Swaziland News Sep 2009

For all your Swazi News


SA Imbali steal show at the reed dance

Main Section

By MKHULISI MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-01-Sep-2009

LUDZIDZI – An energetic South African Imbali got a good round of applause from thousands of spectators when they displayed an electrifying set of traditional dancing skills during the final day of the reed dance yesterday.

His Majesty King Mswati III was also spotted clapping in appreciation.

Their dances were accessorised by the beating of a drum. That happened shortly before Princess Skhanyiso, the king’s eldest daughter, took to the podium to display her dancing skills.

She also performed a new song titled “Sengikhulile” loosely translated I’m a grown up now.


sugarcane farmers struggle to repay loans

Business Section

By LINDA JELE - SWAZI TIMES-01-Sep-2009

MALIBENI – Seven years later, some sugarcane farmers’ associations have still not finished repaying their loans because of the ever increasing interest on loans.

Some of these farmers have said they regretted falling for the idea of venturing into sugarcane farming. One of the disgruntled associations is Bambanani Malibeni Farmers Association in the Lubombo region, which has about 108 members with 219 hectares of land on which they produce sugarcane. Most of these farmers used to produce cotton on the land before being lured by profits in the sugarcane production industry.

The farmers told SwaziBank Board of Directors and management about this problem, during their tour of projects financed by the bank last week. They claimed because of the high interest on loans, they ended up sharing as little as E1 000 among themselves after the harvesting season.

One of the members of the association, identified as Dlamini, told the board that they had become very poor because the dividends they had been receiving were insufficient to cater for their daily family needs.

Lucrative

“The Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) (formerly SKPE) lured us into this venture with lucrative promises. For instance, we were told that after harvesting, the members would share 50 per cent of the profits and the other would repay the loans, but it has never been the case. I used to grow cotton on my fields and was able to purchase three cattle per year and further pay school fees for my children,” he said.

He said the association borrowed E11 million from the bank about seven years ago and they were still repaying the loan. Dlamini said when SWADE came to help them start the businesses, it brought with it banks, from which they would borrow money.

“We have been made poorer and we cannot support our children with the little dividends we get here,” he said. In response, SwaziBank Managing Director Stanley Matsebula said the loans were escalated by the fact that when the projects began, associations hired South African companies to clear land and install pipe systems, which charged exorbitant fees. He said on some instances, the banks had to pay SA companies over E4 million for the ground work, on behalf of the associations.

Finance

“The Government of Swaziland was supposed to help you with bush clearing, however, it did not and we had to finance that too. We sometimes did not pay for other associations because they had submitted exorbitant charges for doing bush clearing only. Some associations had over E8 million debts before even beginning planting,” he said. He said that was the reason government offered the E89 million rebates for the farmers to develop their infrastructure. Matsebula added that some associations would use the money to pay off their loans with the bank and then be able to enjoy dividends.


MISA postpones Vagina Monologues show

Recreation Section

By Observer Reporter - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-01-Sep-2009

THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the Swaziland Chapter, has postponed a controversial show dubbed The Vagina Monologues.

MISA Director Comfort Mabuza has said the show is postponed until further notice. “The guest actor is indisposed. We regret any inconvenience caused.”

MISA Swaziland, in collaboration with MISA-AGM 2009 had issued an invitation at a cost of E100 admission fee.

The marketing drive is ‘Vagina Monologues Show’ If womanhood could tell her Story – We would surely treat her better.


Annual turnout impressive - King

Main Section

By Calsile Masilela -THE SWAZI OBSERVER-01-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III says it is encouraging to note that year after year, there was a growth in the number of women exhibitors at the trade fair.

“This year’s International Trade Fair coincides with women’s month and in our case it is encouraging that year after year we witness an impressive growth in the number of women - not only as spectators – but as exhibitors of note. this is encouraging because women play an important role in the development efforts of our countries and to empower women is to empower the whole nation,” said the King when He officially opened the 2009 Swaziland International Trade Fair on Saturday in Manzini.

He said the same goes for youth participation as the kingdom of Swaziland prides itself with programmes aimed at youth empowerment such as the youth development fund. The King said this initiative, among others, encourages young people to actively participate in programmes aimed at taking the country forward, in terms of entrepreneurship and skills development.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank and congratulate government for the impressive programme and amount of hard work put in this year’s International Trade Fair. I have been assured that in the various stands we will find highly impressive, quality products on display,” he said.


FLOWERS OF THE NATION

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane-01-Sep-2009

IMBALI overseer Ntfonjeni Dlamini says there were 130 000 maidens who took part in this year’s Umhlanga Ceremony.

Dlamini says more girls joined the ceremony in its final day, the epitome of what started with over 80 000 girls setting out to cut the reed.

His Majesty King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi graced the main dance at the Ludzidzini Arena with guests, such as the South African First Lady Nompumelelo MaNtuli Zuma and others.

Maidens from the Ndebele, Zulu and Xosa clans in South Africa had added to the number. Dlamini also said he received a report that a number of girls were denied entry into the country because they did not have passports.

“I was also informed that hundreds others pushed their way into the informal border lines and made it to the ceremony,” he said. Perched within the Royal Box of the Arena, His Majesty watched with glee as the maidens danced in their regional and territorial groupings, led by those from the Royal family.

Inkhosatana Sikhanyiso, who is the leader of the maidens was a marvel to watch as she pranced back and forth, as if giving the imbali (flower of the nation) dancing lessons.

His Majesty occasionally left the Arena, joined by a group of warriors, to perform kudlalisela in front of the proud maidens. The girls danced relentlessly for about four hours, braving the scorching heat.

Tourists and umhlanga fanatics helped themselves endlessly to pictures of the girls as they strutted their stuff. The occasion was wound up by an hour’s dance north of the main kraal. This is where His Majesty, Her Majesty, the King’s regiment and some maidens danced the incangosi.

On Sunday, His Majesty was joined by Zambian President Rupiah Banda to watch the throngs of girls deliver the reed at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence. However, Banda had to leave that same day.


King's impounded cows released

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati THE SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Sep-2009

THE three cows belonging to His Majesty King Mswati III that were early this month impounded by the Road Safety Council (RSC) with the police have since been released.

An officer based at Ngabezweni Royal Residence, Tibiyo Vilakati, confirmed the news but lamented that they had emaciated due to lack of fodder.

Vilakati revealed that the cows were released two weeks after they were impounded. “They were so bad and I believe that was because they did not get enough fodder in the pound. “I am not sure why they released them because no one went to plead with the officers given that when they impounded them I explained that they belonged to the King but they could hear none of that,” he said.

Vilakati also stated that the herdboys had their salaries cut as a result of the impounded cows. however; Vilakati was reluctant to divulge how much was cut from their salaries. In a previous interview with Manzini City Council Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mathokoza Thwala, he said the City Council rangers did not impound livestock outside the city boundaries.

He said this was the jurisdiction of the Road Safety Council, which also had the power to impound cattle into the nearest pound.


COLOUREDS 'BANNED' AT NKHANINI?

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Sep-2009

A widow has taken the traditional authorities of Nkhanini Royal Kraal to court for allegedly ruling that coloureds are not allowed in the area.

Joyce Bongiwe Mkhatshwa (nee Dlamini) gave birth to a coloured daughter after she fell in love with an Italian national, James Plet, in the 1970s. The daughter, Zandile Cyrene Plet, also produced coloured children. The widow later married Julius Mkhatshwa, a resident of Nkhanini, who is now late.

As the coloured community spread within the Mkhatshwa family, the family elders complained that they were too noisy and disturbing peace within the family. Bongiwe’s brother-in-law, Skosh Mkhatshwa, subsequently reported her to the Nkhanini Royal Kraal, where the matter was heard by Skhishi Dlamini, the traditional governor. Dlamini is the first respondent in the matter because he is the one who issued an order evicting the coloured family from the area.

In her papers, Bongiwe argues that she was not afforded an opportunity to defend herself when the matter was adjudicated by the Royal Kraal. She further says after the order was issued expelling her from the area, she refused to move because she had nowhere else to go.

“On December 10, 2008 I was fined E200 for not heeding the eviction order by the Swaziland National Council of Lobamba. guilty “When I tried to appeal to Indvuna Lusendvo Fakudze, he said there was nothing he could do because I had already been found guilty.”

The widow says she had since been the subject of abuse by the governor who is intent on removing her family from the area. The Attorney General’s office, representing the governor, is to argue that the High Court has no jurisdiction over the matter because it is under Swazi Law and Custom. In an affidavit, Mkhatshwa and the governor deny having segregated the family because they are coloureds. They allege that Zandile’s children are noisy and disturb peace. They also say they had only evicted the coloured children not the widow.

The attorney General’s office, however, said the governor could find another land to settle the widow’s children and remove them from the Mkhatshwa family. Justice Qinisile Mabuza suspended the eviction order to give the AG’s office time to consult the traditional authorities of Nkhanini about the possibility of settling the children elsewhere.


Petrol attendants receive training on tourism

Main Section

By Teetee Zwane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Sep-2009

SINCE the first stop visitors to any country usually make is at a filling station, the Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) saw it fit to educate petrol attendants on the local tourism industry.

The seminar, which was held yesterday at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre as part of the activities prepared for the 2009 Swaziland International Trade Fair (SITF), focused on customer care and how filling station personnel should provide tourism related information to tourists.

“As you know, we’re currently engaged in the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign and we realised that it is important that when you invite people to visit your country, you also make the necessary preparations internally,” said STA Marketing Manager Bongani Dlamini.

He said the STA realised that filling stations were a neutral base that always attract people, especially tourists, who would either go there to fill up their vehicles, rest up after a long journey or even seek information.

“When people are lost, the people they usually trust are filling station attendants. They are the mirrors of our country and the first point of contact between tourists and the people of Swaziland,” he said. “We saw that there was a need to educate filling station personnel on how to handle visitors as well as on local tourist destinations, including accommodation, places to dine and be entertained.”

He said if these attendants treated their customers very well, they would therefore, prefer to fill up within the country’s borders than to go across the South African borders. Also, Dlamini noted that satisfied customers would relate to others their experience and encourage more people to visit the country.

“We also found out that they are often asked about tourist destinations in the country and most of the time, they have no answers. So, we realised the need to inform them about these and other relevant information,” said the marketing manager. Adding, Dlamini said as part of the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign, the STA would also be training other stakeholders in the tourism industry. He said these would include public transport operators as these were also points of contact for tourists.

He said some tourists use public transport to get to destinations of choice and therefore, it was important that operators were educated on such as well as on customer care so they know how to handle visitors if they come across them. “They should know destinations of choice and how to get there,” said Dlamini, adding “the question of access is high on the tourism agenda.”


Let’s resuscitate the E1.6 billion investment vision

Business Section

By The Editor - SWAZI TIMES-02-Sep-2009

Let’s resuscitate the E1.6 billion investment vision

Sir,

Thank you Sir for allowing me space to voice my concern in your widely read news paper. The vision was the most brilliant idea ever by a leader of a country, especially our own, His Majesty King Mswati III.

It showed that he has a fatherly love for his subjects, he showed his passion to lead a nation shows that his people do not languish in abject poverty and misery. He sacrified his time and luxury and stayed at Mavuso Trade Fair’s Job Summit day and night week long just to see to it that all Emaswati were afforded a chance to develop themselves and not to be reduced to beggars.

Pledges

The summit finally seemed headed for a tremendous breakthrough, with some of the local financial giants making substantial pledges, making the king’s dream a reality. Pledges were made and E1.6bn was born and became the talk of the day.

Initially the king seemed to have his own ideas on how to initiate his vision, but it appeared much fairer and wiser not to source outside finance at the expense of local financial power houses. Was it so? At the end of the summit the king was glad that at last he was going to be called to open a Swazi owned business enterprise born out of the summit. The king, with all the confidence, went on to pronounce that 50 000 jobs were now expected to be rolled out within one year.

Since the stumbling block of securities and collaterals would be set aside, every aspiring Swazi business entrepremuer would access finance much easier.

Eradications

The king also announced to the international community how dialogue has produced good results for the Swazi Nation of an E1.6bn investment fund for poverty eradication without any conflict or strikes. Oh! What a great precedent to other nations.

In-spite of this magnificent and fascinating endeavour, the dream was not to be. What went wrong? Where did we go wrong as a nation? Now the most astonishing question is; who is to blame? Some may point fingers to government and Prime Minister, or Minister of Enterprise, the financial institutions on even the king himself. I am not saying so.

It is the Swazi business community including myself who actually failed the king. Believe me or not, this is true. I am not trying to please anyone here; it’s a matter of fact! Okay! Is it not us whom the king wanted to benefit? So when things didn’t work out, what did we do? Nothing! Except to push the blame elsewhere.

We were supposed to stand up and come up with a strategy for government because the mind boggling question for government was, who was going to bear the brunt should millions of Emalangeni go down the drains due to unpaid loans. I want to tell the entire Swazi business community that there is a strategy, and if properly articulated can achieve 95 per cent in success.

Risk

The 5 per cent risk can be shared by the entire beneficiaries at an amount of not more than 15 of each loan. Government and financial institutions have nothing to loose! I have a whole package of scope to expedite the plan, but I cannot put it down here. I therefore appeal to all concerned parties especially the disadvantaged, to show up. I say, together we can make His Majesty proud and proud his intelligence surpasses all.

We can prove he is indeed the king of Africa. If this, gives you any reason to grow wiry, then please give me a call at 627 0240.

Mbabane.


One Circle empowers over 80 000 Imbali

Main Section

By SIMPHIWE DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-02-Sep-2009

MBABANE-One Circle joined the over 80 000 Imbali at Lobamba to sensitise them on the importance of paying attention to issues that involve them.

This organisation empowers young women through the dissemination of accurate and comprehensive information on these critical issues.

One Circle notes that women need to be proactive and get as much information as possible on concerns that affect them. Founding Director of One Circle, Khabo Dlamini, encouraged Imbali to abstain, as this saves them from many of the problems they face, and further applauded the Swazi culture for instilling values that encourages them to abstain until the perfect time.

“Information is power, and this power enables all of us to make informed decisions. Armed with this, today’s young women can take the nation forward, to better health, stronger society while preserving our culture. Ignorance on such issues renders women vulnerable, but ignorance is no longer an excuse as One Circle is an information hub and presents a platform where women from all walks of life can come together to share their knowledge and experiences,” she said.

One Circle’s products were sampled as give-away prizes for the Imbali in a question and answer session. These products are made and produced by young women, these included re-used bottle caps that are used as badges, earrings and stickers amongst other things. The reed dance started last week Tuesday with the registration and the main dance was on Monday was a public holiday which saw over 100 000 maidens dancing the day away. The event was also a major tourist draw card.


SP Media completes wrapping buses for STA ad campaign

Business Section

By MUSA NHLEKO - SWAZI TIMES-02-Sep-2009

MANZINI – South Africa’s SP Media has completed the process of wrapping single and double-decker buses as part of the advertising campaign for the Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA).

The STA recently embarked on a ‘Visit Swaziland’ marketing campaign; seeking to position the country as a preferred tourist destination with a quantifiable increase in the number of visitors and tourists’ spend.

“This is a very exciting venture for the Swaziland Tourism Authority. We are in high spirits about working with SP Media. Their assistance has made a considerable difference to the campaign, putting us on par with other destination marketing efforts,’ says Bongani Dlamini, STA marketing manager.

The wraps feature the Swazi kingdom emblazoned on two double-decker buses showcasing the people and culture of the country. Viewers in Gauteng are introduced to the Swaziland through two traditional ceremonies.

News sourced from bizcommunity.com, the side of the bus depicts the Incwala - Festival of the first Fruits’, a kingship ceremony, an annual event to renew the strength of the king and the Swazi nation.

The back of the bus showcases the ‘Umhlanga - The Reed Dance’. This ceremony is for unmarried maidens to pay homage to the king and queen mother by collecting reeds from their respective villages to repair the Queen Mother’s home. The design uses the colours of the Swazi flag and shield to illustrate Swaziland’s cultural roots.

“I am particularly proud of the intricate design of the buses. All the elements that are unique to the country are masterfully incorporated on the 110m2 ‘multi-dimensional moving billboard’,” adds Charl Timms, SP Media CEO. The buses seek also to raise awareness during the 2010 Soccer World Cup as tourists arrive in South Africa. “We are confident that the buses will lure these tourists to sample the rich culture our country has to offer,” adds Dlamini.


House on Fire comes alive next week

Recreation Section

By MUSA SIMELANE - SWAZI TIMES-02-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Another Wednesday Night Blues will take place at House on Fire next week featuring acclaimed American guitarist George Worthmore.

House on Fire Manager Jeanine von Wissell said tickets to the show would be sold at the door for E50. She said doors would open at 7.30pm for an open mic session where people will be encouraged to share their talents before the main act.

Worthmore, who will be the star of the show, has been in the New York City music scene for over 20 years. According to Von Wissell, he began with a one-year stint as a guitarist with Kinky Friedman. He’s played backup guitar for Bo Diddley, Ben E. King, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Lou Christy, and The Platters.

He has also played shows as a second guitarist with Hot Tuna. He emigrated to South Africa in 1997 where he owned and operated the world famous Blues Room, that country’s number one, award winning, live music venue. Since 2004 he has expanded his performing into film and TV and has acted with William H.

Macy, Robert Vaughn, and Ron Perlman. His current show is a tour de force of solo acoustic guitar, from Ragtime to Blues, with some Bach thrown in for the more serious appreciators of the instrument.


Mhlumeni border operates 24 hours after 5-year wait

Main Section

By JOSEPH ZULU - SWAZI TIMES-03-Sep-2009

MHLUMENI – Minister of Home Affairs Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze officially opened the Mhlumeni border to operate 24 hours.

MHLUMENI – Minister of Home Affairs Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze officially opened the Mhlumeni border to operate 24 hours.

At exactly 11am, the border was officially declared to operate on a 24 hour basis. During the launch, which was attended by Mozambican Minister of Interior and also overseeing the police, Jose Pacheco the chief said the launch was long overdue.

“Plans to operate this border on a 24-hour basis have been in existence since September 4, 2004 when the border was reopened. It was only after His Majesty gave an ultimatum for September 1, 2009 that we have achieved this,” said the minister. He told the throngs of people who had gathered at the border that the launch marked a milestone which was but a dream for his predecessors.

He said preparations for the launch had taken five years. He credited the success of the whole project to what he termed the wise leadership of the two countries and complemented both His Majesty King Mswati III and President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique. He explained that had it not been for the ultimatum given by the king for the border to operate for 24 hours this month, it would have remained a dream.

Gamedze also said this would go a long way to prove that the country had an inclination to the Southern African Development Commission (SADC). He noted that opening the border for 24 hours would mean less accidents, explaining that most of these accidents were caused by motorists who were in a rush to get to the border post before closing time.

“This will mean a smooth flow of traffic and will create favourable conditions for business between the two countries,” he said. He added that this would mean more jobs as more people would now be required to work at the border. The chief, however, lamented that the border was known for allowing illegal substances to pass through, not intentional though. He also said, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” after complaining that there were some people who were pocketing money that was meant for government.

He said certain people were depositing government funds into their accounts. He further warned that the perpetrators of such illegal activities would be brought to book.

The minister commended his Mozambican counterpart, Minister Jose Pacheco and added that they had been working hand in hand to make the launch a success. He said the border could help make the area a tourist centre and reminded residents that if such was to be achieved, the ball was in their hands.

Minister Pacheco said a lot of work had been put into the project, including the upgrading of the immigration offices. “The opening of this border will also strengthen the historical relationship between the two countries,” said the minister.


Indvuna in hot water for whipping imbali

Main Section

By MBONGENI NDLELA - SWAZI TIMES-03-Sep-2009

PIGG’S PEAK – One of the tindvuna guarding imbali from Phophonyane and Hhelehhele may be in hot water after being reported for allegedly whipping some of the maidens.

One of the tindvuna, who was appointed to accompany the girls from the above constituency, has expressed disap-pointment and dissa-tisfaction over the treatment these girls allegedly received from one of the authorities.

Nine girls from these constituencies were whipped on the buttocks with sticks five times and later left stranded without transport to ferry them home. Transport that was later organised dropped them 20 kilometres from home. They walked home from 5pm until 11pm with their packed luggage. Their sin was that they allegedly never made it to the pick-up point and that some of them were spotted talking to boys.

It has been revealed that those who did not make it to the pick-up point got sick along the way and their cases were reported back to Lutsango members who were observing the proceedings. This was also confirmed by the inkhosatana of Phoph-onyane Nontsikelelo Dlamini.

Even though it has been reported that only two of the girls were allegedly found with boys, it has been gathered the northern Hhohho authourities allegedly beat up all the girls over the allegations. “Some of us were beaten for nothing and the explanation we got is that we are in love with the indvuna,” alleged some of the girls. It is said indvuna Vusi Dlamini, who was against the thrashing of the girls, elected to stay behind with the girls. This was because of an alleged argument that ensued between the tindvuna over the disciplining of the innocent imbali.

Questioned

“I only questioned the elders why they beat the innocent girl. However, the response I got was that I am in love with them, a thing which was not true,” explained Dlamini.

“I had to organise another truck to ferry the girls back home as they had left us behind. What saddens the most is that even the truck driver turned against us and dropped the girls far from home. This resulted in me walking the whole night providing security to the girls,” said Dlamini.


Three civil servants kicked out of Senate

Main Section

GUGU NDZABUKELWAKO - SWAZI TIMES-03-Sep-2009

LOBAMBA-Three female civil servants were yesterday told to leave the Parliament chambers for inappropriate dress code as their heads were not covered.

The three women officials from the Ministry of Economic Planning, were yesterday told by the Chairman of the Senators Debate of the ministry’s progress report, Chief Velamuva Maseko, to leave and come back dressed appropriately.

“Sorry senators but we need to briefly stop the meeting because some of our officials are not properly dressed for being in Parliament, something is missing and it would be wrong of me to continue,” he said. These officials were Malta Dlamini the Under Secretary, Nelisiwe Nkhambule Senior Accountant of the ministry and Duduzile Dlamini the Director of National Population in the ministry.

The officials immediately rose up and left the chambers and came back with their head scarves on. Some of the issues discussed included the unsolved issue of unofficial statistics of the various statistics such as the population’s exact figure, HIV statistics and so on. “This matter is not being addressed by the ministry in the report even after the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have formally taken out statistics, the ministry does not bother to go back and check if these figures are correct or not and thereafter the information is being posted on the internet”, said Senator Prince Kusa.

Correct

The ministry acknowledged that mistake and promised to go back and check the exact correct figures which will appear in their next report. Another very important issue that was discussed was that of foreigners flocking the country like bees on honey. In response to this issue Mashwama said the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development felt it was fine as long as one or two Swazis are getting employment.

The issue of Foreigners flocking the country especially Asians was raised by Senator Themba Msibi, during the senators debate of the First Quarter Progress Report from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development. “There are just too many foreigners in the country, most of them are owners of the busiest shops like the cell-phone shops, the garages selling dubai cars, supermarkets and the small shops in locations and many more”, Msibi said.

He also wanted to know what exactly was being done and how these people were being regulated by the ministry, especially because some areas are completely crowded, for example Ka-Khoza in Manzini. These foreigners are inviting their relatives over not knowing how or where they are going to be living. Responding to the Senator’s question was Minister Jabulile Mashwama who was acting for Minister Prince Hlangusem-phi.

“At the moment we are not really worried about the issue of these foreigners because they are bringing various job opportunities for some of the unemployed Swazis”, Mashwama said. Furthermore she said employing one or two people was far better than the unemployment crisis that we are facing as a country.


Surfing facebook could get you job

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - THE SWAZI TIMES-03-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Being on the popular social networking sites such as Facebook could land you your dream job.

It has since been gathered that global head-hunters use the social networking sites to ‘recruit’ their ideal candidates. Other popular sites are MySpace and Flicker, among others.

According to Linda Malinga, Business Development Manager of Strategic Global Recruitment, a company based in South Africa, these sites were becoming almost important as employment references. She said a person’s online profile that depicted pictures and other professionally inappropriate bits of information had the potential of bringing about a big corporate job.

Potential

“Cyber-vetting of candidates has become an easy way to find out more about potential employees. “It’s amazing to see how much information one can find on social networking sites and even if people are not registered on one of the better known sites, ‘googling’ someone will usually provide access to some background on the individual,” she said.

She explained that employers were now using these sites to scout for potential candidates, either find confirmation that the job seeker was in fact an expert in their said field or other general information about them. Malinga noted that cyber-vetting could reveal a candidate’s true interests, likes and dislikes, beliefs and aspirations, adding that it may also show the candidate to be the expert he/she has positioned himself/herself as or an absolute fake.

Accurate

“Its relatively easy to flip through a person’s pages and put together a perception of the candidate, which may not be entirely accurate,” she said. Malinga also revealed the flipside of the social networking sites, stating that they could be detrimental.

Abuse

She said, “Clients or employers could become privy to images of alcohol abuse, a lack of respect for one’s job or colleagues or other evidence of inappropriate activities that do not fit the ethics of the company. “There is nothing stopping your current employer from conducting a little cyber investigation of their own.” She warned that people should take control of what they put on the sites.


Where do Somhlolo collections go? - Themba Msibi

Sports Section

By SIBUSISIWE NGOZO - SWAZI TIMES-03-Sep-2009

LOBAMBA – Senator Themba Msibi demanded answers from Sports minister Hlobsile Ndlovu on why the country had Somhlolo as the only national stadium.

He told the minister that the stadium was making so much money from gate collections and wondered what that money was used for.

Msibi said football had been played for many years and Swazis were faithfully suppor-ting the sport but still Somhlolo was the only national venue that hosted big tournaments. He wondered where the money collected went as the ministry does not own a stadium that was funded by money made from past matches.

The Senator was speaking in Senate during the sitting of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs portfolio committee. He had directed his question to the minister during the debate of her ministry’s performance report for April to June 2009.

“Where are the sporting facilities in the country, what is Sports Council doing about it,” he said. He said the way things were happening in terms of the funds collected at stadiums they might be tempted to move a motion that all football activities be banned from Somhlolo stadium.

Senator Ngomyayona Gamedze also wanted to know why there were no ablution facilities at the national stadium as recently he saw players dressing from car boots. Senator Khephu Cindzi also wanted to know who owned Somhlolo and if it was not the ministry of sports why didn’t they have their own facility.

“When will the ministry have its own stadium,” he said. Replying the minister said they were in the process of building two other stadiums. She said one would be behind Somhlolo next to the technical centre being constructed so that it would be a complete sports complex.

“We will be constructing our own stadiums soon and the issue of ablution facilities will be sorted soon as the renovations are fini-shed by October 10, 2009,” she said.


Doping tests for COSASSA athletes

Sports Section

By CHRIS DLAMINI-03-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Athletes to participate in the COSASSA Games hosted in the country by the Swaziland School Sports will face a random doping test conducted by the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO).

Zone VI Regional Anti-Doping Board member Darius Dlomo who is also a top official at the Swaziland National Sports Council (SNSC) confirmed the presence of the officials.

He said their mission was to promote anti-doping amongst the young sportsmen during the games. “What we do here as a country is look at opportunities to have advocacy chances with the youth where we can teach them about the doping dangers and how to say no to it and also what is prohibited and allowed,” he said.

Random

However, he said as Zone VI did not promote doping in sports, they acknowledged the fact that the participating countries were not informed in time that their athletes will have to undergo random doping tests. “Because we did not inform the countries on time, it would be up to them to agree to the random tests but whatever the case, we’ll still have advocacy lessons but our wish is that they agree as this is very vital for the young athletes,” he said.

Dlomo further said the results would not be immediate as it was a process, making an example that the samples should first go to Pretoria, South Africa before they are returned, just the same procedure which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADO) applies.


SADC Customs Union could boost SD’s exports by 30%

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - THE SWAZI TIMES-03-Sep-2009

MANZINI- Establishing the SADC Customs Union could boost Swaziland’s exports to non-SACU member states in the SADC region by 30 per cent.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which Swaziland is a member, has set a target to launch a customs union in 2010. However, several factors, such as the fact that there is still a lot of outstanding work that needs to be undertaken to achieve regional integration have resulted in an unlikely situation of meeting the 2010 deadline.

Senior Trade Policy Analyst in the Trade Promotion Unit Khethiwe Magagula said already, technical working groups had been established that were to look into creating the preliminary ground work for the establishment of the customs union.

These groups include the Common External Tariff group, that has already updated the tariff and statistical nomenclature in line with the international standards, the Legal, Administrative and Industrial Framework that has already produced the first draft of the framework protocol establishing the customs union and various other working groups. “However, we are not quite sure that the 2010 deadline is realistic because there is still a lot of outstanding work that needs to be undertaken to achieve regional integration,” she said.

Magagula was speaking during a workshop hosted by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and government on Trade Opportunities and Non-Trade Barriers (NTBs) Reporting held at the Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

Magagula further said the SADC countries would be able to be certain if the 2010 deadline would be met after the SADC Ministerial meeting, currently taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Meanwhile, Trade Specialist Dr. Yves Van Frausum said the country’s export performance was sensitive to import tariffs applied in destination markets.

“We started our analysis of trade in Swaziland in 2003 and we were looking at many sectors in the economy. The analysis indicated that the Swazi economy is open, with heavy specialisation in sugar and sugar-based products, wood and wood-based products, among others. Opportunities do exists for Swaziland to promote exports to other markets, for instance, non Southern African Customs Union (SACU), SADC and European Union (EU) or the United States and to re-direct trade to more attractive countries.”

Elaborating on the findings of the analysis, Van Frausum said; “We have also found that Swaziland is sensitive to import tariffs applied in destination markets. Establishing the SADC Customs Union could boost export to non-SACU members in the SADC by 30 per cent.” On another note, Frausum said in order to become an industrialised country; Swaziland needed to expand the manufacturing sector.

“This should include focusing on producing semi-finished steel products, fabricated metal base products and cast products, consumer durables, as well as furniture. These products represented about two thirds of the world’s trade and they also represent about 70 per cent of developing market economies exports in various goods, excluding oils, gas, ores, live animals, cereals and raw wood,” he said. He further said exports of developing market economies in the above sectors represented about 24 per cent of world trade.


Queen mum off to Mozambique

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane THE SWAZI OBSERVER-03-Sep-2009

HER Majesty the Indlovukazi left the country for Mozambique yesterday to honour an invitation by the neighbouring country's first lady, Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza

The Queen mother left the Matsapha Airport at about 3 pm where she was seen off by Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Cabinet Ministers, Liqoqo members and other well-wishers.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Technical Cooperation Lutfo Dlamini said the journey to Mozambique was a return visit as the Moz first lady had also visited Swaziland during the Umhlanga welutsango this year.

"Whilst in Mozambique, she is also expected to pay a courtesy visit on President Armando Guebuza," the minister said. Accompanying the Queen Mother are Princess Msalela, Prince Masitsela, Housing and Local Government Minister Lindiwe Dlamini and others.


5 alleged gold diggers arrested

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-03-Sep-2009

FOUR women and a man have been arrested for illegal gold mining at the Lufafa Mountains outside of Pigg’s Peak town.

The five made their first remand appearance before Pigg’s Peak Magistrate Leo Dlamini yesterday.

They are alleged to have on Wednesday at Lufafa area “acting jointly and in furtherance of a common purpose not being holders of a licence or permit to mine minerals did wrongfully, unlawfully and intentionally mine minerals on land thus contravening the said Act.”

The women are; Khanyisile Motsa (37), Idah Dlamini (46), Phindile Dlamini and Maria Ndwandwe (57) all of Hhelehhele area under Chief Mnikwa and were charged with Piet Ndwandwe (55), also of the same area.

Appearing before Magistrate Dlamini whilst Elsie Matsebula prosecuted, the accused elected to conduct their own defence after their rights to legal representation were fully explained. They asked for bail and it was set at E500 for each but none had paid at the time of compiling this report.

The five accused persons were thus remanded into custody until September 9 pending payment of bail. Trial was set for October 16.


Mob bashes soccer star for ‘stealing’

Sports Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-03-Sep-2009

FORMER Malanti Chiefs soccer star Zakhe ‘Tsotsi” Magagula was hacked all over the head by a mob after he was caught stealing from a vehicle at Fonteyn.

Magagula, who had five stitches in his head, is facing five counts and was yesterday denied bail. He is alleged to have sustained the injuries during a thorough bashing by a mob in the same area.

The accused was denied bail after prosecutor Stanley Dlamini objected to his application. Magagula, who had difficulties talking, asked the court to be lenient with him and also allow him to gain freedom through bail.

In the first charge, the former soccer player is alleged to have dribbled his way to a motor vehicle belonging to Vusi Matsebula of Fonteyn where he stole different items. He is said to have again broken into a vehicle belonging to Leo Littler, where he also stole some valuables.

The player is said to have again broken into a house belonging to Thab’sile Lukhele where he also took valuables. As if that was not enough, he is further alleged to have entered the house of one Marisa Vanzuydam.

He is also facing another count of breaking into another car belonging to Phila Dlamini, where he also made away with some valuables. Magistrate Siphosini Dlamini remanded him back into custody until he decides whether he would seek the services of an attorney or not.


Pastor Justice wants Imbali to ‘cover up’

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI SWAZI TIMES-04-Sep-2009

KWALUSENI – Contr-oversial but famous Pastor Justice Dlamini of the Worship Centre last night called for maidens partaking in the annual Umhlanga ceremony to dress up more.

Dlamini told a fully packed University of Swaziland lecture theatre audience that the way the girls dressed up during this cultural event was too revealing. However, the pastor clarified that his statements did not mean he was calling for the abolition of the culture but on the contrary as he wanted the practice to continue.

Dlamini said the way the girls exposed their bodies during the annual ceremony was very tempting to men as they were easily sexually aroused when they saw some female body parts. “The way the girls dress during Umhlanga is too revealing and is tempting to the male eye as it is known that once a man sees exposed female body parts, he would want to have a taste of the woman.

“However, that should not be mistaken to mean I want the cultural practice stopped as I want it to continue, but the exposed bodies are tempting to the men and they should be covered up more,” the pastor said. Dlamini was speaking last night at the University of Swaziland during a dialogue organised by the Swaziland Aids Support Organisation under the theme ‘The role of culture in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Swaziland’.

The annual Umhlanga is a cultural event used to celebrate the chastity of young girls.

This year’s ceremony attracted over 100 000 maidens from all over the country’s regions, while some girls from neighbouring countries including Namibia and South Africa also participated. Next weekend the event moves to the Shiselweni region at the Mbangweni Royal residence, where thousands of young girls are expected to show up.

The pastor’s statement comes barely a couple of weeks after he spoke on another cultural activity, the annual Incwala ceremony, which he is reported to have said was allegedly a time for witchcraft practices. Yesterday, Dlamini also ment-ioned that the general dress code of women was important and called for females to make sure that their bodies were not exposed.

The pastor said there was also western clothing that was worn by females, which exposed certain body parts resulting in men being sexually aroused. “Some women dress up in pants that expose part of their behind, while others wear skimpy tops that expose certain parts of their stomachs, yet this is tempting to the male eye,” he said.

The pastor’s speech was characterised by a lot of cheering from the audience of mostly university students as he spoke clearly and convincingly. Other speakers included radio personalities and traditionalists Bongani ‘S’gcokosiyancinca Dlamini and Lindeni Ndlangamandla, NERCHA Deputy director Khanya Mabuza and Mahlubi Hadebe.


COSATU blockade is on today

Main Section

By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-04-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Despite assurances by Foreign Affairs Minister Lutfo Dlamini, the border blockade by COSATU is going ahead today.

COSATU is the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the blockade is scheduled for Ngwenya (Oshoek) Border Post. This forms part of the Swaziland Campaign Strategy by the trade union movement, as well as other civic groups based in South Africa who sympathise with those calling for multi-party democracy in the kingdom. The decision to stage the blockade is another one of the activities planned for the Global Days of Action on Swaziland, which began on Monday and ends this Sunday.
br/> The activities are meant to put pressure on the Swazi government to enact reforms in the way the Swazi populace is governed. These reforms include the unconditional release of PUDEMO President Mario Masuku, unbanning of political parties and the removal of Swaziland from its chairmanship of the Southern African Development (SADC) Troika on politics, defence and security.
br/> “September 6th marks 41 years of Swaziland’s independence from British colonial rule. Unfortunately, for the majority of Swazis, independence rings hollow and is evidenced by the fact that 70 per cent of the one million population lives in abject poverty earning less than one US dollar a day. Up to 600 000 people had to receive some form of food aid in the past 18 months to fend off starvation.
br/> “HIV/AIDS has taken a heavy toll, with more than 40 per cent of the population believed to be infected. In Swaziland, one in three girls has experienced sexual violence by the age of 18. (About) 22 per cent of Swazi women between ages of 15 and 24 are HIV positive. Life expectancy has plummeted to one of the lowest in the world: 40 years (men), 39 years (women) (UN),” states a statement from the organisations behind the blockade.
br/> The organisations called on all South Africans, Swazis and people living in the region to support today’s event. Transport for those interested will be provided from Johannesburg and the Mpumalanga region. On Tuesday, Dlamini assured senators that the blockade would not go on as the Swazi government had engaged its South African counterparts on the matter. He said border posts were international facilities and no individual or single organisation had the right to close them.


Swazi man killed by SA gang over lover

Main Section

By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-04-Sep-2009

NHLANGANO-A Swazi man working in South Africa died painfully after he was assaulted to death by four South Africans, allegedly over a girl.

Linda Xaba of Jerusalem in the Shiselweni region was killed at Thembisa (South Africa) two weeks ago and his body dumped in a forest allegedly after his longtime girlfriend of Maseyisini (Shiselweni region), name withheld, colluded with her new South African lover to kill him because he would prove problematic to their new relationship.

The South African lover, it was gathered, was an escaped prisoner and was allegedly a bully person at the township. The girlfriend in the centre of controversy was also staying at the township after migrating with her late lover to South Africa in search for job opportunities.

Tobhi Ndlovu, the deceased’s uncle, alleged his nephew was first kidnapped at his house by the lover who brought with him three of his friends for the mission. The late Xaba was allegedly thoroughly assaulted by the three South Africans with the lover accusing him of not terminating the relationship with the Swazi girl yet he was now also in love with her.

Xaba was allegedly beaten until he lost consciousness but his assailants are alleged to have continued to assault him despite that he was lying motionless on the ground. “He was thoroughly beaten until he died and his assailants did not realise he was already dead and that they were flogging a dead person,” alleged Ndlovu.

After the beating and upon realising that Xaba was dead, the four are alleged to have bungled him inside the boot of his Opel Astra sedan and drove to a forest where the body was dumped and covered with tree branches. The body was allegedly discovered sometime this week in a very decomposed state. According to Ndlovu, the body was discovered after the deceased’s car overtuned with the quartet on board killing two of them on the spot and injuring the others.

He said when the South African police arrived at the scene, they looked for the number plate and were shocked that it was the car they had been looking for. When the police, according to Ndlovu, asked the whereabouts of the owner (Xaba) of the car because he had been reported missing for the past two weeks, the injured suspects are alleged to have not wasted time and explicitly explained to the police that they killed him and later dumped his body in a forest.

The police were then taken to the scene where the body was found. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said he was yet to check with his South African counterparts because the deceased was reported missing in that country.


King’s Golf Cup grand prize slashed

Sports Section

By QONDILE SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-04-Sep-2009

MBABANE – In a shocking move, the grand prize money for the King’s Golf Cup has been slashed from the initial E200 000 to as low as E57 750.

The changes, also confirmed by the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze, were made in cognizant of the professional golfers’ rule where those making the top 25 cut get a share in the tournament’s bigger cake.

However, it should be noted that the changes are contrary to the figures announced before the tournament’s patron His Majesty King Mswati 111 when the tournament was launched last week The minister said tha change was aimed at meeting the international trend where all golfers participating in a tournament went home smiling at the end of the day.

“What we have been doing in previous years was our local standard and because the tournament is international, we felt it would be right to follow international standards,” he said. The minister also confirmed that the changes in the prize breakdown had been endorsed by His Majesty King Mswati III.

The new breakdown in the prizes indicates that the runner-up will pocket slightly over E41 000, the third E29 595 while number four will pocket E23 625. The golfer in position 25 will get E5 600. Local professionals participating in the tournament gave the new set up a thumbs up and said it was time the tournament observed international trends.

Meshack Zwane said the prize breakdown was worth it, especially for the local golfers. He said it was disturbing that golfers would put effort while playing, only to find that more than half of the prize package would be given to only one person.

“This is encouraging to everyone because at the end of the day there will be something to smile home about,” he said. Echoing him was Peter Dlamini, who described the whole process as fair. He said it was good that they categorised the professionals according to their respective level as it accommodated everyone.

He said he was certain that the more than 60 per cent of the money would go to the locals, which he said was encouraging. The professionals are expected to finish playing this afternoon in preparation for the Amateurs tourney scheduled for tomorrow.


King at SADC Summit next week

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-04-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III is expected to attend the 29th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government on Tuesday and Wednesday to be held in Kinshasa

HIS Majesty King Mswati III is expected to attend the 29th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government on Tuesday and Wednesday to be held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has said.

Proceedings of the meeting will start with the meeting of the Organ Troika Summit attended by Heads of States on Tuesday. The standing committee of senior officials and council of ministers will also take place before the Heads of States and Government meet.

South Africa is due to hand over the SADC Chairmanship to President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo.


‘Swazi journos to blame for falling standards’

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-04-Sep-2009

UNIVERSITY of Swaziland (UNISWA) journalism lecturer Dr Maxwell Mthembu has called upon local journalists to do a self-introspection.

Dr Mthembu said journalists were partly to blame for the status quo on issues of censorship and like matters because they had 'messed up' many times in their work.

"They have messed up the profession through insulting members of society who have no right of reply. There are also several inaccuracies in their (journalists') reporting, taking of sides, passing innuendoes, etc. "The journalism profession in Swaziland has really gone to the dogs," he said.

The Journalism lecturer was speaking at Royal Swazi Spa's banqueting arena when presenting a paper on 'Censorship, media and freedom of expression in Swaziland'. This was during the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Regional AGM which commenced yesterday and ends tomorrow. He alluded though, as per earlier assertion by MISA Swaziland National Director Comfort Mabuza and Information Officer Michael Motsa that censorship was both self-imposed and external forces were at play in it.

