Swaziland News Jun 2009

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SWAZI OBSERVER - By Musa Ndlangamandla-04-Jun-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has assured the world that the Government of Swaziland is studying Zimbabwe’s Recovery Programme with the view to identify key areas where the former can assist in the latter’s rehabilitation strategy.

An announcement will be made soon on areas of cooperation. His Majesty also expressed his keenness to have a Joint Bilateral Cooperation Agreement signed between the Kingdom of Swaziland and Zimbabwe for cooperation in such areas as trade, sports, cultural exchange programmes and tourism. His Majesty made the remarks yesterday in Harare, Zimbabwe where he is currently on a State visit. He is accompanied by Inkhosikati Make LaGija.
His Majesty emphasised that there could be no prosperity in the Southern African region if one of its own, such as Zimbabwe still faced some difficulties. “It is for this reason that the region is doing everything within its power to assist this great country. My government is currently considering the programme to determine where we can be of support. We are also looking at how best we can enhance our trading relations with Zimbabwe in an effort to stimulate our economic development,’ the King said. His Majesty added that the two countries needed the agreements to be used as a leverage for development.
“I look forward to the establishment of a Joint Bilateral Cooperation Agreement where our two countries can cooperate in health, the fight against HIV and AIDS, in sports, culture and tourism development to name just a few. Such programmes can be a catalyst in the development of our two countries,’ he said. The King noted that for any country’s progress to be assured, there was the strong need for peace and cooperation between the government and people. He expressed his confidence that the people of Zimbabwe were willing, able and eager to support the inclusive government as it pushes key priority areas for success. “As Swazi nation we are aware that one of the key functions of government is to create an environment for the private sector to flourish and also to provide safety and security in the land we live in. “This is the mammoth task that is before the inclusive government and requires patience from all levels of society,” he said.

Food situation is improving in Swaziland’

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By Calsile Masilela - SWAZI OBSERVER-04-Jun-2009

HE overall food availability looks much better this year compared to previous seasons, Disaster Management Agency Chairman Ben Nsibandze said. He said a more detailed report on the assessment would be made available in due course. Nsibandze said the Disa

“This includes the Republic of Malawi, which made a huge maize donation that brought much relief to hundreds of Swazi hunger victims. Others are UNICEF, WFP, UNDP and others.” Nsibandze said there would be a meeting today considering that the Swazi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) had conducted assessment in all four regions. He said the VAC figures would reflect the food availability situation during the current programme. Nsibandze said it was encouraging to note that some farmers were now preparing for the next cropping season. He said some had adopted the zero tillage method to promote conservation farming and the use of recommended crop varieties suitable for each agro- ecological region.

Matsapha Trading, Nashua sponsor basketball tournament

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - SWAZI OBSERVER-04-Jun-2009

BASKETBALL – MATSAPHA Trading Company and NASHUA have sponsored the Hammer Slam Under 16’s Basketball Tournament, which will be held at the Coronation Park courts on Saturday, starting at 8am.

Tournament Coordinator Thabo Kunene yesterday stated that the two companies sponsored the tournament with trophies and medals that will be won by the participants in the tournament. He announced that each team interested to take part in the tournament will part with E150. He also stated that after the juniors’ tournament, senior teams including Raptors, Rockets, Griffins, Simunye and Wizards would then take to the courts. He urged junior basketball players to take advantage and participate in the tournament to keep themselves fit and improve their skills. “The main aim for hosting such a tournament is to keep the young basketball players busy by taking part in sports as opposed to them indulging in harmful drugs and engaging in unscrupulous behaviour.
“Afterwards, we will have games by a number of senior teams who will give the young players a few lessons. I urge both boys and girls to take part in the tournament as there will be trophies and medals at stake. I also urge parents to release their children and also come and support them as they battle it out in the tournament,” he said. Meanwhile, Kunene also announced that the Raptors Basketball Camp, will be held during the schools’ second term break. He said they would take it to schools at the various parts of the country in order to raise awareness on the sport.

Swazi Secrets now owned by rural women suppliers

Business Section


MBABANE – Swazi Secrets will be handing over full ownership of the company to the groups of rural women who supply the company.

The handover will be done next week Thursday during the company’s first ever Annual General Meeting (AGM). This means that the rural women suppliers will now sit in the Board of Directors, but only as non-Executive Directors.
Swazi Indigenous Products (SIP) Executive Director John Pearce said there were 42 member groups, each comprising of between 15 and 20 women who supply the company with marula nuts.
“This is a significant step for the company and it is not something that happens overnight. When the company was set up four years ago we encouraged the rural women suppliers to become members. To be a member, each supplier had to pay an annual subscription of E10 for the first year and E4 thereafter each year.
They were also encouraged to form member groups and now that the ownership will be handed over to the suppliers, each member group will receive a share certificate at the company’s AGM. As the company’s shareholders, they will then elect the Board of Directors,” Pearce explained.
Entitled He said each member group would be entitled to nominate candidates who would stand for elections during the AGM. “Our company constitution requires each member group to nominate a candidate. When the company was formed, it was run by a Steering Committee and Technical Committee and the Board was elected by the Steering Committee. We have had three rural representatives in the Board for 12 months and they were nominated by the company’s patron, Her Majesty the Indlovukazi,” he added.
Asked if the rural women who would be appointed as members of the Board would still be eligible to supply the company with kernels and if they would get training on the business operations, Pearce said; “Yes, they will still be eligible to supply the company. Those who make it to the Board will be given extensive induction of how the business operates and there will also be continuous training after introducing them to the business.” He also said the women would elect five directors from among the rural suppliers and four directors from prominent Swazi professionals who have consented to stand for election. “As the Executive Director, I will be an ex-officio member of the Board and I will report to the Board,” said Pearce. The women shareholders will also assist in the development of the company while also helping the rural women to adapt to their new company directors.
“As shareholders, the member groups will also participate in the distribution of the company’s future profits, by deciding on how to spend the profits on local community developments,” he added. SIP is the company that produces a number of Swazi Secrets products such as marula oil and bath soaps, among others.

SA Trade minister threatens Swaziland

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MBABANE – South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is reported to have said his country was prepared to set up trade barriers with neighbours; Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Mozambique.

These trade barriers would be meant to stop a flood of cheap imports entering SA, according to SA’s Business Day. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland signed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in Brussels on Thursday. The SA minister sounded the warning after learning that Swaziland and the three other countries broke ranks and signed trade deals with the EU. Davies’ warning is a sign that the almost 100-year old Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is in jeopardy, as its rules prevent signatories from entering separate trade agreements with other countries. SACU is the country’s cash cow and over 60 per cent of the national budget comes from SACU receipts. If SA goes ahead with the threat it would pose serious problems for the country (Swaziland) in particular. The SA minister said his country would step up border controls with Swaziland to prevent goods with easier rules of origin from entering South Africa.

We will not be admitting things which do not comply with the rules of origin under TDCA. We will not be allowing them to come into the SA market and if that means we have to introduce border control issues with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland and they have to do likewise, then so be it,” said Davies. Independent economist Muzikayise Dube said there were two types of barriers; tariffs and technical barriers to trade. He said the removal of tariff barriers would mean no duties for goods coming into the region from the European Union (EU).

“The removal of technical barriers means the standards of trade would be raised such that goods coming into the region from the EU or elsewhere would have to qualify to enter by meeting certain specifications and standards set by the EU and the region. What that does is that any commodity that is sub-standard is rejected and whosoever brings those sub-standard goods would be penalised,” he said.

One of the significant changes to trade rules under the EPA is that of more favourable rules of origin for clothing and textiles, a sector SA wants to protect, Business Day said. Dube explained; “There has been a problem in the region with the influx of clothing and textiles from Asia, particularly China. This has raised concerns of dumping, as this clothing is rejected in other countries and then dumped in the region. Sometimes, the goods would be exported into Swaziland, and other countries in the region, and then routed to SA. This has been the main problem and probably the reason why SA now wants to close that loophole in order to stop the influx of cheap imports.”

The problem SA has is that in terms of the SA’s Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) with the EU, garments need to undergo two stages of conversion to be allowed into the SA market, while the EPA rules of origin eases obligations to single-stage conversion.


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Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-06-Jun-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III on Friday toured a car assembly plant in Zimbabwe, where he held talks with management about possible cooperation with the Kingdom of Swaziland.

The Willowvale Car Assembly plant specialises in Mazda and it uses kits that are transported from the mother company in Japan. The company assembles bakkies and sedans and exports some of its vehicles to neighbouring Malawi. The King was informed how sanctions against Zimbabwe, which were pushed by Western countries have suffocated the business, leading to major job losses.

