31 October 2007
'STOP THAT FUNERAL!'
By Sabelo Mamba
A MAN has ran to the High Court to ask for an order restraining a woman, who claims to be a surviving spouse of his father, from burying him (father).
Mancoba Mzileni is seeking a court interdict stopping Ntombinkhulu Mzileni (nee Sithole, first respondent) and Bhekizenzo Mzileni (second respondent) from burying his father, Albert Bacede Mzileni at Lavumisa area in the Shiselweni region pending finalisation of these proceedings.
Mancoba, in court papers, wants the deceased to be buried at his matrimonial home at Siphofaneni.
The court is also being asked to stop the two respondents from taking the body of the deceased from Matsanjeni Clinic Mortuary in Lavumisa for the purposes of burial in Lavumisa.
Mancoba says Ntombikhulu, on the 24th October, 2007 in Lavumisa at the homestead at which she resides informed him that the reason why she had made the decision to bury "our father in Lavumisa was that he (deceased) had built a small rondavel (commonly known as Lilawu in our Swazi Custom) there and claims that by Swazi Law and Custom this is the place at which my father has to be buried."
He argues that Ntombikhulu came to this decision on her own without consulting or liaising with any of the surviving senior members of his father's family or including himself (Mancoba) and his siblings.
Mancoba adds: "At the meeting with the first respondent on the 24th October, 2007, myself and my siblings tried to reason with her reminding her that our homestead was that at KaNgcamphalala, Siphofaneni, the place at which my father had settled (kukhonta) and where he was known to the community, chiefdom and most importantly where he had lived all his life and buried his family and where all of us know as our home."
He says Ntombikhulu became belligerent, non-co-operative and insisted that no matter what "she would continue with her plans to bury my father at the homestead in Lavumisa."
Mancoba is being represented by Manzini-based lawyer Mangaliso Nkomonde while Mbabane lawyer Refiloe Mamogobo, of S.V. Mdladla & Associates is appearing for the respondents.
Justice Stanley Maphalala postponed the matter to today for hearing of arguments.
Close relatives of the deceased were also present during the postponement of the case yesterday.
31 October 2007
Cana pupils shocked as teacher writes
BY MUSA NHLEKO
MANKAYANE – Pupils doing their O’Level at Cana High School have no confidence that they will pass three subjects after one of their teachers sat for the same examination.
The pupils said they were shocked when they saw their commercial subjects’ teacher, Makhosazane Simelane, entering the examination room, not to invigilate, but to write her own paper.
Still not believing what they were seeing, the pupils said it was shocking for them to see her sit for the same subjects she taught.
Most of the pupils expressed their frustration and how they did not have confidence of passing the particular papers.
The first incident happened on the first day of the exams when the pupils wrote Siswati, while she wrote a Commerce paper.
The school administration, according to a number of the pupils, had not even bothered to explain why the teacher had to write with them.
“All we can say is that we are disappointed and want the school administration to explain why she had to sit for the same examination with us,” said the pupils.
They acknowledged that the school administration had realised its blunder and moved the teacher and had her write in another school. She wrote some of her papers at Phumtile High School.
They, however, believe that this was not good enough as they were already aware of the situation and this had affected them psychologically.
Most of the pupils whom Simelane ended up writing the exam with were those she taught in Forms One, Two, Three and Four.
The Principal, Musa Dlamini, confirmed the matter and said he would not comment much as he had requested Simelane to furnish him with some documents.
“Well I can confirm that but most unfortunately I am unable to get into details as I have requested the teacher to furnish me with certain documents. I am dealing with the matter administratively,” said Dlamini.
29 October 2007
Bride marries dead husband
By Sanele Lukhele
THE community of Mkhuzweni, Siphofaneni and surrounding areas came in their numbers to witness an unusual wedding where the bride was marrying her deceased husband.
The bride Vuyisile Dlamini’s family had received dowry for her, from the late Amon Magwinyimbuzi Msibi a former Umbutfo Defence Force Soldier or Army Captain before he died in 1994.
However, his death was too soon, as the couple had not yet finalised their wedding, according to Swazi law and custom.
It was because of this unfinished business that Dlamini and both her family and in-laws opted to conduct a formal traditional wedding despite the groom’s demise.
Msibi is said to have died 13 years ago in 1994 where preparations for a wedding had already started.
The bride party came all the way from New Heaven in the outskirts of Hlatikhulu. The bride, who is a sister to Mathendele Dlamini Foreign Affairs Minister has four children, two males and two females and her last born son is 20 years old. The groom is said to have had another wife before and Dlamini was the second, after the first died whilst she and Msibi had seven children. The bride told The Swazi Observer that it had taken her a long time to finally conclude the wedding but knew the day would eventually came.
This was after talks were held by the two families over the past years.
“I have managed to raise my children with the help of my family who have played a major role and now they are adults, I am very happy to finally make it and see the much anticipated wedding day being a success.
From Friday until today everything has been running smooth,” said the bride.
Ndawo Sibandze, the chief’s runner and member of the community police, who was leading the bridal party on behalf of the Dlamini family said: “We are very happy that finally our child has managed to do the traditional wedding and she is officially a Msibi wife, although it took so long but it was necessary that there be discussions between the two families.”
29 October 2007
New treasurer has criminal case
BY MAKHOSI MAGONGO
LOBAMBA—The Treasurer at the Swaziland National Treasury who was removed from his position after pointing out irregularities in claims submitted by influential traditional authorities and in particular minister Majozi Sithole’s retainer, has been replaced with an officer who had previously been removed from handling royal finances.
Futhi Dlamini was suspended from the King’s Office after he lost E78 733.12, which he had gone to collect from Standard Bank, Mbabane in September 2001. He alleged that he cashed a cheque at the bank on behalf of the King’s Office, but later drove to the industrial site for other errands.
On return, he said in a letter to the King’s Office Chief Officer, he found that the money was missing, despite that the car had been locked. After the incident, Dlamini was suspended from work, with pay, and was recalled after spending 27 months away. He returned to assume the duties of Auditor. This publication has privileged information, including confidential documents to confirm that in January last year, Dlamini was asked by the board to furnish the King’s Office with a letter in writing explaining, “as to why you should not be called upon to repay government, through the Swaziland National Treasury, the sum of E78 773.12 that got lost whilst under your care and custody.”
Paul Shabangu, then an employee of the King’s Office, acting on behalf of the Chief Officer, wrote the letter. He advised Dlamini that if such response was not received on January 14, 2006, it would be assumed that he had no reason to offer to inculpate himself from any responsibility for the loss.
The letter was written to Dlamini after an inquiry made by the Royal Board of Trustees in October 2004.
The Board’s concern was communicated to the Swaziland National Treasury by the then Chief Officer, Roy Fanourakis.
According to a communiquי, which this newspaper has in its possession, the board was “concerned as they have not had any report of what has happened or what action has been taken to recover these monies.”
Dlamini subsequently responded to the concern, and the proposal to have the money deducted from his salary on January 12, 2006. The surcharge was to be effected despite that the court had not concluded the matter.
He related that he was with a fellow employee when they lost the money. He said they were later arrested and detained at the Sidwashini Remand Centre in connection with the lost money.
“Criminal charges were preferred against us by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and were admitted to bail by the High Court of Swaziland.
“The matter remains at the High Court and we have not been cleared of the charges. Accordingly, to effect the surcharge on myself will be tantamount to stating that the court has found me guilty of the offences,” he explained. He added that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had not withdrawn the charges and therefore thay were still to undergo trial at the High Court.
Informed sources said erstwhile DPP Lincoln N’garua had taken it upon himself to represent government in court for the case. However, the docket is now reportedly missing, and the case stalled. Contacted on the case last week, Senior Prosecutor Nkosinathi Maseko refuted the allegations of a missing docket; instead he said the docket could be searched for at the courts.
The Chairman of the Royal Board of Trustees could not be reached for comment at the time going to print. However, sources there said the Board had not objected to the appointment, on acting basis, following the court battle between the former Treasurer, Cyprian Kunene and the Board. The court ruled in his favour, however, the King’s Office challenged the ruling made by Industrial Court Judge, Peter Dunseith. The appeal is yet to be heard by the Industrial Court of Appeal, which sits next month.
26 October 2007
Asian owned shop sacrifices Swazi labour
By Bheki Gama
EMPLOYEES at a busy and well-established supermarket in Manzini have been retrenched under a cloud of controversy.
The Asian owner of the supermarket has replaced them by his countrymen who were allegedly in the country illegally. The Swazi Observer gathered that they had been rounded up by both the police and inspectors from the Labour Department on a number of occasions in the past. Chris Supermarket had 12 permanent Swazi employees, all but one had their services terminated recently. Those who have already left fear for the future of their former colleague whom they said could be the next ‘victim’. One of the former managers said she referred the matter to her lawyers. The former employees alleged that they were not paid their terminal benefits.
They registered concerns about the future of Swazi workers when they can easily be replaced by people with no permits to be in the country. They challenged the ministry of enterprise and employment to act on the matter and blamed the labour department for laxity.