"There is no powerful media in Swaziland hence the urgent need for new publications to serve the interests of the public. There are also cultural restraints to press freedom such as respect, equality being out of question and legislation that stifles freedom (of expression).

"Amongst the legislation which could prove a threat to press freedom is the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 and Electronic Records and Evidence Act of 2009. Another hindrance to freedom of expression in the media is fear as journalists are uncertain what would happen to one's family, spouse, etc. after pursuing a particular story," he said.

Being a Swazi the repercussions had far reaching consequences as one could be summoned even at chiefdom level if accused of pursuing a certain line of thinking. The other threat to media freedom he made mention of was journalists being on the pay pocket of private financiers.


Domestic, foreign partnerships needed to survive tough times

Main Section

By Teetee Zwane - THE SWAZI TIMES-04-Sep-2009

STRONG partnerships with both domestic and foreign institutions as well as investors could help the country survive the global economic crisis, industry stakeholders have noted.

During the tough times currently faced globally, we can survive through formations of strong partnerships with both domestic and foreign institutions, investors and other stakeholders,” said Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Chairman Musa Dlamini yesterday during a trade and investment seminar at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre.

“In order to survive we need to change the way we have been doing things, reengineer our companies, re-strategise and become a major player globally. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, I quote, ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy’.”

He noted that when Commerce Minister Jabulile Mashwama launched this year’s Trade Fair she said it was basically an initiative by government to provide a strategic and focused trade platform that showcases the latest and most innovative products in goods and services from public and private sector orgnisations. The minister had noted, Dlamini said, that the event created a one-stop shop where all exhibitors, in and out of Swaziland and visitors were able to mingle and exchange contacts and network in one place while for some, it was an opportunity to sell their goods to the thousands of visitors who attend.

To this end, the chairman said SIPA was committed to offering investors a home for their global business in Swaziland and to promote domestic investors in order to create a vibrant local private sector through its linkage programme by encouraging joint ventures, partnerships between local or domestic investors and foreign investors.

“Regardless of whether you are an experienced business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, you will find SIPA’s expert advice in setting up and growing your businesses helpful; from identifying a suitable site to employing workers, obtaining permits, visas and even getting schools for your dependents if you are a foreign investor,” assured Dlamini.

He said from SIPA’s perspective, the theme for the 2009 Swaziland International Trade Fair (SITF): “Renewal of Swazi Business in Global Trade” means far reaching changes in the “rules of doing business” and the institutions that shape the economic activity.

Dlamini said many, if not most, of the influential economic countries participate in the global arena through international partnerships.


Queen finds Swazi roots in Moz

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-05-Sep-2009

Swaziland and Mozambique will find ways of working together in ensuring that orphaned and vulnerable children are well looked after and brought up in a good environment,” Her Majesty Indlovukazi has said.

Her Majesty made these remarks when reporting about her three - day state visit to Mozambique. She said together with her delegation they were able to visit an orphanage where that country’s orphans were living. She said the environment was very amicable there, and the children are well taken care of.

“They are healthy and good looking one cannot even tell that they are orphans. We will be working with that country with a view of trying to establish a similar facility in the country where local orphans can live and be well looked after. What that country is doing in terms of taking care of orphans is praiseworthy indeed.

“I was also told that they have since put up about five similar facilities which means that they are serious about the welfare of their needy children. “As a country, we will be talking to them to find out how they can assist us, because we are also facing a high number of orphans in the country” Her Majesty said. On another note, the Indlovukazi also mentioned that the Mozambican people were delighted about her visit and said they would have loved for her and her delegation to stay longer and enjoy the hospitality they had to offer. Her Majesty described the visit as a homecoming, citing that they also visited KwaTembe province where they learnt about the relationship the Tembe tribe had with Swazi people.

“In fact, that area is part of Swaziland because when you follow the history of the Swazi nation you get to know that we settled there before trekking further down to present day Swaziland.

“We met an old man who narrated the history of the great migration to us and I got to appreciate the relationship we have with that country,” Her Majesty said. Her Majesty left the country on Wednesday and this is the second time she visits that country. Her delegation included among others, Minister Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini and Prince Masitsela.


Queen finds Swazi roots in Moz

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-05-Sep-2009

Swaziland and Mozambique will find ways of working together in ensuring that orphaned and vulnerable children are well looked after and brought up in a good environment,” Her Majesty Indlovukazi has said.

Her Majesty made these remarks when reporting about her three - day state visit to Mozambique. She said together with her delegation they were able to visit an orphanage where that country’s orphans were living. She said the environment was very amicable there, and the children are well taken care of.

“They are healthy and good looking one cannot even tell that they are orphans. We will be working with that country with a view of trying to establish a similar facility in the country where local orphans can live and be well looked after. What that country is doing in terms of taking care of orphans is praiseworthy indeed.

“I was also told that they have since put up about five similar facilities which means that they are serious about the welfare of their needy children. “As a country, we will be talking to them to find out how they can assist us, because we are also facing a high number of orphans in the country” Her Majesty said. On another note, the Indlovukazi also mentioned that the Mozambican people were delighted about her visit and said they would have loved for her and her delegation to stay longer and enjoy the hospitality they had to offer. Her Majesty described the visit as a homecoming, citing that they also visited KwaTembe province where they learnt about the relationship the Tembe tribe had with Swazi people.

“In fact, that area is part of Swaziland because when you follow the history of the Swazi nation you get to know that we settled there before trekking further down to present day Swaziland.

“We met an old man who narrated the history of the great migration to us and I got to appreciate the relationship we have with that country,” Her Majesty said. Her Majesty left the country on Wednesday and this is the second time she visits that country. Her delegation included among others, Minister Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini and Prince Masitsela.


Human rights commission launched

Main Section

By Sisho Magagula - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-05-Sep-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III has appointed the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration.

Former Minister of Justice and attorney-at-law, Reverend David Matse heads the Commission, which also constitutes the Integrity Commission in terms of section 242 of the national constitution.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ndumiso during a press conference on Friday. Prominent traditional healer-turned pastor, Reverend Grace Masilela of the Nazarene Church has been appointed Deputy Commissioner with four others, namely Princess Sidvumolesihle, Chief Mawandla, Phumelele Thwala and Sabelo Masuku.

Both Thwala and Masuku are qualified lawyers. The minister said the other individuals represent a cross section of local society including gender. Mawandla is chief of Phonjwane area in the Lubombo region. The appointments have been made pursuant to Chapter Six, Part 2 and Section 163 of the constitution. The Ingwenyama made the appointments on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

“Much is expected from this Commission under Section 164 of the constitution, where the functions of this much awaited Libandla are listed. I would urge the nation to read and re-read the constitution. Having been duly appointed by the hand of His Royal Majesty out of over 1.2 million Swazis in the kingdom and found mostly of His Majesty’s trust as persons possessing high moral character and proven integrity, we wish them the wisdom of King Solomon of old, God’s tenure and guidance as they embark and discharge their duties in their own office, the Ministry of Justice has delivered under its motto of Government unusual – to name but a few,” said the Minister.

Some of the functions of the Human Rights Commission include investigating complaints concerning alleged violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, investigating complaints concerning the functions of any key public service commission, and the armed forces in so far as the complaints relate to the failure to achieve acceptable delivery of service or equitable access by all in the recruitment of those services or fair administration by those services.

The Commission shall also promote and foster strict adherence to the rule of law and principles of natural justice in public administration. Clerk to Parliament Sanele Nxumalo recently informed the Weekend Observer that public office bearers were unable to make declarations of their assets and liabilities due to the non-existence of the Integrity Commission. The same commission doubles up as the Integrity Commission.

Members of Parliament and cabinet ministers have still not made declarations despite assuming their respective public offices last year. The Integrity Commission has the responsibility of receiving declaration of assets and liabilities and for enforcing the Leadership Code of Conduct.


SEND THIS GUY BACK TO GHANA!

Sports Section

By Sabelo Ndzinisa - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-05-Sep-2009

I almost fell off my chair reading an article about an incident that apparently played itself out at the Somhlolo National Stadium last Friday in an MTN League game involving Eleven Men In Flight and Hub Sundowns.

At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me after reading that an Eleven Men player, who originates from Ghana, did a ‘kung-fu’ attack on an unsuspecting local premier league referee after he was given a red card for a professional foul.

This player, known as Nana, vented his frustrations on referee Enock Silenge, unleashing powerful punches that would have even left former world heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson green with envy. It was despicable, to say the least.

We understand that in soccer, emotions sometimes do run high but we do not expect professional players to allow this to override their level of reasoning. What this guy did can never be condoned, no matter how apologetic he can be. His actions show that he joined the wrong sport, maybe he should consider trying boxing where such acts are allowed. He failed to act as a professional and must be made to pay for his sins.

It’s a pity that he has now put his team into serious trouble with the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) because, according to the rules and regulations of the league, a E15 000 fine awaits the Siteki-based outfit if found guilty by the Disciplinary Committee (DC) of this offence.

This is not meant to influence whatever punishment would be taken against the team or the player but some of us are following the developments in this case with keen interest. Football is a sport that is supposed to unify people, not to instigate violence.

As much as local referees do commit glaring blunders but players should not take matters into their own hands when they feel aggrieved by a decision. Silenge is even fortunate that police officers present at the stadium quickly intervened and saved his skin because the player was apparently hell-bent at beating the daylights out of him.

It’s such things that tend to create a negative picture of our football, particularly when it is done by players. How do you explain such to the sponsors, MTN especially when they have openly declared their unhappiness on the administration of the league?

You don’t expect such and I’d be happy if Eleven Men also take strong action against the player. If anything, such foreign players who have no respect for local referees should not just be suspended but told to pack their bags and head back to their countries. We don’t want such nonsense in our league! I’m even surprised that PLS CEO Sydney Simelane has not uttered even a single word on this incident. I mean, this happened in full view of those present at the stadium and an efficient CEO would have quickly released a statement condemning this but not uMnguni, who instead is busy displaying his stinking attitude towards journalists.

He should be focusing his energy on cleaning such mess in our football instead of prouncing around his ego towards journalists because, for his information, some of us are not intimidated by him.

No one wins a battle against the media, no matter how hard they try. He should ask his predecessor, I’m sure he would get better advice on what happens when you mess around with the media.

Anyway, my point is that Simelane should be seen to be doing something, not just to wait for the Disciplinary Committee (DC) to deal with the case. We don’t want karatekas or boxers in this game but football players who will adhere to the laid down rules of the game. We should all unite to eradicate elements of violence in our game. Got that, Mr CEO? Enjoy your weekend!


Finance Ministers to learn from Cyprian experience

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-05-Sep-2009

Finance Ministers from Commonwealth countries will meet in Limassol, Cyprus between 30 September to 2 October 2009 to share and learn from their experiences in responding to the global economic crisis.

At the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting (CFMM), Ministers will review country experiences, seek to distil good practices, explore mutual support, and identify how the Commonwealth Secretariat can best assist. The meeting to be held at the Grand Resort Hotel, Limassol will run from 1 to 2 October 2009.

The opening ceremony, to which media are invited, will also be held on the evening of 30 September at the Grand Resort, Limassol at 18:30 hours. This will be preceded earlier in the day on 30 September 2009 by separate meetings of Commonwealth central bank governors, members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Debt Sustainability Forum, and Commonwealth senior finance officials.

The CFMM will take place immediately prior to the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund--being held this year in Istanbul, Turkey. “The economic crisis is contributing to the shaping of the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat and this meeting will be critical in identifying further areas of technical assistance and advocacy through which the Secretariat can support members in coping with the implications of the crisis,” said Ransford Smith, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Smith added that the meeting is an opportunity for the Commonwealth’s membership – drawn from all parts of the global community – to learn from each other in difficult and unprecedented economic circumstances.


Guns, explosives smuggled into SD

Main Section

By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-05-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Guns, explosives and other war missiles are alleged to have been smuggled into the country to be used in an operation to assassinate the country’s influential politicians and other high ranking members of royalty.

Sources close to the matter allege that police were tipped on the plot by some disgruntled members of the progressives who were originally part of the assassination crusade as they pursue political change.

Suspicion had been that the crusade was to be launched yesterday to coincide with the failed Ngwenya border blockade by COSATU members that were ironically joined by local progressives. Among other things the blockade was aimed at pressurising Swaziland authorities to unban political parties, released arrested PUDEMO President Mario Masuku and stripping Swaziland of the SADC’s TROIKA position.

smuggled

Information the police had was that guns and explosives were smuggled into the country during the course of last month. September, police sources revealed, had been set as the month of action. The intention, police sources added, was to bomb buildings, kill influential people who are opposed to change.

Others were to be killed for consolidating the intent and quest for change. According to a source, an intensive search by senior police investigators to find the people behind the planned assignations is already ongoing with the latest person to have been allegedly captured and tortured being SWAYOCO President Wandile Dludlu.

Our police sources revealed that Dludlu (who had been out of the country) had been identified as the mastermind of the whole operation and what compounded matters was the fact that he came back into the country yesterday- coincidentally during the COSATU blockade.

operation

“Our suspicion was that he was planning the whole operation with his friends in South Africa. We had been told that he was out of the country and our team camped for him at the border gate. Indeed he came,” said the source. Information gathered was that Dludlu who entered the country at around 1pm was taken by the police and driven to the Mbabane Police Station where at first he was accused of uttering seditious statements.

“The boy was captured yesterday afternoon at the Ngwenya- Oshoek border post on his return from a private visit in South Africa. He was not part of the blockade but his arrival coincided with it. He was driven away in a police car with a South African registration,” said a source. “Upon arrival at the Mbabane Police Station he was told that he had made certain utterances at the picketing that were viewed as seditious. He denied having been part of the picketing as he had just arrived in the country,” added the source.

“With the police having no evidence to prove he had made certain utterances they did not charge him but instead left the Mbabane Police Station with him on board. There were four police officers in the car including the driver. Believing that he knew something about the arms and plot, the police investigators drove away with the SWAYOCO boy from the police station to an obscured forest in Mhlambanyatsi which is adjacent to the Foresters Arms Hotel”.

Once there, Dludlu was allegedly tortured where police demanded the whole truth or face the consequences.

The torturing exercise, it was established, began roughly after 3pm. Swazi News was reliably informed that the police kept questioning Dludlu about the whereabouts of the arms which they believed he knew. With no knowledge of what the police were talking about, Dludlu pleaded his innocence but in vain.

“The police investigators were later joined in the forest by one of their colleagues. None of the four police physically abused Dludlu”, said the source. Dludlu was apparently dumped in Mbabane not far away from the Coronation Park just after 7pm last night.

“He was told that what follows next for him is death. I think he is pleased to be alive as at one time one police officer while in the forest suggested that he been killed and that no one will know or find him,” said the source. When Swazi News contacted Dludlu last night who had difficulty speaking while awaiting doctors at the Mbabane Government Hospital, he confirmed the ordeal he allegedly suffered in police’s hands. He also confirmed that he had to give out names to the police of people marked for death and further admitted knowledge of guns and explosives.

death

He claims he did this to save his life as he stared death. Dludlu said he had to tell police that guns are at Corporation while explosives are somewhere in Nkhaba. “I am feeling dizzy at the moment and need to go and see the doctor. I cannot say much as I am weak and unwell now. Please contact me tomorrow and maybe I will be feeling well,” he said briefly. He was given an injection and handed tablets by nurses at around 9:30pm. Police PRO Vusi Masuku confirmed that Dludlu was taken by police to Mbabane Police Station for questioning following some statements he uttered together with other people from South Africa who were engaged in the violation of international laws of causing blockade in the gazetted entry and exit point at Ngwenya border.

“One may also sound some words of advice to some citizens of this country to desist from the habit of colluding with foreign nationals with intent to disturb peace and undermine the economy of the country.

Members of the law enforcement agencies have the duty to question and advise any person who might be infringing an existing legal principle,” said Masuku. Reacting to the allegations of torture against Dludlu, Masuku said full-blown investigations will be launched. “The investigations will help establish if all the allegations that are flying around about the police are true or not. However, to the best of my knowledge such did not happen. He was only taken to the police station for questioning and later released,” said Masuku.


SPTC ‘has its own little mobile’

Main Section

By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-06-Sep-2009

MBABANE—Some SPTC employees are making very affordable calls on their own mobile phones.

The project, which was supposed to be launched this weekend, was stopped by government which said it needed to be brought up to speed with all the initiatives that the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation was up to.

The mobile numbers have eight digits and according to one of the employees, the calling rates are much lower than those of MTN Swaziland. “Everything was already in place in terms of infrastructure for the mobile phone company to be launched and therefore, some feel this should not just stay there without being put to use,” said the employee.

The employee said in order to get the mobile working, there was a certain subscription that they paid to MTN which is similar to the subscription of things like the Internet. About E500million was spent on this project, which was suddenly halted in July two months before the big launch. The digits begin with the number 7 and only a few of the employees have these phones.

“It is more of a test, but should government allow the project to continue then it is clear that this will work in a similar fashion as those for MTN,” said the employee. During the official opening of the International Trade Fair last weekend, SPTC revealed a wireless mobile which the company said it would lower the costs of telecommunication both to customers and SPTC.

The company is now phasing out the fixed line communications that requires cable installation but instead it would be done via the network similar to what MTN does. Although government halted the project, engineers who were contracted to set up the network continued with finishing off the installation.

Last week, the Times SUNDAY quoted SPTC’s Communications Manager Lindiwe Dlamini as saying the country had missed out on a huge opportunity of lowering communication costs following the failed fixed mobile project. Fixed mobile telecommunications is a project which would have significantly lowered the costs of communication in the country and had it been implemented it would have directly attacked the monopoly that is currently being enjoyed by Swazi MTN. The technology came as a package and now they were going to use part of it and the rest of it if they got a go ahead from the country’s authorities.


Lesbian abandoned her mother

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By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-06-Sep-2009

MANZINI—She has been on ARVs for the last 13 years and is unemployed.

She sometimes spends days without food with her two grandchildren who are aged nine and 13 years. She says she has been living with them ever since they were born in the one roomed flat located in one of the skwatta camps located in Manzini.

Inside the room, there is a hot plate with two pots on it and clothes are littered everywhere, and there is a bunk bed where she puts up below and her two grandchildren on top, facing opposite directions and there is a strong feel of poverty. She lives a life of a beggar as she moves around the Manzini city begging for food so that she would survive with the HIV/AIDS treatment she is taking.

She does not fear declaring her status to us and to the world because she says she needs help. She feels she is about to die and she foresees disaster that will befall her family. She says what bothers her is the fate of the two children who are in her custody. “I have tried to put them up for adoption, but seemingly no one is interested in them,” when she says this, her eyes suddenly turn red and tears start to flow.

This the sad story of Sharon Potgieter, who is often referred to as ‘granny’ by her neighbours at the skwatta camp where she lives, that is located around Hhelehhele and her two grandsons who are full of life. The children who worry her this much belong to the President of the Gays and Lesbians Association Thuli Rudd, who is often referred to as Thulani by her gay and lesbian friends.

According to Potgieter, Thuli has rejected her children to the extent that when she was pressed to pay maintenance for her children who are in the custody of her mother, she forcefully took the children and dumped them in an orphanage. “I was not happy that my grand children were going to live like orphans when their mother and grandmother were alive,” she said. She said she then fetched the children from the orphanage and she lives from hand to mouth with them with no help forthcoming from their mother.

Thuli lives with her fiancée around the Fairview suburbs and has a good job at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital. She works for NERCHA on attachment from the organ-isation. Her fiancée works for the Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS). Her mother says she is sad that last week Thuli proposed marriage to a young woman, whom she believes had a future in her hands until ‘she allowed the madness of her daughter to twist her mind’.

“What angers me is that she promised and declared that she was going to take care of that woman both financially and otherwise. How could she provide for her when she is failing to maintain her children let alone her HIV+ mother who is living in abject poverty,” she said. During our interview the youngest of Thuli’s children would chip in and assist her granny to explain how misery and strife was driving them to the doldrums of poverty.

Sometimes granny falls sick and there is no one to provide food for us, we then go out to look for food from our neighbours and at times we go to town to beg for food,” she said. *Teyise is the daughter of a PUDEMO stalwart who will not be revealed for now. According to Potgieter, the stalwart is currently battling with sickness which has forced him out of work for a long-time.

“Before he got sick, he used to give us E200 monthly as maintenance and this money was not enough because mantaining children is expensive,” she said.

Potgieter said she was praying for his survival everyday with the children and she said, “I pray that God heals him so that she would continue to look after his child.” Nb: Teyise is not her real name.

I don’t approve of their marriage MANZINI— Sharon Potgieter has told this newspaper that she does not approve of her daughter’s proposed marr-iage to another female. Potgieter has told this newspaper that Thuli was a disgrace to her and she had on several occasions tried to convince her to drop the lesbian ‘rubbish’ which her daughter was doing. “I have tried everything. We used to pray for her everyday with her children, asking God to help her come out of the mess she is in now,” she said. Potgieter told this newspaper that they were no longer praying for her because it had been years that Thuli has neglected them ever since she discovered that she loved women. “I took it upon myself to take care of the children because Thuli’s sexual preference was driving her crazy, and she neglected her children for women,” she said. She said her family was totally against her daughter’s sexuality and she sounded surprised that there were claims that both members of the couple’s families attended the function where Rudd declared her undying love to the young and petite Pitseng Vilakati. “I can tell you now I did not attend that thing and I can confirm to you that none of my family members attended,” she said. Potgieter said she believed her daughter was cursed, however, she says she has stopped praying for her because seemingly her prayers were not helping. “I have lost hope in her, in fact I have since written her off my heart. I am now living for these children. Had it not been for them, I believe I would probably be dead by now.”


NO DAILY NEWSPAPERS TODAY!

Main Section

The Correspondent - SWAZILIVE-07-Sep-2009

SWAZILIVE EXTENDS CONGRATULATIONS TO HIS MAJESTY THE KING, AND THE INDLOVUKAZI.

Yesterday, the 7 September 2009, was celebrated in Swaziland as Independence Day. It has been 41 years of Independence, and the country has a lot to show in terms of development - both in human resources and physical infrastructure.

Challenges will always remain but Swazis can be proud of the fact that they are still united in peace.
Due to the fact that Independence Day was held on a Sunday - Monday the 9 September, is regarded as a Public Holiday. Therefore, no daily newspapers have been published.

SWAZILIVE will return tomorrow with a choice selection of simmering stories from our local newspapers.


Gold mine of ‘death’

Main Section

By Phila - SWAZI TIMES-08-Sep-2009

LUFAFA – They risk their lives by spending days underground, illegally digging up trenches with the hope that they would find gold

Some find it but some don’t. In fact, some have already made the furrows their destined ‘home of fortune’ as they have placed some ‘furniture-like’ structures to prove ownership. It was gathered that trespassing near these furrows might lead to confrontation or war. The place is situated in the northern Hhohho region, a few kilometres from Hhelehhele just across the Mlumati River.

It is so quiet, and very much respected by the residents that they normally don’t show the place to strangers. Ladders, candles, ropes and self made pulling machines were found scattered near the trenches on Saturday. So passionate are the miners that they even seek the intervention of traditionalists who sprinkle lucky powder around the trenches before they go in.

This normally happens a day before they conduct their illegal digging exercises. Information gathered is that the exercise sometimes lasts a day, a week or even a month, depending on the luck that the miners have.

It took the Times crew more than an hour to finally convince residents to show them the position of ‘sacred’ place. Some even warned the crew to be careful as there are ‘gods’ guarding the place. “Just cross that river and look for red signs on the rocks leading to the place, but be careful since the gods are watching you,” warned an elderly man.

It was gathered that most of the illegal miners, who have already struck it rich by successfully extracting the gold pebbles, are plying their trade in countries like South Africa and Zambia. They are said to be frequently coming back to the scene, this time around driving luxurious cars, to get more of the unfinished product.

“Those who were successful are untouchable and we suspect that they actually supply other mining companies in South Africa,” revealed two self confessed illegal miners who were found a few metres from the mining spot. Their names will not be published for ethical reasons.

The miners revealed that because of the abject poverty they were subjected to, most residents were helping themselves to the abandoned gold mountain, Lufafa. “Actually, we feel like we are an abandoned society which is why we go for the gold. It has become our only source of income. “As you can see, there are no roads and the place is too rocky for farming,” explained the miners.


Nigerian convicted for compressed dagga

Main Section

By SABELO MAZIBUKO - SWAZI TIMES-08-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The Mbabane police on Wednesday nabbed a Nigerian for being found in possession of nine kilograms of compressed dagga without a valid licence.

Mike Duru, 33, committed the offence on September 2, 2009 while at Bhikini and was arrested and formally charged at the Mbabane police station. He appeared at the Mbabane Magistrate’s Court and pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against him. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison on the first count with an option of a fine amounting to E1 500 and a month in prison on the second count with an option of E500 fine.

“The sentence is to run concurrently,” said the magistrate. At the time of compiling the report, the Nigerian had not paid the fine. Meanwhile, police from Ezulwini police station arrested a 22-year-old man for stealing a bicycle worth E1 200, which belonged to Thembinkhosi Dludlu.

Machawe Khanyile pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecutor applied that he be remanded to custody pending setting of a trial date on Friday. Khanyile is alleged to have stolen a 21 speed platinum bicycle valued at E1 200. The accused was admitted to bail fixed at E200 on condition he should not commit a similar offence, attend remands and stand trial, as well as not interfere with crown witnesses while the matter is pending.


Visiting golfers, business people network at King’s Cup dinner

Sports Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-08-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Visiting golfers and local business people had a chance to network during the King’s Cup Golf Tournament Business Forum and Networking dinner held at Gigi’s Restaurant on Friday.

When presenting, Zizwe Vilane, Director of Foreign Direct Investment of the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) said potential areas of collaboration between local and foreign investors included: agro-industries, tourism and international services, manufacturing, infrastructure and construction as well as trade.

“With manufacturing, we have easy and duty free access to the South African market; there is the possibility to manufacture and supply FDI companies; to do value addition in timber, furniture, etc and to use Swaziland’s low cost position to manufacture for international markets. Another advantage is the country’s proximity to the Mozambican market,” he said.

Power

He added other areas of investment, including: energy (power generation and bio-fuels) as well as in renewable energy. Vilane noted that there were opportunities for investment in mining, with coal, diamonds, iron ore, silica and kaolin, among others.

“The benefit with investing in Swaziland include: strategic location, investor safety, superb physical infrastructure, comparatively low cost base, investment protection, developed financial services sector, attractive investment incentives, educated, skilled and readily available labour force as well as institutional support,” he said.

Marketing Manager of the Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) Bongani Dlamini gave an overview of the tourism industry in Swaziland and its benefits to visitors while Sihle Fakudze of the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) presented on investment possibilities and the role that the FSE&CC plays in promoting an economic environment conducive to attracting investment and savings


SD experiencing effects of climate change

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Sep-2009

SWAZILAND, like many other countries in the southern hemisphere is gradually experiencing frightening effects of climate change and the Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku reckons quick interventions must be put in place to avoid a looming calamity.

Speaking yesterday during the official opening ceremony of the Lutheran World Federation Southern Africa Regional consultation on the impact of climate change on food security, Masuku observed that climate change was already happening before everyone’s eyes.

The conference is held at the Royal Swazi Sun Convention Centre. Masuku advised scientists and researchers who are the custodians of knowledge and research to disseminate information in the simplest manner, further observing that the use of jargon and sophisticated words have confused and prevented people from understanding what climate change is and how it is affecting humankind.

He said the farmer, rural dweller and all ordinary people at the grassroot level must be made to understand that the responsibility to keep the planet in the condition in which God created it lies in the hands of humans. He noted that climate change had been caused by humankind, who are responsible for the increased atmospheric level of gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases, and other activities such as bush fires, deforestation and other activities which increase the concentration of gases in the atmosphere.

Highlighting some of the effects of climate change in Swaziland, Masuku said the country had suffered tremendous crop and livestock losses from persistent droughts and floods that have reduced crop yields.

Meanwhile, the DPM said Swaziland was joining the international community in seeking sustainable solutions for reducing carbon emissions and seeking for a greener environment. In this regard, he said through government’s decentralisation policy, such should reach all the citizens, even those at grassroot level.

He also made a commitment that the country would domesticate all conventions it had ratified and further work towards ratifying those that have a bearing on climate change and food security which have not been ratified.


Schools open today

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Sep-2009

SCHOOLS are opening today. Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Training Pat Muir said all schools were expected to have opened today

This comes in the light of some parents and students being worried that schools may not open because of the reed dance in the Shiselweni region.

He clarified that the reed dance would not affect the opening of schools for the third term.


ZIMBABWEAN RUNS ILLEGAL CLINIC

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Sep-2009

GOVERNMENT has ordered the immediate closure of an illegal clinic operated by a Zimbabwean national at Sidvokodvo.

Two senior officials from the ministry of health swopped on the shop last Wednesday and found that there were serious discrepancies in the matter it operated. This was after some members of the public had raised concerns about the clinic. It was discovered that patients were dispensed with expired medication and the operators of the clinic did not have a valid licence, as their initial one expired about four years year ago.

The officials included a chief nursing officer and one of the under secretaries. Upon arrival at the clinic, they are said to have posed as patients. Just as they were about to be attended to, they made their mission known.\

They asked to inspect the clinic’s crucial departments such as the dispensary. They were also not pleased with the state of the building, in which the clinic is housed. Some of the medications were not even stored in appropriate places, whilst others did not even have expiry dates. It was also gathered that the owner was not a registered medical practitioner as should be the case. His name neither appears within the nursing council or the medical and dental council.

“The owner was found to be a mere medical laboratory technologist from Zimbabwe. Given such qualifications, it is possible that patients were given wrong medications,” said an expert. A majority of employees at the Clinic were also not skilled, but residents from the locality. After the officials ascertained that the grounds on which the clinic operated were not satisfactory, they ordered its closure.

However, the Zimbabwean owner had initially refused to budge. “He was not co-operative at first. It was only after it was explained to him that he deserved more – to be arrested for this – that he started cooperating. His excuse was that he was helping the community who would have suffered or travelled long distances for medical help.”

Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Steven Shongwe said a decision on what should be done to the owner of the clinic would be taken in due course. Dr. Shongwe confirmed that the clinic had been closed and said the ministry had a task of tracing the patients that were assisted by the clinic.

“It is a serious matter, which we are not taking lightly. What we are working on is investigating how he came to operate that clinic as according to our knowledge, he is just a medical laboratory technologist,” said Dr Shongwe.


ZIMBABWEAN RUNS ILLEGAL CLINIC

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Sep-2009

GOVERNMENT has ordered the immediate closure of an illegal clinic operated by a Zimbabwean national at Sidvokodvo.

Two senior officials from the ministry of health swopped on the shop last Wednesday and found that there were serious discrepancies in the matter it operated. This was after some members of the public had raised concerns about the clinic. It was discovered that patients were dispensed with expired medication and the operators of the clinic did not have a valid licence, as their initial one expired about four years year ago.

The officials included a chief nursing officer and one of the under secretaries. Upon arrival at the clinic, they are said to have posed as patients. Just as they were about to be attended to, they made their mission known.\

They asked to inspect the clinic’s crucial departments such as the dispensary. They were also not pleased with the state of the building, in which the clinic is housed. Some of the medications were not even stored in appropriate places, whilst others did not even have expiry dates. It was also gathered that the owner was not a registered medical practitioner as should be the case. His name neither appears within the nursing council or the medical and dental council.

“The owner was found to be a mere medical laboratory technologist from Zimbabwe. Given such qualifications, it is possible that patients were given wrong medications,” said an expert. A majority of employees at the Clinic were also not skilled, but residents from the locality. After the officials ascertained that the grounds on which the clinic operated were not satisfactory, they ordered its closure.

However, the Zimbabwean owner had initially refused to budge. “He was not co-operative at first. It was only after it was explained to him that he deserved more – to be arrested for this – that he started cooperating. His excuse was that he was helping the community who would have suffered or travelled long distances for medical help.”

Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Steven Shongwe said a decision on what should be done to the owner of the clinic would be taken in due course. Dr. Shongwe confirmed that the clinic had been closed and said the ministry had a task of tracing the patients that were assisted by the clinic.

“It is a serious matter, which we are not taking lightly. What we are working on is investigating how he came to operate that clinic as according to our knowledge, he is just a medical laboratory technologist,” said Dr Shongwe.


7 000 beds still needed for 2010

Main Section

By Teetee Zwane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Sep-2009

THERE is still a shortage of 7 000 beds in neighbouring Mbombela, Mpumalanga province host city for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it has been revealed.

This gives an opportunity for the local hospitality industry to capitalise on this shortage through providing the needed beds, noted 2010 Technical Committee Chairman Apollo Maphalala. “I was recently informed that out of the 55 000 beds required in Mbombela host city, they’re still about 7 000 short, which is provides an opportunity for the local business community,” he said.

Maphalala said the 2010 technical committee had established documented relationships with Mozambique and the Mpumalanga province on issues related to the world cup event. “A lot of work has been done in creating programmes of joint cooperation in such areas as tourism, entertainment and others. A joint 2010 activity calendar for the region is in the pipeline,” he said.

“We want to get people to have breakfast in Swaziland, lunch in Mozambique and dinner in Nelspruit and all this is actually possible. We want to combine the culture of Swaziland with Mozambique’s beaches and Mpumalanga’s nature reserves.” The chairman said this initiative has since been termed the BBC (Bush, Beach, Culture) Concept between the three countries. “We need entrepreneurs who will stand at an elevated point and foresee or envision business opportunities from such ‘forests’,” he added.

Meanwhile, Maphalala said training programmes for such groups as public transport personnel, front-liners in the hospitality industry, filling station attendants in such topics as service excellence, customer care and others were to commence this quarter.

“This is aimed at countering attrition amongst trainees. The Swaziland Tourism Authority has since engaged petrol attendants because it is a reality that they don’t know tourist destinations so it is important that they are trained,” he noted.

On the other hand, the chairman said the committee had engaged public transport operators with the view to assemble a realistic and effective 2010 transport operation plan. He said even though executives of the associations of public transport vehicles had raised a lot of concerns, plans for a more tourist-friendly transport service continue to be hatched. “We will have more meetings with the transport stakeholders this year as 2010 draws closer,” he added.

Maphalala said the committee had also dealt with the creation of marketing platforms in target countries through the facilitation of the ministry of foreign affairs, adding that to this extent, the Embassies of Argentina and Japan had been engaged. He said basis for such was the targeting of diplomatic relations, economic standing, countries’ football profiles and other relevant information and issues.

Four borders targeted for 24hr operation

WITH two border posts already set to operate 24 hours by next year, the 2010 Technical Committee is still negotiating with two others to do the same.

Chairman Apollo Maphalala said the committee had engaged the department of immigration with the view to operate four of the country’s border posts on a 24-hour basis by 2010. These being Ngwenya, Lavumisa, Matsamo and Mhlumeni. The Mhlumeni border post started operating 24 hours last week after an agreement between the Swaziland and Mozambique governments. Maphalala said the Ngwenya border post was ready for this move.

“Negotiations are still ongoing but we have been assured that whether the government initiative to have the border open 24 hours doesn’t fall through it will be open during the 2010 World Cup event,” he said. “The 2010 committee has secured consensus with the Oshoek border control officers that from May 18 till July the border will be open 24 hours.”

However, he said there were still difficulties in getting the Lavumisa and Matsamo borders to operate on a 24-hour basis. “We’re still having problems with having these two borders open all day, especially because of infrastructure challenges.”


Food outlet forks out E1.2m to feed children

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Sep-2009

KENTUCKY Fried Chicken (KFC) has forked out E1.2 million for feeding schemes for schools under Manzini South and Mbabane East constituencies

Franchisee Swaziland Mario Primentor said he had always been dreaming of being involved in such a project for the past two years and was happy to finally get the chance to feed children in the country. He described yesterday's launch as the first day of his life. "The feeding programme will run for a life time; as long as KFC still exists in the country, it will also exist. When I arrived in the country, I was involved in chicken business but now I am into charity work. For this project we will spend E100 000 every month," he said.

Primentor added that he was planning to spend up to E250 000 per month for the school feeding projects. During the launch government was represented by Education Minister Wilson Future Ntshangase while Manzini Regional Administrator (RA) Prince Masitsela was represented by Majahonkhe Dlamini. Also present ware Manzini South and Mbabane East MPs Thandi Nxumalo and Esther Dlamini, respectively.

The RA described KFC's contribution to the project as one of the best in the country because it would cater for the future of the country, the children. He said he was aware that this was not the first time the country received financial help from the shop because it also sponsored the Miss Swaziland pageant. "We are proud of the food outlet and wish that it continues with the support.

I would also like to plead with the nation to support it because it has shown that it appreciated everything they received from the nation through the feeding schemes," he said. Manzini South MP Nxumalo also applauded KFC for the support and revealed that they were surprised, when they approached Primentor for the programme, to learn that he already had it in mind. Nxumalo said she was yet to identify the schools to benefit while Mbabane East beneficiaries have already been identified.

These are Mqolo, MDS, Mbabane Central/Cedusizi, Magebhunganeni/ Masomini NCP (all primary schools). Meanwhile, KFC also feeds SOS schools in Nhlangano and Mbabane and spends E30 000 per month.


Inyanga, administrator do kuchela within school premises

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta -- THE SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Sep-2009

AN inyanga has been spotted performing rituals round a controversial school’s premises in Nhlangano in broad daylight.

It’s alleged that the inyanga went about the ‘kuchela’ (sprinkling of a magic potion) around the school in the company of one of the administrators, together with some of the non-teaching staff.

It is alleged that the administrator in question pretended to be supervising the groundsmen in their work when in actual fact he was showing the ‘mutiman’ where to sprinkle the concoction, a powdered substance.

It was after the inyanga started chanting ancestral songs only common among the profession that onlookers became more curious. The incident is said to have happened before schools closed and yesterday, first day of schools re-opening, students and teachers alike discussed the matter in hushed tones


Straying donkey hit by car, farmer fined

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Sep-2009

IN one of the rare cases to reach court, a man has been found guilty after his straying donkey damaged a car.

Samuel Maphalala, employed by Build It Hardware in Nhlangano, was in court yesterday for having failed to take control of his donkey which was bumped by a vehicle driven by one Mabandla Kunene.

Maphalala, who appeared before Magistrate Mandla Mkhaliphi, told the court that he had not sent the donkey to the road when the accident happened. “What happened was not deliberate. I gathered that my donkey was bumped after straying to the road, having been enticed by maize that had spilled on the road. It was while it ate the maize that the vehicle hit it,” the accused told the court. He asked the court to be lenient with him and his donkey, saying although he was responsible for the donkey, he did not take part in its straying into the road.

Magistrate Mkhaliphi remarked that the excuses forwarded by the accused were immaterial. He said with a number of lives lost in the country’s roads as a result of straying animals, the accused should not find it an excuse that what caused the accident was the spilled maize.

“Allowing your animals to stray on the road is a serious offence. It makes no excuse that you did not send the animal. Whether you were not at home on the day in question cannot be considered,” said Magistrate Mkhaliphi. He advised animal owners to always make it a point that they take full control of their animals.

“Unless you have a lot of money, ignore my advice. The penalty for animal owners is severe and for a case like this one, one has to part with not less than E2 000 or two years in jail. The other thing, even the motorist is entitled to apply for compensation for the damage caused on his vehicle,” said Magistrate Mkhaliphi. He later sentenced him to pay a fine of E500 or 50 days in jail.

He paid the fine. Maphalala conducted his own defence while Mandla Dlamini represented the Crown.


SD praised for peaceful, fair elections

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Sep-2009

HEADS of State of the SADC region have praised Swaziland among countries that have held successful, credible, peaceful, free and fair elections recently.

The leaders noted that the elections in the country reflected the will of the people and passed the test of international observers. This transpired during the SADC 29th Summit held in Kinshasa, DRC. The leaders praised the country shortly after His Majesty King Mswati III had presented his report as outgoing Chairman of the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

The leaders expressed deep satisfaction at Swaziland’s leadership role during its tenure and noted that, despite the fact that the period presented mountains of challenges, His Majesty provided good and stable leadership.

In his report earlier, His Majesty said in line with the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections and deepening of democratic culture and values in the region, the summit should note that the region had successfully held a considerable number of elections between August 2008 and July 2009 against the backdrop of challenges facing the region.

“Member states that held both parliamentary and presidential elections during the period under review are: Republic of Angola – September 2008 Kingdom of Swaziland – September 2008 Republic of Zambia – October 2008 Republic of South Africa – April 2009 Republic of Malawi –May 2009 “According to preliminary statements of the missions including SADC Electoral Mission, all the elections were pronounced free, fair and credible, reflecting the will of the citizens of the countries,” he said.

He also announced that the following member states will hold elections in the region between October and November 2009: n Botswana - 16 October 2009 n Mozambique – 28 October 2009 n Namibia – November 2009 n Angola presidential elections to be announced

“Since it is our first ordinary summit, we should also congratulate His Excellency Rupiah Banda of the Republic of Zambia; His Excellency Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi and His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa and wish them well as Heads of State,” he said.


KING CALLS FOR CALM IN REGION’S HOTSPOTS

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Sep-2009

OUTGOING Chairman of the SADC Organ Troika on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation His Majesty King Mswati III has called for calm among warring political structures in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

He said it was important for all the parties to place the best interests of the Basotho nation at heart and to seek for peaceful ways to deal with the political impasse in that country, through dialogue and negotiations.

Lesotho is currently trapped in political tensions following disagreements between the governing party and the opposition regarding positions and the political direction of the country. SADC recently appointed former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire to work as mediator in the situation, but so far the situation has not normalised.

Summit

“The Organ Troika requests the summit to commend His Excellency President Ketumile Masire for a job well done in facilitating dialogue in lesotho. However, the situation in Lesotho is uncertain and a cause for concern as the stakeholders seem to be drifting further apart in spite of all the noble facilitation work that has been done by the eminent person. We have observed, among other things, that SADC should consider further re-inforcing the mediation process in terms of providing a strong support structure,” he said. His Majesty urged all parties concerned to continue to commit themselves to peaceful resolution of this political impasse by denouncing all forms of violence.

Regarding tensions in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, His Majesty noted that the humanitarian situation was still prevailing and that SADC must continue to provide assistance. “We encourage all involved and those helping with facilitation to continue engaging in peaceful dialogue until the DRC enjoys total and sustainable peace,” he said. Meanwhile, on developments in Zimbabwe, the King noted that the inclusive government has assured SADC of its commitment to work together for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe.