From a time when they were manufacturing over 9 000 cars per year, the company now has to contend with making 2 000 vehicles and the staff has been cut to a mere 200. “Your Majesty, the sanctions have hit hard on the company. This is because our main market is domestic and the corporate world uses our vehicles. Now with the sanctions, we are receiving less and less orders, mainly because the companies which support us are also hit by the problems,” said a manager who briefed the King. He expressed confidence though that with the Inclusive Government’s STERP programme, which seeks to revive the economy, things will improve. The King was told that some of the parts were sourced locally. These are such items as batteries, windshields and paint.

His Majesty said he was impressed by what he observed during the tour and encouraged the management and staff to work harder. “We understand the difficulties you are faced with. But we are confident that the government and the people of Zimbabwe will overcome all these challenges. You must come up with a strong marketing strategy and do not hesitate to approach us to see where we can assist,” he said. The King said he was impressed with the high standards that the company had set for itself, adding that if they strive to maintain quality in their products, they would have solved 90% of their challenges. Meanwhile, His Majesty toured Dairibord, a company that produces milk products in Harare. It was explained that the company was a public entity listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange with over 5 500 shareholders, all Zimbabweans. It started operations as DMB in 1952 and it currently employs 1 000 people, 80% of whom are shareholders. The holding company owns four entities 100% and one company 40% in Zimbabwe and one company 80% in Malawi. The range of products include liquid milks such as fresh and long shelf life; yoghurts, ice cream, a variety of cheese and beverages, which include juices, cordials and water. Even in this company, His Majesty was told that because of the economic challenges Zimbabwe is faced with, capacity utilisation was now low. However, the company is optimistic that things will improve


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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-06-Jun-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III arrived safely in Bulawayo, the second major city of Zimbabwe, as he concluded his three-day State visit to that country.

The King, who is accompanied by Inkhosikati Make LaGija, has a tight programme in Bulawayo which involves meeting business leaders and touring agricultural projects. He was met at the Joshua Nkomo Airport by high ranking members of the Zimbabwean cabinet, parliament and business community. His Majesty proceeds to Victoria Falls on Sunday where he will meet Heads of State and government for the COMESA Summit. One of the areas that were on the King’s programme was a tour of a farm that belongs to veterans. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lutfo Dlamini, who toured the project, said the Kingdom of Swaziland was looking forward to strengthening cooperation with Zimbabwe in the quest to ensure food security.

He said it was the wish of His Majesty King Mswati III and President Robert Mugabe to ensure that the countries work together to ensure the production of enough food to feed the populace and also export to other nations. “The issue of food security is a high priority to government and the nation at large. Our nations have to work together in developing strategies to address the issue of food security. We have to address the challenges which were largely due to a drought spell that has battered our countries for close to two decades,” he said He urged the private sector to work hand in hand with government on strategies to enhance agricultural output.” Minister Dlamini said technical experts must be on hand to assist farmers in making choices of crops which can withstand the weather conditions prevailing in the different regions of the countries

No more IGCSE for Swaziland!

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MBABANE – The cont-entious IGCSE progra-mme, introduced in Swaziland only two years ago, has been phased out.

The kingdom has since localised the high school examinations, which will result in a reduction on exam fees. Learners to sit for the Form Five examinations at the end of this year will receive what is known as the Swaziland International General Certificate of Secondary Education (SIGCSE). IGCSE stood for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. This newspaper is in the possession of government’s national report on The Development of Education, released eight months ago. The document, released in October 2008, states that the kingdom still advocates for a curriculum that promotes entrepreneurial skills.
“In light of constant changes in the educational arena, the government adopted the IGCSE curriculum in schools in Form Four.” reads part of the document. “In 2007, the programme proceeded to Form Five.” One advantage of the two-year IGCSE programme is that it promotes the development of problem-solving skills, knowledge and understanding and explores the pupil’s ability to undertake individual projects. Now that localisation, which had all along been ongoing, has been finalised, five subjects have already been localised. These are Mathematics, Siswati, Science, English and Home Economics. According to the government document, localisation will bring in local flavour and reduce the cost of teaching and learning material, as well as reduce dependence on United Kingdom systems. Government says the localised curriculum will also have a reduced number of examination papers, which could reduce costs for parents.

The ministry assures that quality will be maintained. This means that the examinations will be set locally but still have international recognition to allow Swazi learners to further their studies or work outside the kingdom. The ministry has noted that the shift from O-level to IGCSE had its own challenges, with the general public being sceptical. “The ministry, therefore, has an assignment to clarify issues for the public so that the right perceptions about the programme are acquired,” reads the document. It states that IGCSE had demanded a shift from teacher to child-centred learning approaches. This has called for teacher-training.

Meanwhile, Pat Muir, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education, says the kingdom’s exam will be called the Swaziland International General Certificate in Secondary Education (SIGCSE) until all the subjects are localised. This is expected to happen by next year, after which the exam will be known only as the Swaziland General Certificate in Secondary Education (SGCSE) Muir confirmed that exam fees would go down because the costs involved in marking the exams in Cambridge would be eliminated.

However, the link with Cambridge will still be maintained even after next year, with CIE retained as quality overseers.

New coach for the rugby national team

Sports Section


MBABANE – The Swaziland Rugby Union has appointed Steven Reynolds to be the head coach of the rugby national team.

Reynolds will lead the team that will be competing in the Confederation of African Rugby tournament, which will be played in Botswana, Gaborone in July. The squad which was selected about a month ago is going under training in preparations for the CAR tournament.

The final squad will consist of 23 players who will be selected from the 36 players who were selected during the trials last month. Announcing the appointment of Reynolds was SRU President Michael Collinson. It will be the second time for Reynolds to head a national team as last year he coached the national side for the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers against Botswana.

Collinson said though they lost last year they were happy about the performance of Reynolds’ led team. “Steven put in a huge amount of time and effort getting the World Cup team ready and we were impressed with his commitment,” he said.

Collinson said Reynolds had already begun drilling the 36 member tentative training squad. “He trains the team three times a week and he seems to be happy with the players’ commitment, “he said. Reynolds when contacted on his new appointment thanked the Rugby Union for their faith in him and assured the executive he would do everything in his power to bring back positive results.

No sex for one month

Recreation Section


BETHANY – The two week long revivals for members of the Nazareth Baptist Church, alias KaShembe, ended on a high note on Sunday.

The next item on the agenda is the holy month of July when members are not expected to among other things, engage in sex.

The services ended with the departing of one of the most holy items in the church known as the Ark of Covenant, which saw everyone bowing with respect as it passed. Speaking to two staunch members of the church, Matsanjeni South Member of Parliament Qedusizi Ndlovu and Ntshanini High school teacher Nkosinathi Nhlabatsi, they noted that the services went well.

Worship On Sunday, it was the last day as they performed Umgidzi which was described as a praise and worship through feelings. The two worshippers said the revival on the last day was like they were in war with evil spirits after having completed two weeks living a holy life.

They said during the services they were not engaging in sexual practices and on the last day they began to pray at 10.30am and were supposed to close at 3.45pm. The closing ceremony was supposed to be done officially by the King of Ekuphakameni, after having seen the Ark of Covenant (umphongolo wesivumelwane).

The Ark of Covenant departed on Sunday after having arrived in the country on May 31. “It will be taken to Linda near King Zwelithini’s palace in KwaZulu Natal where it will stay for the whole of July which is the holy month for the Nazareth church,” they said.

They said there were three holy months on the church’s calendar, which are January, July and October. During the holy month, they are not supposed to engage in sex, or eat bread that has been baked using yeast or baking powder. At the services many people were baptised. During the Sunday service men and women were dressed in traditional regalia.


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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Jun-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III last evening held private talks with South African President Jacob Zuma regarding issues of peace, security and stability in the region.

The meeting, which was also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Lutfo Dlamini and Chief Officer in the King’s Office Bheki Dlamini, took place at the Presidential Residence in Cape Town where His Majesty currently is after leaving Zimbabwe yesterday.

Minister Dlamini confirmed that the King and President Zuma were concerned about the issue of Madagascar and other hot spots in the region and that the meeting was meant to find solutions to the challenges Swazi Observer hads gathered that among the main issues to be discussed by the two leaders will be the situation in Madagascar. It could not be ascertained what other specific issues the two leaders discussed.

The meeting was held under the auspices of SADC in view of the fact that His Majesty is chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation, whilst Zuma had assumed the Chairmanship of SADC. Swazi Observer also gathered that ousted Malagasy President Marc Ravalomanana was also present, as he had also attended the 13th COMESA Heads of State Summit in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the 19 member states of COMESA Authority have said they do not recognise the government of Madagascar under the DJ turned politician Andry Rajoelina. They said they still recognised Ravalomanana as president of that country despite a coup that removed him a few months ago. In his speech, His Majesty said “I am sure that the people of Madagascar will welcome the fact that COMESA has fully endorsed the decision taken by SADC on this matter. This decision will encourage SADC to work even harder towards the resolution of the Madagascar crisis.”