“We notified the department about the matter, but there seem to be nothing happening,” said one of the former employees who was responsible for security. They also said they were not retrenched due to lack of business because they were replaced. The new Asian workers have a difficulty communicating in English or Siswati. They also accused their former boss of hiring casual workers to do offloading and packing and pays them E25 a day. They are expected to resume work at 7a.m and knock off after 8p.m each day and have no off-days. The former employees said this was against the labour laws of the country and want the responsible ministry to act swiftly.
The local Labour Department said this was news. “We last had an inspection last year,” said one of the officials. Senior Labour Officer said he had no power to address the media and referred all questions to the Labour Commissioner, Jinnoh Nkambule who could not be reached for comment before going to press.
26 October 2007
You suffer from diabetes, cancer? here
is your bread
BY NELSIWE NDLANGAMANDLA
MBABANE – Local consumers will be happy to know that there is a new loaf of bread in the market that can help prolong life by assisting the body to deal with diabetes, cancer and better weight control.
Healthy living is a necessity, it is true that sicknesses, weight gain or loss are partly caused by the food a person eats. The Swaziland United Bakeries has launched a new range of bread called the Swazi health premium bread. This bread is already available in all shops throughout the country.
The Sales Marketing Manager Bheki Mkhonta said this was the first product that has ever been produced in the country. “We care for the nation and their health that is why we have decided to come up with such a product” said Mkhonta.
Special ingredients have been used to ensure that consumers get the best quality. This bread weighs 800g and it contains essential nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and phytonutrients that protect against diseases.
This bread though sells at a higher price than the normal bread since there is 5.4 percent difference. This means that consumers will have to pay a little bit more for the bread than the usual prices they are used to. Swazi health premium white bread at wholesalers will cost E 4.90 and brown bread E4.65, at retail price white bread will cost E5.05 and brown bread will be E 4.80. SUB guarantees freshness as this bread is coded and fortified flower has been used to ensure unbeatable freshness. The shelf life for this bread is three to four days unlike the original loaf that has a shelf life of seven days.
The main target market for this bread are people who want healthy nutritions and bread that is full of goodness.
“People who realize the importance of buying food which is good for their families will be happy to know that we have just the product for them”, said Mkhonta.
23 October 2007
'Bomb' explodes in schoolbag
By Sanele Lukhele
A Form II pupil of Nkhaba High School in the Hhohho region narrowly escaped death when an explosive device, allegedly planted by a love rival in his school bag, exploded, destroying his household goods upon arrival at home.
Fortunately, the pupil (name withheld) and his relatives were not hurt.
Also, the safety of passengers had not been guaranteed, as the device could have exploded in the kombi he had boarded.
A reliable source reveals there was bad blood between the pupil and a schoolmate over a girl attending the same school.
The pupil told The Swazi Observer that upon arrival at home at around 5 pm, he went straight to his bedroom to change his uniform and later proceeded to the kitchen to greet his family.
He said within a space of two minutes after greeting his family he heard a loud bang within the homestead.
“At first I thought it was a gun shot and some children went out to see where the strange noise was coming from, he said.
“After a few minutes they came rushing in and informed me that my room was on fire. We tried to put out the fire, but all in vain. It was of no use since the property inside had already been reduced to ashes.”
He said on the next day he reported the incident to Mbabane police, who arrived at home to access the damage.
The pupil's mother explained that the police took away the ashes for purposes of carrying out their investigations.
She said she suspected that an explosive object had been planted inside her son’s school bag.
The mother said she went to lodge a complaint with the school’s head teacher, who promised to give her a feedback on the issue.
“I’m very upset. I’m anxiously awaiting a report from the school authorities. I really suspect foul play here, remarked the distressed mother.
I was gathered that the damaged property is valued at E 3 829.95.
The destroyed items include a portable wardrobe worth E200, a double bed worth E1 500, school books valued at E 500 and a bed cover worth E200.
Others were a Nokia 6610 cellphone valued at E 700, three blankets valued at E300, school jersey worth E200, short sleeve school shirt worth E40 and a pair of school trousers valued at E69.95.
The school Principal Magugu Kunene, though he was aware of the incident, said it would not be possible for him to comment since police were still investigating.
According to a police report, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained or established except to conclude that it was caused by an explosion of an unknown object in the black school bag.
Police PRO Superintendent Vusi Masuku said Mbabane police were still investigating the matter.
23 October 2007
Jilted ‘prophet’ burns pastor’s car
BY ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI
MHLATFUTE – A pastor who had prayed for a woman, who later dumped her boyfriend after being saved, had his van torched allegedly by the jilted lover.
The van that was bought for E19 000 about three years ago was burnt beyond recognition in the early hours of Sunday.
In an interview yesterday, Pastor Amos Mbingo of Church of God, said the car was burnt while they were sleeping just a few metres away.
Relating his story, Mbingo said the episode started on Friday evening after having prayed for one Thobile Vilakati.
“We started praying for the woman from 8pm until 1am. A lot was wrong with her, but we managed to cleanse her of demons.
“What I gathered from her was that she was in love with a local prophet (umbholofidi) before coming for prayer. Initially, Vilakati went to the prophet (the name is known to this newspaper) with the intention of being healed of a certain ailment, but eventually fell in love with him. So after accepting Jesus, she dumped him the following day,” Mbingo narrated.
Mbingo said Vilakati informed him that her boyfriend threatened to burn the church and the vehicle.
Besides burning the property, Mbingo said the boyfriend told Vilakati that he would ‘sort out’ the pastor who was responsible for the lost love.
Mbingo said electricity supply to the tent where the revivals were held was disturbed as cables were stolen. Mbingo said many people had been saved during the revivals.
He said the revivals that commenced last week Friday would end this coming Friday.
Meanwhile, Vilakati confirmed in a separate interview that her former boyfriend had threatened he would burn the property.
Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the incident, adding that a suspect had been questioned about it.
Masuku said Lubulini police were investigating the matter.
Israeli Surgeons Helping Swaziland
in Drive to Curb HIV
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, October 21, 2007; Page A16
MBABANE, Swaziland -- The young men seated in a cramped waiting room in Swaziland's capital twitched with nerves. Feet tapped. Fingers drummed. The occasional brave joke was delivered with a smirk.
Beyond a wooden door a few feet away, two Israeli doctors donned blue hospital scrubs adorned with faded Hebrew script. Stepping into a modest room where only a dangling sheet separated the operating tables, they prepared to perform the world's oldest surgery.
So began Day 10 of an uncommon experiment in international assistance. Small teams of Israeli surgeons have begun circumcising Swazi men, deploying an ancient ritual in hopes of curbing the terrible modern malady of AIDS.
A series of studies have shown that circumcised men are at least 60 percent less likely to contract HIV. Far less clear is how meager public health systems already overwhelmed by the AIDS epidemic can offer the procedure widely enough to slow the epidemic's ruinous spread.
"For us the major constraint is surgeons, doctors," said Dudu P. Simelane, executive director of the Family Life Association of Swaziland, a nongovernmental group hosting the Israelis.
Medical experts in Swaziland, which has fewer than 100 doctors and the world's highest rate of HIV infection, say that over the next five years, they would like to offer the procedure to all 200,000 of this tiny southern African nation's sexually active men, at a rate of roughly 200 a day. That's 20 times faster than the current pace in this country of 1.1 million.
No country has ever attempted anything like it -- save for Israel, whose doctors circumcised 80,000 men after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought a flood of new immigrants, mostly adults who had grown up in Soviet bloc countries that prohibited Jewish rituals.
The value of circumcision remains hotly debated in many countries, including the United States. Some activists regard it as a form of genital mutilation with no redeeming medical benefit. In African countries that have traditions of ritual circumcision, unsterile conditions and poor training sometimes cause serious complications, including the mutilation and even death of adolescent boys.
But scientists say that the foreskin has cells unusually receptive to the AIDS virus and that removing it causes the penis head to grow thicker and more resistant to sexually transmitted infections. The World Health Organization said in March that making circumcision widely available, inexpensive and safe could prevent 5.7 million HIV infections over the next 20 years.
Swazis, like several southern African ethnic groups, have abandoned their own traditional circumcision rituals, but widespread publicity of recent studies has spurred renewed interest in the procedure, in modern medical facilities.
The men waiting for the free circumcisions Friday morning said that they had friends or relatives who already had been circumcised and that, based on their advice, they wanted the easier hygiene and HIV protection offered by the procedure. One said his girlfriend had urged him to do it.
Africa Sihlongonyane, 26, said his father died of AIDS in 2004, wasting away over several months. When a friend was circumcised by the Israeli doctors last Monday, Sihlongonyane decided to do the same.
Minutes before being injected with local anesthesia, he said: "I've been told it's not painful. Even if it is painful, it won't stay."
Six Israeli doctors are slated for two-week stints this year under the program, organized by the Jerusalem AIDS Project and underwritten by Hadassah, a U.S.-based Jewish organization, and other donors.
