Swaziland News Oct 2009

For all your Swazi News


Show your thighs before examinations

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By SABELO MAZIBUKO - SWAZI TIMES-01-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Pupils sitting for this year’s external exams should expect tougher measures against copying, which include inspection on girls’ thighs.

This is to check if they have not written answers on their covered body parts to copy during exams, which begin this month. Female teachers and invig-ilators would be responsible for inspecting the girls, while the boys would be monitored by male teachers and invigilators.

Making these recomm-endations were facilitators from the Exams’ Council, Lucy Mkhonta and Theresa Mcizi at Mbabane Central High School hall, where an Invigilator Training programme was held. The training was well attended by both primary and high school principals as well as invigilators.

“We have noted that pupils have started a tendency of writing on their thighs because they know that they would not be checked, but now with the assistance of female invigilators, we will be able to check them as they enter the exam room,” Mkhonta said while another facilitator demonstrated on one of the teachers, how they would slightly raise the skirt to see if there was any answer written on the thighs before they are allowed to sit for the exam. She said due to the inspection, the invigilators would have to make sure that the pupils arrive at least 30 minutes before the exams start, in order to be checked.

This comes after facilitators noted that during exams, pupils would come with unauthorised material which they use as an advantage to copy, yet this was against the rules and regulations of the exams. They made it clear there will be no leniency should a candidate be found copying during the exams and that studying is the only way forward. With the issue of using cellphones to copy, Mkhonta said candidates who would be found in the possession of a mobile phone, would be disqualified from that paper.

Unauthorised

“This will apply whether the phone is on or off,” said Mkhonta. She went on to warn the invigilators that they should see to it that all unauthorised material should not gain entry into the exam room and that, for instance, calculators, dictio-naries and mathematical tables may only be used where permitted by the syllabus. Mcizi added that only official examination stationary is to be used.

On the other hand, her colleague said all candidates who would be sitting for exams are forbidden to communicate with anyone while in the examination room. The principals and the invigilators who were in attendance shared the same sentiments with the facilitators, that copying was a cause for concern as it also diminishes the name of the school.

Pregnant pupils to write exams

MBABANE – The Exams Council has declared that all pupils who are pregnant, yet they are to write their final exams will be able to do so.

Over the past years, principals used to sideline pregnant pupils from writing exams. However, facilitators from the Exams Council have made it clear that pregnant pupils should now write at their respective school. The facilitators, however, made it clear that the girls should take advantage of the situation, but they should take care of themselves as early pregnancies are not advisable for pupils. Lucy Mkhonta a facilitator from the Exams Council said, although they are allowed to write, it is also encouraged for them to get other centres to avoid other pupils in their respectful schools falling pregnant, with the hope they will also be allowed to write their exams. Also tackled was the tendency of late arrival in the exam room.

The facilitators said if a candidate arrives late and offers no good reasons, no additional time would be added for that candidate, however, should a candidate submit an apparent reason, additional time should be considered. “The late candidate should be warned that their script may not be accepted and that would depend upon the reasons for lateness and any potential breach of security that may have occurred,” said Mcizi.

Consideration

During the Invigilators training programme, other areas that were taken into consideration were the issues of emergency cases, for instance when a fire alarm would be raised during the exams. The facilitators said the pupils must evacuate the exam room and they should be supervised as far as possible, to ensure there is no collision. Invigilators were also taught how to handle the situations should something sinister happen. They said the Invigilator should indicate in the script where interruption occurred and note the length of interruption and that the candidates should be given full time to complete writing.


Govt spends E48m on mobile classes

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

MANZINI – The Ministry of Education and Training has spent about E48 million, purchasing mobile classrooms and teachers’ houses in readiness for the Free Primary Education (FPE).

Wilson Ntshangase, the Minister of Education and Training said the classrooms would be used to accommodate the increased number of pupils, that are expected to attend school from 2010. Next year marks the beginning of FPE which will commence from Grades One and Two. He revealed this during the tabling of the Free Primary Education Bill of 2009, in Parliament yesterday.

“We have ordered the mobile classrooms and teachers’ houses, which would be installed in the designated schools by the end of November. The mobile teachers’ houses will be fully equipped,” he said. Ntshangase also said his ministry would install 85 classrooms and 220 mobile houses in different schools around the country. He also said the ministry was more than ready for the commencement of the free education next year. He also highlighted that parents would not be required to pay building fund under the free primary education.

He however clarified that parents with children in grades three to five would still be required to pay fees, as agreed by their schools until the programme is rolled out in all the grades. He also said there would be no discrimination of children under programme based on disability or otherwise. He said the ministry had trained teachers to cater for children with all disabilities.

“The fees would be the same for all public schools that would be under the programme, whether they are based in the rural or urban areas. The ministry has made sure that every basic need of the schools, such as stationery, textbooks and chalks would be available,” he said.

He mentioned that the money to be paid to schools would cater for each school’s other needs such as payment of electricity and other utilities. He further highlighted that this would avail all schools a chance to hire and be able to pay support staff, such as night-watchmen, Secretary and Cooks to mention a few. Ntshangase also mentioned that the money will also promote quality education in the public schools.


Mr SD becomes circumcision hero

Recreation Section

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

MBABANE – Mr Swaziland has proven to be role model as many young men have been circumcised after he did.

According to PSI’s Bongiwe Zwane, it is very hard for them to gauge the response they got from their campaigns, but in Okwakhe’s case it was possible.

She said the greatest response was from young men, especially those in tertiary institutions. A number of students from the Swaziland College of Technology (SCOT) registered for circumcision after Okwakhe went there to encourage them to circumcise. She said they have also been getting calls from different people who ask whether he really did it and end up registering themselves.

“We have really been getting a great impact in terms of young men who have registered for circumcision,” she said. Zwane also made an example of Bongani ‘Bobo’ Dlamini, from SBIS Radio who will get circumcised today after being inspired by Okwakhe. He said the greatest impact the beauty king made on him was when he featured in his breakfast show two days after the circumcision. He added that Okwakhe even offered to accompany him as he goes through the same procedure today.

Meanhwhile, the beauty king said he was very grateful that people were following in his footsteps and assured them that they were taking the correct steps. “It is very encouraging that people are taking a stand and thinking about their future,” he said. Okwakhe had revealed in an earlier interview that he would be visiting tertiary institutions and communities to encourage men to circumcise.


Stink as Hlatikulu runs out of water

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By Starsky Mkhonta - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-01-Oct-2009

BUSINESS was brought to a standstill yesterday at Hlatikulu due to lack of water.

Members of the public had to relieve themselves in the bush and others behind structures, living the area in an eyesore sight. In the public ablutions facilities, there were no notices advising the public about the unavailability of water. Schools around this hamlet were affected. Some small business persons had to collect water from still ponds in order to serve customers.

One of the businesspeople, David Zeeman, who operates a liquor outlet, Tumble Inn Bottle Store and Bar said he had to close the toilet. He said it was a sad situation when some members of the public had no alternative but to use the nearby bushes for relieving themselves. “We blame the water corporation for not notifying us in time. There has been no water here since morning. Other businesses have already closed because of the situation. It is a setback for our businesses and we just wonder if anyone is going to compensate us. “We pay for this essential commodity and to just have the taps running dry, it’s something we were not expecting,” said Zeeman, who also operates a similar business in Nhlangano. Zeeman said he had to fetch water with a drum. He said he also learned that some of the families were compelled to fetch water for consumption from rivers. “Where does that place their lives? This is what the corporation should have done, warn us beforehand in order to avoid a crisis,” said Zeeman.

Other areas that were greatly affected are the market place and the bus rank. The public toilets at the bus rank were stinking and things worsened when the public used the nearby bushes. Hlatikulu acting Town Clerk Artwell Dlamini sounded shocked to learn that the town experienced water shortage yesterday. Dlamini said he was not aware as he was in Mbabane on work related matters. He, however, said when he left in the morning, there was water.

SWSC Public Relations Officer Jameson Mkhonta said he had not been made aware of the problem faced by the Hlatikulu folk. “I am hearing this for the first time from you. Nothing was communicated to me to that effect. “I still have to find out what could have caused the problem if indeed that took place,” said Mkhonta


Circumcision no automatic immunity from HIV - DPM

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By Njabulo Dlamini -- SWAZI OBSERVER-01-Oct-2009

DEPUTY Prime Minister Themba Masuku yesterday officiated in the first ever opening of a male clinic in the Kingdom pioneered by PSI Swaziland with financial aid from US government.

The DPM emphasised that men should be under no illusion that circumcising meant they were immune from infection (of HIV). “Circumcision, I should stress, only reduces the chances of infection. Therefore, circumcised men and their partners must please continue to use condoms and be faithful to their partners in order to maximise HIV protection,” he said. He said male circumcision was appropriate for everyone regardless of religion or cultural background.

In fact, he applauded Manzini Regional Administrator Prince Masitsela who shared with the audience that circumcision was a cultural rite and used to be practised in years gone by only to be abandoned at a later stage. “Doubting Thomases should, therefore, repent for circumcision is not a new phenomenon but has been re-introduced in our time by PSI Swaziland and partners. Circumcision is not a stand-alone intervention; it is highly effective when used with other HIV prevention interventions.

“With the introduction of male circumcision efforts targeted to addressing stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV needs to be strengthened and the same goes for efforts towards counselling for HIV prevention.” The DPM was speaking in Matsapha – Big Tree Shopping Complex when launching Litsemba Letfu male clinic. The clinic is being sponsored by US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Programme known as PEPFAR and Melinda Gates Foundation.

US Ambassador Earl Irwing gave credit to the government for being the first country in the world to step forward and set a goal of circumcising 80 percent adult males by 2014. “On behalf of the United States of America, we could not be more pleased to support this intervention because we feel confident it will help save lives,” he said. He said the national programme of circumcision was likely to increase the acceptance of circumcision, the number of places like the male clinic where circumcision could be safely provided and the abilities of the health care professionals to reach large numbers not only with the medical procedure but also counselling on ways to stay healthy.

Also present were Minister of Health Bennedict Xaba, NERCHA Director Derek von Wissell and UN agencies.


Striking workers injured in clash with cops

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By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-01-Oct-2009

STRIKING workers at Tranship in Big Bend were injured and rushed to Sithobela Clinic after a nasty confrontation with the police yesterday morning.

The workers went on strike over working conditions, the core of which was alleged ‘poor salaries’. After several meetings in which they sought redress over their concerns they converged at the company gates yesterday and refused to resume work.

As the workers chanted slogans and picketed against the management, police were called to the scene. It was then that all hell broke loose as police threw teargas canisters and shot at the strikers with rubber bullets. Legal Advisor of the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union Nathi Simelane said the workers insisted that they heard one officer issuing orders that they be beaten up. “The workers say they will lay a charge against the officers because the beating was unprovoked.

“They were merely singing and dancing. There was no need for the police to react the way they did.” Simelane said the major concern of the workers was that a chief, who was recently made a shareholder at the company had allowed the company to introduce new working conditions. “He allowed them to start paying us E200 per week, yet the rate had always been E350. The workers say they also do not get protective clothing and other essentials,” Simelane said.

The Human Resources Manager William Mamba could not be reached for comment because he did not pick up his phone yesterday afternoon and evening. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed that two workers were injured during the confrontation. He said the workers were on a mission to block others from working – especially those operating a tractor and a cutter machine.

“The police tried to stop them, but they went on until they reached Ngwavuma. It was then that there was a confrontation. Moreover, the police had a responsibility to protect law and order because some sugar cane fields were already on fire,” he said.


E1 000 fine for failing to register for free education

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By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-01-Oct-2009

PARENTS who fail to register their children for the free education programme in Grades I and II next year will be slapped with a E1 000 fine or three months community service.

This is contained in Section 11 of the Free Primary Education Bill No. 12 of 2009 and was reiterated by Minister of Education Wilson Ntshangase when presenting the Bill in the House of Assembly yesterday.

The minister first apologised to MPs in that government failed to provide free education at the beginning of January this year as stated in the constitution Act of 2005.

“The High Court would pronounce the sentence mentioned above on the parent who neglects or refuses to cause the child to attend school,” the minister said. He said every child, whether living with a disability or having any other special need, would be admitted into public schools. Section 12, however, provides valid excuses from school attendance for children.

A student is excused from school attendance if; g The student is unable to attend because of illness, danger of infection, infirmity, sudden or serious illness of parent or other related cause; g The student is suffering from a physical or mental disability that in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, make the pupil incapable of being educated by ordinary methods of instruction, g The student is granted permission by the principal to be temporarily absent for good and sufficient reasons, g The student has been suspended from the school and not given permission to enroll at another school, g For any other reason which in the opinion of the principal is a good and sufficient reason.

Under the fee structure, which excludes building fund, the ministry has budgeted E560 for both Grades 1 and II. The Act is to be cited as the Education (Amendment) Act 2009 and shall come into force on a date to be appointed by the Minister of Education by notice in the Gazette. Members of Parliament were still debating the Bill at the time of compiling this report.


Annual ‘Wholly Ghost Tour’ can boost tourism

Business Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZI OBSERVER-01-Oct-2009

JOHN White, organiser of the second ‘Wholly Ghost Tour’, says this event can boost the tourism sector since most of the people taking part in it are either coming into the country for the first or second time.

He said a majority of the participants of the tour, which features vintage cars, were in Swaziland for a holiday and pleasure. “It is with great pleasure that we welcome the Silver Ghost Association of America back to Southern Africa for the second time – the last being in 1999,” he said.

White said the wonderful and truly magnificent Rolls Royce models were manufactured from 1903 to 1927 and on this tour, the oldest one entered was manufactured in 1909. He said the cars were from England, Portugal, United States of America, New Zealand as well as South Africa.

White also thanked many companies that have assisted him in organising this event over the last two years, especially Stuart Maxwell who is the tour treasurer. Rolls Royce was introduced to the world at the Olympia motor show in London. The first 40/50 chassis to be seen by the public was displayed alongside a 30 h.p Barker limousine on the stand of C.S Rolls Royce and Company.

impression

The new model was destined to make a more profound impression on the motoring world than any other motor car in the history that comes readily to mind. The Silver Ghost became a C.S Rolls Royce demonstration vehicle and its reliability and stamina were put to test in a 2 000-mile trial under the supervision of the Royal Automobile Club. During this trial a petrol economy figure of better than 20 miles per gallon was achieved on the road between London and Glasgow.

On the 9th July 1908 a fine new Rolls Royce motor car factory was opened in Derby by Lord Montagu of Bealieu, although a quite comprehensive range of chassis has been built in Manchester, with 2, 3, 4 and 6 cylinders and even a V-8 production at Derby was to be concentrated on the magnificent 40/50 h.p six cylinder cars that was to be subsequently known as the ‘Silver Ghost’ type and the other models being discontinued.