Challenges

“We are aware that there may be some challenges, but we are confident that the leadership of Zimbabwe will come up with lasting solutions to all outstanding issues in the agreement. SADC also recognises that the Economic Recovery Programme is well on its way and we would like to appeal to the summit to continue to support the people of Zimbabwe to see it through,” he said.

The King also urged SADC to continue with the noble call and campaign for the removal of all sanctions against Zimbabwe, whilst encouraging the leadership to work together to address all outstanding issues. His Majesty also touched on Madagascar saying it was most unfortunate that despite several efforts by SADC to foster a peaceful and negotiated settlement to the situation in that country, there still were challenges.

“While the solution might not be immediate, we are confident that as they continue working together they will eventually come up with tangible and practical resolutions that will see Madagascar return to constitutional normalcy,” he said. In another matter, the King said the Organ Troika is pleased to observe that as a result of the successful implementation of the decisions that were taken by summit. “Our organisation has been strengthened and is now ready more than ever before to fulfill its mandate and to effectively tackle any challenges facing our community for the benefit of all our peoples. We note with satisfaction that behind all the successes recorded by SADC is a dedicated staff. We, therefore, recommend that summit commend the Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao and his team for excellent performance,” he said.

The King added: “In the same vein, I wish the incoming Chairperson of the Organ Troika President Guebuza of the Republic of Mozambique all the success as we shall be working together in the organ.”


Norway buyer excited about local beef

Main Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-09-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Local feedlotters have been afforded an opportunity to cover the cost put into the business and in the process make profit through a bonus offered by the Swaziland Meat Industries (SMI).

However, this applies if the feedlotter’s cattle are used to supply the Norwegian market acquired by the SMI in 2006, just after the lifting of the country’s beef exports to the European Union (EU).

The SMI was given a market to export about 500 tonnes of beef annually to Norway, and before shipping the country’s beef to the Norwegian market, the SMI had to meet certain standards similar to those of the EU, except Norwegian market required microbiological testing of each batch and set exacting standards for the results.

Standards

SMI Managing Director Jon Williams said they had met those standards and shipped 22 tonnes of beef to the Norwegian market. The first container with SMI beef arrived in Norway last week Wednesday. He said the customer, Jøran Olsson, of Norsk Kjøtthandel AS was very pleased with the shipment.

“We are now working on the next shipment, which we hope will leave at the end of September. This is of course very good news for the farmers supplying SMI, each of them receives a bonus if their cattle were used when packing the meat for this container,” Williams explained.

However, Williams declined to mention how much the bonus was, saying it was between the farmers and SMI. He added; “An extra payment for their animals will certainly help the farmers because the economics of feeding beef cattle is currently good, so the farmer is able to cover their cost and make a profit even before receiving the bonus.”

Satisfaction

A forwarded email from the customer in Norway expresses customer satisfaction with regards to product specification and quality. “Yes, yes, yes! We should celebrate today, SMI meat in Norway and this looks perfect. I managed to check some of the products and this looked very good regarding product specification, quality, colour, labelling and packaging. So this was perfect. I will go there again on Monday to take photos and to see all the products.

I will give you more feedback next week (this week), but give my gratitude to all your people, and I hope they understand the importance of their work to develop and to make money on this trade to Norway,” reads the email in part.


Drink drivers in for a shock.

Main Section

.By SENZO DLAMINI - THE TIMES -10-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Drunk drivers can run but cannot hide.

This follows the introduction of new automatic devices to conduct breath tests on suspected drunk drivers. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, headed by Minister Ntuthuko Dlamini, has already gazetted the ‘Lion Alcolmeter SD400 / SD400P Breath Tests’.

This is contained in Legal Notice No.141 of 2009 (Act No.6 of 2007) dated September 1, 2009. Minister Dlamini, in an interview yesterday, said the newly-introduced breathalysers had already been distributed to all the police stations in the kingdom. Dlamini said the breathalysers were not only technically advanced, but accurate in measuring the alcohol content in the body of motorists.

“The breathalysers are now fully operational for the simple reason that they’ve been gazetted,” the minister said. He said it was his fervent hope that the introduction of the new devices would help reduce the road fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers.

The newly-introduced breathalysers are of the size of a cellphone. The minister said the devices were simple, provided a fast and accurate analysis. Minister Dlamini said doctors had approved of the use of the breathalysers, hence the move to gazette them.


Who must die?

Main Section

By The Editor - SWAZI TIMES-10-Sep-2009

Who must die? Editors Comment

It’s all well and good that Public Works and Transport Minister Ntuthuko Dlamini has introduced a new breathalyser to curb drink-driving, but there is an equally large threat on our roads that needs even more urgent attention.

Animals continue to cost this country dearly in terms of human resources in as much as drink-driving has, but there appears less effort to get the stray animal owners behind bars compared to the millions of Emalangeni government gets to report to us in drink- driving fines.

Can the minister tell us how much has been received by the state in fines for stray cattle? Or rather how much has it cost the taxpayer to hire roadside herd boys and feed for animal pounds and the staff compared to what the culprits pay for the ‘safekeeping of their pets’.

Release

Who must die before people get locked up instead of paying paltry fines at the council pound for the release of their animals? The Prime Minister or the Head of State? We are aware that the Public Works and Transport minister has initiated tough measures against owners of stray animals but what we see on the roads is a total defiance of his campaign, which clearly indicates that the message is far from registering in the minds of those who should be making every effort possible to keep their pets, cattle or whatever creature that has the potential of roaming carelessly without guard, away from causing harm. That a dog can cause the death of a senior police officer demonstrates how cheap life has become on the country’s roads.

The branding of cattle also appears to be moving at a snail’s pace. It is a fact that a lot of ‘untouchables’ in this country boast of large herds of cattle, so there may be little to look forward to in terms of action. The minister, however, has a job to do and he should have no fear in dealing with the higher ups, who at times would question him on harmless things such as uprooted guava trees.

Thank you for the new breathalyser minister, now we need sophisticated handcuffs that have no eyes for the stray animal owners who deserve to be charged with culpable homicide where a life has been lost as a result of their carelessness.


Heroic off-duty cop foils E200 000 Tiger City heist

Main Section

By LINDA JELE SWAZI TIMES-10-Sep-2009

MANZINI – An off-duty police officer showed bravery when he foiled an attempted robbery at a filling station of E200 000 by four armed men.

Constable Mduduzi Makhanya, stationed at Manzini police station, was running private errands at the Tiger City when he apprehended a 19-year old man from Fairview North, Manzini. The young man and three of his accomplices had plotted to rob a cash- in-transit vehicle from Swaziland Security Guards. The vehicle had gone to collect money at the Total filling station at the Tiger City complex and transport it to the bank.

According to the Royal Swaziland Police, the four men were travelling in a navy blue BMW sedan and had parked a distance away from the security vehicle. The security personnel were inside the filling station when the men struck. “Armed with a pistol, the man alighted and held up one of the guards, who carried the cash. The security officers resisted and a confrontation allegedly ensued.”

Makhanya, who was in civilian clothing and was at the filling station, jumped on the suspect and throttled him. The police said Makhanya managed to overpower the suspect and grounded him resulting in his pistol falling down. When the three who remained in the BMW saw their counterpart being caught, sped off heading towards Manzini.

Members of the public and security officers who man the building assisted Makhanya to overpower the suspect and they beat him up. Makhanya was then forced to seek refuge for the suspect in one of shops as members of the public wanted to beat him up.

The other three suspects are still on the run and police are still investigating. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said the accused would appear before the Manzini Magistrate’s Court today.


Heroic off-duty cop foils E200 000 Tiger City heist

Main Section

By LINDA JELE SWAZI TIMES-10-Sep-2009

MANZINI – An off-duty police officer showed bravery when he foiled an attempted robbery at a filling station of E200 000 by four armed men.

Constable Mduduzi Makhanya, stationed at Manzini police station, was running private errands at the Tiger City when he apprehended a 19-year old man from Fairview North, Manzini. The young man and three of his accomplices had plotted to rob a cash- in-transit vehicle from Swaziland Security Guards. The vehicle had gone to collect money at the Total filling station at the Tiger City complex and transport it to the bank.

According to the Royal Swaziland Police, the four men were travelling in a navy blue BMW sedan and had parked a distance away from the security vehicle. The security personnel were inside the filling station when the men struck. “Armed with a pistol, the man alighted and held up one of the guards, who carried the cash. The security officers resisted and a confrontation allegedly ensued.”

Makhanya, who was in civilian clothing and was at the filling station, jumped on the suspect and throttled him. The police said Makhanya managed to overpower the suspect and grounded him resulting in his pistol falling down. When the three who remained in the BMW saw their counterpart being caught, sped off heading towards Manzini.

Members of the public and security officers who man the building assisted Makhanya to overpower the suspect and they beat him up. Makhanya was then forced to seek refuge for the suspect in one of shops as members of the public wanted to beat him up.

The other three suspects are still on the run and police are still investigating. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said the accused would appear before the Manzini Magistrate’s Court today.


More than 500 swine flu tablets distributed

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-10-Sep-2009

MBABANE – With only seven Swazis diagnosed with the influenza A/H1N1 virus, the Ministry of Health has distributed over 500 Tamiflu tablets.

Initially, the ministry was given 1 056 tablets that are used to treat the virus and presently there is a stock of between 500-600 capsules left.

This was revealed yesterday by Masitsela Mhlanga, who is the ministry’s national coordinator of the Emergency Preparedness and Response team. He was speaking during the second-day of the ongoing ‘Seminar on Pandemic A/H1N1’ at the Mountain Inn. His words were echoed by Dr. Mahaliyane of the Mbabane Government Hospital, who said she had heard that some public health institutions had actually run out of stock Meanwhile, Mhlanga said they had since ordered 4 000 more tablets to bolster the present stock just in case the need for more arose.

“About 3 000 tablets from this stock will be for adults, while 1 000 will be for young children and then we will also procure back up stock as part of our plan to deal with the pandemic,” Mhlanga said.

According Dr. Benjamin Gama of the World Health Organisation, a person on this medication is supposed to take one pill twice a day for five days. Mhlanga also highlighted that the country had a total of 14 public health facilities that were managing and investigating cases of the influenza.


SA Customs strike affects borders

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Sep-2009

LOCAL border posts, especially Oshoek are feeling the pinch of the strike action by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The strike began on Monday, but yesterday it took its toll.

Motorists, truck drivers and general users endured long hours in different parts of the day at the Oshoek border post as Sars officers were reportedly on a deliberate go slow strike. Those coming into the country were affected the same as those leaving because the South African customs officers simply did their work in a snail’s pace.

A local customs officer said their colleagues told them that the go slow would be staged in different parts of the day, and peak hours where there is a high traffic of people proved to be a main target.

Yesterday afternoon at around 5:15 was one of the worst moments as motorists and truck drivers had to endure a long stay because transit papers were processed slowly. Frustrated users of the border post watched in distress as the indifferent SARS officers deliberately processed their papers slowly, and never seemed to care about the hurry. Contacted for comment, commissioner of customs and excise Thamsanqa Mpanza said Sars never informed the local customs and excise branch about this strike action and that it would affect local borders.

He said next time, it would be better if their South African counterparts alert them whenever there is a looming strike action for Swaziland customs to brace itself and make preparations in time for the effects of the strike. He decried the fact that nothing formal had been communicated to Swazi customs by Sars prior to the strike.

Meanwhile, South African media has reported that the strike resulted from trade unions representing workers being unhappy with a revised wage offer of between 9% and 11% with Sars officials. The trade unions are demanding an increase of 13%. Sizwe Pamla, spokesman for the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), said yesterday: "Members of Nehawu unanimously rejected the revised wage offer that was presented by the employer at the National Bargaining Forum at the weekend.

He said SARS is not prepared to budge and in the circumstances workers have withdrawn their labour and have officially gone on strike. Meanwhile, SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said the wage settlement would be implemented to non-union members from Friday and would be applied retrospectively with effect from July 1.

He said SARS would strengthen its contingency measures to ensure that all its offices across the country remained functional. Further, he said SARS would not tolerate striking workers who attempted to blockade border posts or branch offices, and who attempted to prevent taxpayers and traders from conducting their business with SARS or intimidate non-striking colleagues. Additional information by Sapa


PM mourns top cop Levion’s death

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Sep-2009

PRIME Minister Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, who is also minister responsible for police, has sent condolences to the family of the late assistant commissioner of police, Levion Dlamini who was killed in a nasty car crash on Tuesday morning.

A press statement issued by government press secretary Macanjana Motsa states that Dlamini’s untimely demise is a tragedy not only to members of his family, children and relatives, but also to the entire Royal Swaziland Police, government and nation at large.

“His untimely demise is unfortunate, as he had been widely known for his hardworking and dedicated nature, a person who was caring to many, who had humility and contributed immensely to the police service.”

Dlamini’s 38 years of service to the police service has been described as a clear indication of his passion and dedication to serve the nation. The prime minister has encouraged the police to emulate the late assistant commissioner’s positive impact and dedication for the enhancement and growth of the police service.

“The grief and sorrow felt due to this loss should not in any way derail the good work and achievements of the police.” The PM reiterates his loss and that of government on Dlamini’s untimely death and said words seem inadequate to express this kind of adversity.

“As the Dlamini family grieves, always remember that the nation is with you in thoughts and prayer, and we pray that the love of God enfolds you during this journey through grief. We send you thoughts of comfort, and may the Almighty hand of God embrace and strengthen you in this period of sorrow


KING BACK FROM SADC SUMMIT

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Sep-2009

SWAZILAND was hailed for having played a vital role in ensuring that there is peace in the Southern African Development Community region.

This was said by His Majesty King Mswati III soon after his return from attending the 29th SADC Summit held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His Majesty said that was after Swaziland presented a report about its activities as the Chairman of the TROIKA in the past year.

He said the country played a major role in ensuring that there was peace in other countries like Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Lesotho. “Other issues that were discussed were how countries can work towards living beyond the recession period,” said the King.

His Majesty stated that it was resolved that countries in the SADC region should work together in ensuring that the economy of each country grows.

“The Summit went well and we would like to thank the DRC for their wonderful hospitality,” said His Majesty.


E8m FOR COSAFA CUP

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo -SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Sep-2009

SOCCER – THE Zimbabwean Government has joined forces with the country’s Tourism Authority to raise US$1 100 000 (over E8 million) for the Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) Senior Challenge tournament.

The national team, Sihlangu SeMnikati together with 13 other countries is gearing up for this tournament to be hosted by the Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA) from October 17 – November 1.

Information gathered from BBC Sport has revealed that the country’s Tourism Authority has contributed US$100 000 (about E750 000) while the Zimbabwean government has pledged US$1 million (about E7.5 million) to have the tournament taking place. According to earlier information, the country needed about E7 million to host the tournament. ZIFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Henrietta Rushwaya confirmed the latest developments and declared that preparations are underway for the tournament to be held next month. “We’re trying to market Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination and we need to rebrand the country. We’re using the tournament to attract as many tourists as possible and ZIFA also hopes that staging the COSAFA Cup will lead to the hosting of other competitions, and that it will help to attract teams to hold training camps in the country ahead of the 2010 World Cup in neighbouring South Africa,” Rushwaya was quoted as having said by BBC Sport.

She added that they were keeping their fingers crossed that this will be the most glamorous COSAFA tournament ever to be staged and said it should serve as a shop window for future regional, continental and international events. The national team, Sihlangu’s preparations for this annual event, have already begun with friendly matches against Lesotho, Malawi and Namibia.

The team will also engage Lesotho in a return match in Maseru very soon. They have only gone as far as the semi-finals in the tournament before. The tournament will be played at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare and Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo. Last year’s edition of the competition was hosted by South Africa’s Mpumulanga province. When they pulled out, it looked like the tournament would not take place this year, until Zimbabwe stepped in.

The COSAFA Cup will be the biggest football event ever to be held in Zimbabwe. The country hosted the 1995 All-Africa Games, with eight teams taking part in the football competition


Making easy money on the net

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze -- SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Sep-2009

The internet is a world of opportunities for everyone. Stories of success from online participation continue to grow as more and more internet marketers get financial breakthrough in the internet

Swaziland is no exception, it is encouraging to learn that some Swazis are taking the opportunity and capitalising on these opportunities.

This was revealed by Musa Dube who is actively participating in internet marketing on part time basis but reports that he earns some cash online, though he works on this on part time basis. purposes

He said the internet was commonly known as one of the globalisation agents and also for marketing purposes. “It was possible to monetise your website while receiving publicity for your products and services. “The internet opportunities are open to both the learned and unlearned, the only thing that makes success is doing what it calls for success and doing it right,” he said.

passions

Dube said the minimum ingredients to these opportunities was having internet access for as little time as 15 minutes, a desktop or laptop at home to create content and the courage to write about your passions.

He emphasised that this was not at all similar to other schemes that have recently hit the Swazi community. “You always get back equivalent to the amount of effort you put into it. “The nature of internet marketing is investment based because rewards may not come today but a few months or even years to come.”

Dube disclosed that he started on internet marketing in December 2004 when he published his first book ‘Business Insight and Money Making Ideas’. “It is a great opportunity for young stars that have just completed school and university to start working on the internet. With great excitement,” he said. Dube extended an invitation to the nation for a presentation at Evangelical Church Mbabane on Saturday 12th September, starting at 0900h. Dube said entrance would be free and everybody was welcome.

He further said learning material would be distributed for free but emphasized that space was limited to 50 participants.


Manager crushed to death by pile of sugar

Main Section

By LINDA JELE - THE SWAZI TIMES-11-Sep-2009

MATSAPHA – A factory manager died tragically after he was crushed by three tonnes of sugar stored in large pellets yesterday.

A sugar pellet is a packet of sugar, which weighs about one tonne each. It is a packet of one kilogram of sugar packed together.

Manager of MP Food Processing, Stan De Beer* (not his real name as his next of kin was yet to be informed yesterday) was crushed by a pile of three, one tonne sugar pellets, which were packed inside the factory yesterday and died on the spot. The incident is said to have happened at around 4.15pm.

According to one of the managers, who witnessed the incident, De Beer was going about his duties when the pile fell ending his life. Some of his bones were crushed and this was even more evident when Dups Funeral Parlour employees and police officers lifted the body.

The factory’s employees were gathered in a group and stood by watching, visibly traumatised by the incident. Some of them could not even control their emotions as they cried. The company’s attorney Sikhumbuzo Simelane said the manager was originally from the Free State in South Africa. He said in Swaziland, he was staying at Tubungu Estates, with his wife and son.

Simelane said he received a call from the factory’s Managing Director who resides in South Africa to rush to the factory after the incident. He said the Managing Director would arrive today in the country. “We are at a loss for words after his sudden death. A post mortem is yet to be conducted to verify the cause of death and inform his relatives most of who stay in South Africa,” he said.

One of the managers, who declined to reveal his name, said they were shocked by the incident. He however said, operations would continue as normal, at least until the arrival of the factory’s Managing Director today. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said police were investigating the circumstances leading to the death of the manager.


Brazil offers help in HIV/AIDS fight

Main Section

By SABELO MAZIBUKO - SWAZI TIMES-11-Sep-2009

LOZITHA–Brazil’s Ambassador to Swaziland Antonio De Souza says the Brazilian experience in fighting HIV/AIDS can be shared with Swaziland.

De Souza said this during the official ceremony for the presentation of letters of credentials to His Majesty the King. He noted that the countries’ relations were related to many important issues confronted by the international community, such as sustainable development, social inclusion and poverty alleviation.

He also said the country would benefit from IBSA, a trust fund set up by three countries and run by the UNDP and has seen the development of a tomato processing plant in Pigg’s Peak.

He said there were several areas in which his country can cooperate, especially on health and agriculture. “Regarding agriculture, there is also a good potential for cooperation, particularly in the areas of sugar and ethanol, and some initial contacts have been already made.

Thanked

The king further thanked the support his country has contributed to Africa in many ways economically and in the health section. His Majesty added that he hoped De Souza will bring more Brazilians to start businesses in the country and that Brazil is a country that produces sugar so they will share some ideas.


Embassy in Kenya could be re-opened

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-11-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Swaziland could find herself re-opening the embassy offices in the East African country of Kenya which were closed almost five years ago.

This follows an appeal that has been forwarded to Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini by visiting Kenyan Minister of State Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya. During a courtesy call to the PM at Hospital Hill yesterday morning, Oparanya told the head of government that his first purpose of coming to Swaziland was to renew the two countries’ relations.

He said there was a need for Swaziland to consider re-opening the closed embassy offices in Kenya, a step he said would be reciprocated by his country. “Swaziland has always had closed relations with Kenya even before we gained our independence and our former leader, Jomo Kenyatta, established and maintained the close relationship with Swaziland. “We hope that you will reconsider reopening your embassy in Kenya and we will also do the same here in Swaziland,” Oparanya said.

The visiting minister also took time paying tribute to the kingdom for the pivotal role it played in the liberation of many African states, Kenya inclusive. “It should not be forgotten that Swaziland played a pivotal role in the liberation of Africa and now all African states are independent,” he said.

Even though Swaziland closed her embassy offices in Kenya, the kingdom still has properties that it owns in that country, an issue that was recently raised in the august house by Member of Parliament Marwick Khumalo to Lutfo Dlamini, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Khumalo queried the minister on the reasons for the continued allocation of money to the closed embassy for either purchasing vehicles or repairing existing structures. In response, the minister said, “Kenya being Swaziland’s first embassy has houses that have been purchased together with staff houses” and that “the houses are not totally dilapidated, they can be inhabited immediately”. The minister further informed parliament that selling the houses “does not make business sense, however, we should continue maintaining them”.

He said the houses did not have a title deed but government was looking at engaging legal officers on the issue. “We are currently working at the challenging issue of leasing out the houses. The minister is still working on the issue and will come up with a lasting solution,” the Foreign Affairs minister said then.


Sex, circumcision

Main Section

By STHEMBILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-11-Sep-2009

As the campaign of encouraging Swazi men to circumcise conducted by the Population Service International (PSI) intensifies, positive results are already coming out.

Although it is taboo to the Swazi community to discuss issues pertaining to sex, PSI had the opportunity to hear a testimony from one of their clients who recently involvement the exercise. The following is a testimony given by a proud Swazi and father of three from Lobamba who underwent the procedure in his early 30s.

Bheki Dlamini* (not his real name) is 38 years old. He is married with three children and says he enjoys three things about life – soccer, spending time with his family and sex. Bheki has been having sex since he was 18 and says his performance has increased over the years as he has become more comfortable with his wife.

Bheki was circumcised purely by chance. When his wife went to hospital to give birth to their second son, Bheki was jokingly advised by his doctor to get circumcised so he and his wife could ‘recover’ together. “He told me that while my wife was healing from the process, I should also get circumcised and we could heal together without any sexual expectations from either party. Being a guy who needs regular sex, I took up his suggestion and before undergoing the process, I learnt that there were other benefits to it,” he said.

Procedure

Bheki said after the procedure, he had to abstain from sex for six weeks, which was not too difficult as his wife was also recovering. He said the first time they made love, he did not notice much of a difference except that he took longer to ejaculate, which is every man’s dream. “Besides the feeling of cleanliness, it gave me, I was also a brand new man and my wife made this observation even before we discussed it. It was like we were meeting for the first time. My self-image improved and my confidence was better. There was no loss of sensation, simply a different feeling ... which I happen to find far, far better and more satisfying,” said Bheki.

Bheki’s three sons are all circumcised and he said had he known the rewards, he would have done it earlier. He said although this was a subject that was not openly discussed in the Swazi society, he would encourage all males to find out more about it because it was certainly beneficial. He said the foreskin on the manhood, is where bacteria and germs hide and thus the feeling of cleanliness after the procedure is one other benefit.

“My wife was very uncomfortable about oral sex before but now she actually offers,” he said. Locally, circumcisions are carried out at private and government health facilities and also at clinics run by NGOs such as FLAS and PSI Swaziland.

PSI Swaziland last weekend conducted a Double Defence campaign at the Trade Fair, where males were encouraged not only to get circumcised but also use condoms after they have undergone the procedure. The organisation noted that while circumcision reduced the risk of HIV infection by about 60 per cent, it was still important for circumcised men to use condoms correctly and consistently in order to double their defence against HIV.

According to a study conducted on nearly 4 500 males published in the January issue of the UK-based urology journal BJU International, more than 98 per cent of men who are circumcised can enjoy the same levels of sexual satisfaction and performance as men who are not. If Bheki’s testimony is not convincing enough, then this scientific evidence should bring some relief to men who have not yet been circumcised, out of fear that this will affect their performance.


Minister thanks Taiwan for E12m water project

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-11-Sep-2009

MINISTER of Natural Resources and Energy Princess Tsandzile has thanked the Republic of China on Taiwan for assisting Swaziland.

The minister said the Taiwan government had been of great help in a number of ways in the Kingdom, including improving the lives of the rural community. The minister was speaking yesterday during the official opening of a water scheme project worth E12 million at Ngudzeni Inkhundla. The function was held at the Inkhundla. The project was financed by Taiwan and the government with each paying half the amount (E6 million).

“We shall for ever be indebted to them for what they have done for the people of the Kingdom, financially and technically,” said the minister. She said Taiwan’s commitment had been also shown by their contribution in the Ngudzeni E12 million water scheme project. The project is going to benefit 6 700 people. The minister said the water scheme project was sticking to government’s resolution in achieving the major development goals by the year 2022.

“We are simply adhering to that resolution as in accordance to the national development strategy (NDS) and through other government’s vehicles meant for service delivery to the population. In implementing this programme, the ministry has considered that providing clean water supply and sanitation to rural folk should be a priority. Such a programme is going to spread throughout the country and the targeted areas are those hard hit by drought,” she said.

The minister appealed to the community to take good care of the project. Representing the Chinese Embassy was Paul Lee who said he was delegated by the outgoing Ambassador. Also present was the ministry’s Principal Secretary Bertram Stewart.

Others included Motshane MPs Robert Magongo, Sivumelwano Nxumalo of Sigwe MP Big Boy Mamba. Shiselweni Regional Administrator Paul Dlamini.


Brazil ready for diverse cooperation areas

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-11-Sep-2009

BRAZIL’s new ambassador to Swaziland, Antonio De Souza E Silva has said there are several areas in which his country and Swaziland can cooperate to pursue the development agenda.

Presenting his letters of credence to His Majesty King Mswati III at Lozitha Palace yesterday, Ambassador Silva said Swaziland and Brazil may cooperate in the fields of agriculture and health, adding that the Brazilian experience in fighting the HIV and AIDS epidemic has been praised worldwide “and we are ready to share it with Swaziland”.

Regarding agriculture, he said there was also a good potential for cooperation, particularly in the area of sugar and ethanol. “When this mission was entrusted to me, I tried to apprehend the ground of our relations to assess the areas of common interests and to figure out what it should take to make them more meaningful and beneficial to both countries.”

In this regard, Silva said Swaziland and Brazil should not look at the trade statistic for the expression of the strength of the two country’s relations, because this does not mean that business opportunities are not there.

He mentioned that examples of potential cooperation were; the current negotiations between Mercosur and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) to create a free trade area which will include both countries and the interest of the Brazilian mining giant, Vale, to invest in an anthracite deposit in the country. Ambassador Silva will be resident in Maputo, but he has assured that he intends to fulfill his duties as representative of the Brazilian government to Swaziland with the best of his ability.


US ready to partner with friendly Africa

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-11-Sep-2009

YESTERDAY the new ambassador of the United States of America, Earl Irving, arrived in Swaziland and presented his credentials to His Majesty King Mswati III at the Lozitha palace.

Irving was accompanied by the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Sarah Morrison and political/economic officer, Craig Pike. In his remarks, Irving said his country was committed to strengthening its partnership with the African continent, and in particular nations like Swaziland that have reciprocated the United States of America’s outstretched hand of friendship.

He said when President Barack Obama nominated him to be his ambassador here, he knew he had been given an exceptional opportunity, especially because his country and Swaziland are forging a strong partnership in a number of areas. These areas include HIV and AIDS prevention and impact mitigation, anti-trafficking of people, military partnership, good governance, rule of law and economic development.

“Although we, of course, have some differences of opinion or approach, it is with the respect of true friends that we are honest with one another, and use our differences to engage even in deeper dialogue.” Ambassador Irving replaces Ambassador Maurice Parker, who departed from the country in June.

He disclosed that his first priority would be to help Swaziland stem the alarming tide of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Furthermore, he said he would also place high priority on continuing to coordinate his country’s efforts with government to address issues related to the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and to provide credit and business training to Swazi Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the Swaziland Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programmes administered by TechnoServe.

Meanwhile, the ambassador said his country believes that employment and economic opportunities for Swaziland are vital to maintaining regional and domestic economic stability. “We are encouraged that the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland continues to work towards taking advantage of trade opportunities and regional programmes such as our regional trade hub, which developed the Swaziland Investor Roadmap to promote business friendly economic reforms.” His Majesty thanked the American people for having supported Swaziland in many ways.

He observed that the US Peace Corps were doing an excellent job in assisting communities, adding that he was touched that these volunteers easily adapt to the Swazi way of life, despite the infrastructural differences between Swaziland and the United States of America. He thanked the United States for supporting the country in various areas, including the field of HIV and AIDS, military assistance and training for local small and medium enterprises.


32 experts from US to attend Youth Summit

Main Section

By Calsile Masilela - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-11-Sep-2009

A team of 22 experts, including medical doctors, nurses and the youth from the United States of America are in the country.

This team from an organisation called Project Africa Global is here on a humanitarian mission to help Swaziland in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Ministry of Health Under Secretary Muntu Mntungwa said the delegation would be attending a three-day youth summit currently being held at the Thokoza youth centre. The summit started yesterday afternoon. She said they had been coming to Swaziland for the past nine years.

She said the youth needed such a forum such as the summit where they could come together and share experiences with other peers from outside the country. “This year, in partnership with different organisations, we are hosting yet another big and better summit to give the youth an opportunity to share ideas and ask questions,” said the under secretary.


Some internationals may not be available during COSAFA next month

Sports Section

By Sabelo Ndzinisa - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-11-Sep-2009

SOCCER – THE National Football Association (FA) has admitted that some of the international players based in South Africa may not be available for Sihlangu during the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup to be hosted in Zimbabwe next month

In a press briefing yesterday, FA’s CEO Frederick Mngomezulu explained that this tournament does not fall within the FIFA calendar, which makes it difficult for players to be released by their respective teams for it.

“The reality is that it would be difficult to get the international players for the COSAFA tournament because FIFA does not recognise it. “This means teams are not obliged to release them unless we successfully negotiate with them. I must point out that we will try our level best to ensure that all the players selected by the national team technical bench are available for the tournament but there are no guarantees on that,” Mngomezulu explained.

He also mentioned that they have already confirmed their participation in the tournament with the COSAFA executive committee.

“The deadline for confirmation in participating in this tournament is tomorrow (today) but I can assure all Swazis that Sihlangu will definitely take part in the tournament. We are hopeful that the draw for the tournament would be held sometime next week,” Mngomezulu said. This year’s tournament would be hosted in Zimbabwe’s two main cities, Bulawayo and Harare. It will be played in the same format as last year, where teams are seeded using the FIFA rankings, with the six top ranked team getting bye into the quarter-finals. The eight other teams would start in the preliminaries and be divided into two groups, with the winners in each joining the other quarter-finalists. The preliminaries would start on October 17 and the tournament would run until November 2, which means Sihlangu could spend about two weeks in Robert Mugabe’s State.

Sihlangu would be involved in the preliminaries with countries like Madagascar, Re-Union, Mauritius, Seychelles, Lesotho, Botswana and the hosts, Zimbabwe. “We are hoping to have an international friendly match before this tournament but we are currently involved in talks with different countries and hopefully, we would be confirming everything soon.

The idea is to have this game during the FIFA week next month,” he explained. Mngomezulu also confirmed that Sihlangu has been registered for the African Nations Championships, which would involve only the locally-based players. The finals of this tournament would be hosted in Sudan in 2011 but the eliminations are expected to start early next year.


Sale of Firewood on public roads banned

Main Section

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

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

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

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

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

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


What went wrong?

Main Section

By The Editor Thulani Thwala - SWAZI TIMES-12-Sep-2009

Over the past weekend I sped off to Rhodes University where African journalists and some from Europe converged for the annual Highway Africa conference. MTN Swaziland made sure that I am part of the event and I appreciated that gesture.

That said, this does not change the glaring fact that MTN has to deal with its troublesome network. Thanks. At the event that I attended with two senior editors, my mentors to put it bluntly in Bheki Makhubu and Donny Nxumalo, we had informal discussions with varying people that God brought into this world.

In one of the litany of discussions, we found ourselves bisecting the holy book commonly known as a Bible. Donny appeared more informed on it owing to his alleged born-again status. Then there was this Hadebe man who back in 1989 emerged as the only plane crash survive in France that claimed over 200 lives.

You would have thought a man who made such a miraculous escape would be living and eating the Bible but it’s not the case. Infact, I want to share with you a quote from him where the Bible is concerned and I hope Christians will not be offended. If anything, the quote should enlighten them on the magnitude of work that lays ahead for them as regards shedding some Biblical light to many a people. He was asked by Bheki who also paraded some frailties where the Bible is concerned by suggesting that Jesus was a political activist on what he thought of the Bible.

Reaction

Without blinking, Hadebe roared: “The Bible was compiled by a group of men who were possessed by bulls…”. For simplicity he said they were possessed by what former Speaker in the House of Assembly Mgabhi Dlamini stole at the cattle byre. There was unmatched silence and Donny froze, justifiably so. My reaction is no secret, I said: “Wow, what a new dimension to things”. At some point I thought he was referring to our constitution but I recalled that we were talking about the Bible. In any event everyone is entitled to his own opinion and the animal known as democracy allows that.

Bheki sounded a very strong warning to Hadebe who will be visiting the country in December, God willing, not to repeat such a statement in Swaziland because there is a high chance he goes back to Rhodes in a body bag, dead that is. He was not suggesting we are murderers but merely highlighting the extent we believe in the Bible as a country. Bheki himself who claimed to be a believer as opposed to being a Christian left a white man we shared a shuttle with to the airport red-faced when he delivered this quote; “I believe that God is there and lives in a place known as heaven but I don’t believe we (referring to Christians I am sure) would go there after life, it’s his place not ours”. After all this I said Amen, and took a long nap. End of story.

Now, back to serious business, my agenda today is to address myself to former Prime Minister A.T Dlamini, Public Works Minister Ntuthuko Dlamini and Education Minister Wilson Ntshangase respectively. Quickly on A.T, I have been following closely the waste of time and money the country is spending on his mission to bring sanity or peace in political terms in the troubled country known as Madagascar where a DJ literally overthrew the president (Manana) of the country who was to later become a borrowed Swazi who lived a luxurious life in Swaziland through our tax.

SADC leaders heaped praises on A.T and those he worked with in making attempts to stabilise things in Madagascar. I had no problem with that because to me SADC is not different from a combination of spineless political vendors. SADC’s decisions are extremely inconsistent and smack of fear and overwhelming favour.

Assuming

Robert Mugube remains president of Zimbambwe despite standing for elections without a competitor and that should tell you what SADC is made of. All SADC leaders are scared of Robert and that is no secret. In any event that is not my core argument on the A.T matter because he was merely a messenger assigned by SADC on the Madagascar issue. Assuming the praises he got with his team are based on authentic results, the question becomes; what prevented A.T from solving our own political problems while serving as PM.

Has A.T forgotten that charity begins at home or the adage has been changed to charity begins in Madagascar? It has taken A.T and his team roughly a month or so to make headways in the Madagascar saga yet he failed to make any meaningful political changes in the country in five years. I fail to reconcile the two scenarios. Why do we always want to shine outside the borders of the country and live a lot of political rot in Swaziland?

Do we need a DJ to scare us to spring into action? Seriously our political problems are far less than those of Madagascar but we are failing to jump at the opportunity and prevent them from snowballing. Instead we prefer costly talk-shows where we generally say one and the same thing every year. The only difference I have noted with these so-called smart partnership meetings is the shocking increase on the funds spent.

Personally, I am tired of Prince Masitsela telling us how Tinkhundla is good. I get annoyed to hear people grovelling saying things they don’t believe in. I think we need something better than that and sitting here, I think A.T has that magic wand if what it is claimed he achieved in Madagascar is anything to go by. Let’s also have a unity government, is that asking for too much? I don’t think so. The problem in Swaziland is that people think those who want change are opposed to the king. I for one feel strongly that we need Okandaba to be in-charge of this country because I strongly believe in kingdomship, it has taken us this far.

The change I envisage is where people would generally have a say on some executive decisions that have everything to do with running the country. I envisage a situation where positions will be filled based on merit not birthright. In Swaziland any committee or board is not complete without anything with the title of Prince, Princess, chief or a son to a prince or a friend to someone who knows someone within the royal family. Now, I hope A.T will share with us how he managed what SADC feels he achieved in Madagascar and localise it. Until then, I am not praising him. The only praise I can give A.T is that of winning the king’s confidence for his appointment into such a heavy job. It says a lot.

To me it means the king felt A.T deserved bigger tasks than being PM. Never in history has a man relieved as PM been assigned to such tasks apart from rotting within the Liqoqo or appointed into some ambassadorial position. The task given to A.T makes him more important than a PM. Concluding that A.T has no weak knees as it was alleged some years back is in order. Prove your critics wrong Hlubi you have grown to be bigger than the position you held before what you are doing now but remember charity begins at home.

Follows

Now, coming to Ntuthuko, the man who was once nicknamed ‘Madlasigwabugwabu’, I am not happy with his performance lately. I am not referring to his table manners that saw him down prawns in the US leaving him with a heavily swollen face, no, but his work performance. But again, the manner in which he found himself eating something he is allergic to should tell you how Ntuthuko conducts himself generally, as a person. He says anything and it follows that he also eats almost everything. Now, the time has come for the man from LaMgabhi to sort his social and political life. Ntuthuko bites more than he can chew and I am not impressed, actually, I am depressed.

He launched himself in a very blistering way and has since faded. What is going on Ntuthuko? What has happened? In the first place I fail to understand how you found yourself sitting at a table laden with prawns in America when you should be sorting out the CTA mess? Why are you doing this to yourself when we had invested our trust and confidence in you? This is a clear case of a man who bites more than he can chew.

Are you lately a talk-show host? Tell me how far you have gone with the CTA transformation? Tell me how far have you gone with the resettlement of highway residents? Tell me how far have you gone with government cars banned from funerals? Tell me how far have you gone with generally all the things you promised to turn around?

My advice would be that you take one step at a time like I do here. I liberate people like you one Saturday at a time. From today, get your swollen face back into shape and deliver for purposes of proving to people like Senator Thandi Shongwe who accused you of ‘making a lot of noise’ without any meaningful practical action. I recall Thandi, a former minister, warning you that operating like inunu will take you nowhere.

Inhuman

CTA will be changing from being a government department into a private company and my advice to you is to make sure you do not mess people’s lives. I don’t buy the cheap talk that people will not lose their jobs, to me that is absolute nonsense and I am sure you are also aware. I think you were already alive and eating when Water Services changed to what it is today. People were assured jobs would be safe and pension would be transferred but when reality struck that remained just a dream and people lost their jobs in a sad and inhumane manner. I hope you will make sure the transition is smooth and where people have to get their dues and depart at CTA it must be done than to give them false hope and destroy their lives.

I would hate a situation where people’s lives would be pawned like prawns. I would hate to see talkative politicians like the late former DPM Sishayi Nxumalo who until his last day on earth he dreamt of free education that has not come despite having a constitution that dictates we do. I have not lost confidence Mr. Minister Sir in you but I am very concerned. You still have my full support for you have shown the willingness to take the bull by its horns. Just do the right thing, as you used to demand of ministers during your days as a back-bencher.

Then there is Wilson, a man who appears to enjoy his political life to the fullest. One time I read that he paraded one or two fake Michael Jackson dances in Parliament. Look, Mr. Minister I am not happy with your loose tongue. You say the right things but the wrong way. My advice to you is to respect the teaching profession and do like teachers do. As a former teacher I would have thought things would be easier for you but instead you are just straying.

Call teachers to a big meet and tell them your concerns and suggestions on how things should be in schools than liking the habit of shooting from the hip like a cowboy. Your loose tongue has created an unnecessary tension between your office and teachers. You are not that bad at what you are doing, the issue is that you need to tweak it a bit. The positives I can pick from your turbulent tenure is hiring teachers, many of them and improving their pay. There I am happy and I wish you continue hiring more in readiness for the protracted free education. Work on your tongue and avoid prawns. May God bless.

We have a date next week.


Serious division within mighty Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES-12-Sep-2009

MANZINI- Division within the once mighty Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors gospel group has reared its ugly head

The group is not a unit as it used to, at least for now. This was heard during a press conference held yesterday afternoon at the Tum’s George Hotel.

The press conference had been called by two of the group members, who include suspended member Khayalethu Masuku and Mzwakhe Myeni, brother to the group’s founder and leader Timothy Myeni, who doubles as an MP. The press conference had solely been meant for Masuku to send his apology to the whole nation, especially the Christian community. During the press conference, it transpired that there was serious tension between the group members and their leader.

Yesterday, the group left the country without Masuku (owing to the suspension) and Mzwakhe, who was busy as stated by him, ‘preparing’ for the press conference that was ironically held on the same day of the group’s departure.

“I am very sorry about all what has happened. There is absolutely nothing to hide. I was arrested for the said offence (drink-driving),” said Masuku. He added: “Soon after being released, I have been trying to get hold of Timothy, however, he has not been picking my calls. I ended up not calling him”.

When asked about the relationship within the group, Masuku said there was a lot of tension but hoped that all would be sorted out. “Since the day I was released from prison, we have not been in talking terms with Myeni. What makes matters worse is that when he heard that I had been arrested, he came and asked the police to release me and brought me the next day. Soon after I had been tried, I spent the next four days in prison as there was no one to pay the fine,” he said.

He said although what he had done was wrong but strongly believes that, “I never deserved to be in prison for four days”. Masuku added; “The only information I got was that Myeni claimed he was disciplining me and I do not think it was the proper discipline. I must point out that I do not have any problem with him but I know for a fact that he has a problem with me”. Meanwhile, Mzwakhe pointed that he had tried several times talking to his brother (MP Myeni) about Khayalethu, however, they could not reach a compromise.