One of the first to arrive was Melvyn Westreich, a jovial, portly plastic surgeon who retains the accent of his native Bronx neighborhood despite three decades of living in Israel. He helped organize the mass circumcision campaigns there in the 1990s and now oversees the country's mohels, religious men who circumcise baby boys in bris ceremonies, typically on their eighth day of life.
The surgery for adult men is more complicated, with a greater possibility of heavy bleeding and other problems. Men typically heal in a few days, and they are supposed to abstain from sex for several weeks while the wound closes completely. Resuming intercourse too quickly may make them temporarily more vulnerable to HIV, scientists say.
In Swaziland, Westreich has focused on improving the flow of patients through the clinic. Saving even a few minutes with a new stitching technique, or injecting the men with anesthesia in a waiting area rather than in the busy operating room, means more circumcisions can be done each day, each week, each month.
"The trick is to get the most done with the personnel available," he said.
The mission has not gone entirely smoothly. The Israeli doctors expected mainly to train Swazi doctors how to circumcise adults, they said. But many Swazi doctors already know how to perform the surgery. What they need most of all, they have told the Israelis, are extra hands to help get enough done to impact the epidemic.
The beleaguered Swazi health system routinely runs low on such basics as sutures, gloves, dressings and surgical tools. To control bleeding, the Israeli doctors brought along a cauterizing machine not available in Swaziland.
Yet in a series of occasional "Circumcision Saturday" events, the Swazi surgeons have shown that they can each do 10 of the procedures -- which take about 25 minutes -- per day.
If that speed could be maintained every weekday, medical experts here say, it would take just four doctors at each of five separate facilities to reach the target of 1,000 circumcisions a week.
The demand for circumcision -- especially surgeries that are free or subsidized -- appears to far outstrip supply in Swaziland. At one Circumcision Saturday, a crowd of men grew unruly after it became clear that the doctors could perform subsidized circumcisions on only about half of them; the crowd later dispersed after being given vouchers for other dates.
The men in the waiting room Friday morning said they knew others who wanted the procedure. Some of the patients planned to give reports to friends and brothers after it was over.
As Westreich finished one procedure, he asked Cilongo Fakudze, 28, an unemployed taxi driver, "How was it?"
With the anesthesia still working, Fakudze replied, "It was not that bad."
Then Fakudze gingerly climbed off the operating table, lowered his maroon hospital gown and walked slowly -- with delicate, bowlegged steps -- to a recovery room.
22 October 2007
Germans declare war on HIV, AIDS
GERMAN Ambassador Diter Walter Haller has called for stepping up of efforts aimed at fighting the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Haller said in the face of threats facing Swaziland and other African states, it was incumbent upon the leadership and nation to coin strategies aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic and dealing with the challenges.
He was speaking during the 17th Anniversary of German Unification Day at the residence of First Secretary Angelina Toepfer at Ezulwini.
“However, there are times when walking slowly doesn’t suffice, especially when it comes to addressing the challenges of our times: threats to peace and security, the issue of growth and development, the fight against HIV and AIDS pandemic, the degradation of our environment and climate change”.
The Ambassador said the Swazi people were encountering several of these challenges.
He mentioned some of these as; the drought which brought about food shortages for many people and the scourge of AIDS that most seriously affect the lives of too many Swazis.
Haller had first noted that in his 15-year stay in East Africa, one wise local chief quoted a Swahili proverb Mkenda pole, mkenda mbali meaning ‘those who walk slowly, walk long’.
But, the Ambassador said it would be wrong to conclude that every situation demanded that people walked slowly to reach their destination.
He said Germany was striving to live up to the challenges and eventually, overcome them. These challenges being those posed by climate change and other social ills affecting the world.
“Under German presidency, the G8- the group of the eight biggest industrial nations have agreed to strongly support Africa. Germany has already considerably stepped up her development aid.
“We contribute to finance many important bilateral and multilateral development projects in Africa. Others are doing likewise. On such a solemn occasion as this one, I should like to reaffirm, on behalf of my government, our strong commitment to these noble objectives”.
His Majesty King Mswati III was represented by Speaker in the House of Assembly Prince Guduza.
Also in attendance were Emakhosikati to His Majesty; LaMatsebula and LaNgangaza, Ministers; Thandi Shongwe (Tourism and Communication), Lutfo Dlamini (Enterprise and Employment) and Njabulo Mabuza (Health and Social Welfare).
22 October 2007
Stray lunatics sleep in patients’
BY SIHLE MZILENI
NHLANGANO - The collapse of the fencing surrounding Hlathikhulu Government Hospital has made the place a haven for lunatics who trespass and sleep at empty wards and storage areas.
The startling revelation, which was not objected, was raised by senior hospital committee member Leshudu Hlophe.
Hlophe raised this during the Minister of Health, Njabulo Mabuza’s, tour at the Hlathikhulu Government Hospital last Friday.
Hlophe raised eyebrows among the minister and his entourage as he asserted that there was absolutely no security at the hospital.
Hlophe showed the minister a tattered mattress where the lunatic is said to be spending the night.
Hlophe added that this lunatic would sneak past the security guard at the gate and no one has ever tried to evict him for the fear of his retaliation.
Hlophe added by saying, “nothing is done about that man and nearby residents who roam the hospital as they please”.
As Hlophe was mentioning this senior hospital staff members nodded their heads in approval.
Last Friday the Health Minister , World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Edward Maganu and Parliament Health ministry portfolio members toured the Hlathikhulu Government Hospital.
19 October 2007
Members of Parliament want more traditional beer brewed
BY ARTHUR MORDAUNT
LOBAMBA – Members of Parliament yesterday amended the Liquor Licences Bill of 2007 to increase the amount of liquor that can be brewed in a homestead.
The Bill had stipulated that only 200 litres of traditional brew can be made in any given brewing cycle.
The bill defines traditional Swazi beer as umcombotsi or tjwala besintfu which is brewed solely from sorghum or maize or a mixture of both and water. The seasonal Buganu brew also falls under this category.
First to raise a concern was Mtfongwaneni MP Mfomfo Nkhambule, who felt 200 litres was too little when considering the fact that Swazis often held traditional events such as imimemo, traditional weddings as well as other events on royal command, which were often incomplete without the traditional brew. Nkhambule argued that it goes without saying that 200 litres would be too little to satisfy all the people who would attend one of these events.
Kukhanyeni MP Clement Dlamini, supported by Ntfonjeni MP Henry Dlamini, felt there was no need to amend the section. MP Clement said people should just learn to accept that when the beer had been finished there would be no more.
MP Henry said 200 litres translated to eight 25 litre containers and that was enough booze.
However, Hhukwini MP Quinton Zwane agreed with Nkhambule. He said traditional weddings normally started on Friday and ended on Sunday. Zwane said as the groom you had your own friends and family, while the bride also came with her own entourage, which meant that 200 litres was just very little.
In the end, Nkhambule’s submission prevailed and the brew was increased to at least 400 litres per brewing cycle.
The section, before it was amended
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and section 4, this Act shall apply to every person who deals in or sells liquor to another person whether for gain or not. (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) this Act shall, subject to any other contrary provisions and further subject to any regulations the minister may promulgate, not apply to a person who brews or sells traditional Swazi beer of not more than two hundred litres (200L) at any one given brewing circle.
19 October 2007
Nkwene Clinic faces closure
By Sanele Lukhele
NKWENE clinic in the Shiselweni region is faced with serious challenges and is on the brink of failure to offer services to neighbouring deserving communities.
It has shortage of personnel, staff houses and clean water.
Thoko Tsabedze, chairperson of the Clinic Committee, said a huge task awaited the community to build houses to accommodate the nurses.
“Our clinic is so pathetic that we are at times left with no option but to go to Hlatikhulu Government Hospital for other medical needs, which is too costly,” the chairperson said.
Three of the nurses employed there are currently housed inside the clinic premises while one commutes to and from work. Rooms occupied by the nurses were initially intended to be used as wards and emergency rooms.
“As of now we have a duty to complete construction of a four-roomed house built to accommodate one of the nurses. Now that the wet summer season is approaching, we are scared that the incomplete structure may get damaged,” she said.
All material that was initially provided through the aid of the Tinkhundla Development Fund has been used. Tsabedze said the contractor that was engaged to build the clinic had underestimated the costs and quantity of material required.
“The person employed to build the house failed to make the right quotation containing all the required material, a fact that has led to the situation we are faced with now. We plead to all who can assist, especially NGOs, to help us with cement, planks and all roofing material.” Jabulile Mkhatjwa, also a member of the committee, stressed that water was so scarce that nurses sometimes survive on water drawn from a nearby well for consumption. Sometimes water tankers from Nhlangano bring water to the clinic as alternative means.
“The clinic’s toilets do not flush and we would like to plead for a borehole as one of the alternative sources of clean water,” she said.
MP Aaron Dladla promised to try his best to help where he could as the residents had relied on him for assistance.
18 October 2007
Principal 'disappears' with exam fees
By Njabulo Dlamini
THE future of form three pupils hangs in the balance after their principal and owner of Pro-Learning Institute allegedly vanished without settling their examination fees.