Four wives’ man suspended from work

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-02-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The South African man who recently wedded four women in one ceremony, has allegedly been susp-ended from work.

The suspension was effected by councillors of Indaka Munic-ipality, where polygamist, Milton Mbhele is a manager. The reasons for his suspension were that he allegedly over-spent during a funeral of deceased Mayor, Phumlani Mpungose, which cost R600 000.

According to a South African newspaper, The Star, Mbhele was suspended on Wednesday. The publication quotes acting Mayor Busisiwe Buthelezi as having confirmed Mbhele’s suspension, following Monday’s council sitting, which she didn’t attend. Buthelezi is said to have insisted that Mbhele had done nothing wrong in spending the money on the funeral.

“He asked us in a specially convened council meeting on June 17, after the mayor’s death, how much money should be spent and the unanimous decision was that the mayor needed to have a decent burial. “If anyone should take the fall, it is all of us who were part of the meeting,” she is quoted in the Star. Meanwhile, Mbhele, according to the publication states that there was no reference of the E600 000 in his letter of suspension, which he said gives him a reason not to panic.

The publication alleges that Mbhele has been fingered as being solely responsible for the spending of R600 000 on the funeral, though suggestions of a link between the ‘perceived excessive amount’ on the funeral and Mbhele’s lavish wedding were denied.

Mbhele’s three day wedding to his four wives is said to have cost E150 000. “My contract with the council runs until 2013, so I am here to stay, and as for charges of wrongdoing on my part, evidence must be provided to back up the claims because I do everything by the rule book,” added Mbhele, who is said to have already consulted his lawyer.

The newspaper further quotes IFP Women’s Brigade Chairperson, Thembi Nzuza saying although she did not know the overall costs associated with the funeral, it was possible that it could have amounted to R600 000.

“For starters, some work on the road to the mayor’s home needed to be upgraded for vehicles to go through, and the home was in a far-flung area,” said Nzuza.

Transport costs and the hiring of a marquee for “the massively attended” funeral are said to have also contributed to the figure. Mbhele first traditionally wed his wives before the lavish white wedding, where eight cattle were slaughtered.


Keep thighs covered

Main Section

By SABELO MAZIBUKO - SWAZI TIMES-02-Oct-2009

MBABANE – An outcry over the suggestion for invigilators to inspect school girls’ thighs before exams to catch copy cats has led to the idea being discarded.

The Exams Council’s Registrar Edmund Mazibuko said due to people’s different understanding and interpretations of things they had been calling his office wanting to get clarification on the issue. He said following the concerns a normal search would be conducted to see if pupils do not enter the exam room with foreign objects, rather than going to the extent of seeing if they had not written anything on their thighs.

“People also have to understand, though, that pupils use different methods to copy, some even write on their shirts and some on their body parts and ours is to ensure that no one copies during the exams. Invigilators may not inspect the thighs though but instead search for the foreign objects and pieces of paper,” he said.

One of the groups against the idea of the inspection was the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). The Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga said invigilators were engaged to check people who would be copying during the exams not to invade their privacy regardless of whether they would be checked by relevant people. “That is against their dignity, for instance, if a prisoner escapes from prison we cannot search or interrogate everyone we come across the street, but there is a procedure of handling matters amicably,” stressed Mhlanga. Mhlanga said as teachers, their duty is to educate the pupils and motivate them before they go to sit for a particular paper so that they could not be tempted to copy and they discourage them from copying. Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Education Pat Muir said it was fine for teachers and invigilators to search pupils, but not invade their privacy. He said should they reach that point it would mean invading the pupils privacy.


Business Woman of the Year winner predictions spot on!

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE AND NOMILE HLATS - SWAZI TIMES-02-Oct-2009

EZULWINI – It is as if the people interviewed during the BWYA 2009 gala night had taken a quick peek at the judge’s decision, as most of them predicted Nokunceda Bujela-Manser and Sabelo Peleowo as winners.

BWYA stands for Business Woman of the Year Award. Managing Director and founder of the Manser Import and Export Investments (PTY) Ltd T/A Manzini Waste Centre and Clearout Sports, Bujela-Manser was announced winner of the Entrepreneurial Category, while Senior Manager-Corporate and VIP Banking at SwaziBank, Peleowo won in the Corporate Category.

Many people who were interviewed before the start of the awards ceremony, tipped both Peleowo and Bujela- Manser as winners. “I think Sabelo Peleowo will win in the corporate category and Nokunceda Bujela-Manser in the entrepreneurial category.

I have this gut feeling that they will win tonight. This is because I know them personally and know their capabilities. I would certainly feel they are cheated if they do not make it but I will respect the judge’s decision. All the finalists are winners at the end of the day,” said Pitso Qwabe. Phiwase Nxumalo also predicted the two as winners, adding that she knew them personally and their capabilities.

Khabo Mkhonta also predicted the two as winners. “Although I may not know any of them personally, from what I have read in the newspapers about them, I am convinced that they are capable of running their businesses and are fit to win the awards,” she said. Meanwhile, Khosi Kunene had a different view, saying she believed Futhi Helen Mdluli would scoop the title in the Corporate Category.

“I do not know her personally but I believe she has great potential because I have heard she has turned around the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital. I think this is a great achievement and believe women like her should be honoured,” she said.


100 burn cane fields, lose jobs

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Oct-2009

OVER 100 sugar cane cutters in Nsoko will lose their jobs after they allegedly burnt sugar cane fields during their recent strike action.

This is after Tranship, which was an overseer of the awarding of tenders of three companies, said it did not have confidence in them (the companies) anymore. The Human Resources Manager of Tranship, William Mamba, explained that if the three companies failed to control their workers they did not know what would happen in the future. The companies are Long Lasting, Sigungu and Siyatfutfukisa investments.

“We have withdrawn our contract with these companies after their employees burnt the sugar cane fields. As for the fate of the workers, that is not up to us to decide but the companies,” he said. He explained that Transship only withdrew the contracts but was not in a position to say if the workers would lose their jobs or not.

Sampy Mngometulu, from Sigungu Investments, stated that yesterday morning they were made aware that their contracts had been terminated saying “this just means that we are left with no choice but to send the workers home.” He said this is against their will but they were left with no choice. He explained that about 200 hectares of sugar cane was burnt during Wednesday’s strike that cost over a million Emalangeni.

“We cannot expect Tranship to trust us if our workers are capable of doing such.” Mngometulu said they did not understand why their workers resolved to this behaviour as they had not made any complaints before. He said they were appalled when their employees went on strike, accusing one man in the group of inciting the other employees.

On the other hand, the employees insisted that they have been treated unfairly by their employers. They said their salaries have been slashed and no reason has been given for that. They also explained that they are made to pay if they are not able to come to work on a particular day. “We are made to pay graded tax yet not at any stage were we asked to submit our graded tax numbers,” said one of the employees.

They further complained that they did not have places to stay and had to pay rent yet that should be catered for by their employers. All this was denied by Mngometulu, who spoke on behalf of the other employers, saying the only complaint they received was in regards to food provided to the workers, but that was later improved.

Contractors abandons meeting with union

The contractors excused themselves from a meeting with the workers’ union, STAWU, where there was a representative from the ministry of labour. The meeting was called in an attempt to solve the prevailing situation where the employers and their workers are at loggerheads. Contractors are saying that they do not recognise the union when, on the other hand, the union argues that it is legitimate and has been working for a long time with the employers. Sikiza Fakudze of STAWU said because the employers were failing to listen to them, the strike continued. He said, “it is obvious that they do not want the union but we are hoping that tomorrow (today) the discussions would continue.” Mngometulu, one of the contractors, explained that they did not recognise the union and that was why they decided to leave the meeting in which government, through labour personnel, participated.


SD, Lesotho two Kingdoms that survived the test of time - Ntoane

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Oct-2009

LESOTHO’s High Commissioner to Swaziland Matlotliso Ntoane presented her credentials to His Majesty King Mswati III yesterday.

The two Kingdoms are two of the few true Kingdoms that have survived the test of time and we are growing to move from strength to strength,” she gestured. Ntoane said the two Kingdoms had enjoyed friendly relations since time immemorial adding that “it is now time to take our social and diplomatic ties to even higher levels, a level that will transform the living standards of the peoples of the two countries.”

Ntoane believes that Lesotho and Swaziland need to establish a strong economic cooperation by which the public and private sectors, civil society and all other state actors of the two Kingdoms work with each other for mutual benefit. She said joint efforts between the two countries would mitigate the challenges that they face which include poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS and all the disadvantages that come with being a landlocked country. On behalf of His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho, she acknowledged His Majesty King Mswati III’s active role in the affairs of the SADC region, especially the leadership in the Organ on Defence, Politics and Security. She said the King’s role had enabled the resolution of some of the most challenging problems that have faced the region.

In response, the King said Lesotho and Swaziland needed to work together to improve their economies by taking to their advantage the existence of regional organisations like SADC. “We need to come together and explore what particular programmes we can possibly develop to address the challenges brought by the global economic meltdown. For us the developing nations, the consequences of the global financial meltdown have been even harder, especially on the social welfare of our people.”


Greatest tragedy not death but purposelessness, says DPM

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By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Oct-2009

DEPUTY Prime Minister Themba Masuku says the greatest tragedy in life is not death but it is not having a purpose in life.

He said each and every person must have a purpose and direction in whatever he/she does so that he/she can have a bright future.

Masuku was speaking at Bhunya High School during the Speech and Prize Giving Day yesterday at the school. He said education helped to unlock the talent and gift each person has in life and told the students that they will in turn use the now unlocked talent to serve their different communities.

“I personally sacrificed a lot mainly in my past job so that I can be able to serve the country with the gift I have. “I would advice you to stop smoking and taking alcohol because by doing that, you are destroying your future. Taking alcohol and drugs are a manifestation that you do not have a purpose in life and chances are high that you would remain directionless until you die,” he said.

He advised female students to report to him if they are proposed by either their colleagues at school or older people. He said they must not be afraid of the status or position that particular person holds either in the community and government because he was ready to fight anyone.

Masuku said after they had reported to him, he would then announce them through the national radio station warning parents and others to be cautious of that person. “People who propose school going children are not good thus have to be exposed, their names and positions they hold in whatever office so that others may not fall their prey,” he said.

At the same occasion Regional Administrator Prince Masitsela presented a beast to teachers of the school. The Prince said this was a token of appreciation from his office for the good work by the teachers. He said he was impressed by the team spirit shown by the teachers which was confirmed by the good results recorded and the students were disciplined.

The school recorded 100% passes in 2004, 2006 and 2007 then 98% in 2005 and 98.95 in Junion Certificate last year. He said the students and parents were lucky to have committed teachers and urged them to appreciate that. During the function, 11 teachers were presented with certificates for excelling in their different lessons while 43 students were given textbooks and novels as academic awards for excelling in their different disciplines. Principal Siphiwe Nkonyane attributed all the success to hard work.

She then announced that 146 out of the 396 enrolled in the school were orphaned and it became a problem when government failed to pay their school fees in time.


MPs want to set up own CID

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Oct-2009

PARLIAMENT has resolved to establish a CID-PAC squad to handle white collar crime such as investigating audit queries that raise glaring cases of corruption.

MPs unanimously passed the recommendation made by the parliamentary watchdog on public expenditure - Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by MP Thuli Dladla. The model of having a CID-PAC was allegedly derived from Zambia which has a similar squad in place as confirmed by the PAC chairperson.

The squad will also look into embezzlement of funds, bribery, abuse of office, causing financial loss, forgery and uttering false documents and fraudulent false accounting and other corrupt tendencies. “This will assist the PAC investigate the above mentioned crimes and thereby expedite prosecution. We further recommend that the CID squad be housed in the Anti Corruption Commission,” she said.

MP Dladla said logistics on how the CID squad would follow in due course but urged MPs to ensure by the end of their term in 2013, this would have been achieved. “By setting up the CID-PAC squad, we would be ensuring the Committee is armed with requisite authority to handle corruption and quick in its work”.

The recommendation was met with joy by MPs who made submissions. Mtsambama MP Bheki Mkhonta said there needed to be something innovative coined by the committee as previous ones had not done much to stimulate change amongst line ministries in so far as dealing with public expenditure.

Motshane MP Robert Magongo then moved that MPs adjourned the debate as MP Dladla and seconder of the motion Hhukwini MP Mkhululi Dlamini had eloquently provided insight on how they arrived on their recommendations, challenges faced and all. MP Magongo was seconded by Siphofaneni MP Gundwane Gamedze and MPs unanimously passed the motion. The PAC also called for amendment of the Privileges Act of 1967, noting it no longer served as a deterrent in that the E400 maximum fine imposed on Controlling Officers (Principal Secretaries) was meagre.

Other recommendations by the PAC were; g Secretary to Cabinet (Sandile Ceko) should address the billing system of CTA, g Civil Service Commission (CSC) headed by the Secretary to Cabinet had to urgently meet and look into the personnel challenge affecting all ministries, Finance Ministry should conduct an induction course for new principal secretaries and organise a refresher one for those who have been around for sometime on the Financial Regulations Bill,

A workshop for auditor general and the principal secretaries should also be arranged so that both are on the same page regarding their duties.


E114.2m tenders awarded in August

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Oct-2009

IN August alone, government awarded tenders to the value of E114.2 million.

Central Tender Board Secretary Nkululeko Dlamini said during this month, 22 new projects were tendered.

The bulk of tenders were for projects under the ministry of works and transport, which totalled about E84 million. “One award was to a joint venture between a Swazi company and a foreign company; contract extension by UNETEC in association with BJ Dlamini & Partners Consulting for the design review and construction supervision of the link road from Mbadlane to Sikhuphe International Airport at a cost of US $1 150 773 (about E92 million),” stated Dlamini, in a press release.

Central Tender Board Secretary Nkululeko Dlamini said during this month, 22 new projects were tendered.

Five tenders were awarded to foreign companies, these being Stucky Motors for purchase of a Mercedes Benz S600 LWB at E570 000 for the Central Transport Administration; WMO for capacity building at a cost of E2 million; SGL Technologies and IBIS TRAX- 3D for police projects to the value of E2.125 million; and De La Rue for supply of MLIS Film at about E808 496 (US$ 101 062) for the home affairs ministry.

Awards to local companies included installation and commissioning of an incinerator at Pigg’s Peak Hospital by Masi Investments at a cost of E752 494 and supply of computer equipment by SGL Technologies at a cost of E2 054 059. Cleaning, grass cutting and gardening by Fixit Investments at the Inter-Ministerial building cost government E263 604.

Other awards to Swazi companies went to Swazi Textbook and Stationery for the supply of equipment at a cost of E73 140; Tech Tool for the supply of equipment at a cost of E1.8 million; and to Wood Masters Furniture for supply of technical desks and stools at a cost of E108 687.60.


