutritious meal. In most instances, it is my first and last meal for the day. I am also grateful for the CSB I receive at Good Shepherd Hospital because I now take my medication without fail,” she says.

WFP in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and implementing partner, Save the Children, provides school meals in communities impacted by drought and HIV/AIDS. Beneficiaries of the school meals programme receive a daily food ration comprising 150 grams of cereal, 40 grams of pulses and 15 grams of cooking vegetable oil. School meals are provided to help increase school enrolment and attendance rates. The food also plays a crucial role in improving pupils’ concentration levels during lessons. School meals are provided during the lean season (October-March), which falls on the first and second term of the school calendar. The school meals initiative is part of Government Universal School Meals programme.

Strength

Meanwhile, Mantfombi (12) says her health has also improved because she consistently takes her medication now that she has been receiving CSB from Good Shepherd for the past four months. Patients under the programme receive a monthly individual ration of 7.5 kilogrammes of CSB over a period of six months. “I feel much better and have regained strength. I now have strength to walk about five kilometres to and from school because I eat the CSB and take my medication each morning,” says Mantfombi who tested positive after being raped in 2004.

Mantfombi lives with her mother, grandmother, aunts and two younger brothers. The family supplements their food needs with hand-outs from their neighbours. WFP collaborates with the Ministry of Health and the Swaziland National Nutrition Council (SNNC), to provide food support to patients under the ART, DOTS and PMTCT through national hospitals, health centres and clinics.

According to the National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS (2009-2014), there is a major gap when it comes to food and nutrition in the case of people living with HIV (PLHIV). While there are efforts to provide psycho-social support at grassroots level by community volunteers, there is a need to strengthen the food and nutrition support to address malnutrition in the context of HIV and AIDS.

An adequate diet, in terms of quality and quantity, is crucial for PLHIV as it provides them with nutrients needed to delay the on-set of AIDS and other opportunistic infections. Good nutrition is also linked to the effectiveness of treatment and improved adherence to a patient’s drug regimen. Buhle Nkambule, a teacher who oversees the school meals programme at Dlalisile Primary School, says food assistance saves lives as it helps the most vulnerable.

“You can only imagine what life would be like for children like Jabulisile and Mantfombi if they did not receive such food support. They would struggle with their school work and most probably would have long abandoned their treatment,” she says. The girls’ education is being funded through government’s bursary for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC


MTN Group records E57.3billion revenue

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - THE SWAZI TIMES-27-Aug-2009

MBABANE – Despite the prevailing global economic downturn that affected markets worldwide, the MTN Group has reported a satisfactory set of financial results for the six months ended June 30, 2009.

The Group’s revenues increased by 24.2 per cent to reach E57.3 billion from E46.1 billion during the same period last year. This is according to a press release from the MTN Group Corporate Affairs. “The MTN Group revenues increased by 24.2 per cent to E57.3 billion from E46.1 billion last year, largely driven by the strong growth in subscribers since June 2008,” the report says.

The Group’s mobile subscriber base passed the 100 million milestone during the period, with 103.2 million subscribers as at June 30, 2009. “This is a 14 per cent increase since December 31, 2008. Subscribers have increased by 39 per cent since June 30, 2008,” it says. MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Phuthuma Nhleko said: “Notwithstanding the economic downturn, this is a satisfactory set of results achieved through the successful execution of our operating strategy which is underpinned by a sound business model of strategic investment choices, strong corporate governance and effective management across MTN’s global footprint.”

On prospects, Nhleko said; “While many of our markets remain relatively vulnerable to the global economic downturn, there are some indications that conditions may be starting a slow recovery. Competition across MTN’s footprint is likely to continue to increase.” Just a few days ago, MTN Swaziland’s CEO Tebogo Mogapi said the company had not been heavily affected by the prevailing global economic meltdown. Mogapi said, even though he could not discuss the MTN financials then, he was positive that they were ‘riding the wave of the financial crisis’.

“We have not been impacted that heavily by what is happening; we are holding on by our strings. We do appreciate, however, that we may be affected in the coming months, but not to the extent of being forced to make serious decisions. There will be ripple effects of the crisis in the next few months, but we are hopeful that the effects won’t be bad,” he said. Meanwhile, reported revenue and EBITDA results, when compared to the prior six month period ended June 30, were not materially impacted by movements in currencies in the majority of countries in which we operate against the Rand.