The principal, Ernest Magongo, also former Manzini Municipality Councillor could not be found yesterday, as pupils prepared to sit for the examination.
Magongo allegedly left a number of pupils in his institution in the lurch.
The pupils were due to start writing their final examinations and most affected were those undertaking external ones (JC).
Swazi TV reported yesterday that the pupils crammed the Manzini Police Station where Magongo had promised to meet them but he was nowhere to be seen.
The pupils said their effort to seek intervention from Magongo's wife was futile, as her whereabouts could not be traced. The pupils were demanding a refund of exam fees.
Magongo is also a prominent member of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Manzini branch and at some point was running for the post of Deputy Mayor for the Manzini Municipality but was beaten to the vote.
He did his Bachelor of Sciences (BSc.) at UNISWA Kwaluseni and taught Science and Mathematics at Salesian High for a number of years before resigning to set up his own school.
Whilst teaching at the school, Magongo used to also assist those who were upgrading their subjects (mostly Science subjects) and even produced tapes as well as VCRs for the exercise.
The institution he set up was an upgrading facility for those who had not done well in JC and O' level.
It is alleged that he left a note behind but its contents cannot be published for ethical reasons.
Dominic Nxumalo, SNAT Secretary General, said they did not have enough information about the matter as an association hence reserved his comments.
Meanwhile, Police PRO Superintendent Vusi Masuku did not pick his cellphone when sought for comments.
He was also unavailable at his residence.
But in an interview with Swazi TV, Masuku said they were aware of the issue and was quoted saying investigations were continuing.
18 October 2007
SwaziBank to auction Mphilo’s E1m house
By PHINDA SIHLONGONYANE
MBABANE - The Swazi-land Development and Savings Bank (SwaziBank) will soon sell a house belonging to its former Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mphilo Dlamini.
This is in respect of an unpaid commercial loan of E1 047 000, which Dlamini secured from the bank while he was employed by it. Dlamini has acknowledged his debt and entered into an agreement with the bank, through its attorneys, that it will liquidate the amount. The agreement states that the debtor consents and waives any right he may have in law and freely and voluntarily allows the creditor to dispose off the property.
It has been agreed that the bank would find the buyers and Dlamini will also pay legal fees for the matter.
In its particulars of claim, the bank states that on March 6, 2006, Dlamini, at his special instance, requested that the former grants him a commercial loan of E1 047 000.
It has been stated that it was material agreement that the repayment period would be 15 years and that Dlamini would make a monthly repayment of E15 122 per month with effect from its approval.
The bank alleges that it secured a liability in favour of Dlamini by registering a mortgage bond over Lot no. 16 at Mantenga township in the Hhohho region. The bank said it complied with the agreement by offering Dlamini the loan.
It has been stated in the particulars of claim that Dlamini, in breach of the agreement, has failed to make monthly repayments of E15 122, and as a result has been in arrears of E287 318.
The bank alleges that as at August 8, 2007, the sum outstanding was E1 249 751.33, which is currently due and owing.
The bank sought an order declaring the above-mentioned property executable. Sidumo Mdladla attorneys represent the bank in the matter.
Dlamini recently resigned from Swazi MTN, where he had been employed since leaving the SwaziBank.
16 October 2007
E35 million cassava project for Lavumisa
By Bongile Mavuso
THE Lavumisa community seems to be receiving floods of development projects as another multi- million project will be launched at the area this year.
Enterprise and Employment Minister Lutfo Dlamini revealed that a E35 million worth cassava project would be launched along the Big- Bend/ Lavumisa area.
Dlamini said such projects were meant to eradicate poverty in the area.
"The time has come for us to finally bid farewell to poverty in this area. The first step towards poverty alleviation is welcoming development in our area so that the lives of the people in this area can be improved as part of the millennium development goals," he said.
Dlamini stated that the project would involve ethanol production from cassava by USA Distillers.
He stated that the company, based in Big Bend, had been allocated land by government where the cassava would be grown.
Dlamini said about 700 people would be employed by the project, which will start as soon as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is completed.
He encouraged community members to embrace the project that is aimed at the complete transformation of their area to their benefit.
The minister was speaking during the official kick- off of the Royal Jozini Big Six project at Lavumisa last week.
He also mentioned that the area would also have a project for producing organic cotton, after the area's MP Doward Sihlongonyane has alluded to the fact that the farmers in the area were ready for such a project.
Sihlongonyane said the farmers were used to cotton farming and awaiting the challenge to start organic cotton farming and to get the seeds.
The minister, on the other hand, said one of the over- seas trips with His Majesty the King have yielded good fruit as they had received an order for clothes to be manufactured from organic cotton.
He stated that they were already at a stage where they wanted to pilot the project at areas such as Nkwene, Lavumisa and others.
Meanwhile, the Minister urged South African High Commissioner Mxolisi Mabude, who also witnessed the start of the construction works at Royal Jozini, to assist in ensuring that the Lavumisa/ Golela Border operates 24 hours.
The minister said this would ensure efficiency and speed up the process of the project works to meet the completion deadline for the Royal Jozini.
"We have already applied for the extension of operating hours for this border in particular and we urge the High Commissioner to assist in facilitating the process to move faster. We hope he will be able to deliver the message to higher authorities in the SA government," he added.
Mabude in response, stated that he would ensure that the message was passed through to the relevant authorities within the government and also congratulated the management of the Royal Jozini leasehold for finally being able to see the project start off.
16 October 2007
Robbers bomb bank ATM
By INNOCENT MAPHALALA
EZULWINI – Carrying components believed to be explosives, armed robbers struck at the Gables Shopping Complex on Sunday night, with the intention to blow apart an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) belonging to Standard Bank.
However, two explosions heard as far as the adjacent Happy Valley Motel failed to yield the desired results for the criminals.
The explosions drew the attention of security guards from the motel, who ran to the scene to see what was happening.
By the time they arrived, the thugs had bolted.
The Gables Shopping Complex has three ATMs, belonging to Standard Bank, Nedbank and First National Bank, respectively.
Security guards from three companies keep guard over the cash dispensing machines.
The Standard Bank ATM is guarded by LMD Security Services, an upcoming security company based in the Ezulwini Valley.
Other business entities at The Gables are guarded by personnel from Fidelity Springbok and Swaziland Security Guards.
The Times has established that at around midnight, electricity power suddenly went off throughout the entire complex.
Two of the armed men approached the complex and ordered the guards from all three companies to huddle together in one corner of the complex.
They tied their hands and feet with ropes and ordered them to lie facedown.
“They were told to comply with whatever orders were given to them,” said Adam Dlamini, a manager at LMD Security Services.
“The thugs took all mobile phones from the guards, but our guard managed to keep his. He used it to call me just before 1am.”
It was established that while the guards were lying down, scared even to try and look up, they heard more voices.
This made them believe that there were more than two thugs.
The criminals immediately started working towards their goal, which was to get into Standard Bank.
Suspicion is that they intended planting explosives from the inside.
To get in, they had to pry open the heavy security door at the front but just next to the ATM.
They managed to get inside.
It was while inside that they tried using their explosives.
According to Dlamini, the guards, still lying on the ground, heard voices from inside, saying in Siswati: “Shisa, shisa, shisa,” meaning, ignite or burn.
It was after these words were uttered that the two explosions were heard. The explosives are believed to have failed the thugs, who later left the place empty-handed. It was then that the guards rose.
The one from LMD, who had kept his mobile phone, called the police emergency line 999 and later his supervisor, Dlamini.
“I arrived there shortly after 1am,” said Dlamini.
The police also arrived shortly after him and started asking questions and inspecting the crime scene.
Police PRO Superintendent Vusi Masuku said no money was taken from the bank.
“They did not get even a cent,” he said.
15 October 2007
Lubombo farmers slow in diversifying
By Bongile Mavuso
FARMERS in the Lubombo region have been left out in projects aimed at developing and assisting them in realising high yield on their produce.
This has led to the ministry of agriculture and co-operatives and the Taiwan Technical Mission, TechnoServe and World Vision, to encourage them to grow drought tolerant crops in the wake of the drought situation currently hitting the region.
Senior Extension Officer Hamilton Khoza stated that most of the projects cater for maize production, a crop that does not perform well in the region. He made an example of the recent Input Trade Fairs where companies displayed mostly maize.
"The FAO has forked out about E9 million towards alleviating poverty in this region through these trade fairs, but it looks like it has not served its purpose. The products on display and promoted are those that give the best yield in the middleveld or highveld.
"For the lowveld, a variety of drought tolerant crops should have been promoted amongst the farmers and now, I can safely say out of 14 945 farmers in the region, only less than 200 will benefit from the event," he said.
Khoza stated that there was need to instill the culture and knowledge of growing drought tolerant crops. He said the situation required drastic action towards ensuring that people had food to eat and they can still sell the surplus for other types of food.
Taiwan Technical Mission Agriculture Expert Kevin Lin said the farmers could make a living out of growing drought tolerant crops, as a team in the block. He stated that the block farming scheme could serve as a solution for both food security and profit making through selling surplus produce.