National Bass Angling team in Swaziland

Main Section

2 October - NAMIBIA ECONOMIST - The Administrator-02-Oct-2009

The Namibian Bass Angling national team is in Swaziland competing against the best national fishing teams from the SADC region in the Zone Six Bass Angling competition. The competition kicked off this week at the Maguga Dam in the kingdom nation.

The Namibian Bass Angling national team is in Swaziland competing against the best national fishing teams from the SADC region in the Zone Six Bass Angling competition. The competition kicked off this week at the Maguga Dam in the kingdom nation. At 115 metres high, the damwall ranks among the top five in SADC.

The Maguga Dam is located on the Komati River and home to some “Monster” bass typically exceeding 2,5kg. The current Swazi record of 5.4kg was caught at Maguga two years ago.

The team held bi-weekly meetings before it left to prepare for the unfamiliar conditions awaiting them in Swaziland. According to team captain, Willem Burger, part of their strategy was to send a scout team ahead, one week in advance. “This pre-fishing team came back with invaluable information regarding fishing conditions, water conditions, dam level and the bait to be used,” he said.

After the third round on Wednesday, the Namibian team was in third position. The competition ends this Saturday, 03 October. The team to beat will be South Africa. Namibia is represented by Willem Burger (Team Captain), Andre van Vuuren, Francois van der Westhuizen, Neil Engelbrecht, Conrad Brits, Anton Halgreen, Evan van der Westhuizen, Herman Reinders, Birte Schmalzriedt (Reserve) and Andre Schoombee (Team Manager


Schools internal exams to be affected

Main Section

By MABANDLA BHEMBE - SWAZI TIMES-03-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Internal examinations in over 150 high schools are set to be affected as the Ministry of Education and Training has selected over 450 teachers to participate in the upcoming S/ IGCSE external exa-mination marking.

The marking is scheduled to start on November 23 which effectively means the selected teachers will not see out the remaining two weeks leading to the official end of the third and final term of the school calendar year. It is worth noting that this year’s final school term official ends on December 11.

A circular signed by the Ministry of Education and Training’s Principal Secretary Pat Muir and circulated to all Regional Education Officers and Principals of schools and colleges reads: “The Ministry of Education and Training has received a request from the Examinations Council of Swaziland for the early release of S/IGCSE markers.

The Ministry hopes that the principals will assist in this regard. While we appreciate that this may be time for internal examinations in the various schools principals should make necessary plans and preparations for the internal examinations and early release of the said teachers”. When contacted by Swazi News the Minister of Education Wilson Khalalempi Ntshangase confirmed that the move was likely to affect internal examinations.

“The marking of the S/IGSCE is currently aligned with the United Kingdom, England Cambridge. It is their schedule that determines when we should begin marking. It is for that reason the ministry is compelled to have teachers participating in this assignment as early as possible,” he said.

“However once the programme is localised, the ministry will work on a strategic plan which will see an end to teachers leaving school to mark external exams before our school calendar comes to a close. The introduction of one common calendar similar to that which was adopted during the year’s of O’Level is also another option,” added the minister.


King confirms Isaac Magagula as new Police Commissioner

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-03-Oct-2009

MATSAPHA – Suspense literally engulfed the Police College arena yesterday as His Majesty, King Mswati III was to announce the new Commissioner of Police.

The king, who is Police Commissioner In-Chief, toiled with people’s minds as he took his time in pronouncing the person he had chosen for the job – a task the monarch said had been diligently held by erstwhile commissioner, Senator Edgar Hillary.

After keeping the over 5 000 people on tenterhooks, His Majesty then proclaimed Isaac Mmeli Magagula, the acting police commissioner, as the Commissioner of police. This was during the Passing out Parade and Police Day Ceremony, which was a fun filled event.

As soon as the Head of State confirmed Magagula to the position, the latter received applause from the crowd, and those around him including Army Commander Major General Sobantu Dlamini and acting Commissioner of Correctional Services Isaiah Ntshangase, shook hands with him. “I’ve since found it necessary to appoint a person to the position of Commissioner of police and after having done the necessary consultations, the person has been identified. “With your prayers in mind, I hope that the person who has been identified meets your expectations,” the king said, as everybody waited with bated breath.

The king then spoke thus: “I hereby appoint Mmeli Magagula as the new Commissioner of police.” Immediately thereafter, Magagula marched forward and saluted His Majesty who gladly returned the favour with a head-nod. Before the announcement, the king took time praising Edgar Hillary for having held the position of Commissioner with verve and diligence.

His Majesty also commemorated the late deputy police Commissioner Levion Dlamini, whom he said had been taken by God, yet we had expected him to work for the police force for many years to come. Present at the ceremony was Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, Emakhosikati to the king, Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, his deputy Themba Masuku, Manzini Regional Administrator Prince Masitsela, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Khisimusi, Sipho are new deputy police commissioners

MATSAPHA – His Majesty King Mswati III yesterday appointed Khisimusi Ndlovu and Sipho Dlamini as the new Deputy Police Commissioners.

The king said he had found it necessary that there be two deputies instead of one, as has always been the case. “During the time of Edgar Hillary, there was only one commissioner, but that has to change because police work has increased.

“Today I will announce the two deputies and these are, Sipho Dlamini who has already assumed the position and Khisimusi Ndlovu,” the king announced.

Dlamini was the Director of Operations, while Ndlovu was Director of Criminal Investigations Department. The two new deputies have both been decorated with Meritorious Service Awards, Long Service Medals, 40/40 Celebrations Medals, Centenary Awards and the Order of the Swazi Crown. Dlamini also has a SARPCCO Mananga Award.


Sappi attracts investors’ interest

Main Section

By Sisho Magagula - SWAZI OBSERVER-03-Oct-2009

Uncertainty, intrigue and suspense are currently sweeping across Swaziland’s leading pulp milling company, Sappi Usutu at Bhunya.

Reliable information gathered by the Weekend Observer is to the effect that workers are currently engrossed in a state of complete uncertainty over their future with the pulp company following speculation that it might cease operations on December 31, 2009.

What has further worsened the situation is the release of a memorandum by the company’s management last week. In the memo, the workers were informed not to be ‘surprised’ when they see strangers roaming company premises as these might be potential investors. This publication visited the company on Tuesday and the uncertainty was obvious with most workers.

They believe that management is not being honest with them regarding the future, if there is any, of the company. “We believe that management is not being open with us. Already, there is a rumour around here that management has already identified investors and they (investors) might scale down the workforce should they eventually take over the company,” said one employee speaking on condition of anonymity. This publication has also learnt that there is a heavy exodus of workers due to the uncertainty at Sappi.

Workers are migrating to other companies such as Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) and Ubombo Sugar (Illovo) in Big Bend.

“Why would anyone want to stay within a company whose future is not visible? The truth of the matter is that every employee wants job security in every work environment. Where there is no job security, there is low morale and this obviously affects production. Management should realise this and talk to us,” said another employee. The workers say they have been told to keep working until December 31.

Nobody knows what’s going to happen after this date, they say. Management was reportedly locked in a meeting when reporters from this newspaper arrived at the mill site on Tuesday. Responding to a questionnaire later, Sappi General Manager, Shane Perrow confirmed that ‘various parties’ have been visiting the Sappi mill and forestry operations. He said the process was still ongoing. “Sappi has previously indicated that it was investigating various options to ensure the future viability of the Usutu business.

“To that end, various parties have expressed interest and have visited the mill and the forestry operations. We cannot provide any more information as the process is ongoing,” he said. Perrow further denied reports of the exodus of workers from Sappi. “There is no exodus of employees from the company nor have company houses been sold. No decision has been taken to cease operations on any specific date,” he explained. No official comment could be obtained from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.


MEET MISS UNISWA FRESHERS ANDREA MENDES

Recreation Section

By Benele Dlamini - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-03-Oct-2009

Andrea Mendes, of Kwaluseni campus is Miss Freshers who could sure leave the likes of Kate Moss of this world eating from their palms with her model features…

After becoming a household name late last year by becoming a Miss Freshers at the Kwaluseni campus, this towering beauty has graced so many national events and covers of local newspapers. She has kept us glued to her private life as she’s never part of the local party scenes of the country. Andrea Mendes talks to us about her reign, friendship and being grounded... this is part of what she had to say,

“My reign as Miss Uniswa has been a lifetime experience. Every title comes with responsibility, especially because of always being in the public eye. “It is a bit of a challenge because I’m supposed to be a role model to the youth and always have to be in the publics good books. “Surprisingly, I’m not finding it that difficult. I’m not much of an outgoing person so I think it helped me a lot with my reputation, PAPARAZI ain’t finding me nowhere, haha, Im always at home.

“Not to say that I don’t go out, I had my youthful days but I’ve outgrown them I guess. I attend mature functions. “However, I’m enjoying every bit of my reign and making the most of it. It has taught me a lot, about helping people and dealing with my shy persona. I’m currently engaged in a few charity projects and I’m learning a lot from them. “I’ve realised that there are so many people who need our help and i’d like to take this opportunity to encourage people to lend a hand. The smallest things can go a long way.”

At only 20 years old, this beauty has dabbled fashion and is currently pursuing a Bcom degree. Andrea Mendes is sure a beauty with brains. This Manzini born and bred beauty Queen is the last born in a family of six. She did both her primary and high school in the renowned St Michaels girl’s school. Asked on how she keeps herself grounded, Andrea attributes her lay low profile to her school work which she says occupies most of her leisure time.

She derives pleasure in none other than her favourite sport, swimming…mmhm! do we blame her firmness and tantalising body on the swimming, only time will tell.


Unbeatabl Buffaloes gore luckless Hub Sundowns

Sports Section

By Phila - SWAZI TIMES-04-Oct-2009

MANZINI – Trail-blazing army side, Young Buffaloes just can’t stop winning – even on their off day.

Yesterday’s 2-0 victory demonstrated their resilience but most importantly cemented their league title credentials as they absorbed waves and waves of Hub Sundowns attacks before two sublime goals in the last minutes sealed off another vital victory – their sixth win of a memorable season.

Zenzele ‘Ace’ Dlamini’s charges not only maintained their 100 percent winning record and are still the MTN league table toppers but they have won six games on the trot and conceded only one goal. A blistering shot from over 25 yards by Manqoba ‘Dunga’ Kunene in the 72nd minute was the heart break for the Manzini side and left goalkeeper Colani Mngomezulu dazzled, as it landed inside the net.

It’s a goal that could contest for the ‘goal of the season award’, had there been any. This seemed to have dampened the spirits of the players, who despite losing seemed to have been well prepared for the game. The Buffaloes midfielder-turned winger, who was on top of his game thrilled the supporters with another brilliant shot 15 minutes before the final whistle which was however ricocheted off the cross bar, much to his disappointment.

Also on song, Zweli ‘Stopper’ Msibi had supporters at the edge of their seats 13 minutes before the end of the first half, when a well connected shot from Kunene cross failed to find the back of the net just by a few inches. However a finish off by substitute Sifiso Mazibuko in the 90th minute resulting from another blistering shot from Kunene sent the Buffaloes supporters into frenzy.

However the impressive performance by the brave Hub Sundowns goalkeeper, Colani could not be left unnoticed, as he went all out to make brilliant breath taking saves, saving his team from further humiliation by the armed forces side.

The Manzini outfit failed to utilise most of the chances that were available to them, like in the 53rd minute where the cross bar denied a shot by Carlos Mathunjwa after it hit and bounced back. Another opportunity came at the 77th minute, where after a good swing inside the 18th area, Mathunjwa miscalculated the net and landed the ball just slightly over the bar.

Teams

Hub: Colani, Muzie, Bheki, Simanga, Ntokozo, Ronnie, Andile, Simiso, Makhosi, Carlos, Siyethemba (Sanele). Buffaloes: Sibusiso, Mduduzi, Vusi, Goodman, Sibiya, Mphile, Manqoba, Malungisa, Zweli, Jabulani (Sifiso), Sidumo, Thabiso.


PhDs coming to UNISWA

Main Section

By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-04-Oct-2009

KWALUSENI—The University of Swaziland will next year start offering doctoral programmes.

This was revealed by the Vice Chancellor Cisco Magagula, who said for a while the university had been concentrating on offering undergraduate degrees and masters degrees. “There is a large pool of under- graduates who have masters degrees and now wish to pursue doctoral programmes and I am happy to report that preparations are at an advanced stage for offering doctoral programmes.

He said some departments were planning to offer them next academic year . Magagula said as the university, they welcomed the signs of the global economy recovery and the pledge from world leaders that never again would the world be subjected to the credit crisis. “We hope this will stimulate economic growth and provide opportunities for our graduates to use their skills and knowledge to create jobs,” he said.

He said he strongly believed that as a small developing country, the citizens should aggressively continue to invest in human capital development, particularly if the country wanted to realise the dream of becoming a first world country. He said the country therefore needed to upgrade and expand the existing physical infrastructure and teaching facilities and equipment of the current tertiary institutions, so that there can be more opportunities for high school graduates to acquire higher education locally.

He said the university was expanding and there were three capital projects under construction in the faculties of Agriculture, Health Sciences and Science, funded by government. “The objective of these capital projects is to increase the intake and enable the University to introduce new programmes,” he said.

Engineering

He said the teaching block at the Faculty of Science for example, was for the new department of Engineering which will be offering both electronic and mechanical engineering. The university continues to undertake basic applied and commissioned research to extend the frontiers of knowledge and informed public policy.

Last year the academic staff was engaged in 87 research projects and published 67 scientific papers in reputable journals, notwithstanding the high lecturer-students ration, Magagula added. He said apart from teaching and research, the university continued to provide community services in various sectors of the general public.

“The academic staff for example, continues to assist government , the private sector and NGOs in preparing policy papers and serving in committees and statutory boards,” said Magagula. He further said the students on the other hand through their social clubs continued to build shelters, distribute food and clothes to the needy and provide skill training to small business enterprises in rural areas.

He said it was because of this community service that the students won the national competition of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) adding that some of them were currently travelling to Germany to represent the country at the international SIFE Competition.

“The vision of the university is ‘Leadership through Excellence in Education’ and we believe that we can achieve this vision if we provide quality tertiary education, that is relevant to the needs of the country,” said Magagula.


‘Dubai’ dealers dine with MPs—and want protection

Main Section

By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-04-Oct-2009

MATSAPHA – Manzini import car dealers are lobbying government to revisit the legislation that regulates importation of cars into the country.

The ‘dubai’ dealers have requested parliamentarians to push their agenda where they want the Customs Act to be reviewed. According to the dealers the Act is very old and archaic as such it is no longer applicable in the present business environment.