“I personally do not have any problem with my brother. The only thing was Khayalethu’s release from jail, which has brought tension within the group,” he said. He asked members of the public to accept Khayalethu and encourage him as he tries to regain strength. Also attending the press conference was Apostle Zipho Mhlanga, who is now Khayalethu’s foster father and Association of Christian Artists in Swaziland (ACASWA) President Dumisani Manana.


SD’s economic growth at 2.4%

Main Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO -- SWAZI TIMES-12-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Contrary to the projection of 3.5 per cent in the growth of the economy for 2008, official estimates now put real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 2.4 per cent.

This is according to the Central Bank of Swaziland’s (CBS) Annual Report for 2009. “After recording an impressive growth rate of 3.5 per cent in 2007, official estimates put real GDP growth at 2.4 per cent in 2008, which is a downward revision from an initially projected growth rate of 3.5 per cent for 2008,” it says.

The CBS attributes the dampened growth to the negative performance of some export commodities especially in the textile industry and to the persistent slow growth in foreign direct investment (FDI). “The slowdown in the textile industry is attributed to the decline in the economies of trading partners partly because of the second round effects of the global financial crisis on developing countries.

The shrinkage in the trading partners’ economies has been translated to lower demand for domestic exports, hence a decline in the volumes of exports. Consequently, given the country’s heavy reliance on export for growth, the country experienced a decline in overall real GDP growth,” it says.

Another dampening factor was the sharp downturn in the South African economy in 2008, which undermined Swaziland’s export demand given that more than 50 per cent of the country’s exports are destined to SA markets. The report continues; “The domestic economy has also suffered from high cost of borrowing as a restrictive monetary policy stance is pursued to contain inflationary pressures.

This has also culminated in the slowdown in the construction sector as high interest dampened demand for housing and credit in general for construction purposes.” Further compounding the slowdown in the construction sector were the high prices of raw material resulting from the hike in oil prices that occurred for the better part of the period under review, the report says.


SD’s economic growth at 2.4%

Main Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO -- SWAZI TIMES-12-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Contrary to the projection of 3.5 per cent in the growth of the economy for 2008, official estimates now put real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 2.4 per cent.

This is according to the Central Bank of Swaziland’s (CBS) Annual Report for 2009. “After recording an impressive growth rate of 3.5 per cent in 2007, official estimates put real GDP growth at 2.4 per cent in 2008, which is a downward revision from an initially projected growth rate of 3.5 per cent for 2008,” it says.

The CBS attributes the dampened growth to the negative performance of some export commodities especially in the textile industry and to the persistent slow growth in foreign direct investment (FDI). “The slowdown in the textile industry is attributed to the decline in the economies of trading partners partly because of the second round effects of the global financial crisis on developing countries.

The shrinkage in the trading partners’ economies has been translated to lower demand for domestic exports, hence a decline in the volumes of exports. Consequently, given the country’s heavy reliance on export for growth, the country experienced a decline in overall real GDP growth,” it says.

Another dampening factor was the sharp downturn in the South African economy in 2008, which undermined Swaziland’s export demand given that more than 50 per cent of the country’s exports are destined to SA markets. The report continues; “The domestic economy has also suffered from high cost of borrowing as a restrictive monetary policy stance is pursued to contain inflationary pressures.

This has also culminated in the slowdown in the construction sector as high interest dampened demand for housing and credit in general for construction purposes.” Further compounding the slowdown in the construction sector were the high prices of raw material resulting from the hike in oil prices that occurred for the better part of the period under review, the report says.


OOH-AAH MBABANE GIANTS CLASH!

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Sep-2009

It that time again when soccer fans anxiously anticipate the one and only local version of the ‘Big Derby’

It that time again when soccer fans anxiously anticipate the one and only local version of the ‘Big Derby’ that is known to divide families, childhood friends, long time colleagues, you name it as Mbabane Swallows once again come face to face with their traditional rivals Mbabane Highlanders.

This epic MTN Premier League encounter is billed for the Somhlolo Stadium on Sunday and when the clock strikes precisely 4pm, the referee who will be tasked with handling this titanic match will blow his first whistle to signal the start of the match that soccer followers will not want to miss. It always draws the young and old, the short and tall, the stocky and skinny as the rivalry and aspiration to win over the other between undoubtedly two of the country’s football powerhouse clubs is unmatched. Soccer followers will either wrap their bodies in red and white or the opposite black and white as they cascade at the Somhlolo Stadium to witness what is no doubt expected to be a mouth-watering 90 minutes of football action.

This will be the ‘Beautiful Birds’ chance to shine and shed the tag of being whipping boys when faced with the ‘Black Bull’. The direct opposite will be true with Highlanders as they will be hoping to make it an amazing five wins in a row against their fierce rivals. All eyes will be on speedy striker Mfanfikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze who has just crossed camps between the two sides and will be facing his former team Highlanders for the first time since settling at the Beautiful Birds’ nest this season.

What will make this clash even more interesting is the fact that Swallows have further added flair into their star-studded side with the acquisition of midfield genius Lwazi ‘Zidane’ Maziya and Nigerian import defender Ifeanyi Ezewudo while Highlanders have secured the services of Zimbabwean-born hotshot Murape Murape to boost their squads.

Spectators are waiting to see if ‘Fash’ will be at hand to repeat his trade-mark celebration stunt of placing his right hand closer to his ears as if to call for more cheers from his supporters after locating the net or whether Highlanders’ on form striker Msizi Lukhele will also be seen sending a message of ‘didn’t I tell you so’ with his celebration number.

This is it and it is referred to as the ‘Mbabane Derby’ where others get heart attacks as the ball swings towards their team’s end and others lose their appetite on its aftermath. Who in their right senses would deliberately want to miss this clash? I definitely won’t miss it for anything, see you there!

WHAT THE MATCH WINNERS HAD TO SAY:

‘Highlanders should not expect any mercy’ Mfanfikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze (Swallows’ striker) “Highlanders should expect no favours from me as I’m with Swallows now and should I get a chance to play on the day, all hell will break loose. They should just pray that I don’t get a chance at goal as I will be at my best. Swallows’ supporters should come in their numbers to celebrate with the team.” ‘We will make it five in a row’ Msizi Lukhele (Highlanders’ striker) “This will be another Swallows’ nightmare as I’m eager to score against them to help Highlanders win the match. They should know by now that we rule the capital city and urge our supporters to come in their numbers to watch a pulsating match on the day.”

THE COACHES HAVE THEIR SAY:

‘This is the time to end Highlanders’ jinx over us’ Abou Badara Konate (Swallows’ coach) “This is the right opportunity to end Highlanders’ jinx over us. The squad is ready to make the supporters happy and we urge them to come in their numbers. This will just be like any other match that we want to win to improve our position on the log standings.”

‘Swallows must not expect an easy ride’ Philip Mbofana (Highlanders’ coach) “With the long lay-off we faced put aside including what has been happening behind-the- scenes in the team, we will be at our best as preparations have gone well. Swallows may have been active for a while now compared to us but that will count for nothing as my boys are raring to go.”

WHERE? SOMHLOLO NATIONAL STADIUM WHEN? SUNDAY TIME? 4PM ENTRANCE FEE? E20


Govt to improve business ratings

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Sep-2009

Government is working hard in improving Swaziland’s position in the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business index’

The intention is that every two years the country moves steadily up in the index, Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini has said.

‘ease of doing business’ is a highly respected guide used extensively among international investors. “Government will avail itself of and manage well its relationships within regional and international trading partnerships and initiatives. Government is also in the process of expediting promulgation of the new Companies Act, an important step in improving the legal and regulatory environment,” the prime minister said.

The PM was delivering a paper on ‘Government’s view on the role of the private sector in economic development’ at the Royal Swazi Spa banqueting arena. This was during the AGM for FSE/CC.

“There was a time, in most countries of the world, when it was considered most efficient for public enterprises to control the commanding heights of the economy. That argument has long ceased to be valid, hence the thrust of the past two decades towards privatisation.

“The best analogy I have heard to put this in perspective is that jumbo jets are excellent people-carriers but they are very poor fighter planes. Let government focus on governance and with certain properly justified exceptions, leave business to the private sector,” he said. He said more rapid growth was needed to enable the county meet the goals of the 2022 vision of the National Development Strategy (NDS).

“We have to work on this like never before. Business cannot be as usual; it has to be business unusual”. The PM called for greater efforts in boosting growth (of business) through diversification and seeking of deeper as well as broader external market penetration. “But without growth in output of goods and service, there can be no increase in national wealth. So what are we doing about growth and perhaps more to the point, what can we do to help the private sector to achieve that growth? And when I say ‘we’ I mean all stakeholders – the government, financial institutions, the general public and private sector itself. “We all have a part to play in assisting the private sector in fulfilling its potential as the driver of economic growth and development.”

Government’s role, he noted, was creating a conducive environment or set a scene that encourages new investment – whether from domestic or foreign sources; large, medium, small or micro-scale.


Flight academy for Swaziland?

Main Section

By Fanyana Mabuza -12-Sep-2009

Swaziland may soon have its own flight academy

That is if the application by a company named Temaswati Flying Academy which will also trade as Swaziland Aeronautical Academy have its application for a licence granted.

The company has applied to the Swaziland Licensing Authority for the licence and already adverts have been placed in the local media where the authority is calling for submissions or objections, something that should have been done within 21 days after the first appearance of the advert.

This process is being done according to Regulation 261 of the Aviation regulations. Origins of the applicants could not be availed, but there is a strong possibility that it could comprise of local people, when looking at the company’s trading name.

Temaswati Flying Academy will provide aerial work and flying training, even though it could not be specified in the advert as to what kind and size of aircraft they will be training potential pilots on, except that they will be using the Jabiru J430 type of aircraft on their licence.

They will be based at the Matsapha International Airport. The Minister of Public Works and Transport Nthuthuko Dlamini when called for comment over such a development mentioned that he personally could not object against it, saying it would be a positive development for the country.

He mentioned that only last Thursday he met with workers of the Matsapha Airport who lamented the fact that there had been no training of people in the country’s aviation industry for that last decade or so. “So you can see that we do need such academies in the country, especially with the forthcoming operationalisation of the Sikhuphe International Airport next year.

“As long as the people provide quality training that would be recognised internationally, I would have no problem about it,” he said, adding that the only problem he would have is for chancers to take Swazis for a ride. Dlamini then encouraged qualifying Swazis to apply to government for scholarship to study aviation as there were a lot of opportunities in that field, even locally. “We are mulling over prospects of buying our own aircraft and reviving the defunct airline, which will further open more opportunities for people in that field,” he said.

The Matsapha Airport Manager Jabulani Ngubane also concurred with the minister, saying such an institution was long overdue in the country. He mentioned that although he had not personally seen the advert, but he maintained it would be a positive step for the country’s aviation industry. “We do not only need pilots, but people trained further than that. People that can regulate aircraft and ensure their airworthiness while also ensuring that the pilots themselves are regularly appraised to check their suitability. “Aviation is divided into two main segments, that of regulation and operation and as a country we have to have competent people on both segments,” he said.

He then urged government to place more emphasis on the training of people in avionics and related sciences, if the country was to maintain a fully competent aviation industry that can stand its ground even among the world’s top airlines.


Lobamba National High snatches investment challenge

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - WEEKEND OBSERVER-12-Sep-2009

Lobamba National High School maintained its lead as they again scooped the first position in this year’s school investment challenge, organized by the Swaziland Stock Exchange.

This year event has been sponsored by amongst others African Alliance Price WaterHouseCoopers and KPMG. For their achievement the school was presented with a computer, printer, fax machine and E3000 cash.

They were followed closely by St Michaels High School which was also presented with a computer, fax machine and E2000 cash. Peace Dlamini who is Swaziland Stock Exchange (SSX) Consumer Education Officer said the investment challenge was a broader consumer education programme aimed at educating the local investor and the budding entrepreneur about the dynamics of investment especially in investment options outside the banking fraternity and the capital market.

“The school investment challenge has all the makings of a legacy as it was first introduced in 2004 and has been held continuously and successfully every year since,” he said. Dlamini said the challenge was not about winning prizes by participating schools, but it was aimed at educating students about the operations of the real investment platform through the Swaziland Stock Exchange.

“What the unit does is that it gives each school an imaginary E500 with which they invest in real products, such as bonds and shares on SSX. He further stated that students also call in and request the SSX to invest their cash in various companies to maximize returns either by cooperate action where dividends were paid. He disclosed that this year 18 schools participated in the competition and they believed that those who participated gained tremendous knowledge and also realized the monetary benefits that can be realized through investing on the stock exchange.

Mabuza said this year’s competition saw new school which are located in remote areas of the country participating. “We would like to congratulate all the schools that participated in this year investment challenge. He then thanked the individual teachers who taught the subject while explaining the details of trading.

...Students have gained

Students who participated in this year’s schools investment challenge have all gained invaluable knowledge on the operation and benefits of investing through the Swaziland Stock Exchange (SSX). This was said by General Manager, Financial Regulation Simelane during prize presentation ceremony of the schools investment challenge yesterday.

“I am also happy that SSX attended this year’s Trade Fair. The purpose of our participation was to spread awareness about SSX to the public at large,” he said. Simelane said he has no doubt that the country’s future stockbrokers, fund managers and investment advisors were among the students who participated.

Schools that participated in this year’s competition were 18 and they include Dvokolwako High School, St Michaels, Mbekelweni High and Lobamba National High. Below are the winners and the prizes: 1. Lobamba National High School- Computer, printer, fax and E3000 2. ST. Michaels High school – Computer, fax and E2000 3. Dvokolwako High school-Computer E 1 750 4. Mbekelweni High School- Fax and E1 500 5. ST.Francis High School – Fax and E1 250

SSX thank ministry of Education

The Swaziland Stock Exchange has since thanked the ministry of Education especially the inspectorate of commercial subjects and the commercial teachers for mentoring and supporting the students.

These remarks were made by Chairman of SSX Masotja Vilakati who was representing Central Bank Deputy Governor Sibongile Mdluli, during the prize presentation ceremony of the 2009 SSX schools investment challenge yesterday. “Another very important stakeholder in promoting the SSX challenge has been the media especially the print the media. I am grateful that they publish SSX closing share prices on daily basis and more significantly free of charge,” he said He also thanked the participants and teachers for contributing and assisting the students.

“I would like to congratulate the schools that managed to make in top five of this challenge. We would like to thank the staff for their unrelenting effort in managing the challenge to its logical conclusion,” he said.


E6 million for Mavuso Sports Centre

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - WEEKEND OBSERVER-12-Sep-2009

SPORTS – Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Hlobsile Ndlovu has revealed that E6 million has been set aside for the upgrading of the Mavuso Sports Centre ahead of the Under 20 Zone VI Games, which the country will be hosting next year

This venue, which was used for the first sporting events this year during the annual Swaziland International Trade Fair and partly for the recently held Confederation of Southern African Schools Sports Association (COSASSA) Games for basketball, is part of the hosts of other venues that the country is earmarking to use to stage these prestigious games next year.

Besides the Mavuso sports centre, another venue that is set to get a facelift and which the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development has endorsed is the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) Kwaluseni campus where facilities like the tennis courts, netball courts, volleyball will be refurbished and a swimming pool that will be up to Olympic standards will be built.

The Mavuso sports centre has been earlier declared a white elephant after it was discovered that for instance, it has six instead of eight athletics lanes, something that was clearly not of international standards. Interview by the Weekend Observer Sports Desk yesterday, the Minister mentioned that the E6 million that has been reserved will amongst other things, be used to add the lanes in the athletics synthetic track and upgrade the swimming pool, which also has less than eight lanes that are uniformly used internationally.

“The Mavuso sports centre is one of the venues earmarked to be used for hosting the Zone VI Games next year and about E6 million has been set aside for its upliftment to meet the standards set for hosting such games. Amongst other things to be considered here are the running track lanes and the swimming pool lanes to be added to meet the international standards,” she explained


Tibiyo ‘interested’ in E40m SASCO building

Main Section

By SIBUSISO NGUBANE - SWAZI TIMES-13-Sep-2009

MBABANE—Tibiyo TakaNgwane is amongst a number of businesses that have shown interest in buying the unfinished Swaziland Association of Savings and Credit Co-ops (SASCCO) building in Mbabane, which will cost around E40 million to E50 million

The Times SUNDAY has reliably gathered that Tibiyo, which has shown keen interest in acquiring the building, recently enlisted services of ZMCK Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd to evaluate the incomplete building. The evaluators, according to our sources, have estimated that the building will cost between E40 million and E50 million as currently is. It is said the evaluation was carried out about three months ago by the consulting engineers company.

Tibiyo has formed a committee to look into the acquisition of the building, which is chaired by Winston Lomahoza who works for Tibiyo. However, Lomahoza was reported out of the country on Friday when reached for comment by this newspaper. He is expected to be back in the office tomorrow. Other members of the committee referred all questions the chairman.

“I am a member of the committee but the right person to comment on the issue pertaining to the SASCCO building is Lomahoza,” said one member when asked by this publication about the issue. Commissioner of Co-operatives Nonhlanhla Mnisi who was tasked by government to look into the issue of the building said it has not been sold yet but confirmed that there are a lot of business people from Swaziland who have shown interest in buying it.

However, Mnisi revealed that there is one potential buyer of the structure with whom they have reached a stage where they evaluate the building to determine how much it is worth. “We have not discussed anything up to this far as we are yet to go to the negotiation table with the potential buyer,” she explained during a telephonic interview with this publication. She would not disclose the name of the potential buyer.

She said members of the co-operative would be informed of the latest developments once something concrete has come out of the discussions. She said they were hoping to negotiate with the buyer, that members of the co-operative remain part of the deal. Mnisi said she could not reveal names of the potential buyers at this stage but will only do so once the discussions have gone through. SASCCO Chief Executive Officer, Grace Dludlu could not be reached for comment on the issue as she was reported out of office on Friday.

Early this week, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development Lindiwe Dlamini during an interview on radio on the programme Letishisako, said government was helping SASCCO to secure funds for the completion of the building situated in the city centre. The construction of the building came to a halt almost five years ago after the co-operative ran out of funds. Initially the building, whose construction started under then CEO Bongani Masuku, was going to be an office park. When Musa Mbingo took over as CEO, it was reported that the building was going to be a hotel as they had supposedly made a deal with Don Suites Hotel which was going to run the business.

When the construction of the building situated above the New Mall in the city centre, started, it was financed by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA). It was reported that members of SASCCO were supposed to fork out around E25 million for the construction while DBSA was going to pay the balance for the completion of the building. Also, its construction was blessed by His Majesty King Mswati III who cut the sod.


Revealed: Why cops are wrong to arrest drink-drivers

Main Section

By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-13-Sep-2009

MBABANE—If you were arrested by the police for drink driving, you were probably wrongly arrested.

This is because subsection nine of the Road Traffic Act No 6 of 2007 states that where a reasonable suspicion exists that a person is driving under the influence he shall not be detained for longer than the time necessary to obtain the specimen, that is, blood or breath alcohol content.

Just this week the Minister of Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini introduced a new breathalyser known as the Lion Alcolmeter SD400/SD400P which he said would be in most police vehicles. “A person shall provide a breath or blood specimen, as the case may be where a reasonable suspicion exists that such a person is contravening this section and shall not be detained for longer than the time necessary to obtain the specimen,” reads subsection 9.

Lawyer Musa Sibandze argued that this section means that the police should not take you to jail, but take the specimen which they will then use as evidence in court during prosecution. He was supported by Crown Counsel Phataphata Mdluli who said in his understanding this meant that someone suspected to have been drunk will then have to be summoned into court at a later time or whenever a magistrate is available.

The alcohol breath content according to the RTA which could lead to one’s arrest is if it measurers 0.38 milligrams or above per 1000 millilitres. Whilst the illegal blood alcohol content taken from any part of a body of a person at anytime within two hours after the alleged offence is 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres.

According to studies of breathalysers on the internet, a majority of these held hand machines do not only identify the ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) found in alcohol beverages, but also other substances similar in molecular structure. “The machines identify any compound containing the methyl group structure and over 100 compounds can be found in the human breath at any one time and 70 to 80 per cent of them contain methyl group structure and will be incorrectly detected as ethyl alcohol.”

An example given was that an alcohol-free subject was asked to apply a pint of contact cement to a piece of plywood and then to apply a gallon of oil-base paint to a wall. The total activity lasted about an hour. Twenty minutes later the subject was tested on an Intoxilyser, which registered a BAC of .12 per cent which is very high.


Brave Maidens!

Main Section

By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-13-Sep-2009

MBANGWENI— Over 10 000 maidens braved the cold weather and danced for Their Majesties at the annual Shiselweni Reed Dance.

The maidens led by Indvuna yeMbali Nothando Nhleng-etfwa first deposited their reed at the Mbangweni Royal Kraal and then moved on to the main arena, where they danced for about three hours. The most popular song with the girls was ‘Munikeni Lihawu lakhe’ which the girls politicised.

The lyrics in general mean that the king should be allowed to do whatever he pleases freely, but the girls sang that political parties and human rights organisations were trying to stop the king from exercising his own free will and promote his culture. Due to the cold some of the girls resorted to wearing jackets whilst others were found huddling in several groups trying to keep warm.

As is the norm, competition was tight between the maidens of the three security forces namely, the army, police and correctional services. They painted a very bright and pretty picture in their matching attire and each danced hard to outclass the other. The Shiselweni Reed Dance follows the main dance which was held two weeks ago at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence, where about 100 000 maidens participated.

All schools in the Shiselweni region were closed a day early by the Minister of Education, Wilson Ntshangase, for the girls to prepare for the ceremony. The maidens were accommodated in a very large castle shaped tent, whilst others used very small camping tents just outside the royal kraal. Tourists once again showed their appreciation of Swazi culture and a majority of those interviewed by this publication were from the Netherlands and France.

Local artist Nana Magagula also witnessed the occasion and like a majority of the tourists, also took many photographs of the girls and some warriors. However, many on lookers complained about the lack of matching traditional attires for a majority of the maidens. A majority of them were dressed in dull coloured emahiya, whilst others just wore simple short skirts.

“It would not be a bad idea if the government made plans to provide the girls especially those from poor families with the traditional regalia,” said Anne Winston a tourist. As a result, during the main dancing those in dull outfits were in the back row, but they all got a glimpse of the king as he did the giya dance.

Present at the occasion were Emakhosikati, Cabinet ministers including Home Affairs minister Mgwagwa Gamedze, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Ndumiso Mamba and Works and Public Transport minister Ntuthuko Dlamini. UNICEF Resident repres-entative Dr Jama Gulaid also watched the proceedings from the VIP tent.


Single prisoner needs lady

Recreation Section

By The Editor SWAZI TIMES-13-Sep-2009

Single prisoner needs lady

Sir,

My name is Given Mpho Mawela residing in Middelburg, Mhluzi Location in South Africa. I am single young man and seriously in need of a serious lady who is ready to commit and settle down.

I am 35 years old and one thing you must know is that I’m in prison but this year November I will be free.

The lady must be between 26 to 34 years old with one child is okay. She must enclose her recent photo and direct the letter to Given Mpho Mawela at Barberton Medium B Prison, Private Bag X611. Barberton 1300. Or call: 013 712 6317.


Naked man assaulted for rituals on a grave

Main Section

By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-14-Sep-2009

NHLANGANO - A man is lucky to be alive after being severely assaulted for allegedly performing rituals while naked on a grave of a man who was murdered recently.

The shocking incident unfolded at Mpandzeni area under Zombodze Emuva constituency last Wednesday night. *Nathi Vilakati (60) was allegedly beaten until he lost consciousness by the late Zeze Simelane’s children. Simelane was last month killed in a cold blooded attack after two men stabbed him several times all over the body in what is suspected to be an attack over livestock. Simelane was once accused of stock theft.

Sprinkling

It was alleged that it was around 11pm on Tuesday when Vilakati was spotted at the grave in a family cemetery naked, sprinkling substances and moving around uttering undisclosed remarks. He was then allegedly confronted by the angry children who demanded answers on the purpose of his actions and according to a source close to the matter, Vilakati allegedly turned a deaf ear and continued with his mission. “Maybe if he tried to talk to the children the situation would have not been like this,” said the source.

The old man was beaten by the children and further taken to their homestead where the assault allegedly continued. The beating of the old man is also alleged to have continued the following day (Wednesday) at around 2pm, and by that time he was bleeding profusely after sustaining severe injuries.

“He was bleeding from the mouth and ear as a result of the assault,” said the source. As Vilakati could no longer stand the beatings and pain inflicted on him, he is alleged to have pleaded for forgiveness from the children on grounds that certain men sent him to perform the ritual.

It is alleged that he told the children he was sent by their father’s killers because they wanted the matter not to be tried “lidliwe tinja”. According to a source, Vilakati was then taken by the police to Nhlangano Health Centre where he was admitted. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said they received the report of the assault and police had since launched investigations into the matter. *Not his real name.


Crocodiles force folk to buy water

Main Section

By JOSEPH ZULU - SWAZI TIMES-14-Sep-2009

MAPHIVENI – Residents are now forced to buy water and stop collecting it from a nearby river after a girl was almost killed by a crocodile.

This was after Phindile Dlamini had gone to draw water at the crocodile infested Mbuluzi River in the company of her older sister. The 19 year old Phindile said had it not been for her sister, who dragged her out of the water, she would have died. She said the animal first splashed water onto her before attempting to bite into her.

“We pay about E50 for a 1 000 litre container from a local businessman,” said a man who preferred anonymity. He said the businessman fetches the water with his vehicle and then sells it to residents.

He said most of the people who fetched water were children and women, who were more likely to be attacked by the crocodiles and in some cases even snakes. Residents demanded that tanks be brought to the area to assist them so that they could have the basic commodity. They argued that with proper arrangement, water could be pumped from the river and taken much closer to the residents.

One of the community elders, Stephen Mdluli said there was nothing they could do to correct the situation and that only government could assist to change the situation. The community said they did not have a problem with water from the river but that their only problem was that they were terrified of the crocodiles.

“Every year, at least three people are killed by the animals. People are even scared to plant near the dams because of the crocodiles,” said a resident. Though the Mbuluzi River is set to supply water to most parts of the region, including Siteki, people that live close to the river are afraid to make use of it.


SA seeks SD’s advice on swine flu

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-14-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The South African government has sought advice from Swaziland on how to deal with the influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

Minister of Health Benedict Xaba said he had been contacted by his South African counterpart, Aaron Motsoaledi, who wanted to know the style that Swaziland had adopted in dealing with the Influenza that has killed close to 20 people in the neighbouring state, while the kingdom has recorded no such fatalities as yet.

Xaba said this gesture from South Africa should make local health workers proud, in fact, the minister said they should pat themselves on the back because this demonstrated that they were dealing quite well with the pandemic. Addressing over 100 attendees of a seminar on the influenza A/H1N1 virus last Thursday, Xaba said: “This morning I received a fax message from the South African minister of Health who wanted to know our style on how to cope with the illness.

“This shows that we’re handling the situation quite well and should therefore pat ourselves on the back.” The minister said they would soon be responding to the SA minister’s fax, while sources within the Health Ministry have disclosed that Deputy Director of Health Services (public health) Rejoice Nkambule had been mandated with handling the process. “The minister has entrusted Nkambule with the responsibility of ensuring that the necessary advise and any other information is prepared for the South African minister,” sources said.

Success

Minister Xaba noted that the fight against the influenza would not have been a success without the commitment that has been shown by the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) team, led by national coordinator Masitsela Mhlanga.

“During my trip to Rwanda I presented the work of the EPR and it was quite impressive. I have to say that I’m very proud of the team and the work they are doing,” Xaba said. With regards to the media the minister said: “I should also thank the media for its contribution in educating the public about the influenza because without them the message would not have reached the people.”

The minister also recognised the role that Members of Parliament have played in the fight against the pandemic. “Even though they bombarded me with questions regarding the influenza, these helped the ministry in drawing up guidelines of dealing with the pandemic,” Xaba added. To deal with the Influenza A/H1N1 pandemic, the Ministry of Health wants to educate at least 80 per cent of the country’s health care workers.

The ministry has targeted equipping the health workers with relevant information and skills to deal with the influe-nza. This will be achieved through a number of seminars, and phase one of such activities was concluded on Friday at the Mountain Inn, where over 500 health workers participated over four days. “This is only phase one of these activities, subsequent phases will be conducted as we will need to cover more health care workers with the skills and information,” health minister Xaba said.

He continued: “However, let me point out that for better preparedness to respond to pandemic influenza A/H1N1/2009, as a health sector, our desire is to equip at least 80 per cent of all health care workers with the information and skills.”


SA seeks SD’s advice on swine flu

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-14-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The South African government has sought advice from Swaziland on how to deal with the influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

Minister of Health Benedict Xaba said he had been contacted by his South African counterpart, Aaron Motsoaledi, who wanted to know the style that Swaziland had adopted in dealing with the Influenza that has killed close to 20 people in the neighbouring state, while the kingdom has recorded no such fatalities as yet.

Xaba said this gesture from South Africa should make local health workers proud, in fact, the minister said they should pat themselves on the back because this demonstrated that they were dealing quite well with the pandemic. Addressing over 100 attendees of a seminar on the influenza A/H1N1 virus last Thursday, Xaba said: “This morning I received a fax message from the South African minister of Health who wanted to know our style on how to cope with the illness.

“This shows that we’re handling the situation quite well and should therefore pat ourselves on the back.” The minister said they would soon be responding to the SA minister’s fax, while sources within the Health Ministry have disclosed that Deputy Director of Health Services (public health) Rejoice Nkambule had been mandated with handling the process. “The minister has entrusted Nkambule with the responsibility of ensuring that the necessary advise and any other information is prepared for the South African minister,” sources said.

Success

Minister Xaba noted that the fight against the influenza would not have been a success without the commitment that has been shown by the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) team, led by national coordinator Masitsela Mhlanga.

“During my trip to Rwanda I presented the work of the EPR and it was quite impressive. I have to say that I’m very proud of the team and the work they are doing,” Xaba said. With regards to the media the minister said: “I should also thank the media for its contribution in educating the public about the influenza because without them the message would not have reached the people.”

The minister also recognised the role that Members of Parliament have played in the fight against the pandemic. “Even though they bombarded me with questions regarding the influenza, these helped the ministry in drawing up guidelines of dealing with the pandemic,” Xaba added. To deal with the Influenza A/H1N1 pandemic, the Ministry of Health wants to educate at least 80 per cent of the country’s health care workers.

The ministry has targeted equipping the health workers with relevant information and skills to deal with the influe-nza. This will be achieved through a number of seminars, and phase one of such activities was concluded on Friday at the Mountain Inn, where over 500 health workers participated over four days. “This is only phase one of these activities, subsequent phases will be conducted as we will need to cover more health care workers with the skills and information,” health minister Xaba said.

He continued: “However, let me point out that for better preparedness to respond to pandemic influenza A/H1N1/2009, as a health sector, our desire is to equip at least 80 per cent of all health care workers with the information and skills.”


SA seeks SD’s advice on swine flu

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-14-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The South African government has sought advice from Swaziland on how to deal with the influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

Minister of Health Benedict Xaba said he had been contacted by his South African counterpart, Aaron Motsoaledi, who wanted to know the style that Swaziland had adopted in dealing with the Influenza that has killed close to 20 people in the neighbouring state, while the kingdom has recorded no such fatalities as yet.

Xaba said this gesture from South Africa should make local health workers proud, in fact, the minister said they should pat themselves on the back because this demonstrated that they were dealing quite well with the pandemic. Addressing over 100 attendees of a seminar on the influenza A/H1N1 virus last Thursday, Xaba said: “This morning I received a fax message from the South African minister of Health who wanted to know our style on how to cope with the illness.

“This shows that we’re handling the situation quite well and should therefore pat ourselves on the back.” The minister said they would soon be responding to the SA minister’s fax, while sources within the Health Ministry have disclosed that Deputy Director of Health Services (public health) Rejoice Nkambule had been mandated with handling the process. “The minister has entrusted Nkambule with the responsibility of ensuring that the necessary advise and any other information is prepared for the South African minister,” sources said.

Success

Minister Xaba noted that the fight against the influenza would not have been a success without the commitment that has been shown by the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) team, led by national coordinator Masitsela Mhlanga.

“During my trip to Rwanda I presented the work of the EPR and it was quite impressive. I have to say that I’m very proud of the team and the work they are doing,” Xaba said. With regards to the media the minister said: “I should also thank the media for its contribution in educating the public about the influenza because without them the message would not have reached the people.”

The minister also recognised the role that Members of Parliament have played in the fight against the pandemic. “Even though they bombarded me with questions regarding the influenza, these helped the ministry in drawing up guidelines of dealing with the pandemic,” Xaba added. To deal with the Influenza A/H1N1 pandemic, the Ministry of Health wants to educate at least 80 per cent of the country’s health care workers.

The ministry has targeted equipping the health workers with relevant information and skills to deal with the influe-nza. This will be achieved through a number of seminars, and phase one of such activities was concluded on Friday at the Mountain Inn, where over 500 health workers participated over four days. “This is only phase one of these activities, subsequent phases will be conducted as we will need to cover more health care workers with the skills and information,” health minister Xaba said.

He continued: “However, let me point out that for better preparedness to respond to pandemic influenza A/H1N1/2009, as a health sector, our desire is to equip at least 80 per cent of all health care workers with the information and skills.”


Cooperatives can access about E400 000 funding from CoopAfrica

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-14-Sep-2009

MBABANE –The Cooperative Facility for Africa (CoopAfrica) has called for funding proposals from local cooperative organisations

The Cooperative Facility for Africa (CoopAfrica) has called for funding proposals from local cooperative organisations to stand a chance to benefit from funding ranging between E150 000 ($20 000) and E380 000 ($50 000).

This request in not limited to cooperative organisations, as cooperative support organisations such as unions, federations and colleges, as well as other stakeholder close to the cooperative movement are also eligible to apply. The application period opens today and the deadline for submissions is October 18, 2009.

The fund is called the Challenge Fund and proposals can be submitted in three different categories; namely the services, innovation and training categories. CoopAfrica’s Country Focal Point Charles Hlatshwako said funding requests between E150 000 ($20 000) and E380 000 ($50 000) are collected twice a year through calls for proposals and this was the fourth call for proposals since the initiative was introduced last year. “Calls for proposals are open to eight African countries, including Swaziland, under a highly competitive bidding process.

Three calls have been organised so far, with the first one in June 2008, the second in November 2008 and the third in May 2009,” Hlatshwako explained. Elaborating on the previous three calls for proposals, he said 55 organisations had already been selected for CoopAfrica grants for a total funding of approximately E18 million ($2.7 million). “Funding may, in exceptional circumstances, be extended to approximately E1.1 million ($150 000) during these calls when organisations that have been or are in the process of being recognised as ‘centres of competence’ and are involved in the implementation of the project or are requesting capacity building assistance through the Challenge Fund for Training,” he said.

He went on to explain that the maximum project duration was nine months, adding that all projects were expected to be finalised by November 2010. CoopAfrica is a partnership programme implemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and it aims at improving governance and efficiency of primary cooperatives in order to strengthen their capacity to create jobs, generate income, reduce poverty, provide protection and give people a voice. Interested people can contact the CoopAfrica Country Focal Point Charles Hlatshwako by emailing hlatshwako charles@yahoo.com or by calling 602 2642.


Xaba thanks WHO for Swine Flu effort

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

GOVERNMENT has thanked the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its prompt action in ensuring that the country was well equipped to face the A H1N1 influenza otherwise known as swine flu.

The minister of health Bennedict Xaba said with WHO support, particularly laboratory and drug supplies, government was able to capacitate the country’s laboratory services and health facilities in terms of case management of the influenza. He said government committed itself to making available additional drugs to complement the emergency stock supplied by WHO.

He said, like other countries, Swaziland was not spared from the Influenza A (H1N1) and responded by reactivating the National Emargency Task Force, a multisectoral body compromised of representatives from government, development partners, NGOs and Civil Society. “Support received from WHO and other development partners is acknowledged with appreciation. The country is currently mobilising resources for procurement of antivirals and vaccine,” he said.

He said seven confirmed cases were diagnosed in the country but no death was recorded, thankfully. Meanwhile, Xaba observed that MDR and XDR TB have become a reality in the country. He revealed that currently about 200 TB drug resistant cases had been diagnoses in the country and four cases of XDR-TB were identified last year.

He said the country responded by developing and implementing MDR-TB guidelines and initiating anti-TB Drug resistance survey.


THERE’S MONEY IN RUBBISH

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

MINISTER Lutfo has said government welcomes the joint venture by the three who are directors of Nomakanjani Scrap Recycling saying this company is here to keep the country clean.

The minister said the company came at a time when government was all out to ensure that the country was clean saying the recently launched Hloba Swaziland campaign which was joined by the Prime Minister, the entire cabinet and corporate companies all around the country was a symbol that government was dedicated to keep the country clean

He said the introduction of this company whose core business is collecting scrap metal for recycling purposes is an advantage in many ways. He called upon the directors of the company to consider having deports in the different constituencies so that the entire country can be cleaned. He said such would help the people minimise travelling costs. “This will help benefit as many people as possible because there were a lot of unemployed people who would make a living through selling scrap to you” said the minister.

He also advised the directors to respect their customers saying they are equally important to the success of the business. He said the people who would be bringing their scrap to the company were pillars of the business and they should be treated as such.

Meanwhile, the President of the Federation of the Swazi Business Community (FESBC) Henry ‘Tum’ du Pont said they welcome the business and advised them to play the game by the rule while operating in the country. He also urged them to guard against people who would come and try to sell stolen metals and disguise it as scrap.

“I just want to pass a word of warning to the directors and the general public to stop destroying infrastructure for the purposes of selling it to the scrap dealers. Monitor at all times the kind of material brought to you for sale and eradicate elements of theft. As local business community we welcome this establishment and pledge our full support to it while it operates in the country” said the FESBC boss.


Chicken dust business faces bleak future

Main Section

By Ackel Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

VENDORS of the popular roadside chicken chunks, popularly known as ‘chicken dust’ face an uphill in business as the country revitalises a law that protects forests.

Minister of Tourism and Environmetnal Affairs Macford Sibandze has ordered the immediate effect of Sections 5, 7 and 19 of the Flora Protection Act No. 5 of 2001. The law says “it is illegal and an offence to pick, pluck and uproot or dig out any indigenous flora for the purpose of commercial gain or export.”

This comes at a time when the roadside chicken business had already proliferated around the country’s peri-urban roads. Otherwise during mass sporting and musical activities the natural gas stoves are used. “The increasing number of fuelwood piles along the public roads and depots in all the regions of the country is evident to this unfortunate state of affair,” says the minister.

The minister said government had in the past been making efforts to create public awareness and train stakeholders on appropriate management of indigenous flora and applicable legislation. Most affected shall be the chicken roasting stands crowding the homesteads near the University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni campus.

The other sections to readjust behaviour are traditional healers who uproot indigenous medicinal plants for purposes of commercial gains. These include those who have already enriched themselves by claiming that they have cures to such ailments as the HIV infection. The country is now working towards banning those who have no grasland savanna, mixed bush and scrub cover most of Swaziland. There is some forest in the highlands. Flora include aloes, orchids, and begonias. Large indigenous mammals include the blue wildebeest, kudu, impala, zebra, waterbuck, and hippopotamus; however, wildlife has become very scarce outside the protected areas. Crocodiles live in the lowland rivers. Bird life is plentiful and includes the European stork, sacred ibis and gray heron.

scientific proof that their concoction can be trusted to save lives.

Swaziland’s Plant Diversity

Knowledge of plant diversity is based on the collection of herbarium specimens from the country. This diversity is, therefore, only known at the species, sub-species or variety level, with little or no information available on intraspecies diversity.

Plant Exploration

Collection of plants from Swaziland was first carried out in 1886 by Ernest E Galpin, soon after the commencement of gold-mining in Barberton, and then in 1890, by a Mr Saltmarshe, who visited the Havelock area. The next collector in Swaziland was Dr Harry Bolus, in 1906, who collected plants in the Mbabane and Mbuluzi River areas. The first Swaziland resident to collect plants systematically was Miss Mabel Stewart, who collected a considerable number of plants in the Hlatikulu area in 1911 and 1912 (Compton, 1976).

The first publication of Swaziland plants in Flora form was Dr Burtt Davy’s Manual of the Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Transvaal with Swaziland, two parts being published in 1926 and 1932, at which point only 217 species were recorded from Swaziland. From this point in time until the fifties, plant collection was carried out by visitors to Swaziland and by residents, both professional and amateur botanists, with collection being carried out much more widely through the country (Compton 1976).

Utilisation of plant genetic resources

Utilisation of plant genetic material to date has been limited, but it includes material collected from Swaziland of a number of species including various Vigna species, being used for plant breeding research by ORSTOM in Niger, Stomatanthes africanus, being used for research into the biological control of Chromolaena odorata by the Department of Agriculture in South Africa, various bulbous plants being used for research into ornamental plants by the Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute in South Africa, and Sorghum landraces used in plant breeding programmes by SADCC/ICRISAT. In addition, small quantities of seed from indigenous tree species have been collected for investigation for woodlots in a rural development programme run by Yonge Nawe, a local non-governmental organisation. (extra information from SNTC)


More frustrations for traders at Oshoek border

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

TRADERS and general users of the Oshoek Border post continue to feel the pinch as the strike by the South African Revenue Services (Sars) takes more effect.

The strike began last week and protesting Sars officers have vowed that it will not end until they get their 12% salary adjustment from management. Commissioner of Customs and Excise Thamsanqa Mpanza said Sars only notified them about this strike action last Friday, despite that it had long started.

But nevertheless, he said the go-slow strike was affecting users of the Oshoek border post the most. He said the situation is also being closely monitored by the local customs department, because it affects operations both in the Swaziland and South African sides of the borders. “Traders and users of the Oshoek border post are the most affected. This is because there are a few Sars officers working at the post, and even these few are on a go-slow strike. The majority of Sars officers have boycotted work, and despite officials from Sars assuring us that they would hire part time officers who will work whilst the strike is ongoing, but this has not made matters any better.

“At other border posts, the situation is not as difficult as it is at Oshoek,” he said. Meanwhile, South African media has reported that more police and traffic officers have been deployed along the N1 near the Zimbabwe border, where about 200 protesting SARS employees marched to the entrance of the Beit Bridge border post. The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) which is negotiating on behalf of Sars employees said the move is part of the union’s strategy to intensify their industrial action of demanding salary hikes for SARS employees.