“However, growth in earnings was negatively impacted by functional currency losses of E2.8 billion (June 2008: E0.9 million gain) on shareholder loans, receivables and cash,” it says. On another note, the MTN Group’s assets decreased by 14 per cent to E146 billion compared with E170 billion at December 31, 2008. “This was largely as a result of the depreciation of the closing rate of the respective local currencies against the Rand,” it says. Group basic earnings per share (EPS) increased by 22.4 per cent to 409.7 cents per share compared to June 30, 2008. Adjusted headline EPS decreased to 363,8 cents, 10.9 per cent lower than at June 30, 2008. The report adds that although competition increased in most markets following the entry of new players, execution of the operational strategy had generally proved successful.

It says; “MTN’s network expansion and capacity investment strategy initiated in 2008 also supported the strong performance of the Group’s subsidiaries, particularly where competitors have elected to scale back on investments. Enhanced distribution channels and attractive value propositions also contributed to the positive performance.”

The Group reports its performance by region, namely South and East Africa (SEA), West and Central Africa (WECA) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MTN consolidates 49 per cent of MTN Irancell’s financials.


E1m FOR KING’S GOLF CUP

Sports Section

By Sabelo Ndzinisa - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Aug-2009

GOLF – HIS Majesty King Mswati III was left smiling from ear to ear yesterday evening after it was announced that the King’s Golf Cup has amassed a sponsorship package of E970 000.

This sponsorship, the biggest since the inception of the tournament, was donated by different local companies. Amongst the highest contributors was Swazi MTN who forked out an incredible E200 000 towards the tournament while Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) contributed E180 000.

The different companies presented their sponsorships to the King in a special function held at Lozitha Royal Palace yesterday evening. Other big contributors included Nedbank who pledged E150 000 while Sun International promised E160 000. Metropolitan Swaziland were not to be left out as they donated E50 000 alongside B3 who pledged E15 000. Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, SPTC’s Managing Director (MD) Nathi Dlamini left the King in stitches with his never-ending jokes.

“We are pleased, Your Majesty, as companies to play a role in ensuring the success of this tournament. We are all determined to see this tournament being a huge success and to attract more business for the country,” he said. Last year’s package stood at E350 000 and it was also announced yesterday that the prize breakdown would remain unchanged even this year.

Prince Gcebile, a member of the tournament’s organising committee, said they were happy as a committee with the preparations for the tournament. He assured the King that everything was now in place for the tournament, expected to start next Tuesday at the Royal Swazi Sun course.

“Your Majesty, we are pleased to inform you that we will be holding a cocktail on Friday (today) with the aim of bringing the different sponsors together,” she said. Chairman of the Organising Committee, Dan Zikalala also announced in the presence of the King that golfers from different SADC countries had confirmed their participation in the tournament. These include countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.

“From South Africa, we would have golfers from other provinces like the Free State and Limpopo, something that has never happened in past tournaments. This shows that we are well on track in achieving our dreams of attracting more business people into the country,” he said. Zikalala also mentioned that so far, they would have a field of 270 golfers, including professional golfers, adding that, “90% of these golfers are directors, not CEOs of big companies.” Other companies mentioned as sponsors though they were not present included Union Courage.

It was also announced during the function that Royal Villas had offered accommodation for the participants amounting to E8 000 while Swaziland Beverages pledged free drinks worth E10 000.

SOME OF THE SPONSORS IN A NUTSHELL: Swazi MTN – E200 000 SPTC – E180 000 Nedbank – E150 000 Sun International – E160 000 Metropolitan – E50 000 B3 – E15 000 Phakama Bus Service – E7 000 African Alliance – E20 000 Royal Villas – E8 000 Game Parks – E8 000


AIDS at the workplace book launched

Main Section

By Fanyana Mabuza - WEEKEND OBSERVER-29-Aug-2009

A wide range of stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS on Friday gathered at the Mountain Inn

A wide range of stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS on Friday gathered at the Mountain Inn to witness the launch of a book entitled ‘The Management of HIV and AIDS in the Workplace Made Easy” authored by Occupational Health Specialist in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Dr Cleopas Sibanda.

Participants came from different government departments, NGOs, the business community, UN agencies the National Library and others.

The book surmises the problems that face both employer and employee over the issues of HIV and AIDS at the workplace and is written in much simpler language for maximum effect. It also touches on areas never touched before or have been neglected in the fight against the pandemic, cutting a swathe of death and destruction regionally and continentally.

Swaziland is rated among the countries with a high HIV and AIDS prevalence in the world. The book also analyses the views of government and the International Labour Organisation on the issue of HIV and AIDS in the workplace.

It would seem that some employers have not realised the impact the pandemic has on production while also failing to do away with stigmatisation of those affected and the book simplifies all those issues while also articulating the virtues of handling well matters related to the pandemic both individually and at the workplace.