The dealers are complaining that the legislation is now a hindrance to their operations as such it should be revisited in-order to make compatible with the present dynamic business environment. The dealers also made a compassionate plea to parliamentarians to assist their customers in getting loans from banks to finance car deals with them. They pointed SwaziBank as a bank they believed was in a position to assist their customers in the financial matters.

This transpired on Thursday evening in a business dinner meeting which was hosted at the S&B restaurant in Matsapha. The meeting was hosted by Manzini business people who seek parliamentarians’ intervention in protecting their turf.

The dinner was fully sponsored by the business people and they took time in lobbying the parliamentarians in pushing their agenda by coming up with legislations that would protect their business. The meeting was facilitated by the Manzini South Member of parliament Thandi Nxumalo and was attended by about 15 Members of Parliament who came from both houses of Parliament.

Representing the dealers was the First International Company boss Ali Khan. Some of the parliamentarians who attended the dinner were Ntondozi Member of Parliament Peter Ngwenya, Mafutseni MP Joseph Madonsela, Hosea MP Mduduzi Mabuza , Nkilongo MP Trusty Gina, Senators Bonsile Mngometulu and Bhutana Dlamini among others.

Several business people took the platform with both hands and one of these was Charles Mbingo from Bingo Lee International. Mbingo invited parliamentarians to attend various conferences in Korea where various agendas would be at table. Business people who used the platform profitably were the ‘dubai’ dealers.

Kennedy Matsebula who is a manager at First International Company requested the MPs to ‘ lobby SwaziBank to open loan facilities for our customers so that they would purchase their cars through the bank’. Nxumalo said SwaziBank was the only bank that was in a position to help in this regard especially because it was a local bank which was owned by Swazis.

He further explained that they have tried to engage the bank on this matter on several occasions to no avail thus the intervention of the parliamentarians is essential especially if there were any legislations that had to be harmonised before such arrangement were to be put in place.

Don’t invade tax - ‘dubai’ dealers told

MATSAPHA—Dubai car dealers have been told to sort out the many discrepancies that rule operations in the industry. This suggestion came from parliamentarians on Thursday during a business dinner meeting with the industry players.

Nkilongo MP Trusty Gina told the ‘dubai’ dealers that it was disheartening that the dealers wanted Parliament’s help when they were failing to do housekeeping in their operations. “We are aware that some dealerships are evading tax and they do not want to pay it, some are under declaring their vehicles and some are falsifying invoices all in an effort to evade tax,” she said. Gina told the dealers that they must be honest in their dealings if they want to be taken seriously.

She also said she was worried that the industry was not monitored such that there is a risk that some of the cars that are being imported could be environmentally unfriendly. Mafutseni Member of Parliament Joseph Madonsela complained that some of the cars that were being sold in the dealerships had no spare parts. As such in the event they malfunction, Swazis are forced to park their cars for good.

The dealers responded to this complaint by saying they had linkages with various supplies of spare parts from the source where they buy the cars. They claimed that spare parts dealers are spread in all the four regions of the country. The parliamentarians also demanded that the dealers should provide the nation with a warranty of some sort to ensure that dealers are selling cars that will run for years in the hands of the many Swazis who purchase them.


France gets his normal life

Main Section

By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-04-Oct-2009

MBABANE—He can now afford a decent smile and a giggle, he laughs and can now play ball with ease; he is a happy boy.

Before his new-found life, he weighed seven kilograms but now he weighs 12.5kg.

This is the story of France Khumalo who was on the brink of death, each day he woke up outside the one-roomed rented flat where his family stays. After having been admitted to the RFM Hospital, France made his remarkable recovery from kwashiorkor and other ailments associated with malnutrition.

France used to weather the worst winters and summers outside his father’s house, as his parents could not take care of him and also because he could not move his limbs. He is now undergoing physiotherapy. The good news also sees France getting a new home where he will be accorded a decent life. However, the orphanage that has adopted him has requested not to be named—for now, pending finalisation of other formalities to conclude the arrangement.

France’s life is being turned for the better, all because of our readers who have responded with huge compassion since we published his plight about two months ago. A lot of our readers have gone the extra mile in saving the young soul. Among these is the Mtfongwaneni Member of Parliament, Patrick Gamedze who pulled all stops to find help for France. He singlehandedly ensured that France was admitted at the RFM hospital, where he received medical attention.

He is also responsible for arranging the adoption, along with a UNICEF employee who went beyond the call of duty to ensure France found a place to call home. She spent her resources and time to see to it that France recovered, tirelessly working with the MP to ensure that France had a life like any normal child.

When a team from this newspaper followed up France’s story with a visit to the RFM, he was found watching TV at the children’s ward. He was able to recognise us and gave us a broad smile.


SD must rise to the occasion

Main Section

By The Editor - SWAZI TIMES-05-Oct-2009

Comment

Swaziland has jumped to position 29 out of 53 African countries according to the world respected Ibrahim Index of African Governance for 2009, which is Africa’s leading assessment of governance that informs and empowers citizens.

The rise is welcome and much needed. Five places up may seem a few small steps ahead but it counts a great deal when such an index is used by the much sought after investors to decide where to put their money together with other indictors such as the ease of doing business index where the country slipped one step backward compared to the previous year. Putting the two together, it would appear we are a better country politically but now more difficult to deal with economically.

The challenge that now lies with the current government is to balance this up. Both indicators should see Swaziland moving up the ranks and nowhere else. The latest statistic should have everybody taking note of what could happen if High Court decisions like the protracted Mzikayise ruling and the Mario Masuku case could be accepted at all levels of the country’s administration.

It increases our score on the rule of law which is why government needs to tread carefully on the ruling on free education which should be accessible to all primary school going children by the beginning of next year as per the court ruling; otherwise this particular issue could easily take the country five steps back.

On the corruption score, we appear to have made some significant improvement, but we still await action on many cases of corruption despite having a fully operational Anti Corruption Commission. Counting the cases would need all day. With regards to Human Rights, the biggest threat to this country remains the Suppression of Terrorism Act which appears to be the supreme law of the land and has the potential of sending us back to where we were under Zimbabwe.

Also, fresh moves by the ministry of information, communication and technology to muzzle the press will do more harm to this country than the minister thinks the media commission can achieve. This is probably why the minister is not publishing the bill but rather the code of ethics to have people think it’s all good.

The index should also serve as a reminder that the world is watching us and everything that we do very closely. If Swaziland wants to be a part of this world, the index provides the expectations. How high or low we wish to be listed, will unfortunately decide whether this country will swim with the rest or sink on its own. Congratulations to Swaziland for the improvements in the areas cited by the report. We hope that up is the only way to go for this country moving forward and we anxiously await results for 2010.


Red Light 2010 campaign launched

Main Section

By STHEMBILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-05-Oct-2009

MBABANE- The trafficking of women and children for slavery and sexual exploitation has emerged as a growing concern in the Southern African region.

This is especially the FIFA 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa draws closer. To address this serious human rights violation, Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA ) Swaziland has partnered with Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), Save The Children, Co-ordinating Assemble of Non governmental Organisation (CANGO )and World Vision to implement the national Red Light 2010 campaign, which is aimed at creating awareness on this challenge, whilst also sensitising the public on the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (human trafficking) Bill of 2009.

The National Red Light 2010 campaign was launched by the five partners at the Royal Swazi Sun. The event was attended by representatives from the UN Agencies, including UN Resident Coordinators, public and private sector representatives, partners from the US Embassy and European Commission, parliamentarians, government officials.

Officials

The guest speaker Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini, who was accompanied by several key government officials including the Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole, who was representing the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Chairperson of the Inter-agency Task Force Team on Human Trafficking, Mbuso Dlamini. The PM applauded the efforts of civil society in working with government to make the country a safer and better place to live in.

On the other hand, Sithole and Dlamini emphasised the need for stronger legislation and public commitment, especially that of parents in dealing with sexual exploitation of their children, as well as strengthened public-private partnerships in fighting human trafficking.

SWAGAA Director, Cebile Manzini-Henwood highlighted that over US$1 million (E7.6million) is made regionally from this illegal and inhumane trade, urging every individual to look at what they can do in their position to prevent and stop human trafficking. The other campaign partners also shared how children, women, young boys and the elderly are lured by strangers through false hopes for better lives, who then enslave them, sexually exploit them or even trade their body parts.


No buyers for Peugeot dealership

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-05-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The liquidator of Classic Motors, has not been approached by potential buyers interested in taking over the dealership.

Classic Motors, used to sell vehicles from Peugeot and GWM, was put under liquidation over two months ago. Liquidator Sabelo Masuku said this when asked to confirm whether or not the rumours of a possible take-over of Classic Motors were authentic. “What finalised deal? I have not entered into any agreement with anyone who wants to buy or take over the dealership. In fact, I have received a couple of calls from people who were just enquiring about the company but there has not been any formal request or offer to buy Classic Motors,” he said.

Masuku said, however, that he would be glad to get into negotiations with interested potential buyers. “We will be glad to talk to potential buyers; we are more than open for offers. We are prepared to sit down with whosoever has an offer and assess the assets with him/her, for a possible take-over. For me, the sooner I get someone to buy the dealership, the better,” he said.

Masuku added that the negotiation process, when started, would take at least a month to finalise. On another note, Masuku disclosed that the money owed by Classic Motors to several creditors in the country was in excess of E3 million. He said the main creditor is WesBank.

“Most of the cars were financed by WesBank, which is mainly the biggest creditor of the dealership. The monies owed to creditors is in excess of E3 million,” he said. When asked on debtors, Masuku said as the dealership dealt with clients via the banks, most of the transactions were cleared by the financial institutions.

“I do not think there are significant debtors, as the purchasing processes for vehicles are normally done through financial institutions,” he said. He could not disclose the number of workers that were employed by the company before its liquidation. “I will be advised by the former directors of the company on the number of workers who were employed and then we will see the way forward thereafter,” Masuku said.

As a liquidator, Masuku said he was mainly interested in evaluating the assets owned by the company. He said after the evaluation or assessment of the assets, he would then decide whether or not to sell the assets so as to pay the creditors. “My interest as the liquidator, mainly is to evaluate the company assets and sell them. However, in the event some potential buyer approaches me with an offer, we will then discuss and finalise it. That is why it is better not to remove the assets because some buyers normally purchase everything,” Masuku noted.

The liquidator added; “Right now, we are interested in looking at the assets. It is normal in liquidations that liabilities are more than the assets. We have taken the inventory and deferred it to Peugeot and GWM in order to be able to make the evaluation.”


50% shares of Pick n’ Pay up for sale

Business Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-05-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The co-partner of one of the biggest retail supermarkets in the country, Pick n’ Pay, is selling his whole stake in the local franchise.

The Pick n’ Pay is situated at The Gables in Zulwini. The co-partner, only identified as V. Stuart-Hammond, confirmed he was selling his 50 per cent stake in the business.

He could not, however, be drawn to divulge the value of the shares and his reasons for selling them. The Business Desk sent him an email, asking why he was selling his stake, the value of the shares and generally if the other shareholder(s) were aware of the sale, among other things. In his response, Stuart-Hammond said; “I confirm that all shareholders are aware of my decision to sell my shares. As I am sure you can appreciate there are a number of intricacies involved in a sale such as this.

The negotiations with a number of interested parties are at a sensitive stage and I therefore do not believe that it is prudent to expand on this matter further.” He voiced out his concern on going deeper into the logistics of the sale and publishing such ‘so as not to jeopardise the sale’. Stuart-Hammond has already published an advertisement, inviting potential buyers for negotiations. Part of the advert reads; “Pick n’ Pay Ezulwini for sale. Own 50 per cent in this leading retail supermarket. Turnover in excess of E5.6 million per month, with the annual profit in excess of E1 million and gross profit margin in excess of 15 per cent.”

When contacted for comment, the other shareholder Brent Hammond said he was aware of the sale. Brent owns the other 50 per cent stake in the company. He said he was actually also vying for the shares that were up for sale.

“I am actually in the process of buying the shares; negotiations are underway. We are co-shareholders; we each own 50 per cent shares. I am interested in the other stake, which will enable me to have full ownership of the company. I am hoping that the negotiations will be wrapped up soon,” he said.

Brent said he was hands-on in the running of the business since it was opened about eight years ago. When asked about his offer, Brent said; “I am not prepared to discuss figures because Pick n’ Pay is a private company. What I can say is that we are negotiating to buy the shares and the negotiation is positive at the moment.” Brent had not seen the advert when contacted and said he did not know why his partner decided to advertise the sale.


Wet weather claims two lives on slippery roads

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-05-Oct-2009

THE wet weather condition over the weekend has claimed two lives one being of a 30-year-old man of Siphofaneni whilst the other was a six-year-old girl.

The 30-year-old man was hit by a Toyota Quantum at Siphofaneni and it was driven by a man of Lobamba.

The driver was arrested and charged with culpable homicide and will appear before Big Bend Magistrates Court today. The six-year old died when she was hit by a car at Matsapha traffic circle, a BMW sedan which was driven by a man of Ludzeluzde. The girl was from Ntondozi. The driver has been arrested too and charged with culpable homicide and will appear before Matsapha circuit court this morning.

On another note, police are looking for two cars which were stolen at Kwaluseni on Saturday. One is a Nissan Sunny registered SD 958 DF valued at E35 000. It was taken at around 9pm by four armed men. The other is a green Toyota Hilux registered SD 957 JL valued at E50 000 which was stolen around 11:45 on the same day. Police are appealing to anyone with information to contact them at 5187111 or dial the emergency line 999. Police guarantee confidentiality on anyone who provides them with information.


Cambridge inspector here

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-05-Oct-2009

CAMBRIDGE International Examination (CIE) has sent an invigilation inspector who visits all the centres where examinations are held.

The inspector will monitor progress of the examinations, observe if the Cambridge rules and regulations together with requirements are met by the candidate sitting for the examinations.

The expert will later write a report on what he/she observed to the mother body and the Examination Council of Swaziland (ECoS), Registrar Dr. Edmund Mazibuko says. He said he was optimistic that the country would get all the credits from the inspector because they had covered almost all that would be expected from each school by Cambridge International and have lectured the head teachers on that.

“Amongst the things we taught the head teachers and invigilators was that there must be a big poster that is visible to all the candidates with the rules and regulations of the examination. In the inspector’s report, it will also be reflected how we run our examinations,” he said.

He explained that the report will also help the organisation know if they ran the examination to the expected standards.


Inkhosikati LaMbikiza on reducing maternal mortality

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-05-Oct-2009

HER Royal Highness Inkhosikati LaMbikiza has said development and dissemination of information, education and communication materials has to target priority areas first to reduce maternal mortality in the country.