His Majesty said it was encouraging to note that COMESA continued with efforts to promote peace, security and stability in the region. He noted though that there were still some challenges and hot spots in the region. “However, it will appear our efforts are often overtaken by events as many conflicts end up in chaos and coups that result in the suffering of many people. To that end the summit discussed prevailing situations in our region, particularly the issue of the Republic of Madagascar,” he said.

Shembe claims credit for rain

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By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Jun-2009

THE Nazareth Babtist Church known as Shembe has claimed credit for the light rains that are falling through the country.

The church spokesperson Mhlephila Mthethwa said the leader of the church Vimbeni Shembe was expected to leave the country today for KwaZulu. “We enjoyed our stay in the country. We are happy that now that we are leaving there is rain in the country and we believe that it is proof that the Lord has heard our prayers. “When we arrived there was no rain but today chances are high that rain will fall,” he said.

The leader and his entourage is expected to leave the Isabelo Home based at Lozitha at exactly 7:30 am and head for Linda Temple at Kwanongoma. He stated that it would be the first time in the history of the church for the leader to visit two kingdoms consecutively. Mthethwa said they would spend two weeks at Kwanongoma which is the same number of weeks the leader and his followers spent in the country.

He said they were happy with the reception they received from the country and thanked His Majesty King Mswati III, the Queen Mother and the Swazi nation for the warm welcome the Royalty gave them. He said they would be happy to visit the country again next year and pleaded with the church members to pray for their safe journey to KwaZulu.

Mthethwa applauded the local church members for their good behaviour since the conference began a week ago.

Meanwhile, the Shembe leader visited the Ludzidzini Royal Residence last Sunday where he had a private meeting with His Majety King Mswati III. After the meeting the church members showcased their dancing skills to the King, Queen Mother, Royal family and the entire Swazis who were at Ludzidzini.

SA justified, SACU states should have listened’

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Jun-2009

SOUTH Africa is justified in its reaction towards the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member states that signed economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with the European Union (EU) despite that country expressing concerns against such, analysts sugge

This comes in the wake of South Africa’s threat to review customs revenue allocations and tighten border controls with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland after these countries broke ranks with SACU and signed an interim trade deal with the European Union (EU).

However, trade economists were alarmed at prospects that South Africa may break up the customs union, warning that this could have devastating economic and humanitarian consequences for countries in the region that could spill over into SA. An analyst reportedly warned that the unshackling of Swaziland and Lesotho from SA would be a catastrophe for these countries, adding that he was ‘astounded’ that the parties seemed not to have considered the fallout.

If South Africa pulled the plug on SACU, it was reported, Lesotho could lose up to 25% of its gross domestic product (GDP) overnight while Swaziland could lose 20%. The economist suggested that substituting income by raising taxes would require both countries to double their VAT rates and increase corporate tax threefold.

“South Africa can be justified in its reaction regarding other SACU members signing the interim agreement because it is not supposed to be like that; countries are supposed to sign agreements as a bloc not individually,” said a local independent economist who preferred anonymity. disgruntled

However, he said it must be noted that South Africa signed a Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) with the EU while the other SACU member states were trading under the Cotonou Agreement. The economist said the smaller states were disgruntled at this fact, saying South Africa was hogging everything and yet it has its own trade agreement with the EU. The TDCA, signed in 1999, created a free-trade area (FTA) between South Africa and the EU over a 12-year period. In terms of the agreement, the EU and South Africa were to open their markets to each other at a different pace. For South Africa, in the case of trade and development cooperation, the TDCA takes precedence over the Cotonou Agreement.

The local economist said it must also be understood that the signatories of the countries that signed the agreement might have been pressured into doing so. He said the EU was of the notion that if SACU would not negotiate as a bloc then it (EU) would do so individually with the member countries.

“Some factions have said the EPAs (economic partnership agreements) are a colonisation of some sort, so maybe we should have listened to what South Africa was saying,” he added. “The signatories were put under pressure. If someone comes to you dangling a carrot and tells you to sign or else, what would you do?”

He noted that because negotiations involve bargaining from both ends, terms should be considered so as to create fair playing ground. “There are many issues involved here, including those raised by SA. There’s need to know the rules of origin, market access and so on. So, the solutions cannot be an overnight thing, they have to be holistic.”

Banned: All school trips on school days

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MANZINI – Govern-ment has cancelled all school trips that will be taken during school days.

Regional Education Officer Phineas Masinga said this was contained in a circular that was yet to be issued soon. He said teachers should not be surprised by the circular which questions the undertaking of trips during school days.

“No trips will be taken during school days. When undertaking a trip you now have to write to the REO who will in turn inform the Principal Secretary,” Masinga said much to murmurs from the principals.

He said at some point they almost got in trouble when they questioned by traditional authorities from Ludzidzini about why a trip to Durban, South Africa had been allowed when there was Umhlanga ceremony. He advised principals not to deviate from the school calendar but follow it as is.

“Where does those who close a few days before the stipulated date come from?” he wondered. Masinga said such could only happen when there are national celebrations, which are usually communicated by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Ministry of Education.

What is becoming of sd

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

Mr. Editor kindly convey my concern on the story that appeared on May 6, 2009 headlined “Pupils caught having sex during revivals”.

Illicit relationships among young people should be strongly discouraged, especially in churches, otherwise such blurbs will continue running like adverts in our local newspapers. Young people should be told the truth and be also cautioned about the dangers of contravening the word of God, irrespective of where they are and who see them.

Worth saying is that God gives and forgets, just like when he forgives. I came across a line in the story that says ‘Delilah, a praise and worship singer was earlier said to have sent the church to spiritual frenzy’. If God has given you a gift, even when you opt to forsake him, he doesn’t part with his gift but it remains in you until death succumbs you.

That is why I am not perturbed by scandal reports by gospel singers. The devil prefers using singers to fulfill its evil intention, after that has been executed the only appreciation the devil give is death.


It’s like people have forgotten so soon that satan was the pioneer in the field of music, all these scandalous gospel singers are therefore sons of the devil. ‘Like father like son’ so goes the saying. Now! As a church after coming across such news, we need to stand up and pray for the gospel singers as the bible says, “if anyone of you gets weak along the way, pray for him that he may regain strength’.

I would lastly request the authorities or whosoever mandated to decide on the fate of the two in question to handle the matter maturely. The church can excommunicate the two from executing the church activities until God says yes, otherwise they should not be disturbed from their studies, as they still deserve to live a happy life and wear the smile for life, despite what has befallen them.

Remember that when your child has exceedingly infuriated you and you have the obsession of carelessly punishing or abandoning him, it is exactly when the child needs your love, presence and security, when all these are least expected of you.

Ntokozo C Dlamini GEBENI.

Recession knocking on the door

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Jun-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III says the 13th COMESA Summit came at an opportune time when the whole world is experiencing a devastating economic meltdown.

The King called on the 19 COMESA member States to work closely, harder and smarter to build confidence in the region in order to attract investors and traders from all over the world. He noted that whilst for sometime the challenges of the global financial crisis may have seemed far from developing countries, the reality was that the recession was knocking on the door.

The King was speaking on Monday during the Summit held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Present were, among many, President Robert Mugabe who assumed chairmanship of the organisation, the outgoing chairman Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Zambian President Rupiah Banda and outsted President Marc Ravalomanana, among others. “This might come with great suffering as there will be depression to our economies, which could result in massive job loses due to closure of some companies. FDI will also shrink drastically thus putting pressure on developing countries to come up with strategies to address this phenomenon,” he said.

His Majesty emphasised that COMESA member states should see this as a challenge that spells the need to work together more closely. “For, if we fail to work together, the economic crisis will crush us. In this regard, we need to focus all our efforts and energies on improving trade between our countries and creating jobs in sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure development and tourism,” he said.

Speaking during the same occasion, President Museveni said the time has come for Africans to assert themselves in the scheme of things in the global arena. “As Africans, we have been asleep for a long-time whilst other parts of the world were moving forward. If you look at the millions of Africa’s sons and daughters who are in Europe, the United States of America and Asia, making a huge contribution towards developing those places, you can see that if we can get our house in order we can do much to develop our own,” he said.

President Museveni said time has come for the people of Africa to move forward and not just emphasise issues of sustainable development, but move on to what he termed social transformation. “When a baby is born, it must develop and not just stay as an infant forever. It must crawl, take the first steps and then run. You cannot talk about sustainable development forever, you must talk about transformation,” he said.


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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Jun-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has invited 19 Heads of State and Government to Swaziland for the 14th COMESA Summit to be held in 2010

The King hinted that the theme for the next summit could be coined around the use of ICT for profitability. At the time, the King will assume chairmanship of COMESA and thus Swaziland will play host of the important summit for countries whose collective population figures exceed 400 million.

He is currently the vice-chairman, whilst President Robert Mugabe assumed chairmanship and his predecessor, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, is Rapporteur.