South African taxpayers have expressed mixed feelings over long queues at the Sars offices in Cape Town. Some taxpayers say more personnel must be roped in. Other offices around the country have also been affected.


Govt hopes to ‘rescue’ ailing pulp industry soon

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

GOVERNMENT says it is working tirelessly on rescuing the country’s ailing pulp industry.

One of the country’s biggest pulp producers, Sappi Usutu is currently faced with problems and even threats of closure following various production challenges, including the global economic meltdown which has affected a lot of industries and in essence, exports worldwide.

“There is a global recession so exports of sugar, paper and other products have been affected,” noted Prime Minister Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini on Friday during the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) annual general meeting at the Royal Swazi Sun Convention Centre. He said Sappi’s situation was a direct result of the economic meltdown in European and Asian markets. “Government is trying to diversify its markets and we hope to have a positive position to take in our responses to the global economic crisis. “We have to work on this ‘like never before’. Business cannot be ‘as usual’. It has to be ‘business unusual’,” stated the PM. “And yet we are currently operating under a cloud of global economic uncertainty, making the challenge even greater.”

Dlamini noted that even though a number of countries like China, India, France and Germany were seeing economic recovery, others like the United States and United Kingdom were not expecting an emergence from recession in the near future. “Thus, with a number of our export markets still firmly in an economic downturn there should inevitably be a negative effect on our rate of growth. But that is only if we were to stand still and do nothing to boost growth, diversity and seek deeper and broader external market penetration,” he said.

engaged

Meanwhile, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Jabulile Mashwama said government was currently engaged with pulp industry stakeholders to try and understand their plight so as to find options and solutions to the problems.

“Obviously, we’re in an economic crisis and many industries have suffered. However, we’re beginning to see an improvement in the industry internationally, so we’re hoping it will get better,” she said. “We’re hoping to find solutions that will work because not only the prices of pulp have been affected, but a lot of other products as well.”


Pastor grabs bride from groom’s home

Main Section

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

NTSININI – A pastor caused a scene at a Dlamini homestead when he forcefully fetched his daughter back home a few hours after she had been traditionally married (Swazi Law and Custom).

This type of marriage is also known as kuteka. The incident, which has shocked residents and some traditional authorities from this constituency, unfolded on Saturday. What has also confused the family is that this is the same pastor who made headlines recently when he allegedly denied his children their right to education that ‘God never went to school.’ However, in this case it is alleged that the pastor, who heads the ‘Go out ministries,’ is against this type of marriage and wanted his children to be wed in the western type, it was gathered. It all started after 18-year-old Timmy Shongwe, daughter to the pastor, visited her 25-year-old boyfriend Maswane Dlamini who lives a stones throw away from her home.

It was gathered that Dlamini invited Shongwe to spend a night with him, which in traditional circles is known as Kujuma. However, on the following day Dlamini traditionally wed her As per the Swazi Law and Custom, he further sent sacred meat to the Shongwe homestead to notify them about the development.

According to Brandy Dlamini, an elder brother to Maswane, Shongwe was also provided with traditional attire (Sidvwaba), which she subsequently wore as proof that she accepted the groom. “Actually, we celebrated the day and further gave some advice to our brother on how he should handle his wife since he has now assumed the status of a responsible man,” said Dlamini.

“Just before 4pm I received a call from the bride’s father and he sounded very angry about the marriage. At first, he asked why we allowed the marriage to take place and why we had not informed him about the decision to marry his daughter. He further insisted that his daughter be escorted back home before he sends a party to fetch her back. I then gave the phone to my brother whom he also shouted at and commanded him to release his daughter,” alleged Dlamini yesterday.

Plans

He alleged that the fuming pastor bluntly told them that he had plans for his daughter and that he wanted them to at least pay dowry (lobola) before taking the bride. “At around 6pm, he and a faction of men and women, arrived and fetched his daughter back home. As a family we never fought them,” added Dlamini.

It was gathered that the bride went back home still wearing the traditional clothes she received during her brief stay at the Dlamini family. Efforts to get a comment from the pastor were not successful as he was reportedly not at his homestead when the Times visited and a message was left for him to get in contact with us as efforts to get his number were futile.

...groom is traumatised

NTSININI – Maswane Dlamini, the man whose wife was taken away a few hours after traditionally marrying her, has been left traumatised.

Yesterday he disclosed that ever since the incident unfolded, he had not visited anyone nor talked to people but stayed home to ease the pain. He said the pain was that of losing a wife. “What happened to me is so much painful that I am not ready to speak about it. As we speak I am at home and I have referred every question to my brother,” said Dlamini in a telephonic interview.

When the Times team arrived at the homestead yesterday, Dlamini had locked himself in one of the rooms. Only his elder brother Brandy answered questions. “It was too painful to him but we hope since discussions are still ongoing he would be fine,” said Brandy. Maswane is unemployed and he completed school in 2007 at Ntsinini High School.

‘Pastor was exercising his right’

NTSININI – Chief Malamulela Magagula, a traditionalist, has noted that the pastor who fetched his daughter after being traditionally wedded, was not off-side.

In a telephonic interview yesterday, the Dvokolwako chief said it was customary that a party must be sent to the bride’s family member to request permission to marry. “Umuntfu uyacelwa kubo ngaphambi kube a tekwe nome ashade (permission should be requested from the bride’s family before marriage, either Swazi Law and Custom or western marriage),” said Magagula.

“It would then be the bride’s family that give a go-ahead to that marriage. If this tradition has not been followed family members of that said bride have a right to end that marriage,” he said. He said this also applied when family members of the bride reject the sacred meat submitted by the groom’s family during the traditional wedding.


Twins burn inside hut

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI NEWS\-15-Sep-2009

MBABANE – A set of twins almost died after being severely burnt by a fire while inside a hut.

The one-month-old twins, a boy and a girl had been left unattended to by their mother who had gone to respond to a call of nature.

Phindile Makhubu, of LaMgabhi, said it happened on Thursday afternoon when she lit the fire in their kitchen hut to prepare dinner and provide warmth for the twins. She said she was playing with the babies when she decided to go to the toilet situated a stone’s throw away from the hut.

“I did not take long in the toilet because I knew that I had left the babies by themselves. However, I did not suspect that the blankets they were wrapped in could catch fire because they were not close to the fire. When I returned, I saw smoke coming out of the hut and that is when I rushed inside. Surprisingly, nothing else had caught fire except for the babies blankets,” she explained.

Makhubu said she quickly pulled out her babies, only to find that they were also badly burnt and quickly raised an alarm. One of the twins had the blanket stuck on its tiny body and Makhubu said she had to first pour cold water before pulling off the blanket. They were then taken to the Mbabane Government Hospital where they are currently recuperating. The twins were mainly burnt on their faces and hands, with the girl showing the worse burn wounds.

A large portion of her face was burnt, with the left eye slightly closed. Her lips were also badly burnt and forehead. Her hands were not spared and one of her fingers was totally burnt. The male twin was badly burnt on the forehead.

Makhubu said she was thankful to God for saving her babies. She said even though she was impoverished, she could not wish for her children to die in such a manner. Makhubu has three other children, two of whom are school going.


Minister probes ‘mad’ pupil’s 23 strokes beating

Main Section

By GUGU NDZABUKELWAKO - SWAZI TIMES-15-Sep-2009

MBABANE- Teachers should not take anger or frustrations out on pupils, rather wait until anger has subsided then punish pupils.

This was said by the Minister of Education, Wilson Ntshangase, who has condemned the actions of the Ekufikeni Primary teacher who allegedly severely beat pupil 23 times all over her body and is now mentally disturbed. In a telephone interview, the minister expressed disappointment in such actions and said all teachers are aware of the corporal punishment laws in the country.

“Pupils must be punished by not more than three strokes and this sort of punishment should be done by a teacher in the presence of either the School Principal or the Deputy Principal. Teachers should not take their anger out on the pupils, they should be very patient with them and very cautious”, Ntshangase said.

He also said there would be further investigations on the matter, and cannot comment on any form of disciplinary that will be taken against the teacher by the ministry for now. Save the Children Fund strongly condemns any violence against children especially in schools by teachers who do not follow guidelines set by the Ministry of Education in their book titled “A guide to school regulations and procedures”, page 32, section 11 on corporal punishment.

“We have started ttaining sessions and we have already trained 19 primary principals and again this month we are targeting 30 more primary schools. “We will later train high school principals, on corporal punishment’, said Elizabeth Kgololo, Save the Children Fund’s Public Relations Officer.

She said Save the Children has embarked on a series of workshops for teachers on ‘Positive Discipline versus Corporal punishment’, so as to address such problems of brutality on our children. Other principals said;

Simon Mthunzi of Ka-Boyce High School said ‘corporal punishment should be applied according to the rules of the Education Ministry, I think schools should consider scrapping off corporal punishment as a solution’. Simon Makhubu of Mhlatane High School said ‘corporal punishment is meant to scare the pupils and not to kill them, I believe without it there would be absolute chaos in the schools but it should be administered with care. What happened to the pupil was simply unfair to her’.


‘Birds’ in E10 million CAF Champions League jackpot

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-15-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Mbabane Swallows will next year join other African champions in the fight for the over E10 million first prize money in the continental tournament.

The tournament, which was won for a record sixth times by Egyptian champions Ahly last year, was sponsored by giant mobile phone company MTN which has not renewed the sponsorship. Taking over will be global mobile phone giant Orange.

Information sourced from a COSAFA website reveal that the new prize increase was also ratified by a CAF executive committee meeting held over the weekend in Cairo. The exact first prize money will be E11 250 000, a figure that reflects a 50 per cent increase from the previous amount. The runners-up will take home E7.5 million and the semi finalists will get a staggering E 5 250 000.

Last year Zimbabwean club Dynamos F.C reached the semi finals, before losing to eventual runners-up Coton Sport of Cameroon. The third and fourth placed teams in the final group stages will pocket E3 750 000 and E3 million respectively. Swallows will be making their first return to the tournament since their 7-2 humiliation by Orlando Pirates in 2005. The Soweto ‘Buccaneers’ went on to reach the last four where they lost to Tunisian side Etoile Sahel.

Commenting on the new sponsorship, Swallows secretary Sibusiso Manana said they were ready to go out and compete for the prize money at stake. He however minced no words in stating that they will be beefing up their squad ahead of their preliminary rounds that are due to be played early next year.

“It’s a good incentive that we will take seriously as a team. We are very ambitious when it comes to such tournaments and the truth is that we are going to add more quality players in the team ahead of our first game. We want to go as far as we possibly can. And yes we want a stake in the lucrative prize money,” he said.

Manana disclosed that they were finalising registration logistics of the tournament which is due before the end of the year. In fact the draw for next year’s tournament will be held during the finals of this year’s edition in December.


Sive Siyinqaba impressed with Umhlanga

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-15-Sep-2009

SIVE Siyinqaba has lauded the King and Queen Mother for ensuring that Swazi culture and customs are well preserved.

Publicist Secretary Zibuse Simelane said the organisation was impressed with the recent reed dance ceremonies held at Ludzidzini and Embangweni, especially because the two events turned out to be a tremendous success.

“Swazi people clearly love their culture and are proud of who they are. The success of the reed dance shows that people do not want to forget their roots. Maidens also did not disappoint as they turned up in their large numbers.” Simelane said chiefs were unsung heroes in Swazi culture, observing that their encouragement had gone a long way in ensuring that customs were preserved. “We all know that down at the community level, the chiefs are the ones who encourage their people to participate in national events.”

Simelane said Sive Siyinqaba was confident that when young people were taught about their culture and traditions from a tender age, they would not forget their heritage when they grow up.

He also thanked government for ensuring that transport needed for the maidens attending the reed dance are well taken care of. “The government ministry responsible for the transportation of maidens to the reed dance from the Tinkhundla centres to Ludzidzini has done a good job over the years. The girls are not left stranded and frustrated about how toreach the reed dance area but they are taken by government trucks straight from their Tinkhundla centre, which is a good initiative.” Meanwhile, Simelane requested that Tingaja must emulate the example of the maidens during the Lusekwane and Incwala ceremonies.

“Maidens attended the reed dance in their numbers. The young boys must also do the same, in fact they must strive to exceed the numbers recorded at the reed dance.”


Prom nights remain banned

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-15-Sep-2009

THE Minister of Education and Training Wilson Future Ntshangase says as long as he holds that position no schools will host prom nights.

Ntshangase said schools must rather host farewell functions for the Form Five and Form Three pupils rather than the prom nights.

Ntshangase said the prom nights were too expensive for parents who were expected to buy new outfits for their children pupils and sometimes pay fees for the events. Ntshangase wondered where the idea of the prom nights came from; "I believe that it came from a teacher and most probably a class teacher who forced it down the students' mind telling them to market the idea with their parents..

“This thing is too expensive, I know that some people will think that we are depriving the students their rights but I don't care, I don't want it to be hosted in any school," he said. The minister lamented that people who were outside the teaching profession were gaining a lot of money through the prom nights.

Meanwhile, the minister said he expects no student to wear short uniform in the schools. He said short tunics were tempting the male teachers when lessons were in progress as some students would intentionally and unintentionally open their thighs while a lesson was in session.

Ntshangase said the high school students were the ones who wear and promote the short uniform. He said he was worried with such acts because at that stage, it was when the pupils were supposed to determine what they wanted to be in the future and when they wear short uniform it meant they could not decide properly on the future.

"High school education is the most important level of education for everyone because it is when one decides what he/she wants to be in the future. So it is very disappointing to see a high schoolstudents wearing a short uniform, because it somehow shows what lives they will lead when they have completed school," he said.


60 entrepreneurs to attend culture festival in Korea

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-15-Sep-2009

ABOUT 60 Swazi entrepreneurs, sports personalities and culturalists will attend the World Culture and Sports Festival and the International Leadership Conference in Seoul, Korea on October 12.

The one-week conference will bring representatives from many nations together to dialogue on peace, culture, love, sports and leadership issues.

related

Charles Mbingo, the Corporate Affairs and Programmes Coordinator says the programme will feature sessions on topics related to the general theme as well as presentations on the core principles and programmes of the United Peace Federation (UPF).

"There is a growing awareness among people throughout the world of the urgent need for innovative vision and bold leadership if we are to resolve the critical issues of our time. “The ILC series addreses this need. During the course of the programme, we will consider the universal values and best practices that are necessary to create a world in which people of every region, race, nationality culture and religion live together in peace.

consider

“We will consider the root cause of conflict and the ways we can move together beyond conflict, inequality and division towards reconciliation and prosperity as one family under God," the theme of the conference reads.

On this occasion, Father and Mother Moon, who went into the Guinness book of records for wedding hundreds of couples in one occasion, are inviting ILC participants to come as couples in the World Peace Blessing in support of the vision of strengthening marriages and families for the sake of peace.


SA countries partner to solve energy shortage by 2016

Main Section

By Observer Reporter - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-15-Sep-2009

In the next seven years Southern African countries should have enough energy to capacitate the projected demand required to sustain the region’s multitude of businesses and homes

In the next seven years Southern African countries should have enough energy to capacitate the projected demand required to sustain the region’s multitude of businesses and homes, according to Professor Mosad Elmissiry, energy expert for the NEPAD Secretariat and a steering committee member of the ENERGY INDABA 2010.

The current estimated availability of energy in Southern Africa is 46 449MW, short of the 1272MW needed to fulfill the region’s maximum demand with 10.2% safety reserve. This concerning matter was central to the discussions at an 18-month planned Energy Investors Round Table Conference held in Livingstone, Zambia on 15-17 July 2009 and organised by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), SADC and the Region Regulations Agency (RERA).

In attendance were also energy ministers, utilities CEOs, banks, investors, donors and important energy stakeholders in the Southern Africa region.

transmission

Twelve energy generation and transmission projects from the SAPP member countries were presented at the conference to help address the energy deficit and to meet the expected energy demand growth in the region. “Assuming that these projects are implemented according to schedule, we will have sufficient energy by 2016 to supply the current and expected increase in energy consumption levels,” assures Prof. Elmissiry. However, he adds that this estimation does not include new rural electrification projects as it is measured upon the current consumption patterns with a modest GDP rate.

Among the 12 generation and transmission projects presented, there were eight power generation projects. The power generation projects selected by the committee came from Mozambique , Zambia and Zimbabwe .These are a combination of hydro and thermal driven initiatives that are all already in advanced stages of planning. Examples are: The Benga thermal power station in the Tete Province of Mozambique on the Riversdale’s Benga Coal Concession. The power station will produce 500MW (with a capacity to ramp up to 2000MW). Power would be transmitted to EDM of Mozambique and to ESKOM of SA. Moatize thermal power station in Tete Province of Mozambique, Zambezi Valley, 120km from Cahora Bassa hydro power plant.

The station will generate 600MW (to ramp to 2400 MW) of power. The power will be transmitted to Bindura (Zimbabwe) and to Apollo (South Africa) via Matambo and Songo substations (Mozambique). Mphanda Nkuwa hydro power station, on the Zambezi river in the Tete Province of Mozambique, 61 km from Cahora Bassa power station.

generate

The station will generate 1500 MW (mid merit) and be transmitted to Eskom of South Africa using the proposed backbone transmission line. Itezhi Tezhi hydro power station to be built on an existing dam in the Kafu River, Zambia. The station is of capacity 120 MW. ZESCO is the sole off taker of the generated power and will transmit it to Zambia national grid at Lusaka West. This will be via new transmission lines to be built by ZESCO from ITT to Mumbwa and from Mumbwa to Lusaka West.

Kariba North Bank Extension (existing dam on the Zambian side) will generate 350MW of hydro power by extending the hydro power station at the Kariba North Bank on the Zambezi river. Zimbabwe power generation projects have been on cards for some time and there is need to update their feasibility studies that were previously carried out in the past. The first project is to extend the Hwange thermal power station by adding two new units, 7 & 8 which will generate 600 MW to the Zimbabwean network . The second project is the extension of Kariba South hydro plant .

This will add 300MW to the network .The country will also be embarking on a new thermal project, Gokwe North, which is an IPP. It is forecasted that the project will generate 1400MW to support the country as well as SADC countries. While it is anticipated that these projects will come to a financial close by the end of this year so that implementation starts thereafter, Professor Elmissiry says there are ways to help tackle the perceived shortage of power in the interim. He refers to demand side management, energy conservation and full utilisation of renewable energy resources that are abundant in the region.

resources

“Africa is blessed with enormous solar energy resources and these resources need to be exploited. In fact, solar irradiation in Africa is among the highest in the world, yet solar energy usage in Africa is the lowest,” Professor .Elmissiry states.

“The European Union is aiming for 20 % of its power to be sourced from renewable energy by 2020. Unfortunately, in Africa there is no well-defined continental renewable energy policy to follow or targets to achieve. The investment allocated by our national governments to utilise renewable energy resources is very minimal - if none at all - resulting in many having to rely on foreign funds for such projects. African countries need to allocate a specific percentage of its GDP for promoting and usage of environmentally energy sources.”

Professor Elmissiry is a steering committee member of the ENERGY INDABA 2010 to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from the 24 - 26 February 2010. As well as consulting to many international organisations and regional energy industries, Professor Elmissiry was director of The Energy Technology Institute, Industrial Research and Development Centre in Zimbabwe. He continues to play a leading role in identifying regional energy projects and facilitating their implementation through the NEPAD network.

Time for Innovation, Solutions and Alternatives is the event theme chosen by the Steering Programme Advisory Committee for ENERGY INDABA 2010. The flagship African energy event is an annual event on the Africa business calendar with a specific focus on exploring solutions for a new energy future for Africa. With the recent ever increasing world-wide attention to Energy, ENERGY INDABA 2010 provides an ideal platform to encourage debate as well as creating the stage for a networking climate conducive for companies and individuals to interact.

promote

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


Her Majesty to meet UNESCO boss

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By Nomfundo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-16-Sep-2009

HER Majesty the Indlovukazi is expected to visit the UNESCO offices tomorrow, where she will hold a bilateral talks with the Director General of UNESCO Khoichiro Ramatsuura

Upon arrival, Her Majesty will also meet Jean-Luc Chane Won In, the chief of protocol of UNESCO, Robertine Raonimahary, the Acting Assistant Director General for the African Department of UNESCO. Her Majesty will then meet Matsuura who will be accompanied by Alaphia Wright who is UNESCO Representative in Swaziland and Julius Banda, the Executive Officer in the office of the Director General of UNESCO.

Issues to be discussed include the role of culture in development and the enhancement of social welfare, amongst others. There will also be a question and answer session where Her Majesty will be asked on how the Kingdom of Swaziland has managed to preserve its culture when most African countries seem to have lost theirs.

Later on Her Majesty is expected to address African Permanent Delegates to UNESCO. A brief video about Swazi culture will be shown to the delegates. Her Majesty is expected back home on Friday


Lomangceveza arrives in Paris

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By Nomfundo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-16-Sep-2009

HER Majesty the Indlovukazi arrived safely in Paris yesterday morning and was welcomed Ambassador Solomon Dlamini who is Swaziland’s ambassador to Brussels. He was with Dr. Tsembayena Dlamini, who is the Kingdom’s ambassador to Switzerland.

Her Majesty is in Paris following an invitation by the Director General of UNESCO, Khoichiro Ramatsuura. She is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Ramatsuura this morning, after which she is expected to address African Permanent Delegates to UNESCO.

Her Majesty’s delegation includes, among others, Prince David, Princess Fikile, Chief Kusa Dlamini, Minister of urban housing and development Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini , Boy Mdluli and the King’s private secretary, Sihle Dlamini.


KIDNEY BOY COMES HOME TO DIE

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By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-16-Sep-2009

GCINUMUZI Sifundza, the Swazi boy who needs a kidney transplant, returns home today after all else has failed.

This is after the Johannesburg General Hospital discovered that it was too late to perform the transplant. Salome Parkies, an administrators at Marang House where the boy had been housed, confirmed this yesterday, saying that she has gone to the high commissioner to seek Gcinumuzi’s passport. Gcinumuzi has been staying at the Marang House where they care for children with chronic renal failures ever since he moved to South Africa.

Parkies said “he was supposed to return to Swaziland today (yesterday) but the ambulance did not come so we are expecting that he would leave tomorrow (today).” She stated that the dialyses treatment had been stopped because the boy’s condition had deteriorated. Parkies explained that his head had swollen and he had difficulty even opening his eyes, let alone take in food. “His life was dependent on the dialyses machine. Now that it has been stopped it is only a matter of days that his family would be with him,” she said in a sombre mood. Parkies revealed that they had hoped the boy’s brother would eventually donate the kidney but, unfortunately, the boy had to be brought home and wait for the unknown, if not the inevitable.

“We are just praying that he makes it through tonight, we also pray that he does not die along the way because we cannot imagine what that would do to his mother and family,” she said. His brother, Joseph who had left with the hope of donating the kidney to Gcinumuzi will return home with him today. Joseph left after it was hoped that with the little time that the boy had he (Joseph) could save his life. Gcinumuzi has been sick for the past four years and since then, he has been staying at the Marang House. For all these years, he has been waiting for a kidney transplant and his mother was said to be a perfect donor. Just two months ago, after government finally agreed to pay for the transplant, it was discovered that his mother’s kidney was too big and could have cancer. In the last attempt to save the boy’s life, his brother Joseph offered to donate but it was already late.

The young boy could have been saved

…Marang House devastated by the news

THE Marang House has received with shock the news that Gcinumuzi will be brought back to the country to spend his last days. The Director, Pieter Ernst, said if things were done faster Gcinumuzi could have lived to realise his dreams. “It is so devastating that Gcinumuzi may not live to see another day, if only things were done soon this boy would live,” said Pieter. Salome Parkies said Gcinumuzi would not return to the Marang House anymore. She stated that yesterday they had a farewell function for him at the hospital, saying “he was so sick.” She said she personally felt like she was digging the grave for him. “I have lived with him for more than three years and I have grown to love him. I never thought it would come to the day when I would have to let go, knowing that I would never see him again.” She also felt that something could have been done to save the life of the boy.

We are shocked - Heath Ministry

Ministry of Health PS DR. Steven Shongwe said they had been made aware that Gcinumuzi would return today after the failed transplant. He stated that they also had full knowledge that Gcinumuzi’s life was about to end. Dr. Shongwe explained that they were still at a loss for words of what led to this situation. “We were hoping that the transplant would be successful. We are saddened by the news that there is no hope for the boy now,” said Dr. Shongwe.

He explained that when Gcinumuzi returned today, he would be at Mbabane Government hospital. Dr. Shongwe said they were still waiting for a full report on what exactly went wrong, saying, “right now all we know is the boy is returning home. We will have a full report today.”


Fuel price cut expected next month

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By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-16-Sep-2009

WHILE South Africa is anticipating a major fuel price cut next month, local industry stakeholders are not so sure that may be the case in the country, but there are still hopes of such.

“This is a volatile market and we continuously watch world markets to monitor prices,” said Swaziland Fuel Retailers Association Chairman Harry Nxumalo. “As retailers, we are happy to see a downward movement of prices, especially in the price of crude oil, which we’re hoping will either stabilise or go down further.”

He said stakeholders were hoping last year’s situation, when the price of crude oil hit all record highs of over US$100 per barrel would not be repeated this year as this would be bad for the global economy, adding that recovery in this instance would be very slow and difficult. “A lower price in the barrel of crude oil means lower prices in fuel, which would definitely boost the economy. That’s why as retailers, we’re hoping the crude oil price stabilises or goes further down. We are anticipating a cut in the fuel prices.”

constant

Meanwhile, Nxumalo noted that a cut in fuel prices would be more than welcome in the country as the price controller (natural resources and energy ministry) had decided to keep prices constant in the past two months despite increases in South Africa.

Early this month, the retail price of all grades of petrol increased by 36c a litre in South Africa and this was attributed to the average rand/US dollar exchange rate, which had weakened when compared to the previous period. Prior to this, another hike in fuel prices had been effected in July followed by a subsequent cut in August. Analysts are anticipating a fuel price cut between 40c-50c next month.

“We will look at what happens next month and how it implicates on us. Depending on the prevailing situation, we will then review whether or not to cut or increase prices,” said Nxumalo.


Pants, ‘Mandela shirts’ banned

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By SENZO DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-16-Sep-2009

MBABANE –Male and female civil servants have been banned from wearing ‘Mandela shirts’ and pants in the workplace respectively

Evart Madlopha, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, issued the ban in a Memorandum dated September 9, 2009.

He said the imposed ban was with immediate effect and requested all government employees to abide by it. Madlopha stressed that the wearing of pants and slacks by female officers was a gross violation of the government General Orders. Male civil servants have not been spared from the imposed ban.

The PS said male officers had developed the tendency to be clad in African shirts, commonly known as ‘Mandela shirt, as though that was acceptable yet it was in breach of the General Orders. Madlopha, in his MEMO, said defiant civil servants would be barred from performing their duties.

“It has been observed and noted with concern that of late a sizeable number of public servants in some ministries/departments now attend offices and/or duty in casual wear i.e. female officers wear pants, and slacks and male officers wear African shirts commonly known as ‘Mandela shirt’, as though that is acceptable dress code, when in fact it’s a gross violation of General Order A1008,” reads part of the Memo, whose distribution list includes the Secretary to Cabinet (Sandile Ceko), Principal Secretaries and Heads of Department.

Ceko is the head of the Public Service (responsible for all civil servants). PS Madlopha then reminded the civil servants that the wearing of pants, slacks and African shirts was not permissible in government offices.

“Therefore, no officer dressed in the aforementioned items shall be allowed access to government offices or to perform duties,” added the principal secretary. The union for civil servants has threatened their employer with court action - challenging the imposed ban on ‘Mandela shirts’ and pants.


Doing business in Sd to be easier

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By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-16-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The enactment of the Companies Bill, the Trade and Facilitation Bill and the Investment Policy hold the key to making it easier to do business in Swaziland.

The Doing Business 2010 report issued last week shows that Swaziland slipped one place backwards ranking at 115 from 114 the previous year. The survey published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the World Bank was done in 183 countries.

The report clearly states that no major reform was recorded in Swaziland. General Manager of the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza agreed there were no major reforms recorded locally. He, however, said that did not mean nothing was being done on the ground.

“There is a lot that is being done to ensure the environment is made more conducive for business locally. The major hindrance is the delays in implementation, for instance, of pieces of legislation,” he said. He noted the Companies Bill and the Trade and Facilitation Bills which are yet to be enacted.

“These two pieces of legislation would ensure that starting a business is made easier; the latter seeks to shorten the number of days it takes to process trading licences from the 21 days to at least five working days. The Companies Bill seeks to help recognise the protection of investors, among other things,” Ginindza said. He continued: “As SIPA, we are also pushing for the development of the Investment Policy. We have formulated the Issues Paper and will draft the policy soon; we should have the draft Bill by December this year.”

He said they were supported by the Southern African Trade and Competitiveness Hub, which was facilitating process of the development of the Investment Policy. When asked on the major challenges that resulted in the country slipping backwards with ‘ease of doing business’ Ginindza said one of the challenges was flow of information.

“The process of information flow takes very long; there are delays in the turn-around time. Moreover, the government agencies and ministries involved, for instance with the registration of companies, are fragmented. The processes are also inter-twined such that an investor cannot open a bank account without a trading licence, but the bank account is also a requirement when applying for a trading licence. Moreover, one is required to produce a health report for premises when applying for a trading licence while the health report is conducted when one already has premises.

There are also issues with getting residence permits on foreign investors, where there are also delays,” explained Ginindza. Ginindza said he believed some of these requirements could be waived and compliance monitored within the first year of operation by the investor. “It is my belief that some of the requirements could be waived to allow the investor to get the trading licence. To ensure compliance with the waived requirements, monitoring would be needed and those not complying could have their licences not renewed,” he said.

Ginindza further disclosed that a Steering Committee involving all stakeholders within government ministries had already been appointed to address the issues of information flow. “This committee will help with information flow among the ministries involved when an investor wants to open a business in Swaziland. In fact, SIPA is preparing an action plan, which will be presented to the committee next week, on areas that need unlocking and bottlenecks that have to be removed,” he said.


Farmers’ union to increase production

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-16-Sep-2009

MBABANE – With the ploughing season just around the corner, the Swaziland National Agricultural Union is making every effort to ensure increased food production this season.

President of the Swaziland National Agricultural Union Jabulani Tsabedze said as a first step towards achieving this goal, the farmer’s union was currently working towards an arrangement where the farmers under the association will purchase farm inputs in bulk from suppliers.

Farm inputs include fertilisers and pesticides among other products, Farm input prices have increased over the past few years and this has created what some farmers describe as a cost-price squeeze.

Loans

This, coupled with the unpredictability of market prices, has led to many smallholder farmers unable to service their loans with financiers. This ultimately has negatively affected smallholder farmer’s profiles with financiers, leading to their inability to access finance in some cases.

“We are in the process of negotiating for an arrangement with some of the local suppliers where farmers will be able to purchase farm inputs, such as fertiliser and seeds in bulk. This will certainly help the farmers because it will mean that they will get the farm inputs at cheaper rates,” Tsabedze explained. He said the current price for fertiliser, in particular a 50 kilogram of 2:3:2 22 fertiliser ranges between E200 and E220.

“Although this price is still considered to be high, it is far lower than what farmers had to pay for, a few years ago when farmers had to pay up to E400 for a 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser,” he added. He went on to say that the arrangement had not yet been finalised, but farmers should register at their nearest regional offices in order to benefit when the arrangement falls through.

“Farmers need to register and let the officers at the regional offices know the type of seeds and fertiliser they need. Farmers will find that by the time they register, the prices for the items will already be available and they will know how much they need to pay for the items,” he said.

He further said, as a union they were concerned about food production in the country, adding that this was one of the main reasons why they wanted to ensure that every farmer benefits from this arrangement so that food production can be increased.


Planetsky and Real Image Join Forces to Improve High-Speed Internet in Sub-Saharan Africa

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PR.com-18-Sep-2009

Real Image Ltd, a pioneer in the provision of Internet Services and customized communications solutions in Swaziland, has signed a contract with leading provider of satellite communications Planetsky Ltd.

The strategic alliance is a move forward for Real Image, who introduced high-speed internet in Swaziland in 1999, as the solution that Planetsky has engineered for Real Image will be a first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under the contract, Planetsky will provide Real Image with a complete turn-key, self managed, platform for the provision of one-way satellite broadband DVB-IP service to Real Image’s customers. End users of the service will subsequently notice increased performance and higher download speed.

Shane V. Hawkins, GM & COO at Planetsky states: “Using Planetsky’s VelocitySAT™ platform, Real Image will have full control over the services offered to their customers. Using an on-line interface, Real Image has the ability to provision capacity and manage bandwidth as they please. The solution is scalable in capacity and features, therefore, allowing Real Image to expand their services as needed and when required. The strategic alliance with Real Image will foster growth of broadband services throughout the region and we are excited to be associated with a market leader like Real Image.”

Ali Resting, MD at Real Image: “We are very excited to form a strategic alliance with Planetsky. The alliance with Planetsky to provide New Generation Broadband has been an exciting development for our company and the services provided will enable us to reach a wider client base while servicing remote areas where fixed line broadband is currently unavailable. What is more exciting for us is the fact that we can now tailor different packages with different line speeds which previously we were unable to do. This means the client will have a choice of speeds to choose from depending on their needs.”

The launch of the Real Image service via the Planetsky VelocitySAT™ platform and a discussion on the future of high-speed communications took place on the 16th of September 2009 in Swaziland. Guest speaker and presenters on the day included Mr. Shane Hawkins GM & COO (Planetsky), Mr. Ali Resting MD (Real Image Internet) and Mr. Tebogo Mogapi CEO (MTN Swaziland).

About Real Image

Real Image is an independent Swaziland Internet Service Provider and Computer Company offering Internet Connectivity, Web Publishing, E-Commerce, Business and Hosting services plus a full range of computer related services. The company was formed in 1991. Online Information and connectivity services were introduced with CompuServe in 1995 and Full Internet Services in 1996. As a leader in Internet technology, Real Image Internet provides Internet connectivity via its upstream partners, from two teleports situated in South Africa and Europe. In South Africa connectivity is provided from the local IP backbone (which includes international Internet connectivity) and in Europe directly from the first-tier international IP backbone. Multi-homing and international peering is used to ensure highest quality of service.

About Planetsky

Based in Cyprus, Planetsky is a leading provider of global satellite telecommunication and data services. Planetsky Limited Group provides Carriers, ISPs, corporate businesses, broadcasters and government/military bodies with secure and reliable satellite solutions and services such as Cellular Backhaul and optimization, IP Backbone and backhaul, Broadcasting, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and custom Space Segment and Network Solutions. Planetsky has recently launched their new satellite communications portfolio and service offerings: VelocitySAT™ by Planetsky


King hails Catholic Church

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By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-18-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has paid tribute to the Roman Catholic Church for its wide ranging contribution to the country.

Speaking during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Our Lady of Sorrows (OLOS) schools yesterday, the King said the institution was not only providing education or Christian values but it had gone further over the years by producing respected individuals in society. The King said with the OLOS background dating as way back as 1934, by that time the school started with six pupils but today the enrolment had risen to an unbelievable figure.

“This institution today does not only provide education or promotes Christian values but it has also over the years gone on to produce capable leaders and pioneers representing various fields of life within and beyond the Kingdom of Swaziland,” said the King. He said the commemoration was of significance considering how the school was started by the Catholic sisters and members of the congregation of Mantellate Sisters Servants of Mary. “We are told they trekked by ox-cart drawn by mules from St-Joseph’s, which is a distance of about 200km away, with one intention, to set up this school. This was the height of love, strong will, sense of purpose, united intention, collaboration and professionalism that defines the true OLOS spirit,” the King said.

The King said efforts shown by the founders of OLOS had led to the impressive growth of the institution into a complex that includes other initiatives. “OLOS has given birth to initiatives such as the clinic, the pre-school, religious activities, youth groups and Sitanani, which is a woman’s development programme,” the King said. His Majesty noted that the clinic served not only the needs of the school but it had contributed greatly by providing health service to the community.

“The Mantellate Sisters and friends have also gone further to contribute towards securing water projects in the area, which for years has been hard hit by drought,” he said. His Majesty also noted the role played by the church in Swaziland. He said it did not concentrate on the spiritual well-being of the nation only but it contributes to education and other human needs. “That is the reason we thank the Mission Schools for their efforts to achieve a balance in this area. Swaziland needs educated, principled and upright citizens and I am happy that Our Lady of Sorrows has over the years produced such distinguished citizens,” he said. The King said OLOS, being an institution started by women, it was a clear indication how capable women were.

He said that OLOS was founded and developed by women just summed up the role women can play in society. “I am informed that the actual construction was often supervised and directed by the sisters who did not have any problem of participating in some of the work, such as making bricks, mixed cement and sand and also fetched rocks from the hills. They led by example and helped further instill in our children the dignity and the rewards of hard-work,” said the King.

The King said the nation had a good reference in Queen Mother Labotsibeni who laid a good foundation for education in the Kingdom. “She made sure that the leadership of the country received good education when she ensured that Sobhuza went to school and further to Lovedale College. It was, to the significant extent, the influence and encouragement of Mgwami that enabled Sobhuza the skillfulness to lead the country to Independence and in nation building,” said the King.

Present during the occasion included Emakhosikati, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, MPs as well as many other dignitaries. Bishop Ncamiso Ndlovu of the Roman Catholic also attended.


Shiselweni scoops Woman Farmer of Year again

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane -- SWAZI OBSERVER-18-Sep-2009

THE Shiselweni region yet again shone at the Woman Farmer of the Year competition, as Winile Buhle Zulu of Mhlosheni emerged the overall winner.

This was during a prize presentation ceremony held at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre yesterday. Last year’s winner, Thabile Dlamini-Gooday also hails from the Shiselweni region.

Zulu, vegetable farmer, walked away with prizes worth E55 000, these including a cash prize of E10 000 courtesy of Farm Chemicals, a year’s free insurance package worth E1 000 courtesy of the Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation (SRIC), a E7 000, 1 000-litre water tank from Carson Wheels and E2 500 Sthil mist blower sponsored by Oasis.

“I am speechless and grateful to all those who made this possible for me. If you’re happy about what you do and do it with passion and commitment, then you will succeed,” said the elated farmer.

engage

Zulu defied all odds to engage in diversified agriculture production which includes vegetable farming, piggery, poultry as well as bee farming. Situated at one of the rural areas of Shiselweni region at Mabhudleni area (near Mhlosheni) where water is a problem, she used the scarce source of water for irrigation.

She has secured a market at neighbouring Nhlangano as well as individual hawkers but states that she still cannot satisfy her market. Zulu employs three permanent and 10 casual people. Second prize went to Patricia Dlamini, a piggery farmer of KaBhudla in the Manzini region. She took home prizes to the value of E47 202, which include a E13 000 cold room (compressor) sponsored by SwaziBank, E7 500 cash prize from the FSE&CC and a E4 500 water pump sponsored by Carson Wheels. “I thank God for guiding me through difficult times and giving me the strength not to give up,” she said.

However, Dlamini who also has an orchard with litchis, oranges, mangoes, paw paws and bananas said she still had challenges in her enterprise because of lack of transport for her produce. “Even though I produce a lot, I find it difficult to transport my goods to the market and sometimes see my profits dwindling because of transport hire costs.”

Josephine Simelane, a sweet potatoe farmer from Dumako in the Shiselweni region, took the third prize, with items to the value of E27 560. She won a cash prize of E5 000 from the National Maize Corporation (NMC), a E4 500 water pump courtesy of Carson Wheels as well as suction piping and delivery piping worth E1 060 and E2 800, respectively from SwaziBank.

“I thank God for this wonderful opportunity as this is the third year I’m entering this competition and did not think I would eventually win. I started farming in 1969 and since then I have come very far,” she said. The other finalists, Lindiwe Matse of KaLonhlupheko and Precious Dlamini of Ngobolweni took home prizes to the value E19 240 and E17 052, respectively.


It’s final call for free education registration

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-18-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The Ministry of Education and Training has made a final call for the registration of Free Primary Education (FPE).

The ministry did a registration exercise a couple of months back and now, according to the Minister, Wilson Ntshangase, they wanted pupils to re-register for admission. He said the requirements were the same, that is, only pupils within the age group of six and 18 years were eligible to register and this should be done at the nearest primary schools.

Again, this is only for entry into Grades One and Two as well as non-formal education. The registration dates have been scheduled for September 28 to October 2, 2009. Ntshan-gase said this registration was a final call to all parents to ensure that their children enroll for the first and second grades next year under the FPE.

He said this registration would also mark the admission of pupils into schools under the FPE programme. “As a ministry, we believe the figures obtained from the first registration exercise were not reflecting a true picture. Our records show that there are far too many children should have registered.

“We are hopeful that this time around, we will have about 38 000 of them register. All children must register if they are to be admitted for next year,” he explained. Last year, about 28 000 registered.

He said the registration would assist his ministry determine the exact number of classrooms that need to be constructed and teachers to be hired. Ntshangase added that preparations for the programme were already at an advanced stage, as the construction of classrooms had already commenced with the assistance of the European Union.

He expressed hope that by the end of the month, a certain number of the classrooms would be complete. Ntshangase was non-committal on the figures. Apart from these classrooms, he said his ministry had already secured a supplier for what he termed ‘mobile classrooms.’ He said these would be used while more classrooms were being constructed.

Mobile classrooms are those that could be easily demolished and the material re-used again.


Every citizen must be equal before law - king

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By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES-18-Sep-2009

NHLANGANO – His Majesty King Mswati III says courts have the constitutional responsibility of making sure that every citizen is equal before the law

He said this yesterday when he officially launched four projects in the Shiselweni region. These projects are a school, clinic, orphanage and a judicial building that houses five courts. In his remarks, the king said he was impressed with the projects that were earmarked for the improvement and strengthening of the country’s judicial services, the education and health sectors.

“An effective and efficient judicial system remains the key in the execution of law and order in any civilised society. “Our people remain confident that our courts are there to serve everyone whether young or old, without fear or favour.,” the king said in his address, which he made at the new health centre.

His Majesty highlighted that the work of the judicial officers was to give a fair and just judgment at the end of a hearing. He commended government for the refurbishment of the Nhlangano Magistrate Court.