She was speaking in First Ladies Summit on the campaign of reducing maternal mortality in Swaziland. The Summit was held in New York where she said some of the existing strategies for reducing maternal mortality were the National Programme on Sexual and Reproductive Health. She said services for maternal health were provided in almost all the areas in the country but due to poverty they were not accessible to everyone.

She noted that in the country maternal mortality had been on the increase, saying “mortality rate has augmented; the maternal mortality rate rising from 2 229 per 100 000 in to 589 deaths per 100 000 births in 2006.” She revealed that some of the causes of maternal mortality were that of home delivery and lack of skilled attendants.

She said First Ladies’ involvement include “being patrons of several NGOs in Swaziland such as Nutrition Network, Lusito Charity Organisation, Tidzelise, young heroes and World Vision.”

She also said carrying out royal duties also included using the political and role model status to further the health campaigns. Her Royal Highness added that first ladies advocated for breastfeeding, giving financial support and visiting hospitals.

She mentioned that some of the challenges faced were the lack of skilled personnel like midwives, males who are not involved and the poor infrastructure to name a few.

For monitoring and evaluation of the campaign Her Royal Highness said “a mid term review will be carried out after 18 months. The outcome of the review will be used to align activities of the remaining 18 months. At the end of the project, a final evaluation will be made and people will be informed of our future activities.” The campaign will be launched this month.


Use irrigation infrastructure to commercialise veggies - Gcokoma

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-05-Oct-2009

FARMERS have been urged to commercialise vegetable farming and make use of irrigation infrastructure initially developed for sugar cane farming.

Acting Minister of Agriculture Chief Gcokoma said vegetable farming should be commercialised to supply both the domestic and international markets because sugar cane production can no longer support everyone.

“Government has spent a lot of funds in developing irrigation infrastructure for the country. The challenge is for farmers to use it wisely and profitably,” he said. “The most critical undertaking by every farmer should be commitment to the sector and what you want to achieve.” He advised farmers to plan properly before undertaking any kind of venture so as to reduce risks. “Planning for the market is no exception otherwise you are doomed for failure from the beginning.”

The minister said farmers should no longer grow what they knew best but rather what the market demanded, which should also be produce that would attract a good price. However, he acknowledged that the agriculture sector in the country still faced challenges, which he said include the inability to support local raw materials for the processing sector. He noted that this was due to low productivity and limited diversification.

“On the other hand, the little raw materials we produce are exported mainly in raw form. There is very little processing done locally and even at household level. This is unacceptable for the development of our economy,” he said. “We are still dependent on imports for the fresh produce market and also processed vegetables. We need to turn the situation around, but the problem could be that we do not have reliable markets for our farm produce.

“Agriculture provides the raw materials for the manufacturing industry, especially products meant for human consumption. There can be no food processing without a reliable source of raw materials from agriculture.”


Copying students face four year suspension

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-05-Oct-2009

SCHOOLS that will fail to comply with the IGSCE/SGCSE rules and regulations will be deprived the status of being a centre for the examinations.

Students who will be found to have copied or be involved in malicious practices will be banned from writing that examination for no less than three to four years. However, the years may even be more depending on the findings of the investigating committee that would have been put in place to investigate any reported matter.

This was revealed by Registrar of the Examination Council of Swaziland (ECoS) Dr. Edmund Mazibuko in an interview yesterday.

He said teachers who would be involved in malpractices would be reported to the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) where he/she would be disciplined and chances were high that that particular teacher might even lose the job. Dr. Mazibuko said invigilators and head teachers had to be extra vigilant as the examination progresses thus the introduction of the invigilators training workshops which have been going on in the past weeks.

He said the requirements for the examination was that, for every 25 students there must be one invigilator and there must be at least one invigilator for every 15 students for a practical examination. The registrar also stated that head teachers, as chief invigilators, were to ensure that they were the only persons, who had access to the place where the examination papers are kept.

“We expect all the exam papers to be locked away in a place of high security, ideally a safe until the timetable start of the examination. The packets of question papers must not be opened until the time appointed for the examination concerned unless instructed by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) to open them,” he stressed.

He also stated that amongst other requirements for a person writing the examination was that the seating arrangements be 1.25m apart in all directions between the candidates. “A school that would be found to have failed to meet the requirements will be literally forced to comply or face the consequences,” he said.

In conclusion, the registrar said in most cases students were tempted to copy because they were not properly prepared for the examination while teachers are tempted to assist their students copy because they, somehow, failed to prepare them for the exams.


Asians fight over parking space

Main Section

By LINDA JELE - SWAZI TIMES-06-Oct-2009

MANZINI – An Indian Manzini Supermarket owner has been arrested together with his four sons after allegedly trying to throw their fellow national from a two storey building.

The incident is said to have taken place at Dups flats at around 8:30pm last Monday. Ibrahim Patel and his sons allegedly assaulted Imran Patel and his 50-year-old mother after an argument over parking space. Imran, who also operates a shop in Manzini and resides at Dups flats, said he was questioning his brother on why his vehicle was removed from the parking he had been allocated by the landlord.

He said his brother told him that he had been instructed by Ibrahim’s sons to remove the vehicle. He alleges that while he was talking to his brother, Ibrahim came and verbally assaulted him and his sons joined in and assaulted him with fists and kicked him all over the body.

He alleged that when his mother tried to separate them, they also beat her up and she bled profusely. “They tried to throw me to the ground floor from the second floor of the building. I only questioned my brother because my vehicle had been parked next to a place which was renovated and it would have blocked the maintenance people,” he alleged.

He said the situation was calmed down by the police who arrived promptly and arrested them. They were all charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Ibrahim’s sons are Azfal (32), Saiful (26), Salman (20) and Rizwan (30). They appeared at the Manzini Magistrate’s court on Thursday.

The matter was before Magistrate Fikile Nhlabatsi and the accused were represented by Themba Ndlovu. Magistrate Nhlabatsi postponed the matter to October 22, 2009.


Sex workers business quite risky

Recreation Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-06-Oct-2009

SEX workers face multiple risks and challenges whilst plying their trade, including HIV transmission, and are often unable to control such because of their social related vulnerabilities.

To be in a position to better address the pertinent issues related to commercial sex work, the United Nations is hosting about 40 prevention advisers and focal people from the UN system from different SADC countries to a consultation on the “prevention of HIV in the context of sex work”. The three day inter-agency consultation was officially opened by Minister of Health Benedict Xaba at Esibayeni Lodge yesterday.

Information gathered is that sex work networks have also been invited to the consultation. Making his remarks on the official opening ceremony, Xaba registered his concern with the general unavailability of data on the extent of sex work in Swaziland and the prevalence of HIV amongst them.

He quickly added that the unavailability of data may be partly because of the illicit and underground nature of the trade. He recalled that in 2007, the country conducted a rapid assessment on sex workers, and that findings showed that 77% of the respondents had been diagnosed with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and that 67% of them had not sought for any treatment.

It is against this backdrop that the minister said the meeting would have failed on its purpose if it were not to articulate these issues with a view of guiding countries in the region on the cost effective and evidence based interventions to address HIV prevention, treatment, care and support targeting commercial sex workers.

The minister, however, alluded to that with the illicit nature of commercial sex work, there are challenges in as far as implementing programmes to the challenges faced by sex workers is concerned. He observed that there is usually lack of funding for the programme and difficulties in reaching the sex workers’ clients since their operations are largely underground.

‘They should have unlimited access to health services’


Cops want cellphone recovery gadget

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-06-Oct-2009

CELLULAR phone thieves are in for a shock as the Royal Swaziland Police ponders on buying a state-of-the art mobile phone recovery gadget from Micro Systemation.

The company was one of those afforded an opportunity by the RSP to display their product at the Matsapha Police College during the Police Day and Passout parade on Friday. The company representatives told His Majesty King Mswati III that the gadgets could reveal all data that was deleted from any phone.

To display this, they went to a shop selling used cellular phones in Manzini and bought one. They connected the phone to their gadget, which was also connected to a computer. The computer revealed the PUK of the phone and further displayed all messages that were ever sent to or from the phone. It also showed all received calls.

“After reading all the messages sent to the phone, we can even tell who the owner of the phone was,” said one of the managers when relating to His Majesty how the gadget operates. Micro Systemation solely develops mobile forensic products for forensics professionals. “We aim to offer you an efficient, easy-to-use, easy to administer, secure cell phone forensic work tool – that sticks in court. We produce our own hardware and mobile forensic cables to ensure highest possible quality. Finally, we give you a skilled support that is efficient, helpful and they will not give up until your problem is solved,” said the manage


King praised for advancing concept of dialogue

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZ I OBSERVER-06-Oct-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has been praised for advancing the concept of dialogue as it is the only solution to conflict.

Mhlatane High School Principal Simeon Makhubu said through His Majesty’s wisdom, the nation had hosted a successful Smart Partnership Dialogue where various personalities graced it and mapped a way forward for the country’s health sector, amongst other salient topics.

“We wish to thank him for encouraging dialogue or that is the only solution to the many problems that engulf families and the entire universe. We appreciate also that some of our students were chosen to participate in this so important dialogue and some of them even shared a table with the DPM (Themba Masuku). “This makes us so proud as a school,” Makhubu said. He said the school had lost one of its teachers Ms Mkhonta in a car accident and she died on the spot. She was travelling with two other teachers who are recuperating well.

Mhlatane High School Principal Simeon Makhubu said through His Majesty’s wisdom, the nation had hosted a successful Smart Partnership Dialogue where various personalities graced it and mapped a way forward for the country’s health sector, amongst other salient topics.

“We wish to thank him for encouraging dialogue or that is the only solution to the many problems that engulf families and the entire universe. We appreciate also that some of our students were chosen to participate in this so important dialogue and some of them even shared a table with the DPM (Themba Masuku). “This makes us so proud as a school,” Makhubu said. He said the school had lost one of its teachers Ms Mkhonta in a car accident and she died on the spot.

She was travelling with two other teachers who are recuperating well. One student also passed on this year after suffering from a headache.

“We were informed that he had been taken to Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital and was later transferred to Mbabane where he succumbed to death. Everything happened so fast as a school we did not even have an opportunity to visit him in hospital,” he said, before requesting the gathering to honour the duo with a minute of silence.

The school excelled in extra curricular activities and in the JC results of 2008. In soccer, the Under 17 boys got position one nationally, darts saw seven players from Mhlatane picked to represent the country in Zambia, both boys and girls obtained first position nationally in basketball, two of the school’s soloists got position two while the other managed position three.

In music, the school obtained first position nationally, in volleyball two players were chosen into the national team and in ladies soccer they did not place but a player was chosen for the national team. In Science projects, juniors and seniors got first position nationally.

“Under research two girls say for us to avoid blood clots we must eat garlic. “They got position one nationally. One boy, even though his project did not win, says to prevent overloading; a kombi that will not move when full needs to be created. For chicken farmers, my students can build you a poultry house that will automatically clean itself,” he said. Former senator and Pigg’s Peak businessman Mavovo Mkhonto donated a cow to the school

One student also passed on this year after suffering from a headache. “We were informed that he had been taken to Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital and was later transferred to Mbabane where he succumbed to death. Everything happened so fast as a school we did not even have an opportunity to visit him in hospital,” he said, before requesting the gathering to honour the duo with a minute of silence.

The school excelled in extra curricular activities and in the JC results of 2008. In soccer, the Under 17 boys got position one nationally, darts saw seven players from Mhlatane picked to represent the country in Zambia, both boys and girls obtained first position nationally in basketball, two of the school’s soloists got position two while the other managed position three.

In music, the school obtained first position nationally, in volleyball two players were chosen into the national team and in ladies soccer they did not place but a player was chosen for the national team. In Science projects, juniors and seniors got first position nationally.

“Under research two girls say for us to avoid blood clots we must eat garlic. “They got position one nationally. One boy, even though his project did not win, says to prevent overloading; a kombi that will not move when full needs to be created. For chicken farmers, my students can build you a poultry house that will automatically clean itself,” he said.

Former senator and Pigg’s Peak businessman Mavovo Mkhonto donated a cow to the school


MTN launches ‘Customer Service Week’

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-06-Oct-2009

MTN Swaziland yesterday launched its customer service week which will see the company engaging in activities focused on highlighting the significance of customers in its business.

The customer service week, whose theme is ‘A Call to Excellence l’, was launched at the MTN Hub Service Centre in Manzini. “MTN Swaziland will from today (yesterday) until Saturday engage in activities focused on highlighting the significance of customers in our business,” said Acting CEO Thokozile Vilakati-Jele.

“Customer Service Week is a national event devoted to recognising the importance of customer service and to honouring the people who serve and support customers with the highest degree of care and professionalism.” She said the objectives of this year’s event include, amongst others, boosting morale, motivation and teamwork amongst MTN’s customer staff. She said through this campaign, the company was aiming to raise companywide awareness on the importance of customer service as well as demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction.

“We have prepared a very attractive menu of activities that will see us through to Saturday, the final day of the campaign where we shall host a dinner event for customers who have outdone others in categories which have already been identified,” added Vilakati-Jele.

“We shall be making visits to our service centres around the country and spread the customer week fever throughout the country. We shall also use this opportunity to assess our operations in the different areas. “I would like to emphasise that the quality of our work depends on the quality of our people. Therefore, thank you to the customer service staff, particularly because they serve more customers than all of us.

“Thank you to the organising task team of this project and to you, our customers, for being there.”


Macford takes ‘Visit SD’ campaign to Maputo

Main Section

By Teetee Zwane -- SWAZI OBSERVER-06-Oct-2009

MINISTER of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze will tomorrow host a cocktail party in Mozambique to promote Swaziland tourism and corporates.

The intention is to promote Swaziland in Maputo as it is one of our primary source markets and the focal point will be incwala and lusekwane as tourist attractions as well as other initiatives geared towards raising the profile of Swaziland and Mozambique,” read a press statement.

The event Sibandze will be hosting together with the Hotel and Tourism Association (HOTAS) and Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) is to be held at the Hotel Cardoso in Maputo. After the cocktail, the minister is expected to conduct interviews with various media “to help raise the profile of Swaziland and further sustain the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign


SFTU to stop public officers’ children from studying abroad

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

THE Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) wants to stop children of affluent public officials from attending expensive schools in South Africa and abroad.

Secretary General Jan Sithole said soon they would distribute correspondence to the schools to discourage them from receiving the said students with a view to divert them into the local schools.

Sithole said the children of high profile public figures in government were running away from the local schools because they did not want to study the IGCSE/SGCSE programme because their parents know that it is not good enough. “It is unfortunate that government introduces a programme like this and later does not allow children of people holding high positions to study it because it is poor, instead the officials send their children to international schools. They must also study the same product that has been brought by their parents through government. We will order that the international schools should not admit them,” he said.

President of the Swaziland National Association Teachers (SNAT) Simon Makhanya said they had not yet met on the issue. He explained that if they would take that decision they would have to do a number of things.