"The farmers do not need to live on the crops as such, but they can grow them and sell to a market. In turn, the money they get can help them buy the food they need for their families," he added.
The drought tolerant crops include cow peas, sorghum, jugo beans, cassava and others. The technical mission and ministry of agriculture's role is to provide agricultural expertise, whilst TechnoServe will concentrate on marketing and World Vision on food security.
TechnoServe's Business Advisor Mkhululi Dlamini revealed that a South African market has been secured in addition to the local one. He said they require not less than 1 000 tonnes of sorghum a year, which they hoped to achieve through the block scheme.
Lin, on the other hand, stated that they were going to pilot red sweet sorghum for the local and regional markets. He said if this was successful, then they would roll it out to the rest of the other schemes in the region.
15 October 2007
Businessman kills ex-convict
BY MUSA NHLEKO
MANZINI – A prominent Asian businessman based in Manzini shot and killed an ex-convict thug on Friday night while the thug was allegedly trying to rob him at Coates Valley.
The deceased and a friend are said to have alighted from a Toyota Tazz that had been parked close by and attacked the businessman while he was at the gate preparing to enter his home.
The businessman, who was in the company of another, is said to have immediately opened fire killing the would-be-thug, identified as Viyella Magongo.
His partner in crime managed to flee on foot unscathed, while the driver of the Toyota Tazz sped off in the midst of the shooting.
Residents of the suburban area were shocked to hear the sound of several gunshots, two of which were found to have struck Magongo in the chest and leg before he fell to the ground.
The incident saw the Manzini Lukhozi Serious Crimes Unit and Manzini Police rushing to the area after the residents raised an alarm.
The police found a pistol and a cellphone in Magongo’s pockets which are expected to be used in tracing the thugs he was with on the night.
The body was later taken by the police to the morgue.
The three thugs are said to have been patrolling the area during the day changing their local registration numbers to use South African numbers.
Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the shooting of the thug and said the police were still investigating.
12 October 2007
Jozini construction begins
By Bongile Mavuso
SCORES of Lavumisa residents and others from areas around the country came to witness the start of the construction works at Royal Jozini Big Six.
This was after an event where the Lubombo Development Management and Royal Jozini officials had gathered to celebrate the start of the long-awaited multi-million project. The community of Lavumisa could finally put their minds to rest as the historic development of their area became a reality.
Royal Jozini Director Jim Brown expressed the company's ecstasy at finally witnessing the start of the project, fulfilling a promise made to His Majesty King Mswati III during the sword cutting ceremony.
"In September 2005, the King was here to officiate in the sword cutting ceremony and we made a promise to bring development on his land. We gave him our word that we would look after his land and the people who live in it through the development project that we are here for.
"It is through the support of government officials, ministers, community leaders and the entire populace of the Lavumisa area that we are here to witness the start of this huge project," he added.
Brown also stated that it was through assistance from the South African government that the project was up and running now, as it authorised the granting of water rights.
He thanked the Swazi nation for its patience and the Lavumisa community for their faith and believing in the project. He said the construction works that started yesterday would run for the next seven years.
Currently, road works are under construction at the site by a locally based company, Stefanutti & Bressan also known as S&B Construction.
Brown said this would run until the end of the year, after which they would grant contracts for further construction work at the beginning of next year.
"About 50 more contracts will be awarded at the beginning of next year as the road construction will run until the Christmas holidays. We have already employed about 12 people now in security, farm management and environmental management amongst other divisions," he said.
All speakers at the event attested to the fact that it had been a long journey, but the community would finally taste the sweet benefits of their patience and long wait of over five years.
Enterprise and Employment Minister Lutfo Dlamini and his counterpart at Tourism, Environment and Communications Thandi Shongwe both thanked the Lavumisa community for believing in the project and being the first to witness the start of the Jozini work.
Dlamini stated that this should be hope enough to the people that their dream to see the area developed was becoming a reality.
Chairperson of the Lavumisa Trust Wilmoth Gina said they were happy to finally witness the start of the project construction works, despite all the challenges they had gone through.
To mark start of construction works, the two ministers drove two road construction vehicles (caterpillars).
12 October 2007
ESKOM declares power state of emergency
BY INNOCENT MAPHALALA
MBABANE – Swazis are among seven nations that should immediately start using electricity sparingly to avoid total blackouts.
This will entail switching off geysers, heaters, radios and refrigerators for long periods when having these appliances on is not exactly necessary.
South Africa’s power utility, ESKOM declared a state of emergency this week.
ESKOM has declared a state of power supply emergency in accordance with the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Agreement, which requires all affected countries to co-operate by implementing demand-side management measures. The request applies to Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia and southern Mozambique. In Namibia, that country’s power supplier, NamPower, reduced its power import from the southern neighbour by 30 Megawatts.
Residential consumers must switch off geysers when they get home from work and during the electricity peak period.
NamPower is calling on Namibians to turn off all non-essential lighting, geysers and household appliances in standby mode such as hi-fi systems, video and DVD players. In South Africa, ESKOM has already cautioned that load shedding was possible for the rest of the week if electricity was not used sparingly. Comment from the Swaziland Electricity Board (SEB) public relations desk had not been obtained at the time of going to press.
11 October 2007
Another woman farmer triumphs
By Phila Dlamini
IT'S been proven beyond doubt, women in the agriculture industry rock.
Just a few weeks after one woman was announced the winner of the National Maize Competition (NAMCOM), Lomgwaco Dlamini has emerged the best farmer in the National Vegetable Competition (NAVECO) which was held at Mphophoma Hall in Malkerns yesterday.
The 70-year-old mother of five from Mavulandlela under the Hhohho region beat 42 other farmers, after obtaining the highest score of 150 points. The closest contender, Isaac Mbokazi of Siyendle scored 142 points.
Dlamini grows vegetables and sells them to the National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard) and she started her business with a loan from the Inhlanyelo Fund (a seed capital fund for grassroots business growth in Swazi communities).
With over 20 years farming experience, she grows a variety of fresh vegetables in her two-hectare plot, including carrots, cabbages, tomatoes and yellow party pans, which she calls 'lisondvo lesigulumba' because of the vegetable's similarity to a tractor wheel.
Dlamini won herself a brand new computer, a 5 000-litre water tank, petrol water pump, E500 Dynamic Distributors voucher and a variety of fertilisers and seeds. An overjoyed Dlamini said as much as she did not know how to use a computer, she would work out what improvement it could bring to her business.
"Maybe the boy who has joined me in the enterprise will help me with it," said the farmer.
... Pump to water
As if heeding the officials' calls for diversity, Lomgwaco Dlamini said she would use her new water pump to 'water' her new business.
"This pump will help me a lot in growing my 40 mango trees, which were recently planted and I am hoping they will be ready in a little over a year," she said.
As a full-time businesswoman, Dlamini said her sales to NAMBoard made her a tidy E2 000 per month. "I sell all year round," she added. Dlamini is a member of the Mavulandlela Association, through which she accessed her Inhlanyelo Fund loan.
The Fund's Operations Manager, Wandile Kunene, was overjoyed at the presentation, saying Dlamini and the second runner-up, Isaac Mbokazi were members of the same association and were paying off their loans very well.
The top five winners of the competition are:
1. Lomgwaco Dlamini 150 points
2. Isaac Mbokazi 142 points
3. Thoko Ndlangamandla 141 points
4. Phillip Gamedze 140 points
5. Constance Simelane 136 points
Other winners under the regional category are:
Duduzile Mhlungu Florence Dlamini
Ethel Mngomezulu Rose Langwenya
Eric Makhubu Elijah Gule
Mirriam Mamba Mirriam Dlamini
David Shiba Colin Nhlabatsi
Mzwandile Thwala Neliso Ngcobo
The competition was sponsored by NAMBoard with the aim of developing the vegetable production industry in the country.
11 October 2007
70% of admitted patients HIV positive
BY ARTHUR MORDAUNT
MBABANE - It is estimated that 70 percent of in-patients in the country’s hospitals are HIV positive.
This indicates a jump of 20 percent from 1998 when a study suggested that 50 percent of in-patients then were HIV positive.
The study noted that Swazi hospitals regularly work beyond capacity and since the late 1990s, there has been an increased need for beds.
“In 2006, over 40 percent of admissions at the largest public hospital were as a result of conditions closely associated with HIV and AIDS (TB, AIDS, non-infective gastroenteritis and pneumonia).
Between half and three quarters of all outpatient cases have HIV/AIDS-related complaints.
AIDS is not increasing the number of patients, but (these) tend to be sicker and more complicated cases,” states the report.
The figures exclude admissions for childbirth.
It also states that a significant number of the increased demand for services is due to the increase in the prevalence of tuberculosis, where 80 percent of them are HIV positive and 90 percent are among the 30-45-year-old age group. The report also notes that there tends to be an urban bias in the allocation of the hospital beds as 90 percent of the approximately 2 000 beds are in towns.
This is despite the fact that the larger population is mostly in rural areas.
Numbers of patients have also increased from 50 000 in 2002 to 56 000 in 2006.