His Majesty promised the leaders that they will be able to enjoy Swaziland’s hospitality whilst attending the summit. The King made the remarks during the 13th Heads of State Summit, which was concluded in Zimbabwe. He had been asked by the Heads of State to give a ‘Vote of Thanks’on their behalf for the success of the conference and the world-class facilities that were laid out by Zimbabwe.

“As we close this summit, allow me to extend an invitation to all COMESA member States to our next summit in the Kingdom of Swaziland next year for the 14th COMESA Summit. Let me assure you that you will be able to enjoy our true Swazi hospitality and experience the rich cultural heritage which is the embodiment of the African renaissance. We look forward to welcoming you to the Kingdom,” he said. His Majesty, on behalf of the Heads of State and Government, thanked President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe for their success in hosting a world-class conference, despite the economic difficulties the country is going through.

“We enjoyed our brief stay at Victoria Falls, which is not only convenient for summits, but also one of the major tourist attraction areas. We are extremely grateful for the hospitality that has been generously extended to us since our arrival, and for making our stay such a memorable experience. “We know that Zimbabwe is going through economic recovery, but they have been able to hold this summit successfully. This confirms that the people of Zimbabwe are working together for the improvement of their country. To that extent, we commend all the people who have been involved in the preparations for this summit,” His Majesty said.


HIS Majesty King Mswati III has thrown down the gauntlet on all leaders of Africa to work hard to make COMESA the success story of our time by turning it into a vehicle for accelerating the integration of the continent’s economies.

He said he was optimistic that COMESA will continue to demonstrate its commitment to work for the people of the region. His Majesty also congratulated COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya for his appointment, adding that his vast experience in the organisation would come in handy. “Ngwenya may be new in this position but his service and contribution to the Authority is very long,” the King said. He said the summit deliberated on several challenges among which was the global financial crisis, which affects Africa’s development.

The King said in their deliberations, they agreed that Africa needed to step up the gear in as far as the use of ICT for development purposes was concerned. His Majesty said as leaders they agreed to close the information divide through education, proper planning and execution of strategies that will result in profitability in all that is done. “Therefore, embracing ICT for profitability could be the theme for the next summit,” he said. The King said the launch of the COMESA Customs Union was a major step in the process of enhancing the economic integration of the continent. He said as leaders they envisaged that this could lead to a more practical COMESA.

“We hope that the discussions that are ongoing on the establishment of the single economic community will be able to address some of the trading impediments within and between our communities,” he said. His Majesty added that the leaders were encouraged that COMESA was continuing with efforts to promote peace in the region.

XI Men like true soldiers - Sergio

Sports Section

By Ntuthuko Dlamini-10-Jun-2009

SOCCER – ELEVEN Men In Flight stand-in coach Sergio Chirime has praised his players for the good fighting spirit they displayed to beat Mbabane Highlanders by a solitary goal in a must-win game that helped them cheat relegation on Sunday at the Trade Fair

The over-excited Mozambican-born coach, interviewed shortly after the game, said they were able to frustrate the opposition and they deserved the win.

“After last weekend’s huge defeat by Mbabane Swallows, my players were not demoralised as we were able to go back to training ground to rectify our mistakes ahead of today’s (yesterday) game. They displayed good fighting spirit like true soldiers. Although we were facing an uphill battle to avoid relegation, they never gave up.

“There has been great improvement in the team in terms of play as we outclassed the opposition with ball possession. I was greatly impressed by the performance of our keeper Yeboah Kwabema between the poles as he performed extremely well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Highlanders’ coach Zonke Mawelela blamed his side’s defeat on the absence of his key players Cisse Bongouta, Mfan’fikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze and Banele Dlamini, who were nursing an assortment of injuries. “We were not able to play our usual game due to the injury to our key players as our combination was disturbed. “We were able to create some few chances that we failed to convert into goals to wrap up the game, more especially in the second half. Otherwise, overall I think my players did well this season.

“Another major contributing factor to our failure to win the league was that my players were getting tired mentally considering the number of games we played this season compared to the other teams,” he said.

Mahindra SA plant to benefit local market considerably

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Jun-2009

IF indeed Mahindra South Africa’s plans to establish an assembly plant in that country materialise, this would offer clients of the local branch considerable cost benefits.

It has been reported that the Indian-owned vehicle maker has said it would soon make a call on whether to set up an assembly plant in South Africa, signalling its readiness to use that country as a launch pad into sub-Saharan African markets.

Mahindra Swaziland Dealer Principal Gerard Shields said even though he had received information to that effect, nothing had been confirmed as yet. He said as far as he knew, Mahindra SA was looking for a partner to establish the assembly plant with. “However, if an assembly plant for parts and vehicles is established in South Africa, it would be a huge benefit for Swaziland because production costs would go down,” said Shields. “As it is, the company’s vehicles and parts are imported directly from India and the importation costs are high. So, if these are assembled locally (SA) it would be a great benefit for consumers in Swaziland.”

Speculation is rife that the company would probably team up with an existing assembler such as Mercedes-Benz SA, BMW SA or Volkswagen SA rather than create a plant from the ground up. Reports stated that Mahindra SA CEO Ashok Thakur said such a partnership would help the company step into the market. He said if volume grew, the company would not shy away from committing investment. Thakur was reported to have said it made sense to make vehicles in SA and export them into African countries.

India-based parent company Mahindra & Mahindra operates in more than 25 African countries and vehicles are exported from India to those countries. The Indian group, which has a manufacturing plant in Egypt, also exports fully-built vehicles to South Africa, where it has about 34 dealerships. With a manufacturing facility, Mahindra SA, which began selling vehicles in SA in 2004, could export to Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) countries Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. The company is also said to have its eye on other southern and east African countries while west Africa could also be included.

Mahindra Swaziland has been operating in the country for just over a year, with its products including bakkies, SUVs, MPVs and recently launched; tractors. Mahindra guarantees after-sales support and 95% of its vehicle parts are readily available.

SPTC, MTN blackout!

Main Section


MBABANE – Police have been roped in after SPTC fibre lines that carry communication traffic between Mbabane and Manzini were burnt early yesterday morning.

This resulted in a serious communication blackout in several places around the country. The lines in the telecomm-unications infrastructure in Ezulwini next to an overhead bridge near Buka were allegedly intentionally burnt by unknown people.

Fibre lines could be likened to communication cables that ferry data and belong to the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC).

On Tuesday and Wednesday an influx of anonymous calls were received by SPTC and this publication to the effect that a communications blackout was being piloted.

The callers said SPTC management had incited war and it would be met by a communication blackout in the country. They called for immediate and unconditional reinstatement of their suspended colleagues. So serious were the callers such that some stated that they exactly know where to strike to bring down all communication.

“We are the people on the ground and we know where the bases are,” said one caller claiming to be an employee of SPTC. According to the corporation’s Managing Director, Nathi Dlamini, it was established that a liquid fuel was intentionally injected into the underground fibre lines and then set alight.

This resulted in extensive damage being done on the actual fibre line, thereby paralysing service delivery. “It must be stated that advance warnings were received as late as the night before (Wednesday) that something like this would occur, and attempts were immediately made to avert the situation. Had we not been vigilant all night, it is safe to say things could have been worse,” he said.

Affected customers are those around Ezulwini, Matsapha and Manzini while MTN leased lines and some bank services have not been spared. “The perpetrators actually made a number of anonymous phone calls, of unprintable expletives, bragging of their evil intentions. Attempts at voice analysis are being conducted,” he explained.

SPTC Corporate Affairs and Transformation Manager Lindiwe Dlamini lamented the incident. She said, “Maybe it was not a threat after all as the callers did accomplish their mission. The network is out, they sabotaged fibre lines and we have since made a report to the police because this is a criminal offence,” she said. She said the matter was no longer being dealt with by SPTC because the whole nation was now at risk and the relevant structures had to be roped in.

“It’s easy (to know the people) because it’s the ones who called. It is the people who are aggrieved,” she said. Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Vusi Masuku said Lobamba police were investigating the matter. The incident happened at a time when SPTC management and some of its workers were at logger heads following the alleged suspension and charges of misconduct preferred against some of the employees.

EU, Microprojects donate E340 000 to Lulakeni

Main Section


MBABANE – The building effort by parents of children from Lulakeni Primary School were last week greatly rewarded when they received a E340 000 financial boost from Micro-projects.

The funding, secured through the European Union, was donated towards the completion of a Home Economics classroom, which the parents had built through individual contributions up to roofing stage. The parents had also raised a further E15 000 towards the project.

Presenting the cheque was Microprojects’ Dumisa Ndzimandze, who applauded the parent’s determination in raising funds for building the Home Economics class.

Development “We will continue to partner with this community in development for as long as this spirit of hardwork prevails,”. Sigwe Member of Parliament, Sivumelwano Nxumalo thanked Microprojects, on behalf of the parents and the community. He disclosed that the donation will be used for the roofing of the class, as well as purchasing two 10 000 litre water tanks and two stoves.