“As a union, we have not yet discussed the pros and cons of that matter,” he said. Principal Secretary at the ministry of education and training, Pat Muir, said the sanction would be uncalled for because some parents also send their children to international and private schools, depending on the money they have.

“The people behind the proposed sanction must bear in mind that parents have different reasons for sending their children to the said schools and that no one has been prohibited to do that. The sanction will be uncalled for,” he said. Sithole was speaking on Monday during the World Teachers Day commemoration at the Tum’s George Hotel. Also represented in the celebration were NEPSAW, Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA), UNESCO and UNICEF. Sithole also represented the International Labour Association


SFTU to stop public officers’ children from studying abroad

Main Section

By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

THE Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) wants to stop children of affluent public officials from attending expensive schools in South Africa and abroad.

Secretary General Jan Sithole said soon they would distribute correspondence to the schools to discourage them from receiving the said students with a view to divert them into the local schools.

Sithole said the children of high profile public figures in government were running away from the local schools because they did not want to study the IGCSE/SGCSE programme because their parents know that it is not good enough. “It is unfortunate that government introduces a programme like this and later does not allow children of people holding high positions to study it because it is poor, instead the officials send their children to international schools. They must also study the same product that has been brought by their parents through government. We will order that the international schools should not admit them,” he said.

President of the Swaziland National Association Teachers (SNAT) Simon Makhanya said they had not yet met on the issue. He explained that if they would take that decision they would have to do a number of things.

“As a union, we have not yet discussed the pros and cons of that matter,” he said. Principal Secretary at the ministry of education and training, Pat Muir, said the sanction would be uncalled for because some parents also send their children to international and private schools, depending on the money they have.

“The people behind the proposed sanction must bear in mind that parents have different reasons for sending their children to the said schools and that no one has been prohibited to do that. The sanction will be uncalled for,” he said. Sithole was speaking on Monday during the World Teachers Day commemoration at the Tum’s George Hotel. Also represented in the celebration were NEPSAW, Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA), UNESCO and UNICEF. Sithole also represented the International Labour Association


Swaziland praised for refugee programmes

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

A United Nations general assembly has commended Swaziland for observing refugee integration programmes and not engaging in xenophobic attacks against non-Swazis.

The accolades were received by Home Affairs Minister Mgwagwa Gamadze during the UN General Assembly of the executive committee of the High Commissioner’s 60th session held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The accolades were received by Home Affairs Minister Mgwagwa Gamadze during the UN General Assembly of the executive committee of the High Commissioner’s 60th session held in Geneva, Switzerland. A statement from the minister’s office states that Swaziland was also hailed for its intended rehabilitation programme on the Malindza Refugee Camp. The rehabilitation programme is set to cost E16 million. The ministry says a tractor and farming implements have already been purchased for the purpose of training rural refugees on producing their stable food.

“Director of the UNHCR Africa Bureau George Okoth-Obbo when speaking to the minister further lauded Swazi citizens for accepting refugees. He stressed that it was very encouraging to note that there has never been any recorded incident of xenophobic attacks in the country and further stressed that Swaziland had played a special role in making herself a home away to displaced people and refugees in decades.”

The director expressed the UNHCR’s contentment in learning that the country is currently engaged in an exercise that will ensure the existence of a Refugee Bill that will be an amendment of the King’s Order-in-Council which may be referred to as the Refugees Control Order of 1978. At the meeting, African nations concluded that the first ever Special Summit on Forced Displacement to be held in Uganda this month should yield positive results. The summit is expected to adopt the first ever binding legal instrument on the protection of/and assistance to internally displaced persons.

The minister was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner for Refugees Babazile Sigwane and Senior Superintendent Moses Maseko. A statement from the minister’s office states that Swaziland was also hailed for its intended rehabilitation programme on the Malindza Refugee Camp.

The rehabilitation programme is set to cost E16 million. The ministry says a tractor and farming implements have already been purchased for the purpose of training rural refugees on producing their stable food.

“Director of the UNHCR Africa Bureau George Okoth-Obbo when speaking to the minister further lauded Swazi citizens for accepting refugees. He stressed that it was very encouraging to note that there has never been any recorded incident of xenophobic attacks in the country and further stressed that Swaziland had played a special role in making herself a home away to displaced people and refugees in decades.”

The director expressed the UNHCR’s contentment in learning that the country is currently engaged in an exercise that will ensure the existence of a Refugee Bill that will be an amendment of the King’s Order-in-Council which may be referred to as the Refugees Control Order of 1978. At the meeting, African nations concluded that the first ever Special Summit on Forced Displacement to be held in Uganda this month should yield positive results. The summit is expected to adopt the first ever binding legal instrument on the protection of/and assistance to internally displaced persons.

The minister was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner for Refugees Babazile Sigwane and Senior Superintendent Moses Maseko.


Ngwempisi folk consult on early child care

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

RESIDENTS of Ngwempisi went all out yesterday to participate in the Early Child Care and Development (ECCD) consultation held at the Inkhundla Centre.

Lubombo ECCD inspector Dudu Hlophe explained that the consultation at Ngwempisi was the last of a series of regional exercises aimed at soliciting data for the development of ECCD policy which will be adopted by the country once developed.

At Ngwempisi yesterday, there were people from different social groups including rural health motivators, men, women, the elderly and the youth. Hlophe said she and her team were impressed with the positive response shown by the people yesterday concerning the programme, adding that it was encouraging to see the community taking the trouble to learn about how ECCD would affect Swazi children.

“Taking a look at the consultation with the people at Ngwempisi, the ECCD team found new and interesting aspects on what people there want child development to be like because they managed to touch upon things which were not explored in our visits to the other regions.”.

Hlophe explained that ECCD advocated for a holistic approach to the development of all children, and is not just confined to one aspect of child growth. She said for instance, the policy would encompass the educational development of all children aged between 0 and 8 years, whilst also tackling social, emotional, spiritual development.

She said it was for that reason that her team comprised of people from different government ministries, which were found to have something to do with the development of a child. During the consultation at Ngwempisi, different groups were given tasks on the key issues of child development. One such issue is the role of the state and family in the upbringing of a child.


CHARGED WITH ABUSING REED DANCE MAIDENS

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

A headman from KoNtshingila in Shiselweni under Chief Gelane has been arrested for allegedly trying to remove underpants from three maidens of the same area while asleep during the recent Umhlanga ceremony.

Samkeliso Hlandze (28) of Hlatsi has been charged with three counts of indecent assault. Hlandze, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, was arrested by Lobamba police. He is out on E300 bail.

He appeared before a Mbabane Magistrate and will be back in court on December 21, pending the setting of his trial date. Hlandze’s case was expected to be heard last week, but his docket was missing, thus forcing the prosecutor to postpone it. His bail conditions are that he should not be found to have committed a similar offence whilst out on bail, must not interfere with key witnesses, must attend all remand hearings and should stand trial.

On the first count, it is stated that Hlandze is guilty of indecent assault in that upon the 30 August 2009 at or near Lobamba, Ludzidzini, he unlawfully, intentionally and wrongfully removed a panty from a 15-year-old minor while she was asleep. It stated that when he allegedly committed the offence, he was the headman of the maidens.

He is also alleged to have, while at a Dvuba homestead, intentionally removed an underwear of an 18-year-old maiden while she too was asleep. It is also stated that the accused was the headman of the maidens when he allegedly committed the offence. On the last count, Hlanze allegedly indecently assaulted a 16-year old maiden at the same Dvuba homestead.

The case was heard by Magistrate Siphosini Dlamini whilst Melusi Lukhele represented the state. Hlandze is conducting his own defence


E1.5 BILLION CIVIC CENTRE FOR MBABANE

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

THE city of Mbabane will get a facelift through the construction of a E1.5 billion civic centre next year.

The centre will be built in the premises where the city council is currently located, which is Plots 653 and 322 and remainder reserve no.1, Mbabane Township. The land for the commercial development is 65 000 m2. The companies to work on the project are McComirck Property, Roux Development Africa as well as Interneuron Consortium Swaziland.

This was revealed by one of the developers, Roux Shabangu of Roux Property Development Africa. He said this was a massive project that would change the lives of many Swazi citizens. “The civic centre will include a shopping mall, an elevated parking space, offices and a hotel component, residential places, to name but a few,” he said.

He stated that the building would be the tallest in town and that there would be a canal to avoid over flooding. The city council said the companies are worth trusting as they have built other structures and completed them. A report by the city council on the project revealed that the places visited to verify if the companies were reliable were Protea Gardens a 63 000m2 development that cost E112 million, Jabulani Mall a 65 000m2 valued at E550 million and Tsakane Mall valued at E300 million.

Part of the report reads “the turnaround time in which the developments were completed is an indication that the 65 000m2 project intended for Mbabane is possible. It is worthy to note that in October last year the companies finished and started operating three new malls in Kanyamazane, Limpopo and Alexandra. They seem to be well experienced in commercial property development and have the financial capacity.”

Mbabane City Council to relocate

WITH the new structure it will not be good to keep the current council offices so they will be moved to another site, Roux Shabangu has said. The new site will be identified by the council. The said companies will also be tasked with building the new structure. “The city council will have to have proper offices and we are going to build them as long as we do this right it will work,” said Shabangu.

On the other hand the report reads “The developer proposes to relocate the existing Municipal Offices and upgrade it to a fully fledged state of the art 21st Century Civic Centre befitting a country’s capital city.” The new municipal council offices will consist of a civic theatre auditorium, art gallery, library, bigger council chambers and offices would be build to the council’s specification.

Mbabane Market to be incorporated, Job opportunities created

Vendors at Mbabane Market have been assured of state of the art formal structures in the development. On job creation Shabangu revealed that they would rope in local franchises in the construction of the civic centre. He said “the civic centre would also ensure that it eases the congestion at the bus rank as the kombis would have to move to the new centre,” said Shabangu.

What the country stands to benefit from centre

Having the civic centre would stimulate economic growth and this would increase job opportunities in the city. The city would be able to host a number of activities such as national games, business meetings, music and arts festivals that will in turn support local businesses. These would be at the city hall

Council also said the centre would leave a legacy for generations and help the city reclaim its position at the capital city. The city council has said what necessitated roping in the companies is that it could not afford to build the centre. “The developer will be charged property tax on transfer of the land (where the proposed commercial development will be developed) thus this will boost council revenue base from day one.”


Inaugural ‘Construction & Manufacturing Expo’ launched

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-07-Oct-2009

TWO of the most important industries in economic growth; construction and manufacturing will finally take centre stage when Legendary Events hosts the first ever ‘Construction and Manufacturing Expo’ at the end of this month.

“The expo has been geared to become the premier exhibition in its respective fields, which will create a new and viable platform for organisations to market themselves as well as to increase their business potential both in Swaziland and neighbouring regions,” said Director Nelisa Lawton during a media breakfast launch at La Casserole Restaurant yesterday. “It is planned to bring together the public, players and stakeholders involved in construction and manufacturing.

This is a natural extension to the expos we host under the Swazi Expo as we have seen from such events as the Trade Fair that people need this sort of platforms to get together.” Expo She said the expo, which would be an annual event, was aimed at providing benefits to both local and international organisations involved within the two sectors, which would arise from displaying and exhibiting their goods; engaging in business networking sessions and business forums with organisations from synergistic business sectors.

The expo would also expose organisations to the greater public as entrance would be free and it would also develop potential business relationships with organisations from neighbouring states, added the director.

Exhibition

“The is a new platform that aims to provide an exhibition within which participants can display their products and services, engage in networking sessions, formulate new business relationships and entrench existing ones, all under one roof,” added the director. Lawton said key stakeholders that have been roped in for the expo include the ministry of public works and transport, ministry of economic planning and development (Millennium Projects), finance ministry and the department of customs and excise, which Lawton said was very keen to educate people, especially in the manufacturing sector on the importance of declaring goods and other issues of concern.

Other stakeholders that have confirmed participation include the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), which has initiatives it would like to share with the public as well as the construction and manufacturing sectors, the Small Enterprise Development Company (SEDCO), Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC), Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA), Swaziland National Housing Board (SNHB), Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation (SRIC) and financial institutions.

The inaugural expo is scheduled for October 30 to November 1 at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre, Hall 1. On Friday October 30, there would be a session of seminars where stakeholders would be given an opportunity to share information while exhibitors wishing to promote new products or innovations would also be afforded a chance to do so.


‘Cops will be tough, ruthless’

Main Section

By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-07-Oct-2009

MBABANE – As if keeping in line with his South African counterpart, Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula yesterday said the police would be “tough and ruthless” on crime.

Magagula said this when unveiling a new work strategy for the service termed ‘Lunyazi Method of Operation’. He said they would not treat crime with kid gloves. Recently appointed SA Police Commissioner Bheki Cele called on SA police to be ruthless when dealing with criminals, calling on them to ‘shoot to kill’ as criminals did not take an oath as the police did. “Our stance and/or approach will be that of zero tolerance. We are saying to people out there, ‘Don’t do crime, but develop a culture of reporting it’,” Magagula said.

The Commissioner said his administration would advocate the adoption of an integrated approach to crime and accident prevention management. He said this entailed that “all police officers, whether posted under the traffic department, general duty or whatever branch for that matter, should present a united front towards achieving these basic objectives of policing”. Magagula said there was need to promote a culture where officers will be out conducting beats and patrols in order to prevent crime.

“In this regard, we will also continue with the outreach programmes that have already been initiated to build and consolidate avenues of cooperation with communities, traditional leadership structures and community based policing forums,” he added. In his maiden speech Magagula, in the company of his two newly appointed deputies in Khisimusi Ndlovu and Sipho Dlamini, said the novel strategy had four basic tenets namely speed or urgency, professionalism, empathy and civility.

Military

Describing the meaning of the term Lunyazi, Magagula said it meant doing things with “military precision” as well as getting things done “within the twinkle of an eye”.

The commissioner said the modus operandi would embrace the ‘Year of Renewal’ philosophy by His Majesty King Mswati III and the ‘Business Unusual’ operational mode unveiled by the Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini. “Through this mode of operation, we expect our officers on the ground to respond with speed to all distress calls and to exhibit a sense of urgency in the handling or investigation of reported cases,” Magagula said.


Shylock bites off man’s lip for E200

Main Section

By LINDA JELE - SWAZI TIMES -07-Oct-2009

MHOBODLENI – A 48 year old man from Kakhoza location had his lower lip bitten off by his girlfriend, who is a shylock, during a fight over a E200 debt.

Andreas Mamba was allegedly bitten by his girlfriend, Sindi Sikhondze after he failed to pay her money she had lent him to bury his aunt (make lomncane). In an interview, Mamba said he had borrowed the money in February this year from Sikhondze who runs a shylock business.