“I hope such projects will not only be confined to the Shiselweni region, I implore government to expand such projects to other regions. The decentralisation of services is government’s ultimate goal,” he said.

Earlier, just before noon, the king toured around the new structure, and he was guided by the Minister of Justice Ndumiso Mamba. His Majesty was shown the five court rooms that comprise four magistrate courts and a Swazi National Court


Mr Swaziland talks about circumcision experience

Main Section

By STHEMBILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-18-Sep-2009

MBABANE- A lot of men would not publicly talk about a matter as private as getting circumcised, but reigning Mr Swaziland, Okwakhe Dlamini does not hesitate to discuss this matter openly.

He said dealing with this issue openly and honestly was the only way other men could be influenced into taking this major step. He said as soon as he heard the benefits of circumcision, he took an immediate decision to undergo the procedure. He was attending the Double D-Day at Mavuso Trade Centre on September 5, 2009, when his curiosity was aroused by the green banners that were all over the place.

He learnt that PSI Swaziland was encouraging men to get circumcised and after discussions with one of the inter-personal communication agents, he decided to register his name for the procedure. “It did not occur to me that I could actually go home and think about it – I knew right then that it was something I had to do and it is one of the most important decisions I have ever taken,” Dlamini said.

He said besides the personal benefits, he knew his decision would influence his peers and many other men to follow suit. The benefits of getting circumcised include enhanced penile hygiene, reduction of STIs and HIV infection and reduction of chances of one’s partner getting cervical cancer. Dlamini was circumcised on Wednesday at the Litsemba Letfu Men’s Clinic in Matsapha and said the procedure went without a hitch.

He said naturally he was a bit apprehensive but the counsellors and doctors put him at ease as they explained every step of the procedure to him. He was first counselled and tested for HIV, which he said was not difficult because he already knew his status. “I was curious about why HIV tests are done and it was explained to me that doctors need to know the person’s status so they can advise them accordingly and also to ensure that the person’s CD 4 count is high enough to ensure that they will recover quickly. Being HIV positive does not mean one cannot undergo the process,” he said.

Dlamini said he was on his way to recovery and will be returning to the clinic today for a follow up visit to ensure that everything was okay. He said there was nothing traumatic about the experience as one knows what to expect and said the anesthetic administered ensured that the experience is pain-free.

“I felt great relief after getting it done. I knew I had taken a major step in my life and can now talk about the subject based on experience. Many of my friends are keen to get circumcised and if need be, I will accompany them there. I would advise all Swazi men to double their defence against HIV by getting circumcised and then using condoms correctly everytime they have sex,” he said.

He said HIV was a real threat and all avenues of reducing the risk of contracting it should be explored.


Mr Swaziland talks about circumcision experience

Main Section

By STHEMBILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-18-Sep-2009

MBABANE- A lot of men would not publicly talk about a matter as private as getting circumcised, but reigning Mr Swaziland, Okwakhe Dlamini does not hesitate to discuss this matter openly.

He said dealing with this issue openly and honestly was the only way other men could be influenced into taking this major step. He said as soon as he heard the benefits of circumcision, he took an immediate decision to undergo the procedure. He was attending the Double D-Day at Mavuso Trade Centre on September 5, 2009, when his curiosity was aroused by the green banners that were all over the place.

He learnt that PSI Swaziland was encouraging men to get circumcised and after discussions with one of the inter-personal communication agents, he decided to register his name for the procedure. “It did not occur to me that I could actually go home and think about it – I knew right then that it was something I had to do and it is one of the most important decisions I have ever taken,” Dlamini said.

He said besides the personal benefits, he knew his decision would influence his peers and many other men to follow suit. The benefits of getting circumcised include enhanced penile hygiene, reduction of STIs and HIV infection and reduction of chances of one’s partner getting cervical cancer. Dlamini was circumcised on Wednesday at the Litsemba Letfu Men’s Clinic in Matsapha and said the procedure went without a hitch.

He said naturally he was a bit apprehensive but the counsellors and doctors put him at ease as they explained every step of the procedure to him. He was first counselled and tested for HIV, which he said was not difficult because he already knew his status. “I was curious about why HIV tests are done and it was explained to me that doctors need to know the person’s status so they can advise them accordingly and also to ensure that the person’s CD 4 count is high enough to ensure that they will recover quickly. Being HIV positive does not mean one cannot undergo the process,” he said.

Dlamini said he was on his way to recovery and will be returning to the clinic today for a follow up visit to ensure that everything was okay. He said there was nothing traumatic about the experience as one knows what to expect and said the anesthetic administered ensured that the experience is pain-free.

“I felt great relief after getting it done. I knew I had taken a major step in my life and can now talk about the subject based on experience. Many of my friends are keen to get circumcised and if need be, I will accompany them there. I would advise all Swazi men to double their defence against HIV by getting circumcised and then using condoms correctly everytime they have sex,” he said.

He said HIV was a real threat and all avenues of reducing the risk of contracting it should be explored.


Head cut off as four die in horror crash

Main Section

By LUNGA MASUK U - SWAZI TIMES-19-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Four Mozambican nationals died on the spot when the car they were travelling in crashed into the back of a truck carrying new cars leaving one of them beheaded.

Police spokesperson Vusi Masuku said the four Mozambican nationals were driving in a Toyata 4X4 car yesterday morning when their car drove straight into the back of the truck.

Masuku said the driver of the truck was answering the call of nature in the nearby bush. “The accident happened along the Big Bend – Lavumisa road on Friday at about 07:30 am in an area known as Zombizo. All four passengers died on impact. Their next of kin are being traced through the Mozambican Embassy,” Masuku said.

Masuku said two of the deceased come from Beira and the other two were coming from Gaza. Their ages range between 53, 37, 40 and 30 years. Masuku said their car was extensively damaged. The Beira born 37-year old man’s head was decapitated.


Sihlangu ripped off!

Sports Section

BY MENZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-19-Sep-2009

MBABANE– Adidas slogan ‘Impossible is Nothing’...seems to have a different meaning altogether for Swaziland and the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) in particular, as the Swazi News Sports Desk can exclusively reveal.

The giant sportswear manufacture seems to have done the ‘Impossible’, sending a batch of Sihlangu merchandise to their shop in Taiwan without the knowledge of the local Football Association (FA). The batch, which was part of the donation by CAF through the Adidas sponsorship to different countries in the African continent, is now being sold in Taiwan complete with the NFAS logo and national team colours. The giant sportswear manufacture seems to have done the ‘Impossible’, sending a batch of Sihlangu merchandise to their shop in Taiwan without the knowledge of the local Football Association (FA). The batch, which was part of the donation by CAF through the Adidas sponsorship to different countries in the African continent, is now being sold in Taiwan complete with the NFAS logo and national team colours. The (FA) is losing thousands of Emalangeni, while Adidas is raking in big money through the sale of Sihlangu merchandise, which include a track-suit valued at NT$2100(approximately E500). Interestingly, locals have no access to the Sihlangu replicas as none are sold in Swaziland. According to information confirmed by former National Supporters Committee chairperson Nkosilenhle Masuku, who is studying in Taiwan, the shops which sell only Adidas brands are situated in the heart of Taiwan and also in Taipei. “They have kits of all national teams that use the Adidas brand, but the Sihlangu one is displayed on the window,” he said. Masuku said the merchandise had the FA logo and also an embroider abbreviation of the association. However, the sweater has the name Sihlangu across the chest, even though it has been mispelled as ‘Shilangu’. “Yes I saw the merchandise, and I have actually bought the track suit. It is very nice I must say,” he said. A source within the FA executive sounded so shocked that there was such a merchandise that was sold in the Republic of China in Taiwan. The source said in as far as he was aware Sihlangu was dressed by Adidas in a deal that was clinched by Confederation of African Football (CAF) under the Win with Africa in Africa Goal project. “We only know that they were to dress Sihlangu, but we were never made aware of merchandise that is being sold without our knowledge,” said the source. The source said it would be an anomaly for any merchandise to be sold in another country without hitting the local market. “This is very strange. We will need to investigate the matter at board level to find out what happened,” said the source. FA President Bomber Mthethwa sounded shocked on the matter when asked to comment. Mthethwa then referred all questions to his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu. “I think as the man who was at the front of this Adidas deal would probably give you a clear answer if he has one. Otherwise I don’t want to have the right hand saying this and the left hand saying something else,” he said. The giant sportswear manufacture seems to have done the ‘Impossible’, sending a batch of Sihlangu merchandise to their shop in Taiwan without the knowledge of the local Football Association (FA). The batch, which was part of the donation by CAF through the Adidas sponsorship to different countries in the African continent, is now being sold in Taiwan complete with the NFAS logo and national team colours. The (FA) is losing thousands of Emalangeni, while Adidas is raking in big money through the sale of Sihlangu merchandise, which include a track-suit valued at NT$2100(approximately E500). Interestingly, locals have no access to the Sihlangu replicas as none are sold in Swaziland. According to information confirmed by former National Supporters Committee chairperson Nkosilenhle Masuku, who is studying in Taiwan, the shops which sell only Adidas brands are situated in the heart of Taiwan and also in Taipei. “They have kits of all national teams that use the Adidas brand, but the Sihlangu one is displayed on the window,” he said. Masuku said the merchandise had the FA logo and also an embroider abbreviation of the association. However, the sweater has the name Sihlangu across the chest, even though it has been mispelled as ‘Shilangu’. “Yes I saw the merchandise, and I have actually bought the track suit. It is very nice I must say,” he said. A source within the FA executive sounded so shocked that there was such a merchandise that was sold in the Republic of China in Taiwan. The source said in as far as he was aware Sihlangu was dressed by Adidas in a deal that was clinched by Confederation of African Football (CAF) under the Win with Africa in Africa Goal project. “We only know that they were to dress Sihlangu, but we were never made aware of merchandise that is being sold without our knowledge,” said the source. The source said it would be an anomaly for any merchandise to be sold in another country without hitting the local market. “This is very strange. We will need to investigate the matter at board level to find out what happened,” said the source. FA President Bomber Mthethwa sounded shocked on the matter when asked to comment. Mthethwa then referred all questions to his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu. “I think as the man who was at the front of this Adidas deal would probably give you a clear answer if he has one. Otherwise I don’t want to have the right hand saying this and the left hand saying something else,” he said.

The (FA) is losing thousands of Emalangeni, while Adidas is raking in big money through the sale of Sihlangu merchandise, which include a track-suit valued at NT$2100(approximately E500). Interestingly, locals have no access to the Sihlangu replicas as none are sold in Swaziland.

According to information confirmed by former National Supporters Committee chairperson Nkosilenhle Masuku, who is studying in Taiwan, the shops which sell only Adidas brands are situated in the heart of Taiwan and also in Taipei. “They have kits of all national teams that use the Adidas brand, but the Sihlangu one is displayed on the window,” he said. Masuku said the merchandise had the FA logo and also an embroider abbreviation of the association.

However, the sweater has the name Sihlangu across the chest, even though it has been mispelled as ‘Shilangu’. “Yes I saw the merchandise, and I have actually bought the track suit. It is very nice I must say,” he said. A source within the FA executive sounded so shocked that there was such a merchandise that was sold in the Republic of China in Taiwan.

The source said in as far as he was aware Sihlangu was dressed by Adidas in a deal that was clinched by Confederation of African Football (CAF) under the Win with Africa in Africa Goal project. “We only know that they were to dress Sihlangu, but we were never made aware of merchandise that is being sold without our knowledge,” said the source. The source said it would be an anomaly for any merchandise to be sold in another country without hitting the local market. “This is very strange. We will need to investigate the matter at board level to find out what happened,” said the source.

FA President Bomber Mthethwa sounded shocked on the matter when asked to comment. Mthethwa then referred all questions to his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu. “I think as the man who was at the front of this Adidas deal would probably give you a clear answer if he has one. Otherwise I don’t want to have the right hand saying this and the left hand saying something else,” he said.


No sex PLEASE – SNSC urges netball team

Sports Section

By NTOKOZO MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-19-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The Swaziland National Sports Council (SNSC) has banned the netball national team from engaging in sexual intercourse while parti-cipating in the COSANA Senior Challenge games in Durban, South Africa.

SNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Victor Shabangu said they are not expecting any negative reports upon return of the team. “You are going to the games to represent the country. You are not expected to engage in any mischievous conduct while in South Africa,” he said.

Shabangu urged the team to behave and represent the country well. He said he was happy that only few males are accompanying the team. Shabangu said, as a country, they are expecting good results from the team. “We are hopeful that you are going to come back with a medal from the games. I’ve heard that you had enough time preparing for the games. Hope you will work well with the coaches,” he said.

The team is expected to leave the country for the games, starting tomorrow. NNAS Secretary Victor ‘Mavikane’ Dlamini said the team is not only going to the games to participate but to compete. He said as an association, they had done everything to prepare the team.

“For the first time, the team was able to train together for almost two months. We are hopeful that they will win something from the games,” he said.


KING IMPRESSED

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-19-Sep-2009

FACT: His Majesty King Mswati III always looks forward to September of each year as it affords him the opportunity to enjoy the exceptional beauty, service and care of Nhlangano Casino Royale.

This year, he threw down the gauntlet to management saying he was impressed by what he found last year, was equally bowled over by new developments this year and he wanted much more growth in 2010.

“I am always impressed by the improvements I find each time I visit this wonderful resort. This year it is much different from what we found last year and I am sure when I come back there will be more new things. I wish to congratulate Nhlangano Casino Royale for its commitment to excellence and for its contribution to the country’s tourism industry,” he said. Every year, His Majesty and Royalty take a pilgrimage to the South to spend sometime with the people of ‘Yith’Abantu I’s’god’esnamandla’. It is around this time that the area is buzzing with activity as it holds its ever growing Umhlanga Reed Dance Ceremony.

Thousands upon thousands of maidens descend on Mbangweni Royal Residence to pay homage to the King and to celebrate their purity. The King also uses September to visit projects in the area and look out for development, whilst at the same time meeting emabandla. However, the highlight is the Annual Business Dinner hosted by the Shiselweni Business Community. The home of this annual event is Nhlangano Casino Royale and over the years it has attracted so many people that a special marquee had to be erected to accommodate this ‘whos who’ gathering. This year’s event, which proved a running success was sponsored by the Essa family which own the Build It conglomerate that stretches from the country to across the borders.

Director of Nhlangano Casino Royale Kobus van der Bergh said as a company they took the King’s challenge very seriously. “We were honoured to be recognised by Royalty and this can only spur us on to produce the best that we can in so far as service, convenience and innovation is concerned. “ I know that the King will be looking for further improvements when he visits us next time and I can assure him and the nation that we shall not disappoint him,” he said.

Van der Bergh outlined an ambitious plan to uplift the standards at Nhlangano Casino Royale so that the resort becomes the best one-stop tourist place in Swaziland and the region. He listed the secret of success to revolve around unmatched customer care, going the extra mile and zero-compromise on quality.

“At Nhlangano Casino Royale the customer is King. We are grateful that we were showered with accolades by a true King in His Majesty. This goes side by side with our ambition to treat every customer like a king. We will go to all lengths to ensure only the best for our clientele,” he said. Mark Doyle from South Africa who was found at the hotel said he always loved to visit the place and described its tranquility and care.

“These people always win my heart because of their commitment to excellence. The food is fresh, the rooms very clean and the service is always with a smile. I am sure to return again and again,” he said. This year’s dinner was attended by close to 400 people and the service was flawless from the high table to the one next to the door. The waiters and waitresses handled themselves professionally ensuring that everyone enjoyed themselves and got their heart’s desire.

The entertainment was good and the folksong ‘Thoko Ujolanobani’ made famous by Joe Mafela proved a favourite even eliciting a comment from His majesty about the way he say people moving to the beat. A very light hearted affair that was thoroughly enjoyable indeed


SIX lions escape into SD

Main Section

By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-20-Sep-2009

LOMAHASHA—There is panic in this community as a pack of six lions and two elephants escaped into the country from South Africa.

The animals are said to be originally from a game reserve located at Sikhukhuza in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The lions have since killed and eaten a cow in this community and a head boy who spotted them miraculously escaped their wrath.

Police have requested the nation to be on the lookout for these animals and they have further requested the nation to stay away from them because they have the potential of killing. According to Police Public relations officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku, a joint force of policemen from Lomahasha and conservation officers have thus far failed to arrest the lions and a search operation was called off yesterday evening.

Information

According to information that was availed to this newspaper, the lions were spotted late in the afternoon yesterday in an area called eBhandeni which is located around Nkalashane. The residents are said to have immediately called police who then convened a team of nature conservationists to hunt them. According to Masuku the environment where they were spotted in was scanned by the operation and a carcass was discovered by the team.

“The remains were checked by the conservationists and it was confirmed that the carcass belonged to a cow and further it was eaten by a group of lions,” he said. Masuku then warned residents from the surrounding areas to be on the lookout for these animals as they are dangerous and untamed. “People must refrain from walking in the night until we capture all the animals. They are all dangerous and people should stay away from them,” he said. Masuku said lions had a history of roaming around at night as they prefer darkness to make their movements and hunt. George Mbatha who is the chief Game Ranger at Hlane National park, also confirmed that lions had escaped into the kingdom. Mbatha told this newspaper that he was part of the search team that failed to locate the animals. “We went to the area where they were spotted and we could not find them because it was already late,” he said.

Instead of looking for the animals according to Mbatha the team went around the community telling people to stay indoors because there were lions moving about their community. Mbatha said the joint search team would resume its operation this morning and he prayed that the lions would not have done any damage by then.

Capture

“We are confident that we will capture them tomorrow as this is not the first case. In the past there was a lion that escaped from Sikhukhuza and escaped into Mozambique but eventually reached the country and was captured after it was spotted around Simunye,” he said.

He said the lion was captured after it entered the Hlane game reserve and he hoped that these lions would be captured at-least by tomorrow.


UNISWA LectureRs ‘want sex’—SRC

Main Section

By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-20-Sep-2009

MBABANE - Lecturers at the University of Swaziland have been accused of sexually harassing students in return for good marks

The lecturers, especially at the Kwaluseni Campus, allegedly give students poor marks when they deserve good marks and then ask for sexual favours in return. This is contained in an end of term report submitted by the outgoing Student Representative Council (SRC) to the Dean of Student Affairs, which was also copied to the Vice Chancellor Cisco Magagula.

The report which is signed by the SRC secretary Pius Vilakazi, states that they had a fairly healthy relationship with the administration during their tenure in office. The report, according to the SRC, is aimed at reviewing the 2008/2009 academic year in order to see if there had been any improvements in the students’ lives at the institution.

The report addr-esses five issues, namely academic, security, hostels, maintenance and refectory issues. “In the university there are academic issues that, despite repeated protests by students, still prevail,” reads the report. Examples given here include the late issuing of identity cards, the shortage of books at the library. The SRC also said the computers at the university were not enough for all the students and complained about the computer laboratory at the library which they said opens an hour later than the library itself and shuts an hour before the the library is closed.

“Sexual abuse by lecturers is one kind of abuse, affecting mainly the female students, occurring in the university but goes without being officially reported,” reads the report. Instead students tell their friends and sometimes the members of the SRC. “A lecturer will give a student a poor mark when she deserves a good pass mark and when she complains about such a mark the lecturer then demands sexual favours in return for improving the students mark,” states the report. The SRC called upon the administration to set up a commission of enquiry that will look into such unprofessional conduct by lecturers and other types of unprofessional conduct by lecturers.

“In the event the administration is unable to set up such enquiry, the SRC will then be duty bound to engage the Ministry of Education to do what the university administration would have failed to do,” states the report.

The SRC said they were glad that the semesterisation issue, that caused so many problems for everyone in the university, had been put to rest adding that it was good that students’ recommendations were also considered. On the issue of security, the SRC recommended that all door locks be swapped or substituted, because there were many cases of theft whereby the thieves used duplicate keys to enter student’s room and steal their property.

The students said instead of them being protected the university had installed cameras on the university structures and not the hostels. The students also complained about only getting one roll of tissue per week and the poor quality of the toilet paper.

They further complained about the lack of hot water and the quality of food at the refectory, stating that it lacks variety and was very expensive. The SRC in conclusion said it had been a very challenging year in office, but showered praises on the DSA, saying his office had been the best they had worked with. When contacted the DSA, Musa Kunene, said he had not received the report probably because he was not in the office on Friday.

“I was at the Ministry of Education and then went to the Luyengo Campus so i did not get the chance to go to my office,” said Kunene. He said he would go into the office this morning where he assumed he would find it.


Bloody Sunday!

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-21-Sep-2009

LOBAMBA – Local football took major strides backward, as ugly scenes of violence erupted at the end of yesterday’s MTN League games at Somhlolo Stadium

The violence scenes were triggered by angry Manzini Wanderers supporters, who after their 0-3 defeat to Malanti Chiefs bayed for the blood of Management Committee (MC) Chairman Bheki Gamedze and Council of Elders chairman Sipho Ntshalintshali. The maroon and white side now faces over E40 000 fines for the incident.

Gunshots were fired to disperse the rowdy supporters inside the stadium, but instead the violence spilled to the outside of the venue, while the two officials remained trapped inside the stadium for over an hour under strong police protection.

That seemed to have angered the hooligans who at the time were uncontrollable beating anything and anyone they came across in sheer frustration. Their main targets were Mbabane Highlanders’ fans, whose sin was to cheer Malanti Chiefs in the match where the ‘Weslians’ were totally outclassed. Police officers were not spared, as they were pelted with stones and bottles, and during the skirmish a fan was stabbed.

The aggressor ran for dear life to a nearby homestead, but he could not escape as he was apprehended and subsequently handed over to the police after a thorough beating. He was bleeding profusely on the face and his clothes were soaked in blood, as he was bundled into a police van where he joined two others who were also arrested for the violence. The situation was finally normalised later in the evening, as supporters boarded kombis and cars to their respective destinations.

Police PRO Vusi Masuku said five people were arrested and were charged with public violence, assault and malicious damage to property. “We condemn in the strongest terms possible such acts of violence that are bad publicity to the country and the sport. We term such people soccer hooligans and the police force will do everything in their power to deal with such barbaric practices,” he said.

Wanderers’ MC Chairman Bheki Gamedze lamented the behaviour of the fans which he said was uncalled for. He said the team would now have to pay heavy fines for such action. “There is nothing wrong with losing because as a team we are aware that we will win some and lose some. The sad thing is that people are pointing fingers at individuals without consulting what is happening on the ground. We are going to address the supporters during next week’s meeting on the issues in the club,” he said. Also commenting was Council of Elders chairman Sipho Ntshalintshali who said they would have a meeting this week as leadership of the team to discuss the nasty incident.


Ezulwini vendors clash over stall allocations

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-21-Sep-2009

EZULWINI – A meeting to officially hand over keys to the newly developed market stalls situated at Ezulwini, to the handicraft vendors turned chaotic when the vendors clashed over the stall allocation.

This transpired during a meeting held at the Swaziland Trading House (Greyhound) on Saturday between Ezulwini Town Board, the vendors and the developers of the new market stalls. The stalls were developed by Du Van Developers (PTY) Ltd and Swazi MTN. The vendors are expected to move to the new site adjacent to the Swaziland Trading House, to make way for the new developments; the Shopping Complex and the MTN Headquarters.

Speaking during the meeting, Ezulwini Town Board’s Inspector of Works Dumisa Zwane said a total of 126 stalls were built for the vendors and each vendor would be given two keys to their stall, while the Town Board would keep one key. “We invited all vendors to register for stall allocation a while back and a total of 140 have registered and we are here to allocate the stalls to those who have already registered,” he said.

However, tempers flared when it was time to decide how the stalls would be allocated. While some of the vendors believed that if a vendor occupied stall number one, for instance, at the old site, that vendor should be allocated the same number at the new site while other vendors believed that there should be change. A total of 63 vendors wanted the whole set up of the stall allocation to be changed, while 75 vendors wanted to keep their stall numbers when they move to the new site.

Solve

The clash took almost an hour to solve, as the Ezulwini Town Board, the developers and the police tried out different strategies to get to a suitable solution. “The main idea behind us moving is to unite all vendors and stop this division that had caused so many problems in the past. Some of us feel intimidated by others here, maybe even our neighbours intimidate us, so I believe that in order to prevent any further intimidation, each and every one of us should be given a piece of paper to write down whatever they feel would be in the best interest of all of us,” said one of the vendors.

However, this suggestion was quickly dismissed by another vendor who wondered what good that strategy would bring.

A final decision was finally taken and the minority was given the first option to choose between the lower and the upper end of the site. They chose to take the upper end of the site. The keys were given to the vendor’s representatives and all vendors would keep their original stall numbers


Govt to provide palliative care to kidney boy

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Sep-2009

GOVERNMENT has promised to help Gcinumuzi Sifundza’s family with palliative care.

Dr.Steven Shongwe, the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Health said they were going to support the Sifundza family throughout this whole situation.

“We will ensure that all the medication that Gcinumuzi will need is readily available to his family,” said Shongwe. On the other hand, Gcinumuzi’s father, John Sifundza said his son was doing better by yesterday and he was talking to him.

Pain

“Though I can tell that he is going through a lot of pain since his whole body is swelling he was able to talk to me,” he said. He further thanked the ministry of health, saying that if it was the current team in charge when his son got sick about four years ago he could have been saved.

“Things are done faster now and I would like to thank the current minister because I can tell he is quick to respond to this matter though it was already late.” Gcinumuzi is currently admitted at the Mbabane Government Hospital Intensive Care Unit. He arrived in the country last Thursday after the Johannesburg General Hospital said the kidney transplant would be impossible.

His dialyses treatment which he depended on was stopped last week when he was returned to the country.

Impossible

The Deputy Director of Health Services, Dr.Vusi Magagula, said in the country there was a dialyses machine but not for children. “We have the machines in the country but we do not have those for children,” said Dr. Magagula. The boy has been sick since 2004, just last week his family was told he should be sent home because it was impossible to ever do the transplant since he is too sick.


Six Mantenga members ill after Europe trip

Main Section

By Nokukhanya Aimienoho - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Sep-2009

FEMALE members of the Mantenga Cultural Group are said to have suddenly taken ill, shortly after their return to the country.

What is especially unusual about this is that six female members of the group fell ill at the same time. Luckily, it had nothing to do with Swine Flu. The group had been out of the country for more than two months in Europe, representing the country during the 39th World Folk Dance Festival which saw them walking away with the ‘best traditional group in the world’ title.

It is upon their return to Swaziland that these females started ‘feeling poorly’. A Swazi delegation that comprised of 17 members from Mantenga Cultural Village and 17 from Matsamo Village made the trip abroad. An impeccable source who preferred anonymity confirmed that she was among the six girls who fell ill.

“It was just us girls who were sick. None of the guys fell sick. It actually happened soon after we got back. Otherwise, we were alright while we were in Europe,”, she said. Questioned about her symptoms, she listed constant headaches and nosebleeds as her main discomforts. She went on to say she sees nothing sinister in her and her fellow group members taking ill.

Furthermore, it is said they are on the road to recovery. The group returned early this month with prizes for best costumes, dance and technical presentation, instrumental authenticity, special prize for music performance, special prize for folk songs and folk singing as well as special prize for best choreography.

Their tour itinerary included France, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Italy.


SACU to explore becoming Economic Community Monetary union

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Sep-2009

DESPITE recent challenges facing the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the organisation has decided to explore the possibilities of moving towards an Economic Community Monetary union.

During a special council meeting attended by trade and finance ministers, the Council agreed to follow the principle of unified engagement amongst SACU member states in trade negotiations with third parties, including in the Southern African Development Community/European Commission (SADC-EC) interim economic partnership agreement (IEPA) and EPA negotiations.

Representing Swaziland were Finance Minister Majozi Sithole and Commerce, Industry and Trade Minister Jabulile Mashwama. This comes after an impasse that has been threatening the existence of the oldest customs union in the world, following a decision by three member states, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland to sign IEPAs with the European Union (EU) while South Africa and Namibia refused.

Following this development, South Africa issued a warning that it may be forced to strengthen customs controls within the region to avoid the transshipment of EU exports to the South African market through Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The SACU Secretariat has said it is a challenge for the customs union that its members were party to two separate trade regimes as South Africa trades with the EU under the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TCDA) while the other members had previously traded with the EU under the Cotonou Agreement which expired in 2007.

“There was therefore a need to harmonise these two trade regimes with the EU in order to adhere to the objectives of the customs union, which are a common external tariff in relation to trade with third parties and the free movement of goods among its members,” said the Secretariat in a press statement. “Council emphasised that trade negotiations remain an important element in forging trade relations with third parties. In doing so, due consideration should be given to SACU member states’ different levels of development and capacity.”

The Council agreed to develop a SACU trade and tariff policy as well as a trade strategy that support industrialisation in SACU. It has also agreed that the customs union should ensure that all work on agricultural policy, competition policy, unfair trade practices and other priority commitments in the SACU Agreement were being implemented.

The members also agreed to develop initiatives to promote intra-SACU trade. In addition, the Council also recognised the growing importance of building South-South economic relations, acknowledging the impact of the global economic crisis on the customs union.


USA govt changes its stance against SD

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By ARTHUR MORDAUNT - SWAZI TIMES-22-Sep-2009

LOBAMBA – The American Government has changed its stance on Swaziland regarding assistance to the kingdom.

This follows the local government’s act of putting in place the law prohibiting the smuggling and trafficking of people in the country. The United States of America had initially given Swaziland about 90 days to put this law in place, failing which the country stood to lose over E200 million in aid from the superpower.

About two months ago, Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini tabled the required bill in Parliament with a certificate of urgency, and also informed the legislators that they needed to pass the law as a matter of urgency due to the precarious situation the country found itself in.

Yesterday, Dlamini informed members of his office’s portfolio committee in the House of Assembly that following the enactment of the law, Swaziland had been removed from the danger zone by the USA.

Giving a background to the law, Dlamini said the country signed an agreement in its capacity as a member of the United Nations that it will enact the law. However, there were delays that resulted in Swaziland not putting the law in place, despite several reminders from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO). He said it appeared government believed that the problem did not exist in the kingdom.

As a result of government’s snail’s pace, the USA decided to ‘encourage’ the country to speed up things. He said the US grouped the countries into three categories. There was the First Tier, which comprised countries that had responded to the call immediately. It was followed by the Second Tier, which had countries that were in the process of enacting the law, but were delaying due to various reasons.


Inflation rate falls further to 6 per cent

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-22-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Despite increases in the prices of food, housing, water and electricity, the inflation rate for the country fell to six per cent.

Since international crude oil prices, the main catalyst of high transport and food prices experienced recently, started falling in August last year, prices of various goods and services started taking a dip as well. According to the Central Statistical Office news for August 2009, the headline inflation rate, which is the annual percentage change in the consumer price index (CPI) during the month compared with that of August 2008, for the country was 6.0 per cent.

“This annual rate of inflation is 0.31 index points lower than the corresponding annual rate of 6.31 per cent observed in July 2009,” it says.

Recreation

The monthly inflation rate percentage change in the consumer price index (CPI) in August compared with that of the previous month was 1.64 per cent. The report attributes the lower headline inflation to decreases in the annual rates for various goods and services in the basket that were recorded during the month under review.

“The rate of change for restaurant and hotels decreased from 13.13 per cent in July to 12.98 per cent in August; alcohol beverages and tobacco dropped from 10.86 per cent to 8.86 per cent while the rates of recreation and culture decreased from 2.76 per cent in July to 2.49 per cent in August 2009,” the report reads. However, the decreasing rate of inflation was slightly counteracted by increasing rates of growth in prices indices for the remaining goods and services in the basket.

“The rate of change for food increased from 9.20 per cent in July to 9.45 per cent in August; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased from 2.87 per cent to 9.99 per cent while miscellaneous goods and services increased from 2.52 per cent in July to 2.94 per cent during the month under review,” it says. South Africa’s Reserve Bank (SARB) is expected to announce changes, if any, on interest rates today. However, with interest rates having been cut several times this year, economists are optimistic that inflation was going to decrease further.

“This will also be dependent on international crude oil prices but generally the instrument of interest rate cuts is beginning to yield the expected result of curbing inflation. The main drivers of inflation, fuel and transport prices have been on low levels since late last year and this is what has led to decreasing inflation rate. A fall in inflation rate means increased buying power for consumers,” the independent economist, who preferred to remain anonymous, said.

He said they hoped the Central Bank would cut interest rates at least one more time in the coming months to prevent the effects of possible and anticipated increases in crude oil prices.


SD to participate at leadership conference in Seoul

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By Observer Reporter - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Sep-2009

EARLIER this year, upon the return of Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Honorable Macford Sibandze from the World Summit on Peace which was hosted by Universal Peace Federation in New York,

It was pronounced that the time had come for Swaziland to play its strategic leadership role in building and promoting peace in the world.

“We are very pleased that the Government and people of the Kingdom of Swaziland have responded positively and are already playing that part to build and promote peace in the region. This is indicated by the well-documented pivotal role that this country has played in the resolution of the crises in Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The challenge is now being presented to Swaziland to play an extended role of building peace in the world both externally and internally,” said Corporate Affairs and Programmes Coordinator Charles Mbingo in a statement yesterday.

He said Swaziland had been invited to participate at the International Leadership Conference (ILC) sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), to be held in Seoul, Korea on October 12–16, 2009. The theme of the ILC is “The Significance of Marriage and Family for Peace in the 21st Century.” Distinguished delegates, including current former heads of State and Government among others, from around the world will be in attendance. The programme will feature sessions on topics related to the general theme, as well as presentations on the core principles and programmes of the UPF.

“There is a growing awareness among people throughout the world of the urgent need for innovative vision and bold leadership if we are to resolve the critical issues of our time. The ILC series addresses this need. During the course of the program, we will consider the universal values and best practices that are necessary to create a world in which the people of every region, race, nationality, culture and religion live together in peace. We will consider the root causes of conflict and the ways we can move together beyond conflict, inequality and division toward reconciliation and prosperity as one family under God.”

The ILC is being convened at the time of the World Culture and Sports Festival, which features not only a series of sporting events, but also the World Peace Blessing for marriage and family, scheduled for October 14th. Swaziland has been invited through the relevant organsations such as the Swaziland National Sports Council, the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture and other groups and individuals to participate at these events. UPF Founders Drs Sun Myung and Mrs Moon have made the establishment of families of peace the centerpiece of their life’s work. They are encouraging young people, along with married couples from diverse nations and religious backgrounds to dedicate their marriage and their family life to building a world of lasting peace.

For this particular occasion, Drs and Mrs Moon are personally inviting the ILC participants to participate as couples in the World Peace Blessing in support of the vision of strengthening marriage and family for the sake of peace in our world. Additionally, the elder married couples are called to lend their encouragement and support, as mentors for the young people who are just starting their family life.

As indicated, the event is sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) for accommodation, catering and ground transportation in Seoul, South Korea. However, the participants will have to provide for their own return air-fare to Seoul, hence the members of the delegation will have either to be sponsored externally or be privately funded for the air-travel. As assigned by our Africa Continental and Regional Head Offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Johannesburg, South Africa, respectively, due to the urgency of the trip, we have already provisionally extended invitations to the Swaziland Council of Arts and Culture, the Swaziland National Sports Council, the Swaziland National Youth Council, and other relevant groups and individuals. All invited organisations, groups and individuals are being urged to indicate immediately whether they would be honouring the invitation, so that accommodation arrangements can be finalized for them in Seoul for the dates indicated.


MPs still skeptical about viability of Sikhuphe

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By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Sep-2009

MEMBERS of Parliament are still skeptical about the prospects of Sikhuphe International Airport bringing in revenue for the Kingdom.

At a Portfolio Committee meeting for parliamentarians held at Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC) Emthonjeni building yesterday, MPs put Director of Civil Aviation Douglas Litchfield on the spotlight regarding the issue. They wanted to know on what strength government was basing the assertion that major airlines would use the airport upon completion in March next year.

Mpolonjeni MP Nicodemus ‘Ace’ Mashwama even asked for documentation to the effect that airlines had committed to using Sikhuphe Airport. He also wanted to know the sustainability of that airport located in the Eastern side of Swaziland. “What are the tangible indicators that there is a market for Sikhuphe?” he asked.

In response Litchfield said last year whilst in Malaysia they had met directors of major airlines and agencies. “Some of the airlines, such as Singapore, showed interest in Sikhuphe and other agencies as well were interested. “This is because we had the opportunity to market the airport in Malaysia,” he said adding that as Civil Aviation Directorate, they believed the Airport would be up and running by March 31, next year as envisaged.

He said this was because the construction of the airport at Sikhuphe was more than halfway through. Motshane MP Robert Magongo wanted to know what would become of the civil servants who were employed under the Directorate of Civil Aviation once Sikhuphe was up and running. Litchfield said Minister of Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini had urged the ministry to open negotiations with NAPSAWU (National Public Servants and Allied Workers Union) to take care of such concerns.

“If you would ask me as director what I would in case I’m not re-engaged in the new structure I’ll simply go home,” he said He said they had kept the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) abreast about developments on the industry such as the new legislation passed by parliament recently and audit deficiencies.

“We even gave them a corrective action plan following the audit study conducted in July 2007 where they raised eight areas of concern. “The only downside is that we’re behind time as some of the corrective measures should have been in place by December 2008.”


Search for escaped lions

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By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-23-Sep-2009

MBABANE – A perimeter comprising of five areas has been drawn where the escaped lions could still be roaming around.

It is four days since the story of the six lions and two elephants said to have escaped into the country from South Africa broke. The areas closely monitored include Nkalashane, eBhandeni, Mlawula, Shewula and Simunye. As the search for animals continues, lion paw prints and hairs have been identified following a dead carcass said to be that of a cow that was eaten by the lion pack.

The prints were discovered at eBhan- deni, just near the Nkalashane River and it is suspected that the cats had gone to drink from the river after feasting on a cow.

The lions and elephants escaped into the country from a game reserve at Sikhukhuza in South Africa. Traps have not yet been put up because the exact whereabouts of these animals have not yet been identified. “These are the places in which people should be on the lookout,” said Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Vusi Masuku, confirming the ongoing hunt to capture the six animals which have sent the Lomahasha community and surrounding areas into a state of fear.

“The traces found of these said animals is proof that the net is closing in on them,” said Masuku as he gave hope. George Mbatha, who is a Chief Game Ranger, advised community members in the surrounding areas to avoid walking at night at all cost. “Anyone who spots suspicious paw prints should contact the police or game rangers immediately,” said Mbatha.

Lions have a history of roaming around at night, as they prefer darkness to make movements and hunt. “Lions are man-eaters and do most of their hunting at night, late afternoon or early in the morning,” added the police PRO.


SARB leaves rates unchanged at 7%

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-23-Sep-2009

MBABANE - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has left interest rates unchanged at seven per cent.


Friends of UN Plus in Swaziland, Mozambique

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UN Plus - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Sep-2009

Strengthening efforts towards a stigma-free work environment for United Nations staff living with HIV and their families, UN Plus has launched a new Friends of UN Plus initiative in Swaziland.

Keeping up the momentum to break down barriers and silence around HIV in southern Africa, this will be followed by the launch of a similar initiative in Mozambique today.

doubled

Friends of UN Plus is a novel initiative by UN Plus, an advocacy and support group comprising staff members who are living with HIV. UN Plus membership in the southern African region has doubled in the last year but many staff members living with HIV still feel fearful of disclosing their status. Although UN Plus has a non-disclosure policy, the reluctance to disclose HIV status reflects high stigma levels in society. The Friends initiative, therefore, is meant to provide a supportive environment to those who have reservations about being openly associated with UN Plus. It aims to be a forum through which the needs of HIV-positive staff and those caring for HIV-positive friends and family can be articulated and addressed.

Today was a bold and decisive step we took for us to launch this initiative. I am so glad that staff will now have a platform to share safely and a space for outreach. It does not hurt to help and to reach out. We can all do something to make life better for those in our families, offices and communities living with HIV,” said an HIV positive staff member of the UN in Swaziland.

literacy

The country launches are designed to highlight workplace rights and continue the ongoing dialogue on human rights, treatment needs and challenges of people living with HIV. Through training, meetings, treatment literacy sessions and related activities the initiative aims to educate staff members about UN Plus’ contribution towards reduction of stigma and discrimination, promotion of social acceptance and increase of social, legal and leadership commitment for HIV at the UN system workplace. The Swaziland launch included a panel discussion where representatives of people living with HIV answered questions from the local press on issues of equality and rights. Two members of the local media joined the panel to share their experiences of how they cover stories of people living with HIV in a meaningful way. Friends of UN Plus will operate in tandem with UN Cares, the UN HIV in the workplace programme, the UN Wellness Programme and other workplace initiatives and agency-specific programmes that exist at country levels.


Pheli, Dzeli introduce pay per read concept

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Sep-2009

Two Swazis who had been living in Canada have since returned to invest in Swaziland.

In an interview, Dlamini said they will allow their customers to read different motivational and spiritual books and they will be charged E10 per hour. “Our main aim is to heal people through reading these various books, which I can bear testimony that they are of great help,” she said.

She disclosed that while in Canada she used to work as a Chattered accountant, but left her job and came back to Swaziland, which is her parental country. She said their aim was not mostly in making money, but to demonstrate to the local people that through reading various motivational and spiritual books, life can be changed. Books that are available to be read by the public, according to Dlamini, are those that are meant to help uplift the spirit and standard of every person who is currently undergoing problems in her life.

She said their customers will be treated with juice and food while they enjoy their read within the same compound. Dlamini said they have also opened Dream juice and dream accessories for their clients.

She disclosed that while they encourage their customers to read spiritual books they also want them to eat healthy food.


AFROSTYLE MAGAZINE DEBUTS ONLINE

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AMAKA NKELE-23-Sep-2009

I just wanted to take a moment to introduce and tell you about my new online magazine called AfroStyle Magazine at WWW.AFROSTYLEMAG.COM officially launched August 31st 2009.