“I would also like to urge you as parents to commit yourselves to building even more classes, because the roll-out of free education will see an influx of students into the school,” he said, addressing the parents. Nxumalo also extended his appreciation to ADRA who donated eight bales of clothing to 300 elderly people in four chiefdoms under his constituency.

EU, Microprojects donate E340 000 to Lulakeni

Main Section


MBABANE – The building effort by parents of children from Lulakeni Primary School were last week greatly rewarded when they received a E340 000 financial boost from Micro-projects.

The funding, secured through the European Union, was donated towards the completion of a Home Economics classroom, which the parents had built through individual contributions up to roofing stage. The parents had also raised a further E15 000 towards the project.

Presenting the cheque was Microprojects’ Dumisa Ndzimandze, who applauded the parent’s determination in raising funds for building the Home Economics class.

Development “We will continue to partner with this community in development for as long as this spirit of hardwork prevails,”. Sigwe Member of Parliament, Sivumelwano Nxumalo thanked Microprojects, on behalf of the parents and the community. He disclosed that the donation will be used for the roofing of the class, as well as purchasing two 10 000 litre water tanks and two stoves.

“I would also like to urge you as parents to commit yourselves to building even more classes, because the roll-out of free education will see an influx of students into the school,” he said, addressing the parents. Nxumalo also extended his appreciation to ADRA who donated eight bales of clothing to 300 elderly people in four chiefdoms under his constituency.

Inflation down to 8.02%

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - swazi times-15-Jun-2009

MBABANE - Lower rates of change in food for May has resulted in the decrease in the inflation rate for the month.

The headline inflation rate for May, for the country, decreased from 8.81 per cent observed in April to 8.02 per cent in May.

According to the Central Statistical News for May 2009, this rate of inflation is 0.79 percentage points lower than the corresponding annual rate of 8.81 per cent observed in April 2009.

Headline inflation refers to the annual percentage change in consumer price index (measure of the average change in prices of a fixed market basket of goods and services) for a given time period.

“The Headline inflation rate for May 2009 for the country is 8.02 per cent. This annual rate of inflation is 0.79 index points lower than the corresponding annual rate of 8.81 per cent observed in April 2009. The monthly percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in May compared with that of April is 1.26 per cent,” reads the report in part. The report also says the lower headline inflation was due to the decrease in annual rates of change reflected during the focus month in the price indices for restaurants, hotels and food.

“The rate of change in restaurants and hotels decreased from 16.21 per cent in April to 16.08 per cent in May; the rate of change in food decreased from 13.52 per cent in April to 12.79 per cent in May; the rate of change in alcoholic beverages and tobacco decreased from 10.27 per cent in April to 9.86 per cent in May; the rate of change in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels decreased from 7.57 per cent in April to 5.97 per cent in May,” reads the report in part.

On another note the report says the decreases in the rate of change for restaurants and hotels food alcoholic beverages and tobacco housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels were slightly counteracted by an increase in the price indices for miscellaneous goods bad services whose rate of change increased from 3.56 per cent in April to 4.43 per cent in May and recreation and culture whose rate of change increased from 2.14 per cent in April to 2.35 per cent in May.


Main Section

By Arthur Mordaunt - TIMES OF SWAZILAND-21-Jun-2009

MBABABE - Is using newspapers as toilet paper the proper way of cleaning one's behind after releiving himself ?

What else are children and other people in the rural areas using for wiping their buttocks when they are responding to the call of nature besides stones? These are some of the questions Health Minister Benedict Xaba should have responses for in about two weeks. He is expected to bring a report to the House of Assembly with answers to these questions.

These questions were posed by Kubuta MP Sivumelwano Nxumalo when he motivated a motion calling on Xaba to take drastic measures to prevent a national outbreak of cholera in Swaziland. Nxumalo said the Ministry should make every effort to prevent a wide spread of the disease by ensuring that people subscribed to proper sanitation etiquette.

Xaba said he would comply with the motion and, perhaps in jest, urged the Speaker to also encourage the fellow legislators to always wash their hands after going to the toilet during Parliament sittings.

‘SAPPI to close down’

Business Section


MBABANE—The country’s only pulp mill SAPPI Usutu will shut down on September 30, 2009, the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini, was informed on Friday.

Just before the prime minister and several of his ministers attended the official opening of the Public Service Pension Fund building, some members of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) gave the head of government a briefing of what was happening at Sappi, according to employees. If this is true, about 600 Swazis will lose their jobs in three months’ time.

Present during the meeting with the PM was Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Jabulile Mashwama and Minister of Information, Communi-cations and Technology Nelsiwe Shongwe who represented Minister of Labour and Social Security Patrick Mamba.

A reliable source told this publication that the workers’ representatives informed the PM that there was no communication from SAPPI Usutu management about what was really going on with the company. The comp-any currently faces major financial constraints which were caused mainly by last year’s devastating fires where Usutu lost over 20 000 hectares (about 40 per cent of their major raw material) and the global economic downturn. “The head of government was also asked that government intervenes because the closure of such a large company would have detrimental effects on not just the country’s economy, but also a large number of Swazis would find themselves jobless,” said the source.

The industry offers about four per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The workers fear that there would be retrenchments and pleaded with government to do all it can to help. Government Spokesperson Macan-jana Motsa confirmed that the PM had met with the workers’ representatives. “The PM and the ministers met with some SFTU officials, who gave them a bird’s eye view of what was happening at SAPPI,” said Motsa.

She would not divulge any other details on the meeting. One of the workers’ representatives confirmed to this publication that they told the PM that they had information that the company would stop operating the mill on September 30, 2009. “We have information sourced from some of the management from the main Sappi board that they were seriously considering to stop operations on September 30,” said the union official, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter. Motsa added that Ministers Mashwama and Mamba were given the mandate to look into the issue and treat it with the urgency it deserved. A Cabinet minister also informed this publication that the SAPPI matter had also been brought to the attention of the Head of State, His Majesty King Mswati III.

blame However, Sappi management was not to blame as it was reported that they did approach government officials and told them of the current situation. “The Finance, Commerce and Trade and Labour and Social Security ministers had also been looking into the Sappi issue,” said the source.

The PM was also informed that management had been given increments in January, whereas they staff did not. Sappi management is said to have asked government for a tax cut during these trying times, and also brought another option of continuing to operate, but also finishing the product that is to now make the paper in country instead of exporting the pulp. “If the company would shut down, it could take about 16 years for it to re-open as this would mean replanting and the trees take very long to grow,” said the source.

The situation at the company has been uneasy for a few months now and towards the end of April, Sappi General Manager Shane Perrow issued a memo which partly read that “we must, however, emphasise that any new business model for Usutu may have an impact on the current manning levels of the company, but the overriding intent-ion by SAPPI is to keep the reduction to the lowest possible level”.

Reports are to the effect that should the company change from its pulping operation to another business model, there is a risk that a number of jobs could be lost. Since the fires, Usutu has been utilising 100 per cent burnt timber and it is presently doing that. The financial problems faced by the company have resulted in the staff not receiving their annual salary increments in April.

launched On another note, management has launched a programme whereby some staff members who are interested in buying the company’s houses can do so. Sappi General Manager Perrow did not wish to comment on the matter. He said he was aware of the meeting between the PM and some members of the union, but would only have a briefing probably tomorrow.

Two SUCSA athletes leave for Serbia

Sports Section


MBABANE-Two athletes will leave the country on Wednesday for the World Universities Game in Serbia, Belgrade.

The athletes are under the Swaziland Universities and Colleges Sports Association (SUCSA) and they will be competing in the games courtesy of the International World Universities Board.

The two athletes are Tema-langeni Dlamini who’s with the Royal Swaziland Police college and Isaiah Msibi. Dlamini will be competing in 400 and 200 metres while Msibi will battle it out in the 1 500 and 5 000 metres. The team of four will leave Swaziland on June 24 and will be back home on July 16, 2009.

According to SUCSA secretary General Sibusiso Dlamini the two will be accompanied by their coach Muzi Mabuza and head of delegation Dennis Nkhambule. Dlamini said initially they had planned to send a delegation of five to Serbia, but they had to cut down due to financial constraints.

He said all the three except the coach had been sponsored by the world games board. He said the sponsorship for the two athletes include transport, accommodation and participation fees. “We needed a budget of E60 000 to participate in the games, but unfortunately we could not get that much so we had to cut down,” he said.

Dlamini said since they had got sponsorship for the other three, they have requested the Swaziland National Sports Council to sponsor the coach,” he said. He said SUCSA affiliates should not panic about the delayed prize presentation for the SUCSA/Dynamic Distributors Knockout tournament.

The tournament finished about two months ago. “We had to postpone the presentation as the students were writing exams or had closed for the academic year,” he said. He announced that the presentation would now be held in September when students come back from the end of year break.