He said hey had agreed that she would not charge him interest. He said they were close to separation when the incident happened because he had allegedly found her with another man and he then decided to find himself new love, which she discovered and never took lightly. “We have not been in talking terms for a while now. She came to my room yesterday and demanded that I pay her the money with interest. I was surprised because I had given her E300 to settle the debt, but she continued to demand more,” he claimed.

Fight

He alleged that he threw his belongings outside and a fight ensued. Mamba claimed that Sikhondze bit him on the lips and he retaliated by biting her on her upper lip and removed some flesh. He stated that she produced a stick and hit him on the head and also tried to hit him with an iron. “I then took out a slasher thinking that she would be scared away but she continued to hit me and I hacked her on the body. She bit me painfully on my lower lip and it fell off,” he alleged.

Mamba said she was saved by rushing to hide in her uncle’s house, which is nearby. He also said she once came to his one room flat and demanded to take some of his belongings, but he refused because she had not produced a court order. He said at one stage community police officers from the area were involved to find a solution. Mamba said they had agreed that he would pay the money he had demanded, but failed to do so on the agreed date because he had to cater for the burial of his aunt over the weekend.

“I had reported to the community police that I would be away to attend my aunt’s funeral and would fail to pay the money as agreed. I only came back on Sunday,” Mamba said. Mamba said he acted in self defence as it was his girlfriend who allegedly attacked him first. He also mentioned that he would open a case of assault with the police. When the Times team arrived in his room he had kept the lip that was detached from his mouth.

They were all admitted to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital where they were treated and discharged. Mamba was stitched on the mouth to cover the opening where the lip was removed. Witnesses said after the attack, his teeth were visible. The Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the incident. He said Sikhondze reported the matter to the Fairview Police Post where she recorded a statement.


Warders get Swine flu masks

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES-07-Oct-2009

MBABANE – As means of reducing the risk of being infected by the H1N1 virus (swine flu), the Correctional Services employees are now being provided with masks.

Information gathered was the reason they were provided with masks was because there were fears that they might be exposed to the virus as there were too many inmates. The most affected are those who are working directly with the inmates on a daily bases. One of the warders told this newspaper that ever since it was gathered that there were cases of the virus in the country, they have since been encouraged to wear their masks to avoid contracting the contagious disease.

“They have been giving us the masks to use whenever we are on duty. “We work with a lot of people here and there are possibilities of us contracting the disease,” he said. He pointed out that this exercise has been helping them as so far there have been no reports of infection. “The masks are really helping us and this is a good initiative from our seniors as they seem to care about our health,” he said.

Another warder said: “We are aware that the virus is contagious and we are trying by all means to make it a point that we remain safe”. The Correctional Services Public Relations Officer Nomkhosi Maseko said the masks where were amongst the precautions any tools that were being given to the staff to make sure they are safe.

“It is not only the masks that are provided as we also provide gloves and boots. We always advise them to make it a point that that they use them in order to make sure that they remain safe,” she said. Asked if there were any reports of swine flu cases that have been reported within the service, she pointed out that at the moment they were still safe as no cases had been reported. “I strongly believe that we are still safe from the virus. We have nurse and doctors who always try to educate us at all times,” he said.


SIFE UNISWA team reaches semi finals in Germany

Business Section

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

MBABANE – The Swaziland SIFE team has reached the semi-finals of the SIFE World Cup in Berlin, Germany.

SIFE is an acronym of Students In Free Enterprise, an annual competition run to encourage entrepreneurship among students in tertiary institutions locally. The SIFE University of Swaziland (UNISWA) won the competition locally and left the country last week to represent the country in the World Cup.

When giving an update of what is happening in Berlin, SIFE Country Director Khosi Dlamini said the team arrived in Berlin on October 3, 2009. “Over 40 countries have come from around the world to represent their teams. The day started off with a Cultural Fair where the students, clad in their traditional regalia, danced and displayed Swazi artefacts, marketing and educating other students and business delegates about the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland,” she said.

Dlamini said this event was followed by the much anticipated opening ceremony where the 40 teams were divided into teams of five, with eight leagues for the first leg of the competition. Swaziland in this first round competed on October 4, 2009.

Advance

“Swaziland was placed in a league to compete against the United States, Singapore, the Netherlands and Azerbijan. In this league only two teams were expected to advance to the semi finals, where only 16 of the 40 teams present at the World Cup would advance to the semi finals.

The teams competed and in the afternoon the teams that advanced to the semi finals were announced where Swaziland and Singa-pore advanced to the semi finals,” Dlamini said. The teams, according to Dlamini, were due to compete again yesterday in the semi finals where they would be competing against India, Puerto Rico and Zimbawe, each fighting for the one place into the finals.

“The competition is now at its peak where the tension is mounting and each team is now preparing for tougher competition and increased level of competencies needed to advance to the next level,” she noted.


Times boss Martin scoops top govt post

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-08-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Times of Swaziland Managing Editor Martin Dlamini has been appointed as Head of Secretariat for the Smart Partnership office.

The appointment comes after government took a decision to have a permanent secretariat to run the office. Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini announced the latest developments during a press conference yesterday at Cabinet offices. The PM said Martin and his team would follow up on issues that were raised during the National Smart Partnership Dialogue that was attended by over 1 000 people from all sectors of society.

During the dialogue, smart partners made a recomme-ndation that government should set up a secretariat that would make follow ups on the issues raised.

Martin will start executing his duties from November 1. The premier made it clear that an advertisement was sent out for the Head of Secretariat post sometime ago and candidates interviewed. He said having considered the applicants, they decided to head hunt through a process that involved Cabinet and the Civil Service Commission, eventually coming to the decision of appointing Martin into the position. Martin is not entirely new in the Smart Partnership office as he was part of the interim committee that organised the recently held dialogue and is a member of the International Smart Partnership Movement. Dlamini congratulated the new appointees who include about eight civil servants.

He said, “The livelihood, growth and development of this office is upon you all. You need to work as a team and put the interests of the country first. We expect you to leave a good legacy so that the whole nation can find the secretariat worthy of achieving national objectives and goals.” He thanked the interim secretariat that was tasked with preparations of the National Dialogue and congratulated them on a job well done. Dlamini encouraged them to share notes and experiences that they acquired in the process of running the office.


Rev. Gumedze goes for ‘spiritual healing’

Main Section

By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI -- SWAZI TIMES-08-Oct-2009

MANZINI – Gospel artist Reverend Vusi Gumedze, who was recently attacked for allegedly dating a school girl, has run to his spiritual father for assistance and guidance.

Rev. Gumedze’s spiritual father is Reverend Dr Johannes Mazibuko of the Alliance Church in Mbabane. Gumedze was recently held hostage by a mob that accused him of an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old Grade Seven pupil. Due to the allegations levelled against him, the church minister, who is also the lead singer for Reverend Gumedze and the Gospel Warriors had to put his eight-year long singing career on hold.

In an interview yesterday, Gumedze of the ‘I will abide by the love of the Lord’ fame, confirmed having consulted the Alliance Church minister, Reverend Mazibuko. “On the spiritual healing, I have consulted Dr Mazibuko. He is the man helping me now,” he said. The soft-speaking pastor explained that the consultations started as soon as the problems emerged.

“That was even before the Mbhuleni skirmish. However, I only got hold of him by telephone after it,” he said. Gumedze said their relationship with his ‘father’ dated back to many years when he was still a member of the Alliance Church at Bhunya.

Asked if he had been attending services at his church, the God Cares Christian Fellowship Church, Gumedze said he never missed any. He had announced that he will not step on the pulpit until the dust had settled. Meanwhile, Mazibuko confir-med that he had met with Gumedze, adding that the consultations were on going. Mazibuko explained that the healing process had no time-frame because a lot had to be done, saying it would also depend on Gumedze’s co-operation.

“Part of the process includes praying together, secondly we should gather facts about the allegations levelled against him. And we need to know what really took place, and what were the cir-cumstances that might have led to the allegations?

“We should find out who does the allegations affect, and how? And we should look at possible solutions,” said Mazibuko highlighting some of the things that would be tackled during the process. The alleged relationship between the Gospel singer and the pupil is said to have occurred last year in December. However, the girl only reported it to her relatives in September after some residents asked her about it. The details of the alleged relationship cannot be rep-eated as they are subject to police investigation into their authenticity.


Zim minister leads delegation to SD

Main Section

By KWANELE DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-08-Oct-2009

MANZINI – His Majesty King Mswati III’s recent state visit to Zimbabwe is beginning to bear fruit.

Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Commerce Professor Welshman Ncube arrived in the country yesterday to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. Ncube, who arrived through the Matsapha International Airport, is leading a delegation of business people and senior government officials.

Speaking during an interview at the airport, Ncube said while in the country, they would meet with the Prime Minister, and the ministers of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, as well as Agriculture.

Professor Ncube and his delegation will also tour parastatals and industries with a view to find ways in which the two countries can cooperate in terms of trade. The minister will also be looking at other opportunities that can be imported from Zimbabwe to promote trade in the kingdom.

“We have been working closely to promote trade, infrastructure development for the purpose of trade. It is on that basis that we seek to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries,” the minister said. This visit, according to Professor Ncube, is a result of His Majesty the King’s visit to Zimbabwe where he toured business entities, such as motor vehicle assembly plants in that country.

“We agreed with my counterpart here (Minister Jabulile Mashwama) to promote value addition to the region, as well as further afield. During our stay in the kingdom, we will also look at other sectors for mutual cooperation between our two countries,” said the minister. He also said His Majesty, while in Zimbabwe, proposed that both countries’ ministers should meet to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Professor Ncube, who is visiting Swaziland for the third time, was welcomed at the airport by his counterpart, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Mashwama, and Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza.


Fine for stray cattle rises from E200 to E500 per beast

Main Section

By NATHI GULE - SWAZI TIMES-08-Oct-2009

MBABANE – In what will come as a shock to negligent cattle owners, the fines for stray cattle are rising from E200 to E500

The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini, in an interview yesterday, said his ministry was deeply concerned at the number of accidents caused by stray cattle, therefore, they were tightening the screws to discourage negligent cattle owners.

“We are preparing the legislation and have already agreed that the fines rise to from E200 to E500 per beast per day, it spends in a cattle pound. We have been warning negligent cattle owners for some time now and now we are going to show them that we mean business,” he said. Dlamini said there was no exception to the exercise of impounding stray cattle, as over the past weekend, the impounders were at his inkhundla. Dlamini is elected LaMgabhi Member of Parliament.

“I warned them at my own constituency about the dangers of stray cattle in the past and have evidence that they have caused over 10 injuries to motorists, since the year started, so they too must adhere to the law. They were not sent by me to the constituency but they are just doing their job,” he said. He said over 20 cattle were impounded and when residents came to complain to him, he explained that this was within the law.

Asked how he would effect the new increase on the penalties to be paid for stray cattle, he said he would amend the Pound Act. Dlamini said he was also still working on getting more trucks to impound stray cattle around the country. One of the most recent fatal accidents caused by an animal was that of a Police Assistant Commissioner Levion Dlamini, whose vehicle overturned after trying to avoid a stray dog.


Beekeeping a viable business

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-08-Oct-2009

MBABANE –While other agricultural enterprises are considered very difficult to maintain, beekeeping is still a viable business.

Managing Director of Eswatini Swaziland Kitchen Pablo Garrido said honeybee keeping was viable, so long as there was demand for the products.

Other agricultural enterprises such as the dairy and piggery enterprises, have been hit hard by hardships over the past few months because of the high input prices. As a result, many farmers have ceased operating such enterprises. Garrido said; “We have been working with the Swaziland National Honey Council and government to avert the threat of the dreaded bee disease that has destroyed many bee enterprises in South Africa. We are lucky because we are still disease-free.”

He went on to say; “The year has been relatively good for the honey sector, even though we are currently at a season where the demand is slow.” He said they had trained a total of 250 honeybee farmers on how to start up honey enterprises and maintain good record keeping. “Honeybee keeping is still a viable business, as long as there is demand in the market,” he added.


Bogus tour agent swindling schools

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta - SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Oct-2009

THERE is an alleged bogus tour agent in the Kingdom who has robbed a number of schools that undertake trips locally and beyond the country’s borders.

In the Shiselweni region, the said agent has swindled Ngwane Practising Primary School at least E21 000. The man is said to be based in Mbabane and some schools are alleged to have used him to coordinate trips for them.

Another school is around Madulini, sources have revealed. The said ‘agent’ when he started the deal with Ngwane Practising way back in 1999, was rather helpful as all the trips the school undertook materialised without any hiccups. One of the senior teachers at Ngwane Practising Milton Manana confirmed that they had been ‘swindled’ over E21 000 by the agent. Manana said their relationship with the agent started being rocky in 2007 when the school had undertaken a trip to Durban. Manana said while in Durban, they were nearly kicked out of the resorts they were booked in after the management claimed they were owing because the number of days stayed were more than the amount paid for.

For the Durban trip in 2007, Manana said they had paid at least close to E100 000 to cover all the expenses, including accommodation and transport but at the end, it transpired that not all paid for.

“We had raised E97 000 for the trip in 2007 which covered everything but our agent turned around to claim the money was not enough when we were in Durban,” said Manana. “We were asked to take all our belongings out of the rooms. We were shocked and as the man who coordinated the trip was not around, we had no alternative but to vacate the rooms. We waited for him until he emerged and then we enquired from him what was going on. He talked to the managers and we were given our keys for the duration of the days we had planned for,” said Manana.

It was the same story only last month when some students from the school were to undergo an educational tour around the country and the same agent was used to coordinate. It is said students had paid over E21 000 but when the trip was to take place, it came as a big shock that the money that had been given to the agent did not reach its destination. When parents had prepared some provisions and other stuff for their children, they were shocked to see their children returning early and explained what happened.

Seeing that the issue could get out of hand with some of the parents the school called a meeting where the issue was discussed.


Legalise prostitution, says Senator Msane

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Oct-2009

BROTHELS should be legalised as a means of promoting tourism, thus ensuring economic growth.

BROTHELS should be legalised as a means of promoting tourism, thus ensuring economic growth. Rather than criminalise sex workers and brothel owners, government should consider legalising this trade to move with the times. This is the view of Senator Thuli Msane who said studies had shown that prostitution in itself was not a risky business in transmitting HIV.

This is because, she argued, sex workers protect themselves. But her view was strongly criticised by some of her colleagues at a Members of Parliament Orientation workshop on the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill of 2009 in Pigg’s Peak. She had to seek protection from Clerk at Table in the House of Assembly Ndvuna Dlamini who cautioned the legislators to allow her to have her say.