According to the Ministry’s Mduduzi Hlophe, who also played the role of Master of Ceremony at the launch, the book would go a long way in demystifying the myths that are held in some quarters about the pandemic. “Indeed, there has been a lot of information dissemination about the scourge, but none has been so hard-hitting, especially when concerning the workplace.

“It would be proper for organisations to buy copies of the book and make them readily available to their workforce at any given time. “The contribution the book makes to the fight against HIV and AIDS will go a long way to address the issue of the scourge at the workplace,” he noted.


AIDS at the workplace book launched

Main Section

By Fanyana Mabuza - WEEKEND OBSERVER-29-Aug-2009

A wide range of stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS on Friday gathered at the Mountain Inn

A wide range of stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS on Friday gathered at the Mountain Inn to witness the launch of a book entitled ‘The Management of HIV and AIDS in the Workplace Made Easy” authored by Occupational Health Specialist in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Dr Cleopas Sibanda.

Participants came from different government departments, NGOs, the business community, UN agencies the National Library and others.

The book surmises the problems that face both employer and employee over the issues of HIV and AIDS at the workplace and is written in much simpler language for maximum effect. It also touches on areas never touched before or have been neglected in the fight against the pandemic, cutting a swathe of death and destruction regionally and continentally.

Swaziland is rated among the countries with a high HIV and AIDS prevalence in the world. The book also analyses the views of government and the International Labour Organisation on the issue of HIV and AIDS in the workplace.

It would seem that some employers have not realised the impact the pandemic has on production while also failing to do away with stigmatisation of those affected and the book simplifies all those issues while also articulating the virtues of handling well matters related to the pandemic both individually and at the workplace.

According to the Ministry’s Mduduzi Hlophe, who also played the role of Master of Ceremony at the launch, the book would go a long way in demystifying the myths that are held in some quarters about the pandemic. “Indeed, there has been a lot of information dissemination about the scourge, but none has been so hard-hitting, especially when concerning the workplace.

“It would be proper for organisations to buy copies of the book and make them readily available to their workforce at any given time. “The contribution the book makes to the fight against HIV and AIDS will go a long way to address the issue of the scourge at the workplace,” he noted.


Botswana wants to supply beef to SD

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - WEEKEND OBSERVER-29-Aug-2009

THE government of Botswana is currently in talks with the country’s government with a view to engaging the ministry of agriculture to allow it to sell that country’s beef products in Swaziland.

Botswana is the largest producer of beef in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. This was disclosed by First Secretary in the office of Botswana High Commission Ontumetse Athony Ontumetse at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre, where the country currently has an exhibition stand. He said their target was not just Swaziland but also other SADC countries. “This is part of the SADC region’s intra-trade objective. We now want to spread our wings to neighboring states in the region,” he said.

On the hand, Ontumetse said Botswana has started to invest in its cultural music, which the country believes is also one of the things that attract tourists. He said they came to Swaziland to showcase their beef products and further market Botswana as a country.

Ontumetse said they hope that they would enjoy their stay in Swaziland and that they were happy with the reception they had received when they arrived. The 2009 Swaziland International Trade Fair (SITF) will be officially opened by His Majesty King Mswati III today.

Some of the foreign investors that are already in the country include Samsung Electronics and the Limpompo Trade and Investment Agency which have been invited by the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA). Others were still setting up their exhibition stands yesterday.


Sugar cane farmer makes E1m revenue in first year

Business Section

By Calsile Masilela - WEEKEND OBSERVER-29-Aug-2009

BUSINESSMAN Morris Matututu Dlamini who has since ventured into sugar cane farming applauds the Swazi Bank for helping him realise his dream.

He said this was his first year in the business and has harvested a 68 hectare land that saw him getting over E1 million.

He said there was still some sugar cane that was to be harvested and was expecting to make over E3 million. Dlamini said he sees himself succeeding in the business and being able to pay back a loan of E5.5 million he sourced from the bank. He thanked the bank staff responsible for monitoring creditors for their commitment in helping small business people with necessary business skills. He said he would need E2 million more to plant a 110 hectare.

“I have a staff of 45 people and it is mostly females as they help during the planting,” he said. This he revealed on Thursday at his farm during a visit by the Swazi Bank board of Directors including the Chairman Noah Nkambule, Managing Director Stanley Matsebula and others. Dlamini stated that besides the sugar cane farming he runs 10 butcheries all over the country and a meat wholesale situated at Ngongola. He said he has delegated work to His son so he can concentrate on the new business.