Obama gives SD 90 days

Main Section


MBABANE –Swaziland forms part of the six African countries that have been blacklisted by the United States of America (USA) as worst offenders in human trafficking.

Owing to this, President Barack Obama’s government has given the country a 90 day ultimatum to put its house in order or face severe sanctions. Accor-ding to the US State De-partment’s annual report, the other African countries that have been recently included on the same human trafficking blacklist as Swaziland are Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Niger, Chad and Mauritania.

Minimum Inclusion on the list means these countries’ governments are not fully complying with minimum standards set by US laws for cooperating in efforts to reduce the rise of human trafficking. Human trafficking involves trading in human beings who are smuggled out of a country and subjected to torture, hard labour and forced sexual intercourse (sex slave).

Swaziland, including the other five countries on the list, now risks sanctions including suspension of US non-humanitarian aid. According to the US State Department’s annual report, if a country appears on the list for two consecutive years, it can be subjected to further US sanctions. The addition of the six African countries was due largely to a relaxation in efforts to fight domestic slavery, which has allegedly persisted, according to the US.

These countries were added to the list in the annual report, which analysed efforts in 173 countries to fight trafficking in humans for forced labour, prostitution, military service and other reasons.

Crisis The State Department’s annual report, the first to be released since President Barack Obama took office, also states that the global economic crisis is also boosting the demand side of human trafficking. The report further states that 17 nations, up from 14 in 2008, are now subject to the trafficking sanctions, which can include a ban on non-humanitarian and trade-related aid and US opposition to loans and credits from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The penalties can be waived if President Obama determines it is in the US’ national interest to do so. In an interview with the Swazi News this week, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Lutfo Dlamini confirmed the 90 day ultimatum.

“Indeed we received the US report and we were expecting such correspondence,” said Dlamini. “I am pleased to confirm that we will meet the deadline that has been set by the US. Our inclusion into the list has been for two main reasons which are that the country is not putting much effort to curb these illegal practices and that there is no law that has been passed on human trafficking,” explained Dlamini. Independent investigations revealed that the country also finds itself in this situation because of being used by these human trafficking perpetrators as a by-pass country.

Disturbing To this the minister said: “The ministry has also had an experience of people coming to seek help to return to their respective countries after having been trafficked into Swaziland for a number of reasons, including jobs.” Dlamini lamented that the listing of the country under this category was disturbing.

“We cannot afford to be listed as a human trafficking state because it is a serious offence globally. It is for this reason that we have acted swiftly to avoid jeop-ardising our good relationship with the Americans, which has been going on for years,” he said.

Countries that have managed to cope with the US law and have since been removed from the list include Qatar, Oman, Algeria, and Moldova.

Get free condoms from airtime vendors

Main Section


MBABANE – Airtime buyers will get free condoms from Swazi MTN airtime vendors.

Actually, this will not apply to those who buy airtime only, but anyone can stop a vendor and request for condoms. Both male and female condoms will be distributed by the vendors.

The condoms will be free as the concept is meant at getting people to have access to condoms easily, anytime and anywhere. MTN is in partnership with Population Services International (PSI) and the National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA).

The vendors will be given handbags which will be loaded with both male and female condoms every time they purchase their units from MTN. This was unveiled during a lecture session held at the Mbabane Club yesterday, where MTN was teaching the vendors about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.

The vendors responded with wild cheers when the idea was unveiled to them by the company’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Mpumelelo Makhubu. Makhubu told the vendors that they would still take them for training about the pandemic as well as about use of condoms. “We are yet to launch the whole project in a big event, but for today we thought we should let the vendors know what we have in store for them. The bags will be given to them for free and we felt since they play a pivotal role in selling airtime everywhere, the best way of joining the fight against HIV is to team up with them and distribute the condoms,” explained Makhubu.

Asked when the condoms would be available with the vendors, Makhubu said with the training in line, he believed they would be available in a space of a month from now. There are about 5 000 registered airtime vendors at the moment, according to Makhubu, in the country

NFAS to take full responsibility of ripped turf

Sports Section


PIGG’S PEAK – The National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) will take full responsibility for repairing the ripped off Somhlolo Stadium’s artificial turf.

The NFAS will spend about E200 000 to patch the torn turf. The artificial turf was installed by the Federation International of Football Association (FIFA) two years ago. FIFA Development Officer Ashford Mamelodi said it was disappointing that such a huge investment was torn apart by local teams who are the main beneficiaries from the turf.

“More than US$700 000 was pumped in during the turf installation. What happened at Somhlolo was bad and we are confident that it won’t happen next time. We are expecting that turf to last for more than 12 years and now it is less than three years old, but is already damaged,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sihlangu coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba said it would be good to play against Malawi as they are a strong side. He said they need more practise games, especially away games in preparation of the coming games. “We need more practises. We are confident that these games would help us come up with a strong team,” he said.

Malawi was beaten 2-1 by Guinea in the 2010 World Cup African Qualifiers on Sunday night. They are perched at the bottom of the log, with no point. They are in a group that comprises of Ivory Coast who are leaders with nine points, Burkina Faso perched second with six points and they are behind Guinea with three points.

A sophisticated necessity

Main Section

By The Editor - TIMES OF SWAZILAND-23-Jun-2009


A very important development is about to take place on the judicial front that may assist bring down the rising levels of crime, where the latest technology has been manipulated by unscrupulous individuals for their selfish means.

The laws of this country currently do not allow the submission of electronic evidence in our courts, due to the delayed amendments and or complete lack of vital pieces of legislation.

Criminals have taken advantage of this fact and used electronic means to commit serious offences such as fraud and money laundering. For instance, we have heard of many cases of people losing their money through transactions they know nothing about. Credit card scams are now big business. The Justice ministry has presented the Electronic Records (Evidence) Bill of 2009 to parliament to try and fix such a problem. Justice Minister Ndumiso Mamba has highlighted the fact that about 24 fraud cases are stuck at the Anti Corruption Unit because the law does not allow electronic evidence to be submitted to courts. This is just a few.

Extended Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini hinted that our jails may need to be extended as many criminals will see themselves behind bars once this bill becomes law. Members of Parliament appear not too keen to have this law passed, which is worrying. They want two more weeks to allow a portfolio committee to carry out further consultations. They want a workshop on the Bill

We do hope their desire to fully comprehend what this bill entails as users of electronic gadgets and facilities themselves is based purely on public interest and no other reason because then they need to explain why it has taken them so long to seek clarity on a bill that was advertised more than two months ago.

It is high time our MPs become more proactive than reactive because this has become a trend with our legislators. Research should be carried out prior to parliament debate not in parliament because it reduces them to rubber stamps where ministers can tell them anything they so wish and our MPs would not be in a position to sift the chaff from the corn.

The benefits of having such a law seem to far outweigh the disadvantages. If jails need to be extended, then so be it. We’d rather have bigger jails than more sophisticated criminals roaming the streets.

Fixing blackout costs Sptc over e250 000

Main Section


MBABANE – The Swaziland Posts and Telecomm-unications Corporation (SPTC) has spent over a quarter of a million in repairing damages caused by unknown people who burnt the corporation’s fibre lines.

The incident, which happened over a week ago left many parts of the country in a communication blackout, compromising the smooth running of businesses, especially in Manzini, Siteki and Matsapha.

According to the corporation’s Managing Director Nathi Dlamini, the aforementioned figure only relates partly to the financial losses suffered by the corporation. “The adverse social impact caused is immeasurable, to the extent that SPTC’s capital expenditure to conduct repairs is incomparable to the scale of the damage. The corporation has had to incur unnecessary expenses which, combined with the prospects of being held accountable for reparations by third parties, makes this matter all the more grave,” he said.

Dlamini has questioned the manner in which people want to express themselves, stating that there must be limits and boundaries. He added that malicious intent and willful destruction of public property was most certainly out of the limits. Dlamini also questioned the denial of an essential service to innocent communities by way of sabotage and the true intent of the perpetrators.

“If the national telecommunications system collapses, in whose best interest is it?” he asked, not necessarily expecting an answer. Refurbishments on the affected fibre lines have since been completed and the corporation thanked its customers for their patience.

Department ‘sells water at E250/5 000 litres’

Main Section


LOBAMBA –Deputy Senate President Ngomyayona Gamedze has alleged in Senate that some government departments are selling water at E250.

The E250, he said, was for filling up a 5 000 litre tank in areas hard hit by the shortage of water supply. This was heard during the debate of a motion calling upon the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy to table an action plan on the provision of water to regions hard hit by the acute shortage of wa-ter. “I just wonder if government has a harvest system of water, as we end up competing with some departments who sell water for E250 per 5000 litres,” said the Senate Deputy President.