This is according to a report from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
“To date, effective demand has fallen short of need, as with the perceived reduced hope of recovery many people do not attend regular health services.
“This adds to the hidden health burden on families who care for sick household members at home.
With the rollout of ART (Antiretroviral therapy) this could fall as a level of hope is restored and effective demand for health services will increase,” states the report.
Farmers urged to be globally
10 October 2007
LOCAL farmers have been encouraged to produce high quality products to be competitive in regional and international markets.
Agriculture and Co-operatives Minister Mtiti Fakudze stated that countries were in discussion to open up free trade agreements, both in Africa and the SADC region.
He said this would raise competition for local farmers as they would not only compete amongst themselves, but also with other countries.
"It is very important to produce high quality products that will be fit to sell in international markets. There will be room for more imports and if our products are not competitive enough, this will cripple our chances of getting good deals for our produce," he said.
The minister further mentioned that this would also assist in reducing production costs, an issue that has remained a challenge for the country in all sectors.
He said the most important factor was to produce goods that would be consumable to the market.
Meanwhile, Fakudze stressed that farmers should take the chance to plough during the first rains received, which he said, were very important. He encouraged people to stop complaining, but make use of the available structures and tools.
"People always complain that government tractors are not enough when there are other tractors hired out by the private sector. There are also cattle that can be used for ploughing just as we did in the past. Manual ploughing is also encouraged as it also protects the soil from erosion," the minister added.
He mentioned that this was the most conventional ploughing method that helped in soil conservation as the use of tractors places soil at a high risk of erosion.
He said countries like Malawi and Mozambique had used manual ploughing since way back and produced good yields in the process. Fakudze made an example of Malawi which has donated 5 000 tonnes of maize to the country and still uses manual ploughing.
On the other hand, he encouraged an increase in volumes of vegetables produced in the country, stating that it was disturbing to note that the country imports almost all vegetables, even those that could easily be grown locally.
"Even sweet potato is imported from other countries, which is a problem. This crop always has a market and farmers should take advantage of opportunities availed to them," he said.
The minister was speaking during a presentation of sponsorship towards hosting the National Vegetable Competition (NAVECO) to be held at Mphophoma today.
Pupil stones Bennett
BY MUSA NHLEKO
10 October 2007
MANZINI – A Form Four pupil stunned his colleagues at Manzini Central High School yesterday when he hit his principal, Charles Bennett, with a stone before drawing out a knife.
The drama unfolded during the school assembly and police had to be called to stop what could have been a nasty incident.
The argument started after the principal, who is also chairman of the Principals Association of Swaziland, had expressed dissatisfaction over the pupil’s growing beard and advised him to shave.
The pupil, whose identity may not be revealed as he is a minor, had to be sent home after the incident, which later saw him being assaulted by a mob of pupils.
During the skirmish teachers tried everything in their power to save the pupil who had tried to run away, but failed to outrun the mob.
According to sources close to the matter, after having seen that the mob of pupils was charging and throwing stones at him, the boy tried to jump over a barbed wire fence next to the school gardens, but fell.
As he tried to escape, the pupils continued throwing stones at him and Bennett led a group of teachers to save the pupil from the mob.
Sources said Bennett had earlier tried to force some of the pupils at the back of the assembly forward.
The pupil, who is said to have been upset after he had been touched on the back by the principal, is said to have picked a stone and hit the teacher.
As everyone was still shocked with what the pupil had done, he drew a knife with the intention to stab Bennett, but was stopped by the other pupils.
Police arrived and took the pupil’s knife, but did not record a statement.
The pupil joined the school this year and is said to have had problems as he would now and again be told to shave his beard and at times he would be told to comb his hair.
The pupil’s parent is said to have been called to the school and the matter was discussed briefly and was told that it would be finalised on Monday.
The school is currently preparing for the funeral of its chairman, who died recently.
The chairman will be buried this weekend.
Bennett confirmed the incident when called yesterday, but said he would not comment much as they were still investigating.
He promised to call the reporter when the investigations were complete next week.
When asked if he had assaulted the pupil, Bennett said the repor- ter should write what he had been told by his sources, before hanging up.
09 October 2007
FUEL NEARS E7
Stories by Hlengiwe Ndlovu
The prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin are set to increase today. Petrol prices (both grades) will increase by 10 cents per litre, the diesel price will increase by 20 cents a litre while paraffin prices will increase by 10 cents per litre.
The increase in fuel prices has been caused by the increase in international product prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin in September. Crude Oil prices also had a negative impact in that they increased in the month of September.
The prices increased from an average of 72 dollars per barrel in August to an average of 78 dollars per barrel in September. The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, Lucy Dlamini said the Lilangeni Dollar exchange rate on the other hand contributed positively as it on average strengthned to E7.16 in September as compared to the average of increase of E7.24 in August.
“However, this was still not enough to offset the negative impact from the high product and crude oil prices,” said Dlamini further assuring that the ministry would monitor the situation closely and update the public on further developments.
The Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) economist said the increase in fuel prices would have a profound impact on the country’s economy because the country is also involved in global trade through the import and exportation of goods.
Dube said most of Swaziland’s imported goods come from South Africa and most of them are brought to the country by road.
The economist said given that most of the goods imported from the country come from South Africa and are often transported through the road, then the increase in the price of basic commodities was inevitable.
“The hike in basic commodities may not be that drastic but in one way or the other goods prices are likely to increase,” said Dube highlighting that the recent hike in fuel prices would definitely affect the ordinary Swazi.
The economist explained that the manufacturing industries would not be spared from the effects of the fuel price hike.
He said some of the manufacturing industries energy are fuel driven hence production would be adversely affected. The economist explained that the profits in the manufacturing industries and consequently the country’s economy would be affected as well.
Dube further observed that the transport system would also be destabilised. “The issue of perception comes into play here because just recently there was an increase in public transport prices and this increase was mainly fuelled by the hike in petrol prices,” said Dube predicting that if fuel prices continue to hike, then the increase in bus prices was, therefore, inevitable.
Fuel prices will increase as indicated below:
Unleaded Petrol 95 E6.60/litre to E6.70/litre
Leaded Petrol 95 E6.80/litre to E6.90/litre
Diesel E6.70/litre to E6.90/litre
Paraffin E5.10/litre to E5.20/litre
08 October 2007
Killed after graduation party
BY SIBUSISO NGUBANE
PIGG’S PEAK – A man who was driving his friends from a party organised by former University of Swaziland students who graduated on Saturday was stabbed to death following a misunderstanding with a friend who refused to stop smoking in the car.
The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning at Rocklands, an area situated about 10 kilometres away from the town. The men were both from the party where they had been invited and were heading home.
Mncedisi Shongwe (24) of Motshane is alleged to have stabbed his friend, Wandile Dlamini, with a broken Coca Cola bottle in the neck.
Information gathered was that Shongwe was smoking in a car driven by the deceased. It is said that the deceased complained about Shongwe’s smoking in the car.
It is said that the deceased asked him to stop smoking as the smoke was affecting him, but Shongwe did not want to listen. Dlamini became angry as the two argued.
It is said that when they reached Rocklands, the deceased decided to park by the roadside.
Shongwe is alleged to have taken a bottle of Coca Cola that was in the car, broke it before stabbing the deceased with the sharper end.
The two are said to have been with another friend, who failed to stop the fight.
After realising that Dlamini had been stabbed, the friend, whose name could not be established, is said to have quickly reported the matter to the police.
The deceased was rushed to Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital, but died while undergoing treatment.
Shongwe was arrested on the same day and charged with murder. He is expected to appear before the Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s Court this morning.
Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the murder.
08 October 2007
Borehole brings hope for orphaned child, community
MDUDUZI Matsenjwa is battling with multiple vulnerabilities. At the age of 14, he does not have a parent.
He lost his mother in 2005. Mduduzi’s father had passed away the previous year. From the time his parents were ill, Mduduzi was already spending most of his time with his grandparents. They have helped him navigate through all the challenges of life with minimal bruises particularly because Mduduzi is also battling with asthma.
Mduduzi is a World Vision sponsored child, doing grade six at Sidloko primary school. “His school work speaks for itself, as he managed to get position five at the close of the second term,” says his proud grandmother, Ruth Mahlalela (51). In spite of these challenges, Mduduzi remains undeterred. He works hard and simultaneously demonstrates a high sense of responsibility. “Each morning he collects water using a 10-litre container before taking a bath to school,’ says Mahlalela.
Mduduzi is blessed to be taken care of by a hardworking grandmother. Mahlalela’s husband, Isaac, used to be a bus driver. He is now unemployed. He is also not able to undertake any productive activity on account of his old age. Mduduzi’s grandmother has refused to be a subject of her own pity. She is at the front of the burner with the primary aim of making a difference than merely earning a living. Thus far, she has proved to be a slice above all other challenges facing her family. “Much as I am not employed, I spend most of my time working on my garden which helps me generate money to buy all the basics my family needs,” says Mahlalela. Due to the chronic drought, Mahlalela’s community has been battling with limited access to clean water. They are no more able to work on their gardens, a major source of their livelihoods.