Good Afternoon, I just wanted to take a moment to introduce and tell you about my new online magazine called AfroStyle Magazine at WWW.AFROSTYLEMAG.COM. It officially launched Aug 31st 2009. AfroStyle Magazine is a premier online magazine focused on Africa and Africa inspired lifestyle and fashion. It covers contemporary issues such as fashion, health and healthy living, entertainment, tourism, sports, arts&culture and more. Our magazine supports and promotes African Fashion in its entirety and highlights the fusion of Contemporary African Fashion with today's Western and European trends in clothes and accessories. In addition, we celebrate achievers and trend setters who positively represent Africa. Also, educating readers about Africa in fun and interesting editorials. AfroStyle offers a forum for people of African descent and other races to interact on contemporary issues of the day in a way that not only encourages positive dialogue and understanding of the issues, but will give readers a better perspective of Africa, its peoples and cultures. I have been interviewed in www.AfricanRadioOnline.com and the magazine is currently featured on website. As well as www.Ciaafrique.BlogSpot.com and South African radio 5fm's website www.5fm.co.za Please take a moment to check out our site and feel free to give us your feedback and leave your comments in our blog. Thank you for your support in advance. Kindest Regards, Amaka Nkele CEO/Founder AfroStyle Magazine www.AfroStyleMag.com


Obed joins Liqoqo

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By SENZO DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-24-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Obed Dlamini, the erstwhile Prime Minister and most senior member of NNLC National Executive, has been appointed to serve in His Majesty King Mswati III’s advisory body – Liqoqo.

NNLC stands for Ngwane National Liberatory Congress. Liqoqo Chairman Chief Prince Logcogco, in an interview yesterday, confirmed Dlamini’s appointment as a ‘king’s man’. The prince said Dlamini, 72, who also served as NNLC President in the 90s, received his official appointment sometime last week.

“He was officially introduced to the rest of the members of Liqoqo on Monday,” the chairman said. “He assumed his new duties immediately after the introduction exercise in an effort to try to familiarise himself with the functions of the supreme Libandla (council).”

Appointment

With the appointment of the former premier, the members of the king’s advisory council now stand at 23. Prince Logcogco, who is also the Chief of Gundvwini in the Manzini region, said the new arrangement perfectly suited Dlamini, the then Member of Parliament for Nhlambeni Constituency in the 8th Parliament (2003 – 2008). “He deserves it,” he briefly said. “We’re all happy for him.”

The former PM, when approached for comment, confirmed his appointment. Dlamini, however, elected to play his cards closer to the chest on the new assignment pending the swearing-in ceremony. “You better contact me after I’ve been sworn-in as a member of Liqoqo,” was all Dlamini could say.

...NNLC wants dlamini to resign

MBABANE – NNLC President Dr. Alvit Dlamini has called for the immediate resignation of Obed Dlamini from the political organisation.

Alvit, in an interview yesterday, described the appointment of Obed into Liqoqo as a huge embarrassment to the NNLC. He said Obed was not only a member of the party’s National Executive, but former president. “Obed is the most senior member of the congress,” he emphasised. The reigning NNLC chief said the appointment of the former premier into Liqoqo was in total contravention of their constitution.

He cited section 4(4.5) which reads thus: “Membership of the NNLC shall be withheld from persons who do not accept the aims and objectives of the organisation and those who belong to other political parties, or an organisation whose policies and methods of work are not in harmony with those of the NNLC.” Therefore, Alvit said the Tinkhundla system of governance was opposed to the policies of the 47-year-old party. He said Obed, by virtue of being a senior member of the party, was expected to discuss his appointment with the executive in view of article 4(4.5).

“As a national executive, maybe we could have managed to dissuade him from accepting the appointment,” Alvit said. “I strongly believe we could have assisted him on what route to take.” Obed declined to comment, promising to do so after he had been sworn-in as a member of the king’s advisory body.


HIS MAJESTY TO ADDRESS UNITED NATIONS

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III is tomorrow expected to take centre stage at the 64th UN general Assembly when he addresses world leaders on issues affecting Swaziland, Africa and the world.

His Majesty, who arrived in New York on Monday accompanied by Inkhosikati Make LaMbikiza, is expected to discuss ways in which the world can partner with Swaziland in addressing some of the major challenges the country faces. Issues of health, which are on government’s top priority list are expected to feature prominently in the King’s speech. The King, who yesterday attended the Summit on Climate Change, is also expected to brief the world about Swaziland’s role and needs regarding issues of the environment and the world got a taste of the King’s views when he called for more accountability of the powerful nations towards Climate Change strategies of developing countries.

Leaders

His Majesty and the leaders of the world are also expected to touch on the world’s hotspots and come up with ideas on how to maintain world peace. Though Swazi Observer cannot over speculate on the King’s message, it is expected that - as he has done over the years - he will plead taiwan’s case for full involvement in the activities of the UN. Issues surrounding the Global Financial and Economic Crisis will also be top of the agenda of the UN general Assembly.

Session

“Among the topics to be considered during the current session are nine new agenda items, one of which is agriculture development and food security. This will be included under the heading ‘ The promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development in accordance with the relevant solutions of the General Assembly and recent UN conferences,” reads a brief from the Secretary general’s Office.

Co-operation

The others are global health and foreign policy, co-operation between the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Observer status for the International Humanitarial Fact-Finding Commission in the General Assembly, Observer status for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria in the General Assembly, and the Observer Status for the International Conference on the Great Lakes regions of Africa in the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has reiterated the global call for ceasefire and non-violence, saying the world should constantly reflect on the cost and horror of war and on the duty to resolve disputes peacefully.


Human Rights Commission first meeting today

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Sep-2009

THE Human Rights Commission and Public Administration will be meeting for the first time today since its appointment early this month.

Its Chairman Reverend David Matse, an attorney at law and former Justice Minister, confirmed the meeting but will not go into details. “Tomorrow (today) we would be meeting as members of the Commission for the first time and look into various aspects of the job at hand. Amongst these is the consideration of a public relations office or spokesperson for the Commission,” he said.

His Majesty King Mswati III appointed the Commission comprising six members on September 4. Their names were announced by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ndumiso Mamba. Deputy Chairperson of the Commission is prominent Nazarene Church preacher Reverend Grace Masilela.Besides Reverend Matse, there are two attorneys who are members of the Commission in Phumelele Thwala and Sabelo Masuku.

The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) has welcomed the recent appointment of the Commission. “We have in the past appealed for government to establish this institution in line with the constitution. It is our belief that human rights are God-given and should be defended by the government and entire population.

“We would like to congratulate the individuals who have been appointed commissioners. We pray that they understand they are to serve the population, particularly those who find themselves in fringes of society with diligence and honour. They are, therefore, expected to pursue their mandate without fear or favour,” he said.


Human Rights Commission first meeting today

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Sep-2009

THE Human Rights Commission and Public Administration will be meeting for the first time today since its appointment early this month.

Its Chairman Reverend David Matse, an attorney at law and former Justice Minister, confirmed the meeting but will not go into details. “Tomorrow (today) we would be meeting as members of the Commission for the first time and look into various aspects of the job at hand. Amongst these is the consideration of a public relations office or spokesperson for the Commission,” he said.

His Majesty King Mswati III appointed the Commission comprising six members on September 4. Their names were announced by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ndumiso Mamba. Deputy Chairperson of the Commission is prominent Nazarene Church preacher Reverend Grace Masilela.Besides Reverend Matse, there are two attorneys who are members of the Commission in Phumelele Thwala and Sabelo Masuku.

The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) has welcomed the recent appointment of the Commission. “We have in the past appealed for government to establish this institution in line with the constitution. It is our belief that human rights are God-given and should be defended by the government and entire population.

“We would like to congratulate the individuals who have been appointed commissioners. We pray that they understand they are to serve the population, particularly those who find themselves in fringes of society with diligence and honour. They are, therefore, expected to pursue their mandate without fear or favour,” he said.


KING, OBAMA TALK CLIMATE CHANGE

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III yesterday joined US President Barack Obama and other world leaders, whom he urged to step-up the gear in availing funds to the developping countries for programmes to deal with the effects of climate change.

The King noted that the poor and vulnerable of the world, were carrying the harshest brunt, and paying the highest price of the effects of climate change - yet were the least responsible for the phenomenon.

His Majesty made the remarks when making an intervention during a Summit on Climate Change, which was organised by UN Secretary General to gunner political support for a major Confrence of Parties scheduled for Copenhagen in December. The theme is: “Power Green growth, Protect the Planet” and is held at the sidelines of the 64th UN General Assembly.

Campaign

“Bearing in mind that we are on a campaign to ‘Save the World’ we will strongly support positive decisions and a robust and improved financial structure at Copenhagen to achieve the objectives of the Climate Change Convention,” he said. Added His Majesty: “Our world today is faced with a huge challenge of mostly human induced greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which is now changing the natural climate system and imacting severely on the poor and the vulnerable, who are least responsible for this phenomenon and are paying the highest price. Therefore, it is important for developing countries to access funding for activities under the UN Climate Change Convention,” he said.

His Majesty assured the world that the kingdom of Swaziland was taking its commitment under the Convention very seriously and will play its part fully in the campaign - to reduce gas emissions and promote a clean and safe environment for generations to come.

“To this end, Swaziland has already established the Swaziland Environment Authority whose mandate is to monitor and ensure that Swaziland retains a clean and healthy environment through the use of appropriate technology,” he said. For example, the King said Swaziland was in the process of establishing a thermal power station that will meet the country’s energy needs - indicating that government will ensure that such a plant adheres to strict environmental protection standards.

“We are determined in ensuring that in carrying out this project we do not repeat the mistakes made by some industrialists in the past. I, therefore, implore the international community to assist us to access the most appropriate technology,” he said. His Majesty told the Summit that the Kingdom welcomes and appreciates the efforts made through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to provide financial support to developing countries towards addressing the effects of climate change. “We also acknowledge the financial support towards fulfilling our commitments under the framework to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. We further observe that there are different Funds, but the existing financial mechanisms are inadequate, fragmented, complex and difficult to support the implementation of the framework. We are calling for a coherent financial structure to fund Climate Change strategies,” he said.

His Majesty insisted that such a structure should have equitable governance - where developing nations have a say. The King added that there already were examples of the practicability of this approach as is the case with the Montreal Protocol - where the developed world was urged to assist developing countries participate fully in climate change programmes.

The King added that the Kingdom of Swaziland further welcomes the establishment of the Adaptation Fund, amongst other Funds, saying the former seeks to provide assistance to the most vulnerable and poor countries. The King said Swaziland would like to see additional funding and more contributors.

Confident

“In this way, we are confident that the fund will address the challenges of accessibility and will extend beyond the current arrangement where proceeds come only from the Clean Development Mechanism - which seeks to reduce global emissions. We acknowledge the existence of other Funds, most of which deal with mitigation, and call for their review to make it easier to achieve their intended objectives,” he said.

He said the Kingdom would like to see the Financial mechanisms extending to the technological transfer, capacity building and systematic observation and monitoring as a means to address the challenges of climate change. The King said the Kingdom of Swaziland would like to see an action plan to accelerate the development, deployment and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies. “The Copenhagen outcome should come up with a structure that shall be governed by principles of equity that will take the interests of developing countries and include them as decision making partners. lastly, the developed countries must assure us of an action oriented commitment. I would like to assure you that the Kingdom of Swaziland is undertyaking its commtment under the Convention and will play its part fully in this campaign,” he said.


Swazi TV adds 11th transmitter at Shiselweni

Main Section

By Observer Reporter - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Sep-2009

MINISTER for Information, Communication and Technology Nelsiwe Shongwe will tomorrow morning commission a Swazi TV transmitter to service the Shiselweni region.

Swazi TV Marketing Manager Lenny Shoulder said this would be the 11th transmitter that Swazi TV has installed throughout the country – adding that their ultimate aim is to get the public broadcaster accessible to every Swazi.

Swazi TV Marketing Manager Lenny Shoulder said this would be the 11th transmitter that Swazi TV has installed throughout the country – adding that their ultimate aim is to get the public broadcaster accessible to every Swazi. Presently, coverage is 75%. Tests have been done for installation of another transmitter for Hluthi, Hosea, Matsanjeni and surrounding areas.

The Mahlalini transmitter will give a clear TV picture for Nhlangano town, Ngwane College, Zombodze, Kontshingila and surrounding areas. Swazi TV now has transmitters at Mbabane, Motshane, Kelly, Mnyokane, Vusweni, Manzini, Ntondozi, Bryhill, Hlatikhulu, Siteki and the Mahlalini one.

Shoulder also mentioned that on Saturday, there will be a road show in Nhlangano town to educate people on how they can access Swazi TV through the Mahlalini transmitter. There will be entertainment galore from Shiselweni youth, Matsapha Gospel Messangers, Mshikishi and many more – in the form of kwaito music, gospel and drama. There will be a first prize of a TV set, and many other prizes. People must come with their TV licences to the roadshow.

Said Shoulder: “As Swazi TV, we would sincerely like to thank government for the support it has been giving us. Our studios are fully digital, with the latest equipment. “For the people of Shilselweni, the Mahlalini transmitter is an opportunity for them to market their products, and also to enjoy informative news and current affairs – as well as quality programmes.”

Presently, coverage is 75%. Tests have been done for installation of another transmitter for Hluthi, Hosea, Matsanjeni and surrounding areas. The Mahlalini transmitter will give a clear TV picture for Nhlangano town, Ngwane College, Zombodze, Kontshingila and surrounding areas. Swazi TV now has transmitters at Mbabane, Motshane, Kelly, Mnyokane, Vusweni, Manzini, Ntondozi, Bryhill, Hlatikhulu, Siteki and the Mahlalini one.

Shoulder also mentioned that on Saturday, there will be a road show in Nhlangano town to educate people on how they can access Swazi TV through the Mahlalini transmitter. There will be entertainment galore from Shiselweni youth, Matsapha Gospel Messangers, Mshikishi and many more – in the form of kwaito music, gospel and drama. There will be a first prize of a TV set, and many other prizes. People must come with their TV licences to the roadshow.

Said Shoulder: “As Swazi TV, we would sincerely like to thank government for the support it has been giving us. Our studios are fully digital, with the latest equipment. “For the people of Shilselweni, the Mahlalini transmitter is an opportunity for them to market their products, and also to enjoy informative news and current affairs – as well as quality programmes.”


Record 733 674 visit SD

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By Njabulo Dlamini - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Sep-2009

INTERNATIONAL visitor arrivals into Swaziland have exceeded expectation, recording an impressive figure of over 733 600 in the first half of 2009.

This represents a growth of 9.1% in the seven months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. In total there were 733 674 visitor arrivals in the first half of the year as confirmed by Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) Chief Executive Officer Eric Maseko.

“This major boost was influenced by the favourable performance demonstrated by Swaziland’s neighbouring markets South Africa and Mozambique, with the latter recording double digit growth of 23.0%. Other key performing markets in terms of growth during the period January – July, 2009 include Brazil (16.1%), Portugal 19.6%), Switzerland (14.9%) and Kenya (10.6%),” Maseko said.

He said as early as the first month of the year, international visitor arrivals recorded an impressive growth of 7.8% accounting for 109 646 arrivals in 2009 compared to the 101 749 arrivals recorded in 2008. “Although the growth trend fluctuated from month to month, subsequent months during the first seven months in 2009, save for March, maintained an increase in visitor arrivals compared to the same months in the previous year. February managed to register a mere 0.3% increase to record 84 212 international visitor arrivals as a result of the dramatic fall in European visitor arrivals.

“Key source markets such as France (-37.2%), Germany (-32.4%), Italy (-14.2%) and the Netherlands (-18.5%) recorded their worst performance yet during that month. March (the only month to register a decline) recorded a ‘drop’ of -9.9% in arrivals. “Analytically the “fall” in visitor numbers was actually not so as Easter holidays in 2009 were held in April while in the previous year they fell in March, thus making March 2009 and March 2008 non-comparable.”

Similarly, April 2009 recorded a deceptive 30.1% increase compared to April 2008 as a result of the shift in Easter holiday dates. The following three months continued to maintain the increase in visitor arrivals. He said on the overall, the tourism sector’s performance in terms of visitor volumes has ‘defied the dampening mood displayed by global economies to reflect its resilience’.

“We have known for certain that people will continue to travel, but they will travel differently from the way they did during times of economic buoyancy. As such a shift in travel choices has been noted as short-haul travellers have significantly increased with neighbouring consumers opting for Swaziland, amongst other countries, as a closer to home holiday destinations. “Although 2008 was clearly a year of concern for the tourism sector in Swaziland, the performance in 2009 seems to be defying odds”.

However, the outlook for the second half of 2009, Maseko noted, will be naturally cautious as nieghbouring South Africa’s economy has began demonstrating signs of stress as a result of the recession.


over 20 mds pupils admitted to hospital

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By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - swazi times-25-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Classes had to be called off yesterday at Mater Dolorosa High School when pupils fell seriously ill after being given wrong drug prescription at the school.

Over 20 pupils were admitted to the Mbabane Government Hospital and school authorities suspect that this could have been caused by the way the combination of deworming and bilharzia tablets were given to the pupils. Yesterday was the beginning of a nationwide deworming exercise for pupils.

After break all pupils were expected to take two different drugs; one for deworming and one for bilharzia. According to a nurse the drugs for deworming ought to be taken before meals while that for bilharzia should be taken after meals.

However, the school, acting on instruction allegedly given at a workshop conducted for the exercise last term, made sure that every child’s stomach was full such that those who had not eaten anything were provided with bread. It was about 11am when class teachers handed out both prescriptions to pupils in each class. Depending on one’s height, a child was given a maximum of about six tablets for bilharzia and deworming.

An hour later, as lessons continued some pupils started feeling dizzy and weak. “As I started feeling strange, my joints and mouth became numb and dry and noticed that I was quickly running out of saliva,” said one of the pupils still looking very ill when interviewed at the hospital.

The pupils said not long after noticing that something was not right with the medication what followed were stomach pains. “When my stomach started to ache, I was already feeling weak and dizzy and I just fell,” said a Form Four pupil. “All I could do was cry in pain as my friends raised an alarm and I was rushed to hospital,” she said.

This was the same case with other pupils in other classes who had taken the drugs. The pupils were first taken to the Salvation Army Clinic before being transferred to the Mbabane Government Hospital where they were admitted. Interviewed at the hospital, the school’s principal, John Ngwenya, said they had no option but to suspend classes. The shocked principal said he was lost as to what could have been the cause.

“What I have gathered is that the treatment should not have been done on the same day,” he said. The principal said things could have been better had there been a trained person to administer the drugs instead of relying on teachers who were untrained. “It is also said that the number of tablets taken by each pupil for the bilharzia drug should not have depended on the height of the child but his or her weight,” Ngwenya said.


Why girls date daddies

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By STHEMBILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES -25-Sep-2009

MBABANE- It has been observed that more often girls date older men and society has really witnessed the cases increase.

Dating older men for young girls comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. According to the Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey (SDHS), the prevalence for girls and young women is similar to those of older men, which probably means these are having relationships. Many girls have opted for men who are older than them ignoring all the disadvantages that are present.

This article seeks to explore the reasons why girls date older men. It is vital to mention that the trend or practice is not just rampant in modern settings but, in traditional settings as well. In the traditional setting, many girls are married off even without their consent. Their parents are involved in arranging the marriages and the girls end up being married to older men. The main reason for this is financial gain.

This example is a bit different since, there are girls in the traditional settings who voluntarily opt to be married to older men. In the modern setting, a young girl will have many reasons; the following is an overview of some of those reasons.

The main reasons why girls date older men are because of financial security and stability. Older guys will tend to have it made and, many will be blessed with some few investments and money. This is a lucrative thing and when girls realise that they can take advantage of this, they go for it. In other words, many young girls have become gold diggers. However, it is also valid to say that older men know exactly what the girls are after and therefore do not mind, as they encourage the trend. After all, there is something in for them.

Older guys like the excitement of young vibrant souls in their lives. The buzz keeps them on their toes as they seek to have great romantic getaways. Reasons why girls date older men are for emotional security. Young men are a bit rough and mainly unstable when it comes to relationships. Older guys know what they want and are more decisive and mature. For this reason, young girls can depend on the older guys to provide this.


Sihlangu accident driver was speeding’

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By SABELO MAZIBUKO -SWAZI TIMES-25-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The man driving the truck that claimed the life of Sihlangu player Mduduzi Dlamini was allegedly speeding.

The South African born driver, Kenneth Dalana (36), who hails from Ivory Park in South Africa, told the magistrate he was not fit to stand trial as he was still suffering from trauma.

“Your worship I would like to engage the services of an attorney because at this stage I cannot withstand the ordeal and cannot talk for myself,” said Dalana. The crown applied that he be remanded to custody until October 2 pending setting of a trial date in the presence of his attorney.

The crown further opposed his bail application on grounds he was a foreigner and chances are he can avoid trial. Dalana was charged with two counts one being that on September 21 on Malagwane Hill, he allegedly drove negligently along MR3 public road and lost control of the truck and knocked a Ford Bantum registered SD 272 XG, which was driven by Berry Robert. It is alleged he further went on to knock a government Toyota kombi SG 100 CP driven by Luis Dlamini and 13 passengers were injured during the accident.

On the second count, Dalana was charged with allegedly speeding the truck and in the process, Mduduzi ‘Mathous-and’ Dlamini, who was a passe-nger in the kombi, died on the spot. It is alleged he was driving at a high speed and failed to keep proper lookout.


Govt increases fuel sales margin by six cents per litre

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-25-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Although several fuel service stations owners have had to change ownership because of the challenges faced in the past 12 months, all is not lost as government has approved an increase of six cents per litre in the fuel sales margin.

Chairman of the Swaziland Fuel Retailers Association, Harry Nxumalo said the increase was effective from July, bringing the price to 53 cents per litre sold from the 47 cents they were receiving before the increase. Prior to the 47 cents they were receiving from April this year up until July, fuel retailers received 44 cents per litre sold.

Nxumalo said looking back on the past 12 months, the association concedes that the sector performance was not satisfactory because of the high international crude oil prices that prevailed for the better part of last year. “We convened as an association to discuss our performance, challenges and achievements during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week and some of the issues discussed, included the fact we have had to face hardships during the last 12 months.

Some of us have had to borrow more money from financiers because of the high crude oil prices that have prevailed over the past 12 months, however, we have been fortunate that the high international crude oil prices have gone down,” Nxumalo said. He went on to say; “Another challenge faced by fuel retailers was the fuel sales margin, which we believe is hardly enough to meet our expenses.

However, on a more positive note, we were able to lobby government to increase the fuel sales margin from 47 cents per litre to 53 cents per litre in July. Although this was not really what we wanted, it is still appreciated.” He said in other countries, such as South Africa, the fuel sales margin was slightly higher than the local rate, adding that it stood at approximately 64.7 cents per litre.

“It may have gone up from the 64.7 cents per litre in South Africa and all we would like to say to government is that the gap between the rates offered in other countries and locally should not be too big. Government should try and close this gap,” he added. Nxumalo also said some of their members have had to hand over ownership to others, because their businesses suffered losses over the past 12 months.

“Although I would not like to mention how many of our members have had to hand over ownership to others, I can say that there were quite a few. All this happened when the international crude prices were high last year and incidentally, this was during one of the high inflation periods. What happened was that many of us have had to borrow more from financiers, yet at the same time we had to service high cash handling fees with our financiers and handle all other expenses, all at the same time. This became a little too much for some of us and they have had to hand over ownership of their service stations to others,” he said.


US SOLAR COMPANY WANTS SD LAUNCH PAD

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III yesterday met business representatives of one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of solar panels who are keen on setting up shop in Africa.

The meeting, which was held in New York, USA explored possibilities of the company setting up its operations in Swaziland and accessing the African market from our shores. The representatives of the company said they were taking into account the demand for the needs of clean energy in Africa and were looking at Swaziland as the ideal location for its African invasion.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Lutfo Dlamini confirmed the meeting, saying the Swazi delegation was able to make its case, citing Swaziland as a stable, peaceful and secure country that is ideal for the kind of business venture the company was looking for. “Nothing has been finalised yet, but we will have follow up meetings. What the King has done is to set the stage for more talks because each time he goes out of the country to meet other kleaders or attend important conferences he always makes it a point to explore business opportunities for the country and his people,” said Dlamini.

The minister added that His Majesty also met a team from UNAIDS and an organisation that represents mainly the interests of women and the girl child. “There were discussions on the programmes that Africa at large, and Swaziland in particular had in place regarding the issue of HIV and AIDS and other health matters. We were able to appraise them on the situation on the ground and the type of assistance and partnership we need as a country,” Dlamini said. He added that they explored possibilities of setting up a pharmaceutical company that would manufacture drugs and other medicines and supply them to the continent in the bid to combat the spread of AIDS.

“We have made the proposal for them to come to Swaziland and we informed them that the country boasts of a ready made site to play host to Africa. We, in turn, have asked them to come up with a proposal of their specific requirements which we will forward to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce. We await feedback and follow up material and we are confident that based on the discussions something good will come to Swaziland,” he said.


Airlink plane crashes on school ground

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By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Sep-2009

AN airlink passenger plane crashed into a school’s playing ground yesterday in Pietermaritzburg near Durban international airport, seriously injuring three crew members and one person on the ground.

Luckily, there were no passengers on board, only crew when it crashed and broke into three pieces on impact, Airlink spokesperson Karin Murray said. “The aircraft ditched approx 400m off the Airport in the fields of the Merebank High School on the Bluff and broke into three pieces on impact. We have confirmation that there are no fatalities.

“The two pilots are both stable but critically injured. The Flight attendant is seriously injured but also stable. The Captain was airlifted to St. Augustine hospital at 11h00. “All crew members have been hospitalised in nearby hospitals. “We understand that a worker on the ground was slightly injured and was treated at the scene and admitted to hospital for surveillance. “Airlink staff are on the scene. Arrangements have been made for the immediate family of the injured crew to travel to Durban. Airlink will release further information as soon as it becomes available.”

Airlink planes also service Swaziland, but it could not be ascertained whether the crashed plane had previously serviced the Matsapha-Johannesburg route, or whether they are swapped sometimes to service the different routes. Airlink said the aircraft, a Jetstream 41, developed mechanical faults shortly after departure from the Durban International Airport.

The spokesperson said after take-off, crew declared an emergency and reported engine loss and smoke from the rear of the aircraft. Interestingly, Airlink Swaziland also uses Jetstream 41 planes for the Matsapha-Johannesburg route.

An official website states that the airline provides daily return scheduled flights between Matsapha and Johannesburg utilising Jetstream 41, Embraer 135 jet aircraft and BAe 146 aircraft


KING, OBAMA IN WORKING LUNCH

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III and his counterparts in the Southern Africa region held two working lunch meetings with US President Barak Obama in New York

HIS Majesty King Mswati III and his counterparts in the Southern Africa region held two working lunch meetings with US President Barak Obama in New York for what the latter termed a dialogue on how the leaders could partner with the world power for Africa’s growth.

President Obama said he was encouraged by progress made by the region, and Africa in general in recent years to close the development gap and increase opportunity. “More work, however, remains to be done. This expanding partnership needs to work in both directions, and I am interested in hearing your ideas about how our mutual efforts can be more effective,” President Obama said. He added that he was keen to hear about the work of His Majesty and the regional leaders, to create the kind of long lasting development effects that they all desire.

The first meeting was held at the prestigious Waldorf Hotel in New York, whilst the other was held at the UN Headquarters and facilitated by the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. Swazi Observer gathered that the meetings focused on how the United States can strengthen partnership with African countries to improve economic and social conditions on the continent. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Lutfo Dlamini confirmed that President Obama had quality time with the leaders as part of his wish to make the United States consult more on what should be done and how to bring the ties closer.

“He wants to move away from the speeches and theories. President Obama is interested in finding solutions to the issues of climate change and to involve the leaders in doing so. President Obama, like all key leaders believes that unless something major and decisive is done within eight years, there would be untold consequences for the world. The idea, therefore, is to persuade the developed world to assist the developing countries in their path to growth. However, he insists that the growth should be in conformity with the principles of protecting the environment and promoting the use of clean energy,” Dlamini said.

Other matters that were discussed in the meetings with the leaders of the sub-Saharan region included those of job creation, especially for young people and entrepreneurs, how to create a favourable climate for trade and investment and how to mobilise agricultural growth.

Meanwhile, in his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Obama assured world leaders that he believes in open diplomacy and negotiation on whatever issues, be they developmental, economic, social, political or other. He pledged USD 2 trillion to resuscitate the world economy, USD 80 billion towards clean energy and USD63 billion to fight disease.


Cabinet approves 300MW thermal plant

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-25-Sep-2009

CABINET has approved the programme for the construction of a 300 MW thermal power plant. This is contained in the cabinet decision paper made on Tuesday

Other things that have been approved by cabinet include amongst others, rural finance enterprise development, engagement of consultants for the detailed design phase of the mini-micro hydro power plant at Mnjoli Dam, development of coal-fired power station for national security and the United Nations Population Fund meeting.

On the development of a coal-fired station for national security, it is stated that this project will utilise local coal resources, and will create and improve job opportunities in local mining sector. “Commissioning of this project is set for 2013 and a detailed report on the operations of this programme can be assessed from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy,” reads part of the cabinet report. Also approved was the Rural Finance and Enterprise Development Programme Bill, which will establish rural finance and development programme.

It is stated that once approved by Parliament, it is anticipated that the bill will create financing avenues for sectors of society, especially the rural areas currently covered by the banking sector. “Micro financing institutions will be utilised as vehicles for availing for small business ventures, to the poor at affordable terms. “A smart card system will be introduced for use by clients to access loans at local levels,” states the report. It is also stated that in an endeavour to increase the amount of locally generated electricity cabinet has approved the designing of mini-micro hydro power plant to be installed at the Mnjoli Dam.

It is further disclosed that hydro power is preferred as it is clean and user friendly. The cabinet also approved the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) programme which will run from next Tuesday to Friday. The meeting will be hosted at the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel in Ezulwini.

“Among other things the meeting will discuss ways of enhancing aid, making it more effective, especially in developing countries,” reads part of the cabinet paper. The basis of the meeting is the 2005 Paris Declaration, which introduced the National Execution (NEX) Funding Modality - whose aim is empowering development programme and projects and 40 delegates outside Swaziland are expected to attend the meeting.

A detailed report on this meeting can also be accessed from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development.


FIFA World Cup trophy to make stop in SD

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By Sabelo Ndzinisa - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-25-Sep-2009

SOCCER – THE FIFA World Cup Trophy, which will make a stop in the country on November 30, will also be taken to 86 countries, including every nation in Africa.

This is part of a campaign dubbed, ‘FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola’. According to statement from the chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent, the ceremonial start of the tour was held this week as FIFA President Sepp Blatter sent the trophy on its round-the-world journey.

The trophy will also be flown later in the week from Zurich to its first stop in Cairo, Egypt. “The international reach and marketing expertise of our partner Coca-Cola is an enormous benefit in strengthening the game and helps us bring the excitement and passion of our sport to more people around the globe,” Blatter is quoted as saying. The FIFA chief further states that this campaign captures both the unique spirit of the continent of Africa and the celebrations that football aspires.

The trophy is one of the most recognisable sports icons worldwide. Prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, FIFA had totally reviewed all aspects of the use and presentation of the solid gold trophy and overhauled its image in both print and on-screens.

“The purpose of the new brand strategy is to adjust the artwork and treatment to the value and prestige it stands for in the world of football. We will showcase its majestic aura as the centrepiece in our campaign to unite the world in moments of spontaneous celebration. We will leverage our exclusive access to this asset to bring the world a most unique experience. We will offer once in a lifetime experiences for football fans to get close to the trophy, an icon that is revered and coveted worldwide,” reads part of the statement.

The African tour of the trophy includes 52 countries between this month and November. It will then tour the host country, South Africa on December 9 before taking a global tour in 34 countries worldwide between January and April next year. Every African market will get one full day of activation with the trophy. In addition, seven major markets will receive two full event days. When the country arrives in the country, all official events with it, aside from an airport arrival ceremony held the evening of its arrival, will take place in one day.

It’s expected that the Local Organising Committee (LOC), in collaboration with Coca-Cola company in the country, would come up with a full programme of events on the day the trophy arrives in the country.


Scores of students rushed to Government Hospital

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By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Sep-2009

About 60 students from Motshane primary and others from Langeni were on Friday rushed to Mbabane Government Hospital complaining of stomach ache and diarrhoea after taking deworming and bilharzia tablets.

Motshane Principal, Lucky Zwane said the problem started complaining of their ill-health on Thursday after they had administered taking of the drugs. He said some of the students were complaining of stomach aches whilst others were having running stomachs.

“It was today (Friday) that a number of them were complaining that they had problems in taking food while some were complaining of severe stomach aches,” said Zwane. He said after seeing two of the students lying down, they immediately called the Hhohho Region Education Officer who told them to rush them to hospital. The principal said it was then that they called an ambulance from the Fire and Emergency Department. He said a majority of the students were treated and discharged at the Mbabane Government Hospital. When our news crew visited the Mbabane government hospital, some of the students were found lying on the ground while some were queuing for help at the Out Patient Department (OPD).

The principal said they made sure that they give the pupils the tablets as per the instructions they were given. “We gave them the tablets according to their heights as per the instructions and we also made sure that they had eaten,” he said. Mater Dorolosa High School was forced to suspend some classes on Thursday as about 20 students fell seriously ill after being given the same tablets. Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Steven Shongwe said they heard that students from various schools had been affected. He said this usually happens when the number of the worms in the body was too high.

“The reaction of the tablets varies from person to person. Sometimes a person can feel severe pains, feel dizzy and weak but this must not be considered as side effects,” he said. Dr. Shongwe said although the tablets do have side effects, but what was currently happening was not some of it. The PS said the reaction of the tablets varies and people must not panic as the students will be well soon. “I would like to assure teachers that there is nothing wrong they have done. We also encourage pupils to continue deworming,” he said.

He said such was likely to occur to people living in the highveld because of its wetness. Health minister Benedict Xaba said they were shocked at the high numbers of bad reactions and they are going to meet with their partners, UNICEF, to assess the real cause of the high number of reactions. “Whilst it is normal reaction, the high number demands that we meet, consider the doctor’s diagnosis and evaluate the situation. We will give a full report after our meeting,” Xaba stated when called on Friday evening. Swaziland Coalition for Peace Steering Committee member Rev. Hanson Ngwenya, who witnessed the suffering of students, said government need to evaluate the administration of the drugs. “These drugs are not administered by anyone and anyhow.

“They can be dangerous if wrongly administered, hence we appeal for reconsideration of their administration by teachers,” he said. In response, the health minister said so far they were content with their administration and their initial findings indicate that there was no problem with their administration or the drugs being expired.


KING CALLS FOR MORE AID IN HIS UN ADDRESS

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Sep-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III has called on developed countries to assist Africa with access to funding and technology to support the fight against poverty.

He said this was important if they are to reach their goal of transforming their economies to first world status. He said the global financial and economic crisis and other challenges restrain them from achieving the millennium development goals. He was speaking on Friday when addressing the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly.

“The secondary effects of the crisis are now hitting hard on developing economies like the Kingdom of Swaziland who have their export trade largely dependent on performance in developed global markets. Several government interventions to rescue sectors such as the pulp and textile industries have been undertaken, in our case,’’ he said. His Majesty observed a number of impediments which militate against progress in achieving the set targets, adding that the situation regarding poverty and healthcare has also been exacerbated by the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other conditions. “Inaccessibility to resources and high costs continue to compromise healthcare systems and our efforts to meet the targets set for the attainment of the MDGs. In this regard, the Kingdom of Swaziland appreciates the partnership with the UN structures and the international community, in this regard,” he said.

His Majesty said Swaziland, as part of its commitment to the MDGs, will be rolling-out free universal primary education at the beginning of 2010. He said currently, government pays educational fees for all OVC and subsidises tertiary education through scholarships or student loans. The King called on the developed world to assist with a Fund to assist developing countries with strategies to deal with climate change, adding that the funds should be adequate, predictable, sustainable, incremental and unconditionally accessible.

He also called for finality in the process to reform the UN Security Council to turn it into a structure that is truly representative of all its members. He also called for peace in the world’s trouble spots


BANKS LAUNCH ‘TEACH CHILDREN TO SAVE’ CAMPAIGN

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By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Sep-2009

The Teach Children to Save (TCTS) is aimed at inculcating a culture of savings and promoting volunteerism with the intention of inspiring students to be life long savers.

This was said by Nedbank Swaziland Managing Director Ambrose Dlamini, who is also Chairman of the Bankers Association of Swaziland during the launch of this campaign at Ezulwini Catholic School on Friday.

“The essence of this initiative is to have volunteer bankers deliver a generic saving and financial literacy lessons without marketing a specific bank of product,” he said. He said TCTS was a concept taken from South Africa and had been welcomed by the general public of that country. Dlamini disclosed that target students are those from Grades 4-7 in 21 schools throughout the country, with five schools per region. “We trust that we will reach at least 6 500 students this year. The banks have collaboratively deployed 85 bank executives country-wide who will be taking on these schools at 10a.m countrywide,” he said.

He also pointed out that this initiative was specifically targeted at students as they were better positioned to learn positive saving habits which they can practise in their life time. Dlamini said savings were crucial for healthy household income and in turn a healthy economic. “The prevalent phenomenon of global recession will be averted by a strong culture of savings hence this we are planting with this initiative,” he said. TCTS is collaborative industry consumer education initiative which was made possible by various banks.

He said the banking association was committed to this initiative and would like to see it become an annual September event in their calendar that will highlight the important role that volunteer bankers can play in educating the country’s youth on savings.

“The bankers association has now termed this month ‘save-tember’ - for it is in this month that the saving culture will be preached to the children of Swaziland.”


If you will be driving to Durban, read this

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By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-26-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The car hijacking nightmare experienced by a number of Swazi motorists when travelling to South Africa along the Caroline road in Mpumalanga in 2003 has resurfaced in Mkusi, Kwa- Zulu/Natal.

The car thieves are alleged to be targeting cars with Swazi registration. Motorists are warned to be on the lookout. Last week Friday, a local motorist travelling along the road between Mkusi and Mtubatuba was hijacked at around 9:30pm.

The hijacked driver, known to the Swazi News, emailed his ordeal. “I was hi-jacked last week Friday by people I believe are targeting SD registration cars. These people wait at either the Mkusi One Stop or the Petrol Port looking for SD registered cars that drive into the garage with one or two people inside. Upon your departure, they will allow you to drive out of the petrol garage and then follow you. Along the road, they will then overtake you and either throw something on the road from outside their car window that will surely puncture your tyres. When you pull over they pounce on you,” he wrote.

The hijacked motorist further revealed; “Do not travel on this road at night and be very careful if you are to utilise the Mkusi One stop or Petrol Port service station. Please be aware of this as it has been going on for sometime. All people in Swaziland should be aware of this and hope this may not happen to any Swazi”. Police PRO Vusi Masuku said they will be working hand in hand with their South African counterparts to arrest this problem.

“Following the sudden resurfacing of local cars being hijacked in South Africa, we would be liaising with our SA counterparts to ensure that the safety of locals is guaranteed. In the light of the latest developments, locals should refrain from travelling at night unless it is on emergency. Where possible, they should also drive in convoy so as to assist one another in case of any eventuality,” he said.

In Mpumalanga, the South African Police Service acted swiftly to the scourge as it also reflected negatively not only to the province but also the country at large with the 2010 World Cup beckoning.


Sd targets Ghana, Ivory Coast for World Cup camp

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-26-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The local 2010 office has backed Minister of Tourism and Environ-menalAffairs Macford Sib-andze’s mission to lure already qualified Ghana to set base in the country during the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

Chief Operations Officer (COO) Appolo Maphalala said the mandate to invite count-ries to set their camp base in the country should be shoul-dered by every Swazi. Minister Sibandze is curre-ntly in Ghana where is atten-ding a meeting on tourism in the continent. But, he will also engage the Ghanaian Football Federation to set camp in the country during next year’s global showpiece. The West African country became the first African country, after the host country to qualify.

“We have heard about that, even though we cannot talk on behalf of his office. But we support any initiative that will lure any country to set base in the country. The mandate by the minister helps the whole country, because we are also busy on a similar programme as an office,” he said.

He revealed that while there was currently no country that had signed any agreement with his office, there are certain countries that they have targeted. “Our approach is threefold. The first phase is to target the countries that have already qualified. Then those by reputation are close to qualify. The final part would be to target the official draw set for December 4, because at the time everyone would know where her games would be played,” he said. He said there were means to get Ivory Coast who is likely to secure a World Cup spot on October 10 away to Malawi.

“We will be sending delegates to Malawi to meet the Ivorians who we are hopeful will eventually seal a qualification for the tournament. They are pretty much part of the countries we have identified,” he said. Meanwhile, the country has managed to attract interest from fans across the world. Maphalala said the only challenge they were facing was the capacity to meet their dema-nds in terms of securing accomm-odation.

“We have received interest from a number of fans who are being attracted by the peace and stability of the kingdom,” he said. The 2010 World Cup will take place from June 12, 2010 in South Africa with 32 countries sweating it for the tour-nament, last won by Italy in Germany three years ago. Swaziland long lost the battle to qualify almost a year ago when the country lost 0-6 to Togo in Ghana.


Prince Logcogco defends constitution, Prince David

Main Section

By Mfanikhona Nkhambule - SWAZI TIMES-27-Sep-2009

LOZITHA—Prince Logcogco, the chairman of the advisory committee to His Majesty King Mswati III, believes the constitution recognises the institution of the monarch and is the best tool to guide the nation to prosperity.

He chaired the Constitutional Review Commission—a com-mission appointed by the king in 1996 to gather views from the public on how the country could be governed. He also became a member of the Constitutional Drafting Committee. Prince Logcogco said the constitution had never, at any stage, reduced the powers of the king. He said he was aware of the criticism levelled against those who formed part of the CDC, saying there was nothing evil that Prince David and his team did, which warranted such scorn.

“That the constitution reduced powers of the king is something I hear everyday,” said the prince. He did not understand why there was an outcry because the constitution was a national project that went through all cultural and state processes since it was then presented to the nation at the cattle byre. To add cultural weight to the presentation of the constitution, he said the ceremony took place in the front of the ‘sacred’ part of the cattle byre (sibaya) known as inhlambelo and pointed out that such presentation in Swazi culture testified to the solemnity of the occasion.

Also, he explained that the constitution was taken to Parliament for debate and it was for this reason that it is now referred to as an Act of Parliament. “How then can someone say it’s a CDC mischief when the constitution went through all the processes recognised by our way of life? We have to contrast the sibaya occasion with the repeal of the 1968 Independence Constitution, which was done outside sibaya. That again testifies to the fact that the passing of the 2005 Swaziland Constitution Act was a national act and not a CDC mischief,” he said.