Illegally Chief Nkondlo sought clarity from Gamedze as to whether the water was sold illegally or not. “That I can leave to the minister to respond to as I am not aware of the legitimacy of the sale but what I do know and can prove is that water is being sold to the rural folks at the price I have just mentioned,” answered Gamedze. Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, Princess Tsandzile in response said all concerns raised in the house would be taken into consideration.

The Senators said it was time government solved the shortage of water in rural areas once and for all. Seriously Senator Themba Msibi said it was time the issue of water provision was taken seriou-sly. “People living in the rural areas now take us as a joke, as they say each time the house runs out of ideas we raise the water issue,” said the sena- tor. The motion which was seconded by Senator Prince Magudvulela who said the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy should table within 60 days an action plan on the provision of water to the regions which face acute shortage of water and rely on the disaster programme for survival. Senator Edgar Hillary said the ministry should include at least a paragraph about the disadvantages of drawing water from bore-holes.

Drilling The senators were also of the idea that the drilling of boreholes should be done away with. “Boreholes have proved to be a headache to many Sw-azis. “How many are these rigs and who has access to them as we hear that some broke down at certain homes of individuals,” asked Senator Bhutana Dlamini.

Waste The senators viewed water drilling rigs as a waste of finances, as they end up useless while another senator said water drilled is salty. The senators were for the idea of harvesting water through accessing them from the rivers and dams. “How many people access water from the Maguga project for domestic purposes?” asked Msibi.

Nothing wrong with swim-wear pics

Recreation Section


MBABANE – In a swift turn of events, the Miss Swaziland committee has declared that as a matter of principle, there is nothing wrong with the finalists’ swim-wear pictures.

This was disclosed by the committee’s Public Relations Officer, Rheodora Isaacs, yesterday. She said the swim-wear pictures were part and parcel of the contest’s process technicalities, thus they were crucial and set the tone for the contest’s failure or success.

She clarified that the swim-wear pictures were taken specifically for the finalists’ use in cases where they would be interested to pursue a career in modelling. She countered the claims that the pictures were offensive to Swazi culture and values by revealing that this had been the procedure since time immemorial.

She highlighted that the pictures get to be showcased on the night of the main contest, which is on July 25. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the swim-wear pictures. The pictures are strictly for the girls, especially those who would like to venture into a modelling career.

For being offensive to Swazi culture and values, we really don’t get the logic behind it. A lot of the country’s values and culture’s custodians grace this event and have never raised this issue in any forum,” said Isaacs. She also clarified that the only aspect where the committee admitted guilt was that of having its photographer, Steve Hall, not selecting the pictures that were suitable to appear in the media.

She added that Hall had worked with the committee for many years and he would not do anything wrong with regard to Swazi values. The pageant’s licence holder, Vinah Mamba-Gray last week conceded guilt with regard to the swim-wear pictures. She (Mamba) further requested that this publication stops publishing the swim-wear pictures. Efforts to get Hall’s clarity on the matter proved to be futile as his mobile phone was not available on the MTN network.

Registration for free education extended

Main Section


MBABANE – The registration period for the Free Primary Education (FPE) programme has been extended in some schools.

This was confirmed by Education ministry’s Mboni Dlamini in an interview with this publication yesterday. He said the reason for the extension was the poor response they got which suggested that the information and announcement about the FPE registration had not reached a majority of the Swazi people.

“We had hoped that people had heard about the exercise, but seemingly in some areas that was not the case,” said the Senior Education Planner. As a result, he said, some schools had requested that they be given an extension period to register out of school children in their areas.

Deadline Primary school principals were given June 19 as the deadline for submitting the data forms to their respective Regional Education Offices (REO). “Some principals are still submitting the collected data while some schools have been given the green light to continue with registering children to benefit in government’s free education programme,” said Dlamini.

He said the principals were given the whole of this week to continue with the registration process. Initially, the registration was to have been a two day period- Tuesday and Wednesday last week. “The collected data and that which is yet to be submitted will be handed over to the ministry from the various Regional Education Offices,” he said.

When asked if they were satisfied with the methods or strategies used to reach out to the intended children or communities who are in dire need of free education and currently out of school, he said: “We are still monitoring the situation and the main reason we allowed principals to continue with the registration was that some people were caught off guard.”

Submissions Dlamini said after having received all submissions the ministry would then take into consideration, based on what they have received, as to whether to further extend the registration period in all regions again. Government has since embarked on a registration exercise of all out of school children including those with disabilities to register for next year’s free education programme for Grades One and Two. All children between the ages of six and 18 are called to register and school principals were told to register all such children without discrimination.

St Phillips gets E380 000 gift from Rotary Club

Main Section


MANZINI – The lives of women and children from Siphofaneni constituency are anticipated to be improved by the donation of a brand new Toyota Hilux twin cab four wheel drive vehicle, complete with canopy

donated to St Phillips Catholic Mission by the Rotary Club.

According to outgoing President of the Rotary Club of Malkerns Valley, Sifiso Barrow, the complete value of the donation, including maintenance and one and a half year’s insurance for the vehicle is E380 000. She revealed this during the official handover of the vehicle to the mission church, which was represented by Father Peter Ndwandwe and Sister Mary Maqwele, Mother General for the Servites Sisters under the Catholic Church, together with several officers from the mission. The presentation took place at the Catholic Bishop’s house last Friday.

“We are presenting this vehicle for use in providing outreach health services such as maternal and child healthcare as well as home-based care by the clinic of St Phillips parish. This is a gift from the Rotary Club of Denbigh, St Joseph’s Catholic church in Denbigh, Rotary District 1180, the Rotary Club of Malkerns Valley and the Foundation of Rotary International under matching grant number 67436,” stated Barrow in her remarks at the occasion.

She explained that the whole fundraising drive for the project was kick started by a Welsh philanthropist who visited the country a few years back, and was picked up by the Rotary Club of Denbigh in Wales and eventually the rest of the partners.

Donation Accepting the donation, Sister Maqwele said; “We sincerely appreciate the wonderful contribution by the St Joseph’s Parish and Rotarians. The car will be of great help on the gravel roads, especially when we are transporting patients to Good Shepherd and Nazarene hospital in Manzini,” she said.

Father Ndwandwe reiterated these sentiments adding that he is glad to see the “realisation of the mutual exchange and enrichment of the communities of St Joseph’s mission and St Phillips mission as envisioned by Father Brendan of the UK-based parish. “We see in this, a token of religious communion. Our actions in the long run will not undermine your will and intentions,” he stated, pledging prayers for the families of all that contributed

No new FDI coming

Business Section


MBABANE – Economists do not foresee any new foreign direct investments (FDI) coming into the country this year

According to the World Bank, since the global economic meltdown started about a year ago, sub-Saharan Africa, including Swaziland, has been hit hard by reduced external demand, plunging export prices, weaker remittances and tourism revenues, and sharply lower capital inflows, notably FDI.

An independent economist who preferred anonymity said chances of Swaziland getting FDI were slim, mainly because there was no tangible evidence that the country was doing something to make Swaziland the ideal destination for FDI.

Attract “Most countries, especially developing nations, are struggling to attract FDI. Those that will succeed are countries that will really put their minds and resources into ensuring they make their economies attractive to potential external investors. What are we as Swaziland doing to unearth our competitive advantages and are there any incentives we can dangle in front of external investors that no other country in the region offers? Have we made any difference in terms of policy in order to make the environment safe and ideal for investors’ monies since the global crisis started?” he said, adding that these were some of the questions locals should be asking themselves as a starting point to ensuring the country attracts FDI.

He also cited examples of the Investment Policy and the Investor Roadmap, whose formulation and implementation were critical, he said. The economist highlighted there were other pieces of legislation that needed to be formulated to assist in making the country attractive to investors.

“The Investor Roadmap, for instance, is a very critical document which, when implemented would do the country so much good. What is happening with its recommendations’ implementation?” he wondered. Meanwhile, resource based stocks slumped as oil and metal prices fell yesterday, with the World Bank’s lowering of global economic forecasts diminishing hopes for commodities demand to be reignited.

According to Engineering News, the World Bank reported in its ‘Global Development Finance 2009’ report that international capital inflows to developing economies would fall to US$363 billion in 2009, down from the US$707 billion in 2008 and a sharp decline from the US$1.2 trillion in 2007.

Grow “Developing countries would grow by only 1.2 per cent this year, but would contract by 1.6 per cent if developing giants, China and India, were excluded,” the bank forecast. It said this would lead to continued job losses and an increase in poverty levels in many regions. “To prevent a second wave of instability, policies have to focus rapidly on financial sector reform and support for the poorest countries,” World Bank Prospects Group Director Hans Timmer said in the statement.

High Demand for Village Chicken

Business Section

By Sipho Shongwe - TIMES OF SWAZILAND-24-Jun-2009

Swaziland Livestock Technical Services wishes to advise farmers in Swaziland that there is high demand for village chickens in Swaziland.

Farmers who are producing village chickens commercially in Swaziland are happy with the profit margins they get when selling their chickens.