“For quite a while now, we have battled with water. This is why I have no vegetables in my garden,” says Mahlalela. However, with the assistance of World Vision’s programme based at Nkalashane, a borehole close by has been rehabilitated. It provides potable water to at least 140 community members. It started operation on the first week of September this year. This has brought relief to a community that reluctantly shared muddied water with livestock.
“World Vision facilitated the rehabilitating the borehole which costed E28 000," says Phetsile Mkhonta, who is in charge of the programme at Lomahasha. “We are excited to be able to place a block towards improving the quality of life of children in this community through this borehole. Granted what the community will achieve is not in the bag yet, however, we hope the potential for food production of the community would be unlocked,” she adds.
It would seem the community is up-beat about the project. In part, this was demonstrated by the fact that they contributed their labour as the borehole was rehabilitated. Most recently, all the households who benefit from this borehole had made their initial monthly contribution of E5 which will assist cater for repairs and maintenance costs. Mduduzi and his grandparents are part of the beneficiaries from the borehole. According to the water committee, the previous borehole seized to function since the community had not provided for repairs and maintenance costs. This time around they seem to have learnt their lessons. “Each household is expected to pay E5 per month. This will assist in repairs should there be anything that breaks down,” says Josephina Mahlalela, chairperson of the water committee.
Fellowship to mitigate Mduduzi’s vulnerability, World Vision programme at Lomahasha programme has given him a goat which has since multiplied to two. “He is so excited about his two goats,” says his grandmother.
In this part of Swaziland, goats are taken to the dipping tank once each week. “Mduduzi is happy to drive his goats to the dipping tank before he goes to school,” says his grandmother. Mduduzi’s school is 20 minutes away from his home. However, going to church takes a much shorter time. “It takes me five minutes to walk to church,” says Mduduzi. “Every Sunday, I walk to Revival Church for fellowship,” he says with a smile.
Unlike other children at his age who may not be sure what they aspire to be in life, Mduduzi is quite awake to his future. “I would like to be a radio disk jockey. I enjoy listening to gospel and hip-hop music,” he says. Mahlalela has taught Mduduzi to wash his own clothes. “Mduduzi has shown to be a hardworking child. He makes it a point that he makes a meaningful contribution even to the garden I work on, with the availability of water,” says Mahlalela.
“Now that we have water again, we are grateful to World Vision for such needed help. It comes at a time when we had nothing to show from last planting season. I hope to plant tomatoes, lettuce and maize,” says Mahlalela.
“For now, we are forced to buy food. The income from the sale of my vegetables has been really useful in supplementing the family’s income,” she concludes. Mduduzi’s family has also benefited from the ongoing seed distribution exercise championed by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). More than 350 people from this programme, benefited from the ongoing national seed distribution exercise which took place on the second week of September. In the words of Ester Mahlalela, chairperson of the water committee, “the borehole is expected to substantially reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases in the community.”
Besides rehabilitation of the borehole at Lomahasha, World Vision continues to sink boreholes in drought affected areas like Matsanjeni, Lubulini and Sithobela, to mention but a few.
08 October 2007
Schools, homes affected by storms
BY ARTHUR MORDAUNT
MBABANE – While many farmers were thankful for the rains, some constituencies have no reason to celebrate as the rains were accompanied by storms, which left untold damage to their properties.
The storms blew away people’s homes and caused great damage to their fields.
A snap survey by the Times revealed that a number of constituencies were affected by the rains, particularly those that fell on Thursday night and Saturday night.
Ndzingeni is one of the constituencies affected by the rains. Another is Mhlangatane in Northern Hhohho where the storm left substantial damage.
“As I’m talking to you, I’ve just heard that two schools under my constituency were blown away by the strong winds. One school is Mangweni Primary and the other is also a primary school at Nyakatfo. However, we are grateful for the rains,” said Mhlangatane Member of Parliament Philip Mavuso.
Sandleni MP Gibson Hlophe also revealed that his constituency was also ravaged by the storm.
“I was informed about two hours ago that five homesteads around Mbulungwane area had their roofing blown away. Luckily there were no deaths reported. It was mainly damage to infrastructure that occurred,” said Hlophe.
He also highlighted that people would be able to do some farming this ploughing season.
Titus Thwala, Zombodze MP, said they experienced strong winds, particularly in the early hours of yesterday, but he had not received reports of any damage to property. He stated though that people would be able to plant something this ploughing season.
04 October 2007
FAKE BOOKS FLOOD SCHOOLS
By Bheki Gama
INVESTIGATIONS have revealed that troubled St. Marks Primary School is flooded with several of counterfeit prescribed text books.
It has also been established that there are at least two printing companies involved in producing the counterfeit school books, which are then given to pupils at the school.
However, it could not be established as how the school became one of the targets for these unscrupulous printers and how the procurements were done.
What is surprising is that most of the counterfeit copies are supplied by government to every child at no cost. These are the ones published by Macmillan Swaziland National Publishing Company.
The Swazi Observer discovered that the supply of these fakes affected all the grades. It was hard to establish as to where the genuine books supplied by the state were diverted. Parents contacted about the issue alleged that the government property was diverted to private schools.
The Swazi Observer took samples of these books for verification by Macmillan Swaziland where they were confirmed as fake. "We can confirm that these are definitely not ours," stated Elias Ndwandwe, Macmillan Swaziland Managing Director, who did not have to spend time looking for clues.
He also disclosed that the company had copyright of the illustrations in the book, but mentioned that the state held the copyrights of the text and the books themselves.
Principal Secretary in the ministry of education Goodman Kunene said the newspaper should help his ministry identify the criminals, promising that they (criminals) would be taken to task. He confirmed that his ministry was the copyright holder of some of the copied books. "The ministry has lawyers who will look into the matter," he said.
The newspaper can reveal that government books are not supposed to be distributed in private schools. "Such school are not public institutions, but private businesses established with the aim of reaping profits for the directors and shareholders using education as a tool," said a highly-placed source at the ministry of education.
And, therefore, giving private schools such reading materials would be supporting private businesses using government resources.
The source also added that the ministry was aware that certain private schools pirated these government books.
The sale of these books affect Macmillan who supply government. The more these fake textbooks saturate the market the more the company suffers, economically due to less demand.
On Friday, September 15, Macmillan Publishers raised the issue of counterfeits with the country's Booksellers Association. An appeal was made with the association to partner in stopping illegal publishing of books. Regional Sales Manager Christian Ntshangase mentioned that this was an illegal act and an infringement of copyrights laws.
Ntshangase raised the issue with the booksellers at S&B Restaurant in Matsapha.
During the same meeting, Sales Representative Gcinaphi Sikhondze said they discovered that there were text books being photocopied for pupils. She also said there were people who were making money illegally buy selling the counterfeit copies even to mainstream schools.
Head teacher Chris Davies was accused by a parliament select committee of having "photocopied books that were provided free by the Ministry of Education and his administration of the school was very poor, it did not reflect that there was a head teacher or deputy."
04 October 2007
Kombi drivers want guns
PIGG’S PEAK – Kombi drivers are still shocked at the incident that befell one of their colleagues, who was attacked and forced to drink weevil tablets by three men who hijacked the kombi he was driving.
Interviewed at the bus rank, most of them expressed shock at the incident and stated that this was a cruel act.
Mhlangano Simelane said: “Our safety is no longer guaranteed if such an incident can happen to one of our colleagues. It seems that now our safety can be only guaranteed when we go home early and start working when the streets are busy in the morning,” said Simelane.
Seven Shiba said he was equally shocked at the incident since it was the first to involve a kombi driver. “The attacks usually happen in the taxis, not the kombis,” he said. Shiba said they would also conduct their own investigations. He said they were still going to meet with the kombi owners to come up with a solution to the problem of safety.
“We drive cars that are worth a lot of money and we work with money everyday. The government should allow kombi drivers to have permits to carry guns for their protection. The axes are useless compared to the guns carjackers carry,” said Shiba.
Sizwe Buthelezi said he was also shocked because this could also happen to him. Buthelezi concurred with Shiba that it was time they were given permits to own guns for their protection. He said in South Africa, drivers were allowed to have guns. Commenting about the incident, Buthelezi said Msweli was given two options which all would lead to death and was lucky to be alive. “We drive expensive cars and the government should allow us to have the permits because that is the only way that our safety would be guaranteed.
03 October 2007
LAVUMISA CAN'T USE 12m LITRES
By Musa Ndlangamandla
IN what can best be described as the shocker of shockers, drought-stricken Lavumisa is failing to adequately use 12 million litres of water per day, pumped into the country by South Africa.
For instance, Lavumisa Town Board admits that it hardly uses even 50 percent of water allocated to it under a Treaty between Swaziland and South Africa. The Swazi Observer was informed that the town was allocated one-fifth of the 12 million litres per day total.
Moreover, the balancing dam into which the water is pumped is in a terrible shape and is leaking. “There is some seepage. Liyavuta lelidamu. This is a serious concern,” said an official of the ministry of agriculture and co-operatives. The shocking news was revealed to The Swazi Observer during a visit to the area last week.