He boosted that his meat was the best selling especially in the towns because it was good quality and cheaper at the wholesale. He said the meat industry was doing well and he pointed out that they slaughter 100 cows every week as there was a high demand of beef in the country.

He said cows were now limited in Swaziland forcing him to buy cows in South Africa which he said was not a good thing but he has no option. ”Livestock farmers were now sceptical to have a lot of cattle because of many factors due to drought, stock theft, unavailability of enough grazing land and other factors,” he said.

He attributed his success to his hard work adding that he was always hands on to ensure smooth running of the business. Swazi Bank Board Chairman Noah Nkambule congratulated Dlamini on his new business and for his courage to take a risk as he was pretty new in this kind of business. He said by mere looking at the existing work it was promising that he would make it.

He said they were happy to be associated with winners and encouraged him to work hard. He said such businesses were encouraged by the bank because they do not only develop the owner but also the community in which it operates on as people get employed.


Marula brew soon to be available all year round

Business Section

By Calsile Masilela - WEEKEND OBSERVER-29-Aug-2009

MARULA brew would now be available throughout the season. It would also be available in the bottle stores in small appealing containers. This was revealed on Thursday at the Swaziland Marula Company based at Siphofaneni.

The company’s general manager Robert Kunene said this was a relatively new company as he stated that they started operations in April this year. He said the idea behind the company was to provide Marula beer (Buganu) throughout the season unlike it has been happening in the past years that the fruit was available seasonally.

He said the company work with the community around them as they buy the marula nuts from them. However he said due to the many uses of marula the demand becomes high for the community thus they end up importing it from South Africa. “Out of the marula nuts we make brew, animal feeds, and cosmetic oil for now but there are plans to also make marula juice and also charcoal out of the nut covers. We would also be making wine, spirits and others with time,” he said.

Kunene said the company has a staff compliment of 20 including management. He said the oil was the most viable for now and stated that in December they would support a lot of women who collect marula nuts.

He stated that the marula was brewed in the same way the women brew it, the only difference with them was that they had a way of storing the nuts so they can keep on producing even when the marula is out of season. He explained that 200 000 marula canel at raw state cost over E1 million when sold as oil.

SwaziBank Chairman of the board of Directors Noah Nkambule applauded the management for the idea. He wanted to know if the company was in direct competition with the community marula brewers of which he was told that they were not. He was told that they complimented each other as the company buys from the women and the women were also free to buy the brewed marula from the company.


Please summon me—Justice

Main Section

By MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE - SWAZI TIMES-30-Aug-2009

MBABANE— Pastor Justice Dlamini of the Mbabane Worship Centre yesterday pronounced his wish is to get an opportunity to preach the truth to labadzala, the elders of Ludzidzini Royal Residence who were irked by his comments on the nation’s sacred ceremony,

In an interview, Pastor Dlamini said he wished he was summoned to the royal residence to give clarity on his sermon delivered a fortnight ago at Somhlolo national stadium.

This has led traditional authority to summon the Conference of Swaziland Churches to Ludzidzini to explain how the incwala, the perceived sacred ceremony of the Swazi nation was painted black during a church service hosted by the conference. Pastor Justice said he was not scared of being hauled before the traditional council because he was doing the work of God. “I am not scared at all because what I am doing is the work of my God. I am not on a showing off mission but in a serving-my-God mission. I would be very happy if they call me so that I can preach the truth to them,” said the pastor. He chose to be brief on this matter because he was looking forward to a meeting with the elders where he would be afforded an opportunity to put his finger on the verses that supported his sermon.

Has Pastor Justice won round one?

LUDZIDZINI—It seems Pastor Justice Dlamini of the Worship Centre has won round one of the investigation launched by traditional leaders to ascertain if he indeed preached derogatorily against the sacred ceremony, Incwala at Somhlolo national stadium a fortnight ago.

When leaders of the Conference of Swaziland Churches appeared before the elders at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence this week, they were ordered to surrender tapes that contained Pastor Justice’s sermon. Well placed sources told the Times SUNDAY that the Bishop Stephen Masilela-led conference did not produce the tapes on grounds that the service held solely to pray for the country was not recorded on tapes. It has been established that Bishop Masilela apologised to traditional authorities for not producing the tapes because there was nobody hired to video-shoot it.

Bishop Masilela could only say there were several issues that were looked into but requested this newspaper to give him some time to monitor the situation closely. He said he was uncomfortable at that moment to talk about it publicly because Pastor Justice’s church remained a registered member of the conference.