There is a growing number of consumers that demand organic food and village chickens produced organically are in high demand. Due to the limited supply of village chickens in the market today, the consumer is willing to pay a premium for them. The catering industry and supermarkets are failing to get suppliers of village chickens in Swaziland and they are unable to satisfy customer demand.

Village chicken production in Swaziland offers serious chicken producers and entrepreneurs good business opportunities and a bright future. Village chicken production also offers the small-scale chicken producers an escape route from the congested and highly competitive broiler production business in Swaziland.

It is worth mentioning that big broiler producing companies in the country are expanding their business and many small-scale broiler producers are being pushed out of business. Secondly, medium-scale broiler producers claim that their live broiler market has been taken by big broiler producing companies. Consequently, many medium-scale broiler producers are expected to go bankrupt in the near future, as big broiler producers continue operations horizontally and vertically aggressively.

The elimination of the middleman by the big broiler producers has given a big financial muscle and is punching small-scale broiler producers out of the market.

Your friend would like to urge farmers who wish to venture into chicken production and farmers who want to stop broiler production to consider village chicken production as a life saving alternative. Since village chicken production is not too expensive, one is convinced that village chicken production is a safe escape route from the congested and broiler industry and eminent bankruptcy. Village chicken production offers an entrepreneur three unique business opportunities in Swaziland.

1. Village chicken breeding. Demand for breeding village chicken is far higher than supply and there are no known village chicken breeders in Swaziland. The few farmers that are producing village chickens in Swaziland cannot be classified as true breeders. There is a need for farmers to start producing village chicken breeding stock. We need farmers who can produce pure breeds village chickens so that we can improve the quality, size and growth rate of village chickens in Swaziland. At present village chicken producers spend a lot of time looking for good breeding stock and still many farmers fail to find what they want and end up buying any kind of chicken the markets can offer. Therefore there is a big business opportunity in producing high quality village chicken breeding stock in Swaziland.

2. Village chicken hatcheries. Village chicken production improves when the eggs are collected and incubated artificially in batches. Artificial incubation relieves the chicken of the stress of sitting in the next for 21 days incubating own eggs. During the incubation period chickens lose a lot of weight because they spend less time looking for feed. However, when the eggs are collected daily and stored at the right temperature until the eggs are enough to make a good incubator batch, chickens do not pose laying and this improves egg production per chicken per year. Secondly, artificial incubation of eggs gives the farmer an opportunity to hatch eggs in large numbers and chickens become easy to manage because they come in batches. This makes it easy for the farmers to feed, vaccinate and treat chickens because they are of the same age group. However, when chicken are allowed to incubate their own eggs they hatch them at different times and the chickens are very difficult to manage because they eat different classes of feed and are difficult to treat and vaccinate because of the different ages. This is why Swaziland Livestock Technical Services would like to advice farmers who want to produce village chickens to buy their own incubators and hatch their eggs professionally on the farm. This is not impossible because artificial incubators are not expensive and they are easy to operate.

3. Village chicken growers. There is a need for more village chicken growers in Swaziland. It is envisaged that demand for village chicken is going to increase as more people prefer to eat food that has been produced naturally. Therefore, village chickens that are produced naturally and spend a lot of time grazing are high on the consumers shopping list. The chickens chewy meat and special taste makes village chicken irresistible to many customers regardless of the premium price they pay for them.

Ssubsistent village chicken producers Swaziland Livestock Technical Services would like to urge subsistent village chicken producers in the rural areas to take advantage of the demand of village chickens and start producing them. Village chickens do not demand high management and expensive animal feed, but they need protection from parasites, diseases, predators and harsh weather. Farmers are urged to give their chicken clean water all the time and they must provide their hens parasite free clean nests that are not accessible to dogs. Dogs like to eat eggs and if eggs are not protected from them. Secondly, dogs also like to eat small chickens and this reduces productivity of the flock. Farmers must also make sure that their chickens stay in a dry, draft free shelter at night. Keeping growing chickens in a warm dry environment at night will reduce chicken mortality and increase profitability of the operation.

Parasites Farmers must stop throwing chicken feed on the ground when feeding them. This is very unhealthy and exposes the chicken to parasite infestation. When chicken are infested with parasites their droppings contain hundreds of thousands of parasite eggs. These eggs are found on the ground and when throwing chicken feed on the ground chickens will eat parasite eggs and get re-infested again. Farmers are urged to always use feeders when feeding chickens all the time. Further, farmers must de-worm their chickens periodically. Lastly, chicken shelter and chicken nests must be inspected regularly to check if there are no mites. Mites like to breed in chicken nests and they wait there for their hosts. If mites are detected, the environment must be sprayed with appropriate chemicals. This will reduce stress and improve the flock productivity and profitability.

Waterford College looking to raise E60 000 during fete

Recreation Section


MBABANE – Waterford KaMhlaba College is looking to raise at least E60 000 during their fete on Saturday.

This is money they need to continue their Community Service Programme that comprises 30 different projects. Director of Development Barb Taylor, disclosed that the college was looking after Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) at Mbabane Government Hospital, conducted literacy classes with local primary schools, gave sports and computer lessons to disabled children and so forth.

“E60 000 will go a long way into helping maintain the projects for the rest of this year. The community service programme is actually part of the college’s curricula to encourage students to participate in the development of the community,” explained Taylor. The fete, which will start from 11am to 3pm, will be a hive of fun activities for both adults and children.

Painting Things to look out for at the family oriented event include live music performances, face painting, snake hunt, magicians, deejaying sessions, penalty shootouts, jumping castle and more. Both adults and children will have to pay E5 entrance fee, and transport to the college will be available from outside the ‘Cold Room’ next to the Portuguese Club every after 30 minutes.

Shocker: artificial turf can kill you!

Sports Section


MBABANE – In what may come as a shocker to the sporting fraternity, in particular football players, the Somhlolo National Stadium’s artificial turf could be fatally dangerous.

Artificial turfs, according to information sourced from the Internet where various researchers went out to find if there were any dangers of using artificial grass, findings reflect that artificial turfs in general, especially those that are sand infill carry prolific bacterial populations, which live in the fill and turf sand.

Because of the high temperatures the turf adapts, especially during hot days, players are at risk of suffering from heat stress injuries which are said to be potentially fatal. However, this can be avoided by users by applying certain precautions. These include; * Ensuring proper hydration * Allowing equipment modifi- cations * Changing practice schedules * Monitoring turf temperatures * Constantly cooling the turf. While this is hardly the case at the Somhlolo Stadium as teams usually use the pitch when it is not cooled even in high temperatures, players on such sporting surfaces also need to pay particular attention to hydration issues and allow frequent water breaks. Football teams practising on artificial turf may need to alter equipment requirements by removing pads or helmets on hot days. Changing practise schedules to early morning can ensure player safety in high temperatures. The study also suggests that there must be field managers who safeguard players by properly monitoring turf temperatures and cooling fields when necessary. Despite potentially fatal heat stress injuries, the turf also has various other health risk factors like the famous turf toe which Mbabane Highlanders player Mlungisi ‘Madzala’ Ngubane once fell victim to as he had blisters on the toes after playing on the turf. A number of other premier league players have complained about the high temperatures on the turf, with Manzini Wanderers’ midfielder Timothy ‘Timo’ Mathonsi also one of the few that have experienced health problems from the turf. It can also leave players with other muscle and ligament injuries while the also potentially fatal MRSA (Staphylococcus) infections and temperature-related injuries such as exertional heat illness and heat stroke remain serious medical issues of primary interest. MRSA infection cannot be treated with conventional antibiotics due to evolved drug resistance. A number of highly publicised methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections implicate artificial grass as a risk factor. Investigation of an outbreak of MRSA on a college football team in 2004 found that there was a seven-fold increase in risk of infection for players who had received abrasions playing on artificial turf. Sports teams can avoid turf-related MRSA infections by: *l Regularly disinfecting turf surfaces * Disinfecting even minor abrasions No immediate comment could be sought from the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) as they were engaged in the FIFA Club Management Course at Orion Hotel, Pigg’s Peak. The Somhlolo turf was a FIFA donation to the country, which was viewed as an investment because it is all weather friendly.

Local doctor explains MRSA MBABANE – A local doctor who was asked to explain MRSA in simpler terms said it was a drug resistant bacterial infection which lives in every human’s skin. The doctor said MRSA stands for Methicilin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. “Every human being has it, but because it lives on the skin, it is harmless unless it find a way inside. That’s when it can cause serious problems as no prescription can help you.

“It’s usually found in hospital settings and places where the elderly and sickly are kept,” he said. He said no antibiotic could help one who had this infection as doctors may prescribe medication, but nothing works.

However, he explained that this infection could only be taken to the artificial turf by the people using it if they get cuts during sliding tackles and that is how it then finds its way into one’s body. He said it caused serious heart and lung problems among other things.

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