This, despite the fact that the poverty-stricken community which comprises 16 imiphakatsi under one chief is sometimes forced to share dirty water with animals.
Government has expressed serious concern about the under-utilisation of the water resources and as such, is assisting the community with strategies to ensure maximum and efficient use of the water.
The Swazi Observer has also been told that the African Development Bank (ADB) has taken an interest in the matter and expressed serious concern about the failure of the drought battered community to utilise the water. It transpired that the ADB is mainly concerned with the distribution of domestic water in the Somntongo and Matsanjeni Tinkhundla centres - following the securing of .26 million cubic metres of Jozini Dam water from South Africa.
The water was accessed last year.
The ADB, it has emerged, also conducted a study aimed at finding ways to normalise the situation. The ADB has funding for water projects in developing countries and has an interest in assisting Swaziland with infrastructure and technical advice.
It was revealed that when the Jozini Dam was built, a Treaty was signed in the 1990s between the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland, which sought to compensate the latter for the dam - whose tail floods the Swazi territory.
It was also gathered that, as per the Treaty, the balancing dam with an allocation of 12 million litres per day is administered and maintained by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa, in liaison with Swaziland’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy.
The ministry’s Water Resources Branch is directly involved in this regard.
Under the agreement, The Swazi Observer gathered, four-fifths of the water was meant for irrigation purposes, whilst one-fifth was meant for consumption by the local community in the town.
Experts say the four-fifths is equivalent to four cusecs which amounts to 113.3 litres per second.
They say the one cusec that goes to the town represents 28.32 litres per second. During the rainy season, the tail of the dam floods the Swazi territory. Experts call the phenomenon a throwback.
Acting Chief of Lavumisa Mzweleni Dlamini confirmed the matter.
“As part of the Treaty, it was agreed that a balancing dam would be built in Lavumisa where water would be pumped in from South Africa. The water was meant for domestic use in the town and for irrigation purposes. We have had some problems accessing the water and I must say we have also faced challenges in spreading it through the entire Lavumisa community,” acting Chief Mzweleni said.
He added that the water crisis in Lavumisa was misunderstood in several quarters.
“We have 16 imiphakatsi and the area is very big. The balancing dam is on a farm adjacent to Maplothini. This is the urban and peri-urban side of the Lavumisa community. The dam is used to irrigate sugar-fields and for domestic purposes mainly in the Maplothini area and town. The town has a population of about 3000 people,” acting Chief Mzweleni said.
He confirmed that the community does not use the water resource to its fullest potential and expressed a desire that it should be pumped to all the imiphakatsi in the area.
The Swazi Observer spoke to Somntongo Member of Parliament Doward Sihlongonyane who also confirmed the existence of the balancing dam and the water shortages faced by the community.
He also confirmed the involvement of ADB in the community and that the institution ‘rapped them on the knuckles’ for the lack of adequate use of the availed water resources.
“The water was meant for the people of Maplothini and the town. The ADB recently conducted a study to see how water can be piped to Qomintaba and other areas which face serious water shortages. We have also negotiated with a company called Impala in South Africa to have them release more water to the area,” Sihlongonyane said.
The MP was confident that in eight months time, the problem of water shortage in greater Lavumisa would have been solved.
The Swazi Observer spoke to Lavumisa Town Clerk Manzi Mthupha who also confirmed the existence of the dam.
“I can confirm the existence of the dam and the fact that we have not been able to use the available water to the fullest. We are not using even 50 percent of the water that was allocated to the town. We are currently engaged in efforts to improve in that aspect,” Mthupha said.
03 October 2007
‘Nation must unite against poverty’
BY ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI
MANZINI – The Director of the Co-ordinating Assembly of Non Governmental Organisations (CANGO), Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, said the issue of poverty in the country was stretching everything to the limit.
Ndlangamandla was commenting on some of the issues that were raised by NERCHA Director Dr Derek von Wissell in an open letter that was published in local newspapers on Monday. Dr von Wissell stated that HIV, death, diseases and poverty had become a burden to society.
Ndlangamandla concurred with Dr von Wissell in the issues he raised.
“The issues that he raised are a reality – looking at the factor that our population is decreasing – what is decreasing it? It is in our minds that – it’s possible that it is attributed to the HIV scourge - I think the current situation is begging on the poverty situation in the country.”
He stated that the people in the country needed to come together and form one influential voice. Even if government could make strategies on her own, Ndlangamandla noted that she needed everyone else.
“The crisis is centred around the people, and it’s determined by people who have been given the responsibility to govern. To address the core issues, which affect the people – we should think about how we get people involved – politically, economically and socially.
“Even if you look at how people are. In hospitals, you do not have a voice – a place where you have gone for a service – you do not have a voice. People are just shut out,” he said.
He said the fundamental thing was that the systems must be supportive because the people who were suffering were suffering alone.
01 October 2007
MISS SWAZILAND's 'DUBAI'
By Nombulelo Matsebula
NEWLY-CROWNED Miss Swaziland, Nkosingiphile Dlamini on Saturday left a happy woman after having a feel of her newly-acquired asset, an Opel Astra sedan, among other prizes.
What our most beautiful of all maidens won herself a pre-owned vehicle. She was elated of course but the repurcursions leave a lot to be desired. Nkosing'phile got what she thought was worth the event. The sponsors of the car, First International Investment said it was a pleasure for them to be part of the event and hoped to continue with the sponsorship in the years to come. The company’s Marketing and Sales Executive,, Menzi Matsebula, noted that the car was not new. “The Opel Astra is a pre-owned car from Japan and costs E80 000,” Matsebula said.
He mentioned that they were elated to have been part of the prestigious event and hoped to continue sponsorship in years to come with the support of the nation. By sponsoring the event the company director Khaqan Ali, said they were marketing the organisation and at the same time giving back to the community. “We want to see a competent Miss Swaziland and plan to bring some expertise to help with the event in the future,” Ali said.
The beauty queen is elated about her car. “I’m very excited that I'm now owning a car and am grateful to the organisers because I know how much they struggled to secure sponsorship. I’m also grateful to First Internatonal Investment for the wheels,” Dlamini said. She is still at the driving school and is not sure who will be chauffering her in the meantime.
Besides the car, Dlamini won a trip to Taiwan which was sponsored by the Ambassador of Taiwan, Leonard Chao, a hamper from Jabu Stone, clothing voucher from Trinity Entertainment, who also pledged sponsorship for next year, among other prizes.
The beauty queen said she was excited about winning the crown and was expecting it. “The whole experience was amazing and I was looking at walking away with the title, that is the reason why I joined in the first place,” she said.
She noted that no one gave her tough competition and promised to do her best as Miss Swaziland 2007/08. “I would like to work with the country’s youth in motivating them as they seem to lack such. With the escalating number of abortion cases in the Kingdom, I feel we, as the youth need to make a firm stand,” the third-year Law student said.
01 October 2007
No Swazi adults by 2025!
BY WALLEN SIMWAKA
MATSAPHA – The National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA) has urged government to act quickly on HIV and AIDS as it is predicted that by 2025, Swaziland will have much fewer adults over 35. A study has found that the structure of the population will change, leaving fewer older women and men and a much younger nation because the older people are dying.
It was announced on Thursday that provisional 2007 Swaziland Population and Housing Census results showed that the total population of Swaziland was now 953 524 people.
In 1997, the total population was 929 718 people.
Out of the slightly more than 953 000 people, the census results show that at least 493 026 are female. Only 460 498 are men.
NERCHA director Derek von Wissell said Swaziland’s position on population was an incredible one because too many men and often the wrong ones were dying.
He made the observations at the S and B Restaurant when he briefed the parliament Select Committee on HIV/AIDS on Friday. He said it was disheartening that the life expectancy of many a Swazi had dropped to 31 from 61 years in the last five years.
He noted that the country was above the emergency threshold, describing the situation as a disaster. He said there was no doubt that the HIV and AIDS pandemic was the major contributing factor and that more was needed to combat the scourge in the country.
He said the cases of Tuberculosis (TB) have increased, stating that it had also remained the biggest challenge for the country’s health sector. “There will be few people over the ages of 35 left by the year 2025 in Swaziland, especially the men. If there are more women now, they should start moving into management positions. But this is a disaster for the country because too many men and the wrong ones are dying,” von Wissell said.
He further observed that while Swaziland was rated a lower middle income country, it was shocking that 80 per cent of the population was living in abject poverty.
He said Malawi and Zambia were lower income countries yet the poverty levels were not as high as Swaziland.
“Only 20 per cent of the people of Swaziland are very rich and the largest part of the population is living below the poverty datum line. Most people in this country have since stopped skipping meals but they stay for a day before they could have one. They eat one meal after every other day,” he said.
In a separate interview, he explained that the United States Census Bureau the forecast.
He said they noted that without antiretroviral drugs the adult population would be greatly reduced, especially the over the ages of 30 to 35 leaving much fewer men over the age of 35.