Benefit

Royal sources said the traditional men did not benefit much in terms of obtaining evidence against Pastor Justice and what the leaders of conference said by word did not help the interrogators to establish a winnable case. Our sister publication, the Times reported that the charismatic pastor preached strongly that the sacred ceremony in Swazi context allowed practices that were sheer abomination to the Man above. As a result, traditional authorities are reportedly angry with the pastor for allegedly painting incwala black. “What was said by Bishop Masilela and his men cannot be used as evidence because they are reluctant to testify against their fellow colleague. It could be shameful for them to testify against Pastor Justice and I understand they are not prepared to go on trial to shoot down their own man,” said the well placed source who attended the hearing.

Depend

Our investigations are telling us that the next stop for traditional authorities is to entirely depend on a reporter and police notebooks, but they are reportedly reluctant to approach the reporter. Police who were present are yet to indicate if they have something tangible to say in case the matter was taken further. Traditional authorities were also skeptical of deliberating upon the Pastor Justice sermon in a civil court because of constitutional clauses that legalised the freedom of expression and freedom of worship, which, may require government to solicit a high level of legal eagles to argue over the statement perceived to be seditious or too close to sedition.

Summon

Instead, the next route may be to summon Pastor Justice and his chief to Ludzidzini for a culture-based hearing where he can part with cattle, the sources said and further explaining that information gathered was that Pastor Justice is close to royalty and comes from umphakatsi from an undisclosed community, hence, his case may reveal more as he is privy to royal insides. Interviewed pastors want to remain anonymous when they defend Pastor Justice in fear of victimisation or possible arrest.

One of them yesterday said the Worship Centre pastor preached under the anointing of God and whosoever troubled him or questioned him was directly and indirectly undermining the sovereignty of God in Heaven who created the earth, inclusive of Swaziland herself. The pastor said traditional authorities should tread carefully lest they find themselves to have censored God’s message to a point of angering Him.

Acting Governor of Ludzidzini Royal Residence T.V. Mtsetfwa said he was too engaged in traditional assignments and did not have time to apply himself to the matter. Ludzidzini is the country’s traditional headquarters where events of national significance are held, including the appointment of a prime minister and dissolution of parliame


Lesbians come out of the closet

Main Section

By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-30-Aug-2009

MANZINI—Two ladies have taken a bold decision to marry each other—in a first ever gay marriage case for this country that will no doubt set the tongues wagging.

The lesbians have come out publicly to state their case for a first gay marriage case as they intend to get married in just six months. The couple held its engagement ceremony yesterday afternoon, which was attended by family members and friends. The words, ‘would you marry me’ are said by normally straight man and female couples when they declare their intentions of taking their relationships to the next level—which is marriage. However, in Manzini yesterday these words were said by a female who was charming another female when proposing marriage. This was history in the making because the woman who was being proposed agreed and in six months time the couple will happily exchange their vows.

Thirty-six year-old Thuli Rudd, who is also affectionately known as ‘Thulani’ by those closest to her, discovered that she was a lesbian years ago and now wants to take her relationship with her partner to another level. She says she is willing to do everything within her means to impress her and show her that her proposal and the coming marriage was no fluke.

Rudd who is also the president of the country’s Lesbian and Gay Association yesterday proposed to the 22-year-old love of her life who was identified as Pitseng Vilakati. She says she is a proud man and she had promised to love and work hard to satisfy her ‘wife’ both financially—and in bed!

When interviewed yesterday after the ceremony, she told this newspaper that she would please her partner in bed, promising to be mind-blowing. She even lauded herself as the best man in bed. Rudd stunned her partner in a small family event which was hosted in a trendy restaurant.

Family and friends of the couple were enjoying lunch when Rudd suddenly went to her knees and popped the question, ‘would you please marry me’. Both families were stunned by this move and they all waited in awe to hear how Vilakati would respond. She did not spring any surprise as she agreed with a broad smile and extended her hand to her partner who was carrying a shiny gold ring by then.

Accepted

Vilakati gladly accepted the ring and immediately after it was fitted to her finger the couple embraced and enjoyed a long kiss. The couple continued to tenderly kiss, oblivious of the people around as well as the cameras that Rudd had organised clicking for the duration of the kiss. Journalists who were in disguise also had the opportunity of witnessing and capturing the event, however after all was said and done the journalists then revealed their identity and the couple did not have a problem as they officially welcomed them and posed for us and properly gave us a taste of lesbian love.

The couple was unashamed but continued to kiss and shared a milk-shake after the formalities of the engagement. Thulani is the happiest lesbian in the country as she finally got herself a wife who would love and cherish her.

According to Rudd, Vilakati loves the kitchen, so like normal couples, she will spend her evenings in the kitchen preparing supper for the couple.



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