He recalled a deadlock sparked off by differences in the comprehension of the document in Parliament, a situation that resulted in both houses of parliament meeting at Lozitha Palace where an omnibus committee was set up. He explained that this committee or libandla was made up of cabinet, 15 members of each of the houses, 15 from Ludzidzini, 15 from the then Swazi National Council Standing Committee (SNCSC) and 15 from the CDC. Broadly, he said, this libandla was tasked with the responsibility of looking into the Bill so that the constitution could be a supreme law worthy of being assented to by the king. He said the Bill was later assented to after it had gone through this stage.

Before then, he said the CDC was strictly ordered to adhere to terms of references that included about six main sources of information; the principles of the 1968 Independence Constitution; Tinkhundla Review Commission Report; Other Constitutions of countries; International Documents on Human Rights; CRC Report and King’s Proclamation of 1973, which served as the cornerstone for the survival of the country.

He said all of the laws and principles mentioned above were incorporated into the current Swazi Constitution. He said they produced a document in line with the mandate given to them. He said constitutional experts were brought in to assist; one from Nigeria, Ghana, Tonga and those from commonwealth who assisted with their technical know-how. He went on to say that international pressure groups such as Amnesty International made their submissions in writing.

Over and above, the chairman said the institution of the monarch was given a nice seat in the constitution, undisturbed by anybody as the king still enjoyed the powers he had before. He said commissions, judges, cabinet ministers, prime minister and lots of influential boards were still appointed by the king. He said the king continued to appoint 10 people into the House of Assembly and 20 senators. “Who then say the powers of the king were reduced?” wondered the prince.

He said he was saddened to hear progressives say the constitution has given the king all powers. He complained that it appeared the progressives were using the constitution to their advantage because the people who were behind its crafting appeared disinterested in it. “I cannot deny the fact that the constitution retained all the king’s powers and I am not complaining about it because Swazis wanted it to be like that because we are a constitutional monarch. We are happy about that,” he said. He urged the critics of the constitution to go through it because it recognised all the traditional structures and sibaya was also constitutionalised. In short, he said Swazis wrote the

constitution. He said there was a time when the SiSwati version of the draft constitution was taken to the Tinkhundla centres for comment, and that exercise was meant to ascertain if the CDC recorded what the people submitted to it. He summed it up by saying the nation blessed the document in that way and the criticism of Prince David and his team was unfair and malicious.


This year’s air show bigger and better

Main Section

By SIBUSISO NGUBANE - SWAZI TIMES-27-Sep-2009

MATSAPHA—This year’s Swaziland International Air show has been described by the organisers as bigger and better than the previous years.

The annual event, which was held at Matsapha International Airport, saw thousands of people attending yesterday. According Jabu Ngubane, the Manager at the airport, this year’s event even saw aircrafts from the SADC region participating—which did not happen last year.

“In the past only local, privately owned aircrafts and the South African Air force participated in the show but this year we had participants from Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” explained Ngubane. Although he could not estimate the number of the people present, he said they were very impressive. He explained that this year the South African Air force was not amongst the participants as they were engaged in a peace keeping exercise.

This year’s director of the air show, Edgar Du Pont concurred with Ngubane that the show was an overwhelming success given that it was well advertised. He said a total of 30 aircrafts participated in this year’s event, while last year only 14 aircrafts made it.

“The attendance was also impressive as estimates show that around 15 000 people attended the show yet last year the estimates showed around 11 000 attended,” said an excited Du Pont. He said everything went according to plan as the performances were great, the weather was fine and the people were happy about the show.

“The show was accident and incident free save for the children who got lost,” he said. He thanked all those who made it and promised that next year, it would be even bigger and better than this year. The Commentator from Capital Sounds, Brain Emmenise, said he was also impressed by this year’s show. “This is an amazing show with the fact that the organisers were able to bring so many aircrafts from so many countries,” said Emmenise.

He said he travelled to a lot of air shows around Africa but said it was not everyday that you see so many aircrafts in one place. He applauded the Swazi crowd which attended the show. “This year’s air show is bigger, better and faster,” he said confidently. The around 15 000 people were treated to a lot of displays by the aircrafts and they also watched people land in parachutes. Present during the show was minister of public works and transport Ntuthuko Dlamini and other dignitaries.


SA should learn from us—Dr Mazibuko

Main Section

By SIBONGILE SUKATI -- SWAZI TIMES-27-Sep-2009

MBABANE—South Africa in the opinion of Examinations Council Registrar Dr Edmund Mazibuko should be using the schools curriculum that is used in Swaziland

Dr Mazibuko made these remarks yesterday at St Mark’s High School where he was guest speaker during the school’s Speech and Prize Giving Day.

Dr Mazibuko said the problem with Swaziland was that no one appreciated our own products. He was speaking specifically about the curriculum reform, in particular the introduction of the Swaziland General Certificate in Education (SGCSE) in high schools, stating that Swazis were always quick to criticise a system, but not provide a solution.

“You hear people say we should introduce Matric in Swaziland like South Africa, yet that country is barely 15 years old post apartheid and, therefore, they should learn from us,” said Mazibuko, whose words were met with excited cheers from the crowd. He said public criticism and debate on matters relating to education was a good thing, adding that it was something that should happen in every civilised society.

Quality

“This is what keeps governments on their toes, government should always put its citizens first and offer the best education to its people,” he said. Mazibuko said they wanted to hear politicians questioning the education system and parental groups questioning the quality of education offered to their children.

“It is not enough to criticise something unless backed by facts, evidence and logic and there is a lot of negative comments that are made in public forums which in my view remain of little value since they do not contribute or enrich debate on the subject,” he said.

The theme of the Speech Day was ‘The effects of curriculum change-the dilemma of the Swazi child’. The SGCSE, which is being phased in, will replace the IGCSE by 2011. Dr Mazibuko said for example there had been comments where some people have said the SPC and JC examinations should be done away with, but there were no reasons given why or suggestions of what could be put in place.

He said the removal of O’Level was necessary as pupils were only taught mere facts, yet the SGCSE curriculum was there to ensure that pupils acquire higher order thinking skills, critical thinking and problem solving. He said the reforms were aimed at giving pupils the skills to find information and reflect upon it in order for them to become lifelong learners.

Completing

To the departing pupils, Dr Mazibuko said completing 12 years of schooling was not the end of the journey. He said education was a lifelong process and he encouraged them to embrace lifelong learning in order to survive in this dynamic world. Also present at the event was Reverend Dr Johannes Mazibuko, and principals from St Christopher’s and Sifundzani High Schools and Chairperson of the school committee Lorraine Hlophe.


Banks charge up to 35% on loans

Business Section

By INNOCENT MAPHALALA - SWAZI TIMES-28-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Cash-strapped consumers hoping to obtain personal loans from commercial banks should expect to pay back up to 35 per cent more on these advances, at the end of the repayment period.

This could come as disappointing news for financially troubled people looking at alternatives to notorious micro-lenders.

It was recently reported that a police officer who obtained a loan of about E38 000 from Select Management Services (SMS) was required to pay back about E74 000. The micro-lender charges him a total of E22 572 as collection fee over a three-year period. Mandla James Dlamini was being charged a sum of E722 as collection fee per month.

He has sought the intervention of the High Court in this matter, seeking an order directing the micro lending company to stop deducting the above amount from his salary. He wants an order directing that the clause relating to the collection fees in the agreement between him and Select Management is wrongful and unlawful.

He also wants to be refunded all the monies deducted from his salary by Select Management as collection fees. Investigations by this news-paper have revealed that even though banks charge less interest than micro-lenders, commonly known as shylocks, they also have hidden costs. A client who wishes to obtain a loan of E40 000, for instance, will have paid back no less than E54 000 after three years. This means that the repayment amount will be about E14 000 more than the principal debt at the end of the repayment period.

This is about 35 per cent more! Worth noting is that this amount includes insurance and loan management fees. Micro-lenders refer to such as administrative costs.

Commercial financial instit-utions in the kingdom are Standard Bank, First National Bank, SwaziBank, Nedbank Swaziland and the Swaziland Building Society. A client who recently obtained a loan for E40 000 from one of these banks has provided proof of her repayment terms. Over a three-year (36-months) period, she will be expected to have paid back about E54 000. At the time her loan application was approved, the Prime Lending Rate stood at 15 per cent. This rate is charged by all banks. The bank rate (interest rate charged by each bank independently) stood at eight per cent.

This meant that the total interest rate was 23 per cent. However, on top of this, she is charged insurance on a monthly basis. The insurance is charged based on the balance of the loan and keeps decreasing.

At the initial stages of the loan, the insurance stood at about E34. “I pay not less than E300 per month as interest. In some months, I pay up to E700,” she said. The average repayment (principal debts plus interest and insurance) per month is about E1 500.


Deworming chaos eases at hospital

Main Section

By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-28-Sep-2009

MBABANE – No pupil was treated at the Mbabane Government Hospital over the weekend for having taken bilharzia and deworming tablets.

Those who had fallen ill after taking deworming and bilharzia tablets at their respective schools were treated and discharged. This is according to nurses who were found at the Mbabane Government Hospital. On Thursday, nurses speaking to this publication after 22 MDS pupils were admitted to the hospital, raised concerns that others could develop similar complications later at their homes or during the night.

A total of 400 Motshane Primary School pupils had to be rushed to the Mbabane Government Hospital after taking both bilharzia and deworming drugs. Acting Director of Health Dr. Vusi Mgagaula could not be drawn to respond as to whether it was proper to have the pupils take both drugs on the very same day due to the fact that one ought to be taken on an empty stomach whilst while the other drugs had to be taken after eating.

It is also believed that the prescription of bilharzia tablets based on height was wrong as this was supposed to be based on their weight. “The minister or principal secretary would have to sanction me to comment on that otherwise, for now, I can only comment that this was supposed to be a one day exercise. However, investigations into the root cause of the problems are still continuing,” said Dr. Magagula.

Minister of Health Benedict Xaba could not be reached when sought numerous times for comment on the matter as his mobile phone rang answered each time he was called. Our sister publication, the Swazi News, quoted the minister as saying: “I am worried that the pupils could in future be suspicious of any medication given to them”.


‘Take interest in children’s education’

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Sep-2009

PARENTS of students at Masundvwini High School have been urged to take interest in their children’s education as opposed to leaving everything unto the teachers.

Masundvwini High Principal Mandla Mathabela expressed concern that parents and guardians only assisted their children in securing places and thereafter disappear – leaving the learners and teachers on their own.

“One is faced with a unique species of parents here, who are not interested in the education of their children yet they would want to share their glory at the end of it all,” Mathabela said. He said because students came from varying backgrounds, parents needed to play their role in educating the children so that teachers were not left on their own to bring the disobedient ones to order.

“Parental guidance is needed on some of the children as they are at a certain stage of their lives (puberty) where leadership is needed for them to cope,” Mathabela said, further adding that some were into indulging in intoxicating substances such as smoking dagga. On the other hand, he urged government to change the policies of education so that students who failed external examinations were allowed to repeat at their school.

“They are now used to the environment and learning methods used. We feel bad when we turn down their applications to repeat classes because our policy does not allow so,” he said. He was referring specifically to the Junior Certificate (JC) students who failed in 2008 and when they approached the administration to repeat subjects, were informed this was not possible. School Committee Chairperson Ncane Nhlengethwa asked the Guest Speaker, AT Dlamini, to assist them complete the school hall, a request the latter promised to consider with his management team.

Nhlengethwa said they were also extending the school’s kitchen so that it was fitted with modern facilities and accommodate the ever growing number of students. Construction should be complete by January next year. “The fencing is also being rehabilitated so that access is restricted and animals and other predators do not terrorise students and teachers,” she said.

Turning to the completing students, the school committee chairperson urged them to be ambassadors of the school and protect its image wherever they go.


Vendor wins car

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Sep-2009

LINDIWE Mthembu of Ndzevane won an over E74 000 worth of Chery QQ vehicle during a car draw held at Matata arena during the draw of the third car this year.

Lindiwe only bought two loaves of bread where she spent les than E15 to qualify for the draw, which eventually earned her the car. Lindiwe, who is in between jobs, makes a living through selling fruits and vegetables in a not-so-busy location in Ndzevane. She said she was still going to discuss with her husband on what to do with the vehicle, which came as a surprise to her given that there were many entries and thousands of people were in line for the car only to find that her entry was drawn as the only winner of the day since there were no consolation prizes.

The 26-year-old says she does not know how to drive as she never thought in her life she would ever own a car. She said: “I think my husband will go for driving lessons so that we can be able to use the car. I am presently still shocked about this fortune and I need to pull my thoughts together and decide exactly what to do but on the side, I think we can use it to expand my business,” she added. She thanked Matata for putting their customers first by introducing such competitions where the customers will benefit despite their background and amount of money they spend at the shop.

She encouraged the shop management to continue giving back to the customers in this special way. Meanwhile, Matata’s Retail Operations Manager Boniface Mdluli congratulated Lindiwe for winning the car. He said they would soon be launching another car, which he said would be in the shop early this week.

“Our target was to release four cars to our customers which we will definitely do as we have already released three cars. The third car will be won in December, which will be a Christmas gift to whosoever will win,” he said. Mdluli added that they would soon be opening their new branch in Big Bend where he said they were still in talks with management to do the same for their customers in appreciation of the support they received from the people.

Saturday’s draw saw a performance by Christ Worshipers, a gospel group made up of visually impaired members, who started the group while schooling at Mzimpofu. The group rendered a number of songs from their two albums much to the appreciation of the hundreds of customers who gathered for the draw.


Mango Groove indisputably great

Main Section

By Mphikeleli Msibi - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-28-Sep-2009

THEY last performed in the country 15 years ago and no simple words can best describe the performance witnessed at the Malendela’s lawn last Saturday.

Johannesburg-based musical group Mango Groove once again came and delivered a superlative performance that will linger in the minds of all those who attended the event. The band was just a marvel to watch as they unleashed one hit track after another and at the same time winning the hearts of a number of music lovers.

They performed a number of tracks before calling it a day and their music was just wonderful. As expected, they got the crowd’s support throughout their rendition. Curtain-raising for Mango Groove was the country’s own live band Karibu and Correctional Bass Band. After the local artists, Mango Groove claimed the stage before an eager crowd of people who started flowing with the group’s tunes as soon as they took control of the stage.

They were welcomed on stage with the track which the crowd was already singing in readiness of the SA group. More tracks came from Mango Groove including tracks from their latest album. Throughout the show, music lovers were singing along and it was crystal clear that they were having a good time.

On introduction, all the artists sent the audience screaming when they displayed skills on the instruments they were playing. As the group was performing, it was wonderful seeing fun lovers throwing their hands forward in attempts to touch the group members. Good old memories were rekindled as people, especially the older generation, were seen doing it the yester year way. The group went to a 15 minutes breather and came back for more ‘fire’.

After a number of tracks, the group begged to retire as the uncompromising crowd seemingly wanted them on stage all night. The group finally retired after a brilliant performance. Mango Groove is certainly indisputably one of the best bands to have come out of Africa, it would seem. Soon after that, Jahseed and Admiral took over and also gave their best. As usual, the duo did not disappoint and again got music lovers doing it the Rastafarian way. They would pile one track after another with fun lovers singing along to most of the tracks.

They were soon followed by local DJs Wicked Handz and 711 who would now and again alternate between the two dance floors and at the same time entertaining fun lovers who were all out to have the best of fun.


Rovers’ ‘Mroma’ killed

Sports Section

By CHRIS DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-28-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Barely a week after the tragic death of Sihlangu player Mduduzi Dlamini, another tragedy has struck the football fraternity following the death of Mhlambanyatsi Rovers’ talented left winger Bongani ‘Mroma’ Khumalo.

He too died tragically in a car accident. Khumalo was involved in the accident in South Africa, where he had travelled on duty, as he was a nurse at the Mankayane Government Hospital. While details of the accident were scanty at the time this report was compiled, it was, however, confirmed that the left footed ball juggler is no more.

It was established that the accident happened on Saturday. However, he was unfortunate as he did not survive the accident, which comes barely a week since the nasty one involving Sihlangu players at the notorious Malagwane Hill. The Sihlangu accident claimed one life and left other players seriously injured such that Mbabane Swallows midfielder Lwazi ‘Zidane’ Maziya is still in hospital, while Green Mamba goalkeeper Njabuliso Simelane needs the aid of crutches.

When Rovers’ Manager Douglas Dladla was reached, he confirmed the matter but said he did not have all the details as all he knew was what he heard from other sources, but was yet to find out upon arriving at the player’s homestead. “We’re going there now as a team and that’s where we’ll get to know what really happened. It’s so sad and a huge loss to us and the nation at large,” he said.

Khumalo was an asset at Rovers and whenever he did not play, there would always be a void in the midfield. His demise came when his team really needed him as they have not won a game since the league started. Rovers’ Manager Dladla said the player had reported his absence during their game against Umbelebele, which they lost 1-2 on Saturday.


The greatest weekend of fun in Swaziland

Recreation Section

By ENTERTAINMENT REPORTERS - SWAZI TIMES-28-Sep-2009

MBABANE – The past three days have been the greatest weekend of fun and entertainment in Swaziland by far.

People from all walks of life came out full force to visit the air show at Matsapha International Airport on Saturday and the ‘Live on the Lawn’ Concert at House on Fire in Malkerns. A record breaking 14 000 strong crowd of people flocked to see different kinds of aircrafts doing wonderful stunts in the air.

A motorcade queuing from Esigodweni area to the airport was a highly unusual sight. Great numbers of the young and old came in their numbers and not even the scorching sun had an effect on the long queues at the gate.

Unforgettable

The show did not fail to live up to the people’s expectations, as the whole day was characterised by planes zooming and spinning in mid-air much to the delight of the crowd. There was no doubt that families were having fun as some even got unforgettable helicopter rides.

Meanwhile, the entertainment momentum was building up at House on Fire’s ‘Live on the Lawn’ Concert with Mango Groove as the main act. This is a show that fetched an estimated 5 000 music lovers. Early in the evening local band Karibu provided the perfect start, in what was destined to be a night to remember. DJs Wicked and 711, also injected the audience with the ‘fun adrenalin’ with their music selection. By the time Mango Groove came on stage, the big crowd was well ‘marinated’ to groove the whole night.

The South African band performed songs of yesteryear and heightened the spirit of fun. Meanwhile, the ‘LBD Party’ at Café de Flore in Manzini was also something that would be hard to forget soon. Hundreds of people filled the venue to capacity, not wanting to miss the fashion show, particularly Ngamla’s lingerie collection. Tinkers’s ‘Foam Party’ on Friday also kick-started the weekend on a high note.


Four children burn to death in house

Main Section

By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-29-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Four children burnt to death in a house while they were left alone without adult supervision.

The incident, happened at Dingizwe area past Lundzi yesterday morning.

A faulty gas stove is suspected to have caused the fire. The children were a boy and a girl both aged 10 from a Ngwenya family and a girl aged 11 and a boy aged 12 with Ngozo and Ndzimandze surnames.

The incident was only discovered yesterday morning and the fire is believed to have sparked in the middle of the night as in the morning there were no flames but only the remains of the damage. According to the police, two of the children belong to a hawker of a Ngwenya surname who had left the children to go and buy clothes in South Africa while their father is employed in the Shiselweni region and was also not with them.

When the hawker left for South Africa she is said to have requested that her neighbours help look after her children and they volunteered by providing the two other children who went to the homestead on the fateful night to sleep there. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said the children were only discovered in the morning when the neighbours were worried about not seeing the children prepare for school as they normally would on Mondays.

“When they went to check on the children they found the house destroyed by the fire and there were only remains of the damage. It was a tragic incident and police were immediately called and the bodies were taken to Dups mortuary,” he said. It was gathered that the children’s bodies were not recognisable as they were completely burnt and only their sizes were used to try and differentiate them.

The incident has left residents dumbfounded and they have been appealing for aid for the children’s burial through the area’s MP Petros Mavimbela. Masuku said police had since launched serious investigations to try and ascertain the real cause of the fire.


Revealed: Why pupils fell sick

Main Section

By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-29-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Pupils not tested for symptoms of bilharzia should not have been given the tablets at school, hence the serious side effects.

Investigations by this publication have since revealed that even at the country’s referral hospital, Mbabane Government Hospital, these drugs are not issued to any patient without a lab form, proof of bilharzia symptoms and the weight, not height, of that particular individual is considered.

Pupils were made to take a drug called Praziquantel as a precaution against bilharzia. According to various pharmacists and nurses, this drug is to be taken after a heavy meal at night. However, this drug was given to pupils together with another drug called Albendazole, which is to be taken before meals. Once taken, one has to have at least two hours before having a meal.

Albendazole is for de-worming. These two drugs were given to pupils at the same time and after they had a meal. One medical practitioner said should the bilharzia’s tablets be taken without proof of infection “that exposes the person to side effects which include drowsiness, headache and stomach pains to name but a few”.

Last week over 700 pupils were rushed to hospital after taking the tablets in their respective schools. Mater Dolorosa High School had to suspend classes after over 20 pupils fell seriously ill shortly after taking the tablets. They were admitted to Mbabane Government Hospital. This was the same case with other pupils in different schools around the country. A teacher who attended a workshop in preparation for the de-worming exercise last term said they were given a dose-pole to measure the height of each pupil against the number of tablets that particular child is to take. “I have never heard of such in my entire medical career,” said another medical practitioner who requested to remain anonymous.

Ministry of Health’s Principal Secretary, Steven Shongwe, agreed with the points raised by the medical practitioners with regard to the dosage prescription of both drugs. “It is true that the weight of the child is crucial as well as other points raised by the practitioners but I would not like to get into details on the matter as we are still investigating it and will tomorrow (today) be deliberating on the campaign,” said the PS.

Shongwe said there was no one to blame for to the high numbers of affected pupils during the exercise. “What we did was what other countries have been doing in the past,” he said, though admitting that both drugs had different prescriptions.

Minister of Education is not happy with ‘doctor’ teachers

MBABANE – Minister of Education and Training, Wilson Ntsangase says a shortage of nurses or doctors should not mean that teachers be used as a short cut.

The minister said he was not pleased with the whole de-worming drug administration exercise which put pupils’ health to serious risk

Consultation

The minister, speaking in a radio broadcast statement, called upon the health ministry to re-strategise the de-worming exercise in consultation with his ministry. “It is just not right for drugs to be given out by people, with chalk in hand, not trained in the medical field,” said Ntshangase.

“Nurses should have been responsible for the administration of these drugs to pupils not these short cuts irrespective of whether there is a staff shortage,” he went on adding that he was also surprised to learn that one child was given four tablets to take at a time while others were given six.


9 care points get a boost

Main Section

By STHEMBILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-29-Sep-2009

LOBAMBA- About nine National Care Points (NCPs) under the Lobamba Constituency have received food hampers and shoes worth E12 000.

These will benefit Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in the area and will be shared accordingly by the care points. The donation was made by Sicamelo Savings and Credit Co-operatives, an association owned by the Kings Office employees, as means of giving back to the community.

According to the areas member of parliament, Majahodvwa Khumalo, they selected the care points in order for all deserving children under the constituency to benefit. Khumalo said with the distribution of the shoes they were assisted by the areas Bucopho Benkhundla who identified the neediest children in all the chiefdoms. “At least 20 children received a pair of school shoes,” said Khumalo.

Meanwhile, he said elderly and disabled people were not left out, as they also received blankets. Khumalo said the blankets were a donation from Inkhosikati LaNkambule, who gave them to the community sometime ago but were only distributed last week Thursday. He attributed the delay of the distribution to the fact that they wanted the most deserving candidates to benefit and were identified from each of the chiefdoms under the constituency.

The association also gave out E2 000 to Donald Steward, who is on a wheelchair and Celucolo Mhlanga who is visually impaired. “The two needed money to start income generating projects, as they are currently unemployed,” said Khumalo. Steward is an architect and Mhlanga wants to run a fencing project and the money will be used to purchase material.


Thembakazi makes it to the top 15

Recreation Section

By PHEPHILE MOTAU - SWAZI TIMES-29-Sep-2009

MBABANE - Miss Swaziland Second Princess Thembakazi Hlophe made it to the top 15 of the Miss Intercontinental contest

The contest was held in Belarus on Sunday and the title went to Hannely Quinterino of Venezuela. The rest of the contestants who made it to the top 15 were from Poland, Puerto Rico, Peru, Curacao, Ethiopia, Belarus, Korea, Martinique, Bahamas, Canada, Georgia, USA and Honduras.

Hlophe was competing with 70 girls from different countries. Miss Swaziland spokesperson Rheodora Isaacs said she received the good news from Vinah Mamba-Gray, who went to support Hlophe and attend a meeting for pageant licence holders.

Excited

“They both sounded very excited and Thembakazi was shouting in the background, and she sounded like she could not wait to get back home,” she said. She said they were proud of Hlophe as she represented the country well, by making it to the top 15 which was very uncommon for those who once represented the country in other international contests.

Proud

She said Mamba-Gray and Hlophe would fly back home today. She said she was not sure if she got anything for making it to the top 15 because she lost phone connection with Mamba-Gray.

Hlophe had said before her trip that she would do her level best to make the country proud and represent it well as she joined the Miss Swaziland contest because she wanted to do something for the country. “I will represent the country in the best way possible and I will be a true Swazi through and through during the contest,” she said at the time.

The top five were made up of Belarus, Puerto Rico, Poland and Curacao. Miss Ethiopia won the title for Miss Intercontinental Africa. The contest was also celebrating its 38th anniversary.


Army border guards catch Tanzanian dagga ‘smuggler’

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta -- SWAZILAND OBSERVER-29-Sep-2009

A TANZANIAN national was in the wee hours of yesterday arrested while trying to smuggle dagga weighing close to 50 kg at Gege.

The dagga was contained in three plastic bags and it was found to be of high grade and estimated to be worth E150 000 in street value.

Boniface Peter (28) was about to cross the fence to the South African side near Gege when he was stopped on his tracks by the army personnel on patrol. Peter was in the company of a fellow countryman when he got arrested. His colleague managed to escape without any trace when they were spotted by the members of the army carrying the bags. Peter also tried to flee but because of the heavy load, he only managed to make few sprints before he was warned not to attempt running as this would place him in danger. He obeyed the order but on apprehension, he was first given a few slaps before being handed over to the police at Gege.

It was also explained that the Tanzanians had hired a taxi from Mbabane to transport them to Gege where they intended to cross with the illegal substance. A source said the vehicle had dropped the two and without any waste of time and drove back to Mbabane. The dagga had been fetched from Maphalaleni, another area in the Hhohho region regarded as having many dagga dealers as the plant is grown in a large scale.

The Tanzanian suspect was expected to appear for his first remand hearing at the Nhlangano Magistrate Court yesterday.


PM suspends exercise as ministers clash

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW AND ZWELIHLE SU SWAZI TIMES-30-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Following the public clash between the Ministers of Health and that of Education over the de-worming exercise, Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini has suspended the campaign.

Dlamini said the suspension was in view of the conflicting signals from the two ministers, Wilson Ntshangase and Benedict Xaba. The two clashed during a breakfast meeting held at Mountain Inn yesterday to give feedback on the de-worming exercise that resulted in close to 800 pupils being hospitalised.

Ntshangase had said he was mystified as to why nurses were not dispatched to administer the taking of the bilharzia and de-worming pills instead of teachers. He noted that teachers would have shouldered the blame, should the children have died. However, Xaba seemed not to have taken kindly to Ntshangase’s utterances and said there must be a clear distinction between a technical and political issue.

In view of the above, the premier said it had been brought to his attention that there was a degree of misunderstanding between the two ministries regarding the school’s de-worming campaign. He said government was currently reviewing the campaign in some detail, a review that includes ensuring that all ministries had a clear and common understanding of the campaign and any problems that would have arisen during its implementation.

“It is essential that the understanding and views of all ministries are in harmony with one another. In view of the conflicting signals from the two ministries, government has suspended the campaign pending completion of the review,” he explained. The head of government apologised to the nation for the apparent confusion during yesterday’s discussion of the campaign. “A fully clarified position and policy directive on the matter will be issued by government as soon as the necessary consultation with stakeholders has been completed,” he added.

How the ministers clashed at big meet

MBABANE – There was tension as Minister of Education, Wilson Ntshangase took on Health Minister, Benedict Xaba publically over the schools de-worming saga.

This was during a breakfast meeting, which was held yesterday at the Mountain Inn. The meeting was an update on developments over the schools de-worming campaign which saw hundreds of pupils being rushed to hospitals after taking both bilharzia and de-worming drugs.

After World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) representatives, Owen Kaluwa and Muriel Mafico respectively, had made their submissions, Ntshangase took the podium. He congratulated the health ministry for having organised the briefing to alert the nation on what really transpired during the exercise. He then made it clear that he had not come to the breakfast meeting to do anyone favours. Ntshangase alleged that teachers were not called to attend any training on the distribution of bilharzia and de-worming drugs. On the other hand Xaba said he was not pleased by the way his colleague engaged him on the matter.

“I have a serious problem with the way the whole exercise was done, whether by the World Health Organisation or whosoever,” said the minister who was not in his usual jolly mood. “Something is wrong with these tablets as many children have been affected,” said the education minister. “Teachers were going to take the blame had these children died and I just wonder why medical professionals like nurses were not dispatched to these schools, to administer the taking of the drugs,” Ntshangase went on.

Prescribe

Ntshangase said when he goes to the hospital he expects a nurse or medical practitioner to prescribe medication to him, not just anyone. “We heard radio broadcast announcements that teachers should fetch drugs from Regional Education Offices to give to the pupils. I hereby tell nothing but the truth,” the minister said. The room was filled with laughter when Ntshangase said he wondered if teachers were educated about the exercise at night.

Xaba on the other hand raised his concerns about the way Ntshangase engaged him, saying this was a technical issue which was why he had brought both the WHO and UNICEF representatives. “I apologise on behalf of government for the misunderstanding and it is normal that when problems arrive we react differently,” said Xaba. “Teachers were educated about the de-worming exercise during a workshop to which we have a register with all those who attended. This exercise has taught us a lesson. In fact, it was a post mortem.

However, I would like to advise people never to engage the minister on air but in the office as some issues are technical and others political,” said minister Xaba. In response, Ntshangase alleged that all the teachers he had communicated with were not thoroughly trained. “I can even bring them here,” he said. Information gathered earlier from Mater Dolorosa High School teachers was that teachers were called for training for a one day workshop.

‘Exercise reminds me of slavery days’

MBABANE – Minister of Education Wilson Ntshangase says the country’s de-worming exercise reminds him of the days of slavery.

The minister said this during yesterday’s breakfast meeting held at the Mountain Inn. His gripe, he said, was that he was not involved in the programme. He said he was even reluctant to attend the breakfast meeting.

“You cannot just come to me and say ‘come for a meeting’ as that would mean you are pulling me by the nose,” he said, pulling his nose in demonstration. Ntshangase said he was “very bitter” in the way the whole exercise was carried out as it should have been done accordingly. “But I have come to tell the truth,” he said. He said the way the exercise was carried out looked down upon the lives of people.

“This reminds me of the slave trade where people were stashed into boats with no care in the world whether they would make it to the other side or died in the boats,” said the minister, with a straight face.

Minister says it’s normal for children to fall sick if...

MBABANE – Health Minister Benedict Xaba says it was normal and expected that children with heavy worm infestation fall sick after taking bilharzia tablets.

Praziquantel is the drug given to pupils in schools as a preventative measure. The minister attributed this to a heavy worm infestation load. “Children with heavy worm infestation tend to experience side effects due to treatment response. Praziquantel, not only kills bilharzia worms but also eliminates the tapeworms that are embedded in the gut,” explained the Health minister.

He said in the process, the erosion of the gut occurs resulting in severe pains, diarrhoea and vomiting. “Drowsiness, dizziness, gastro-intestinal disturbances, generalised body rash and headache are a normal response of the body to the treatment.

“As in 2007 and 2008, both Prazinquantel and Albendazole were given to children in middle and lowveld schools without adverse events. In 2009, the highveld was targeted for the same exercise. The side effects observed in these areas are, therefore, most likely to be due to heavy worm infestation in children,” said Xaba.


One of most expensive cars in the world in SD

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES-30-Sep-2009

BETHANY – One of the oldest and most expensive vehicles in the world, a Silver Ghost Rolls Royce, is in the country.

The vehicle, which is owned by Albert Eberhard, is among the 19 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce vehicles that arrived in the country on Monday night. The vehicle was manufactured in 1925.

The vehicles are being driven by tourists from eight different countries. These countries include England, Australia, United States of America, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, Switzerland and Portugal. The tourists are currently on the second Wholly Ghost Tour which began in Durban a week ago.

The tour is expected to end in Cape Town in the next two weeks. This vehicle was original purchased by Pabst of Pabst Brewsters as a Valentine’s Day gift to his wife. It has been in the hands of Albert and Monique Eberhard since 1997. The vehicle has taken part in many international events such as the rallies in Jordan, Malaysia, Borneo and in USA. The tourists, who are being led by the tour organiser John White, were expected to leave the country this morning.

The vehicles entered through the Sicunusa Border post after spending a night in Hluhluwe, which is about 100 kilometres outside the border. Tour organiser White said the Wholly Ghost Tour was held for the second time in South Africa, after the first one being held in 1999.


Nedbank records E22m profit

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-30-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Despite the tough economic conditions affecting the financial services industry, Nedbank (Swaziland) Limited surpassed expectations by recording an increase of 14.5 per cent in interim profits.

The bank headline earnings increased from E19.2 million during the same period last year to E22 million for the six months ended June 30, 2009. Had it not been for the challenging conditions and the persistent reduction in interest rates, the growth would have been substantial.

“The country’s economic conditions have been challenging in the first half of the year. The growth in gross domestic product (GDP) declined sharply, from 2.4 per cent in 2008 to the projected growth of 0.4 per cent. This situation impacted negatively on the financial services industry and was aggravated by the 450 basis points reduction in interest rates, impacting negatively on the bank’s earnings,” the half year end commentary for Nedbank says.

“Nedbank’s interim results to June 30, 2009 reflect growth in headline earnings (profits) of 14.5 per cent to E22 million from E19.2 million in 2008,” it says. As a result, earnings per share also increased from 81 cents to 92 cents. Client assets improved significantly by 25.5 per cent to E1.1 billion when compared to the E854.9 million recorded the previous year. Nedbank attributed this impressive growth to the manufacturing industry. Meanwhile, the statement says net income interest also shot up by 8.5 per cent to E44.4 million from E40.1 million the previous year.

“This is attributable to the increase in interest-bearing assets and an improvement in the statement of financial position structure of the bank. The endowment effect as a result of lower interest rates resulted in a reduction of E5.2 million in net interest income, and margin management has been a major focus during this difficult period,” the bank noted.

The bank’s strategic focus on growing transactional volumes through improved distribution channels was seen in the 20.1 per cent growth in net interest revenue to E40.05 million, from E33.3 million in 2008. “This was seen in the bank’s expanded client base and the increased use of electronic banking products by most clients contributing significantly to the net interest revenue growth,” it says.

On the downside however, it seems the bank’s expenses also grew. The statement says; “Expenses grew by 13 per cent to E48.6 million from E43 million year-on-year, mainly due to a higher than anticipated increase in operating expenses. However, the bank’s cost-to-income ratio has slightly improved to 57.5 per cent from 57.9 per cent, mainly as a result of improved operational efficiencies through automation and continuous review of the bank’s processes.”

The bank’s capital position improved year-on-year, resulting in Tier1 capital of E173.7 million (from E140.1 million in 2008), and total capital of E188.1 million from E154 million the previous year. Its capital adequacy ratio reached 20.1 per cent (from 19.7 per cent), complying with the minimum regulatory requirement of eight per cent, the statement says.


OBAMA WANTS TO COME TO AFRICA AGAIN - KING

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-30-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III says American President Barack Obama has shown interest in visiting Africa again, where he hopes to strengthen relationships between the continent and his country.

The King said this on his return from the USA, where he attended the United Nations Summit. He also went to Venezuela, where he also attended a conference for South America and African states. His Majesty said President Obama also spoke on the importance of sharing resources between the USA and Africa. “We also congratulated him on his election to be president of the USA. This is the first time that the USA has had an African American president.”

He said the summit also addressed the problems that come with climate change. “It was resolved that another meeting be convened in Copenhagen, where the climate change issues will be discussed in detail. This is also where regulations will be made for all countries to conform to when it comes to climate change. “During the summit, it also transpired that the problems of climate change were mostly caused by industrialised states. They were also warned to desist from destroying the ozone layer.”

His Majesty said leaders also discussed the formation of nuclear weapons and discouraged such a habit. “They said countries who have uranium should rather produce electricity than use the mineral for manufacturing nuclear weapons. “The leaders said all people who manufacture such weapons should stop it.” The King said in Venezuela, it also transpired that South American countries had an interest in sharing ideas and cooperation with African countries because the two continents share many similarities. He said both continents were aiming for the same goal - to prosper materially.

“That meeting was also attended by many leaders and was a success


Soccer greats coming to SD

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo -- SWAZI OBSERVER-30-Sep-2009

SOCCER – A massive 240 soccer greats from other countries in this region and abroad are set to cascade the country’s borders to take part in the Absalom ‘Scara’ Thindwa Soccer Academy Gala Night .

A massive 240 soccer greats from other countries in this region and abroad are set to cascade the country’s borders to take part in the Absalom ‘Scara’ Thindwa Soccer Academy Gala Night and Soccer Symposium scheduled for the Royal Villas on October 30 and 31.

The former soccer idols will come to the country to put heads together on how the sport can further be developed and structures can be strengthened to put the continent of Africa on the world map, where it concerns the sport. The two events are meant to raise funds for the construction of a landmark Scara Thindwa soccer academy meant to nurture young talent in the country. Tickets to both events will be available to individuals and companies and details pertaining to their charges will be revealed in due course.

This was revealed during a press briefing pertaining to the events held at the spacious Royal Villas yesterday morning, where Pastor David Matse, who is the chairman of the committee that is working on the project, mentioned that these will be historical events for the country’s soccer fraternity. He mentioned that his committee will work until the weekend of the gala night and soccer symposium, where part of the money for the construction of the academy will be raised, after which a new committee will then be put in place to continue with the work.

“The country will benefit a lot especially through the soccer symposium as a lot of former successful soccer players like Thindwa, who will come from other countries, will come into the country to bring together ideas on how the sport can be further developed in Africa. This will be a historical event which will leave lasting legacies in the country,” said Pastor Matse.


Is AIDS vaccine on its way?

Main Section

By James Hall - SWAZI OBSERVER-30-Sep-2009

FOR years the achievement of a vaccine to protect an uninfected person from contracting HIV has been the goal of AIDS researchers.

A safe and effective vaccine is seen by many AIDS and health workers as the only way to stop the spread of AIDS in some areas. Attempting “behaviour change” has not work. Education about the nature of AIDS and how to safeguard against the disease has not worked. With these two key elements of AIDS prevention having failed to curb the tide of new HIV infections, hope has turned to a simple and easy way to protect people who will not protect themselves.

resources

In the past, vaccines have saved more lives and resources than virtually any other public health intervention. They have eradicated smallpox, have nearly eradicated polio and have greatly diminished the human suffering caused by many other diseases. A vaccine is a defensive medicine placed in a healthy body targeted at particular disease viruses, so if and when those viruses are introduced into the body, the vaccine is then ready to recognise and defeat them. It is the medicinal equivalent of having your own armed forces in your bloodstream ready to attack and kill any enemy that invades your body. That is why there is an interest amongst health professionals worldwide to reports that for the first time a vaccine has been tested on people and has reduced the rate of HIV infection by about 30 %.

30 % is far from 100 percent, but the excitement comes from the fact that this was achieved at all. For years, HIV was considered simply unstoppable, and AIDS incurable. The virus is too complex, researchers said and no vaccine is possible against it. Nevertheless, researchers continued to work away, until news was released from Thailand on Thursday last week about a vaccine that even its makers admit they are unsure about how it works or why.

Everyone agrees that a commercial product is years away. But instead of saying an AIDS vaccine is “impossible” and will “never happen,” scientists are now speaking about achieving an AIDS vaccine “within our lifetimes.” Such an achievement would save tens of thousands of lives here in Swaziland, and millions of lives globally. The AIDS virus infects an estimated 33 million people worldwide and has killed 25 million since it was identified in the 1980s.

important

“The result of the study is a very important step for developing an AIDS vaccine,” Thailand’s Minister for Health Withaya Kaewparadai told a news conference in Bangkok. “It is the first time in the world that we have found a vaccine that can prevent HIV infection.” Activists and researchers expressed their excitement. “The outcome is very exciting news and a significant scientific achievement,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. “It is the first demonstration that a candidate AIDS vaccine provides benefit in humans.”

How the Experimental Vaccine is Made

The vaccine tested in Thailand is a combination of French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Pasteur’s ALVAC canary pox/HIV vaccine and the failed HIV vaccine AIDSVAX, made by a San Francisco company called VaxGen and now owned by the nonprofit Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases. The trial was sponsored by the U.S. government and conducted by the Thailand Ministry of Public Health. The vaccine was found to cut the risk of infection by 31.2 % among 16 402 volunteers over three years.

This is a first step. But what is remarkable is that this HIV vaccine was declared “ineffective” six years ago. In 2003, AIDS activists condemned further research into this vaccine, saying it was a waste of money. But the researchers persisted. Much more work has to be done, and AIDS activists are being careful to caution against too high expectations. The Geneva-based World Health Organisation and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, or UNAIDS, both welcomed the news of the vaccine tests in Thailand but said these do not represent a present-day solution.

expect

Of course, the real danger is that people may expect a vaccine against HIV infection will be available tomorrow. Such an unrealistic notion would give them even more reason to engage in unprotected sex, disregard condom use and pursue unsafe sexual practices like multiple sex partners. It would be like all the smokers of the world who refuse to give up tobacco, even though it is scientifically proven to threaten the lives of smokers and all who are around smokers because they like to say, “Science will come up with a cure.” With all the resources directed at cancer research, no doubt someday there will be a cure for this killer disease. And one day there will be a vaccine against HIV infection and perhaps even a cure for AIDS.

This week’s news out of Thailand brings that day (which some people said would never come) a little bit closer. But it is important to remember that day is not today, and refusing to follow simple and proven ways to prevent HIV infection is fatal.



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