“Studies have shown that the trade of prostitution is not risky to clients as sex workers protect themselves. If you browse through the internet, there are Swazi girls involved in the trade hence my appeal for government to consider legalising brothel ownership and sex work,” she said. Senator Msane said this after Timphisini MP Jennifer Shiba called for a law that would protect the country from brothel owners.

She said she was extremely concerned that teenagers were into sex work and law enforcement agents were doing nothing about it despite that some of these places were known to be promoting it.

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill of 2009 criminalises running of a brothel. It says on Part III Section 18 (1): ‘Subject to subsection 2, any person who keeps or is deemed to keep a brothel commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding E20 000 or both. (2) A person who commits an offence ion the circumstances specified in section 19 (a) or (g) is liable on conviction to a sentence at the secretion of the court taking into account all the circumstances of the offence. Section 19(a) states that anyone who resides knowingly or unknowingly at a brothel and (g) talks about one’s spouse who keeps or resides in or manages a brothel unless he/she proves they were ignorant of such. Both types of persons would be sentenced as defined in Section 18

Responding to Senator Msane, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ndumiso Mamba said the country was generally perceived as a Christian country and based on that, sex work remained illegal. “The Bill criminalises running of a brothel and outlines a fine for it. In other countries, sex workers are part of the economy as they are taxed and assessed on a continuous basis, this being the oldest profession in the world. “But based on Christian principles, government cannot be seen to be condoning it,” the minister said.


EYA handicraft winner to promote SD at 2010 event

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Oct-2009

ENTREPRENEUR of the Year (Handicraft category) winner will be branded to promote Swaziland tourism at the 2010 World Cup Soccer event to be hosted in South Africa.

SME Unit Director Michael Zwane said preparations for the 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EYA) were now at an advanced stage, with the judges already selected and ready for the evaluation process.

“This year we introduced the handicraft category to try and capture the tourism sector and if everything goes well, our intention is to get the person who will win to participate in the 2010 event,” he said in an interview. “Swaziland sells a lot of handicraft which embraces our culture, so we would like to brand the winner to represent the country and promote our tourism through this craft.” However, Zwane said nothing had been finalised as yet as they were still discussing with various stakeholders for this goal to be realised. The EYA gala dinner is expected to be held at the end of this month.

On another note, Zwane said this year they were not able to increase the number of categories because all business had been affected by the global economic crisis. “It’s been quite a challenge because of the economic downturn so we haven’t been able to expand.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were incepted in 2002. They aim to encourage and promote a spirit of entrepreneurship and competitiveness among Swaziland’s indigenous business people, whilst upholding sound business principles. The Awards seek to uncover exceptional business people who have demonstrated solid leadership, are innovative in their businesses, make meaningful contributions to society and have achieved what most seek to attain, by turning ideas into business.

Previous overall winners are 2002 - E. M. Loggers (Ezekiel Mkhombe) 2003 - Brickcon (Rodney Young) 2004 - The Wheel Centre (Mandla Nxumalo) 2005 - Real Image (Ali Resting) 2006 - Tintsaba Craft (Sheila Freemantle) 2007 - ABSA Investments (Absalom Ndlovu) 2008 - Thembelihle Butchery (Khulile Kunene)


Sihlangu in friendly match - SWAZI OBSERVER

Sports Section

By Sabelo Ndzinisa - SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Oct-2009

SOCCER – SIHLANGU might play a Foreign XI squad as part of their final preparations for the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup to be hosted in Zimbabwe next week

It has been gathered that this game has been recommended by the squad’s technical bench following the failed plans to engage Lesotho in an international friendly match this weekend. The game was initially planned for this weekend but is now likely to be played sometime next week, possibly on Tuesday before the squad’s departure to Zimbabwe. This match is meant to give the technical bench, headed by Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba a chance to make final assessment of his squad before the tournament.

National Football Association (FA) acting CEO Zwelonkhe ‘Sport’ Dlamini yesterday confirmed plans to stage this game but was quick to point out that nothing has been finalised yet regarding it.

“I’m aware that there was a recommendation to have this game for Sihlangu before their trip to Zimbabwe but nothing has been confirmed yet. There are concerns that playing this game would expose Sihlangu players to risk of incurring injuries ahead of their departure to Zimbabwe but we hope everything would become clearer this weekend after the league games,” he said. Dlamini also mentioned that it had been agreed that the squad’s players would be released from camp this weekend to join their respective teams for the MTN Premier League games.

This is despite that Mashaba indicated to this newspaper yesterday that he was concerned that the players may risk getting injuries if allowed to play for their teams this weekend.

“I’m concerned that we might be forced to release the players to play for their teams this weekend, given that we are now left with little time before the COSAFA Cup. Unfortunately, we are still in the dark on what would happen on this issue because we are yet to get an update from the FA on that,” he lamented.

However, ‘Sport’ asserted that the players would be released to play for their teams but stated clearly that they were all expected to report back to camp by Sunday. “The FA has an agreement with the PLS that national team players would be allowed to play for their teams this weekend as we do not want to disturb the league programme, given that some of the games would be put on hold for two weeks when the squad is away in Zimbabwe. We are aware that this may expose the players to risk of injuries but unfortunately, it’s the best solution under the present circumstances because we cannot compromise the league games for a long time.

The players are, however, expected to report back to camp by Sunday so that they resume the squad’s preparations on Monday,” Dlamini said. The squad is currently in camp at Global Village in Ezulwini to gear up for this tournament.


Mbongeni mbingo is new times boss

Main Section

By Phila - SWAZI TIMES-09-Oct-2009

In recalling his first day in the Times newsroom, Mbingo said he made an application to the Times in 1991 when he finished school, looking for a part-time job.

There was no response and after several trips ‘to enquire’ as to the whereabouts of his application, he was eventually hired—at the fourth attempt of probing—back in February 1992. He joined the newspaper as a cub reporter, often covering the national court in Mbabane, but after three months he had developed an interest in writing entertainment stories. He had focused mainly on TV and radio, as well as the compilation of weekend events, which he took over from Vusi Ginindza.

Six months later, the newspaper had begun to have consistent entertainment coverage and it was progressing well, hence it was then decided that Mbingo specialise in that department. The Review & Leisure section grew bigger and bigger, and such sections as GCWALA and STYLE were born, as well as the column Bingo’s Jive, that also won the newspaper numerous awards.

In June 2003, the Times promoted Mbingo to the position of Editor, Swazi News, ending his love-affair with the entertainment department. Three months later, he was then promoted to be the Times SUNDAY Editor, a very big challenge for someone who had worked most of his years as an Entertainment Reporter.

Management of the Times group of newspapers would like to take this opportunity to congratulate its Managing Editor Martin Dlamini on the appointment to the position of head of the Smart Partnership Secretariat and wish him success in his new endeavor. We would like to thank Dlamini, who has served the organisation for over 12 years, for his valuable contribution to the development of the Times group.


Fear in lion infested areas

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By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-09-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Residents living in areas where six lions on the loose are suspected to be roaming have every reason to be very scared.

Lions can walk 20km a day. Nisela Safaris Wildlife specialist and tour guide, Nathi Sifundza said wherever the lions might be, they are together. “Lions can travel long distances along thick forest stretches or mountainous areas where they can den in caves or rocks,” said Sifundza.

Livestock is under threat, especially cattle, because lions have a preference for large prey. When hunting, lions make use of wind direction to stalk their prey, encircling them and causing the prey to scatter in the direction of hidden members of the pride.

“One thing to know about lions is that they are cooperative hunters. They never walk alone,” he said. Most kills are made near waterholes during the day or during the night when they are less visible. King or queen, a lion needs to be part of a pride. A pride usually comprises of about five to six adult females, a set or coalition of adult males and any cubs. “Lions prefer hunting at night and rest during daytime,” he explained.

The adage that; ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’ comes true is such dangerous situations. “It is advisable that when people travel along forest areas they should not walk alone and most importantly walk with dogs,” said Sifundza.

He said dogs would help fight or distract the attacking lions while you make your escape. “It’s better to sacrifice the life of an animal to save your own,” he went on.

“However, if it happens that you come face to face with a lion, never turn back. Face it and maintain eye contact as you walk backwards. It is difficult for a lion to attack when eyes are in contact unlike a leopard which becomes provoked when you stare hard,” explained Sifundza.

“I would strongly like to advise people not to walk at night or during early morning hours because that is when they attack and hunt,” he continued. Rangers and police have been searching for the untamed and dangerous lions for over two weeks. The search team have even set cages to trap the lions but they have not turned up. The lions are said to have escaped with two elephants from a game reserve at Sikhukhuza in South Africa.


SD in trade, industry talks with Zimbabwe

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By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-09-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Swaziland has engaged the Republic of Zimbabwe on talks regarding trade and investment.

Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday met with Zimbabwe’s Minister of Trade and Industry Welshman Ncube at Cabinet offices.

He thanked Ncube and the Zimbabwean government for their hospitality during His Majesty King Mswati III’s visit to that country recently. He informed Ncube and his team made up of senior government officials and business people that the king was highly impressed with the level of development on investment and trade in that country, especially in the motoring industry.

Dlamini said government felt this was an important industry, especially because government used vehicles to a great extent. “It would be good to see how your industry is run so that we can emulate it. I believe your visit to Swaziland is to compare notes with our local counterpart, Jabulile Mashwama,” he said.

Dlamini applauded the Zimbabwean government for its tremendous contribution towards the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA). He explained to the delegation that Swaziland, being a landlocked country was dependent on trade.

“This is the main reason we are part of COMESA and SACU and this is giving us a challenge of being members of two customs unions. However, we need both of them,” he said. SACU is an acronym for the Southern African Customs Union. He expressed hope that talks between the two governments regarding next year’s COMESA summit would be fruitful.


SD in trade, industry talks with Zimbabwe

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By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-09-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Swaziland has engaged the Republic of Zimbabwe on talks regarding trade and investment.

Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday met with Zimbabwe’s Minister of Trade and Industry Welshman Ncube at Cabinet offices.

He thanked Ncube and the Zimbabwean government for their hospitality during His Majesty King Mswati III’s visit to that country recently. He informed Ncube and his team made up of senior government officials and business people that the king was highly impressed with the level of development on investment and trade in that country, especially in the motoring industry.

Dlamini said government felt this was an important industry, especially because government used vehicles to a great extent. “It would be good to see how your industry is run so that we can emulate it. I believe your visit to Swaziland is to compare notes with our local counterpart, Jabulile Mashwama,” he said.

Dlamini applauded the Zimbabwean government for its tremendous contribution towards the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA). He explained to the delegation that Swaziland, being a landlocked country was dependent on trade.

“This is the main reason we are part of COMESA and SACU and this is giving us a challenge of being members of two customs unions. However, we need both of them,” he said. SACU is an acronym for the Southern African Customs Union. He expressed hope that talks between the two governments regarding next year’s COMESA summit would be fruitful.


Minister wants to know if SD would export electricity

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By Nomile Hlatshwayo - SWAZI TIMES-09-Oct-2009

MBABANE – As the country is working on increasing electricity generation capacity, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube wanted to know if the country would export excess energy.

He said this during the meeting held with officials from the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) yesterday. SIPA’s Sabelo Mabuza had explained that government was planning on increasing capacity on electricity power generation.

“In fact, Cabinet recently approved the establishment of a 300 mega watts (MW) thermal power station. This is one of the ways in which Swaziland is trying to increase generation of electricity, with other future plans for a 1000 MW coal fired power station,” he said. Ncube asked; “I understand that Swaziland currently imports the bulk of its electricity from South Africa and that there are, however, plans to develop new energy generation sources. Over time, what is the country’s projection on its energy needs and how much will be available for exports to the region should plans for a bigger thermal power station materialise?”

Mabuza told the delegation that Swaziland’s current consumption was at about 183MW. “Indications are that within the next five to 10 years, demand would have increased to about 300 MW. The Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) conducted a study on the establishment of a 1000 MW thermal power station, but government recently approved the establishment of a 300MW power station, which would satisfy the country’s demand. However, with the prospects for the bigger power station, it is envisaged that the excess power would be exported,” he said. Mabuza also noted that with plans to resuscitate the mining industry, the would be pressure on the electricity power supply, which called for the country to generate more of its own electricity.


MPs defend stalking a woman as Swazi age old tradition

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By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Oct-2009

PARLIAMENTARIANS expressed reservations about certain sections of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill which they viewed as being against Swazi custom and culture.

One of these contentious clauses was the criminalisation of stalking women, something that did not go down well with the male legislators who felt it was denying them a chance to propose love to women. Senator Moi Moi Masilela said Swazi customs had to be respected and drafters had to ensure no laws were in contravention of this age old traditions.

fetched

“It is a known fact that men waylaid females by the river as they fetched water and proposed love to them. The revelation that stalking is criminalised is a setback particularly because it means I can’t even sms the one I’m proposing love to,” he said.

Senator Masilela said the Bill should have been drafted with Swazi customs in mind rather than from experience as legal minds would do. He said now that the Bill was out it would assume the status of the Bible, like the constitution and all had to obey or face the consequences.

“I would have thought persons in the mould of Prince Logcogco (Liqoqo Chairman) would be engaged as someone who was tasked with codification of Swazi law and custom. This would have been so that the Bill was harmonised with our culture. “The Bill should have been taken through constituencies or else at Esibayeni to seek input from ordinary persons,” he said. Also making a similar observation was Mtfongwaneni MP Patrick Gamedze who said the Bill touched on customary issues wanting to know how far codification of Swazi law and customs had gone.

clarity

MP Gamedze also called for clarity on the definition of a child in the Bill which seemed to be contrary to what is contained in the constitution and other Bills. But Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ndumiso Mamba said stalking had not been criminalised but unlawful one had.

Section 10 states that any person who unlawfully stalks another commits an offence and on conviction liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine of E7 000 or both.

It defines unlawful stalking as conduct intentionally directed at a person and is engaged in on any one occasion if the conduct is protracted on more than one occasion and consists of; following, loitering near, watching or approaching a person, contacting that person in any unlimited way including by telephone, mail, fax, e-mail or through the use of technology.

dealt

Principal Crown Counsel who is also head of Sexual Offences Unit at DPP’s office corroborated the Minister noting the Section dealt with stalking that would induce fear, apprehension, intimidating, harassing or threatening act. Codification of customs was left to be dealt with by Prince Logcogco.


Minister shares ICT insights in Geneva

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By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Oct-2009

MINISTER of Information and Communication Technology Nelisiwe Shongwe has shared her sentiments on how ICT can be used to develop Swaziland.

At the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) three day meeting in Geneva on yearly premier networking platform, Shongwe said ICT could be used to improve Swaziland’s health care, reduce poverty and improve government service delivery. She said what could be explored was how information technology could be used to rollout the disbursement of funds to the elderly.

“The most critical is how we could use ICTs to assist government meet her requirements under the decentralisation programme and the poverty reduction and strategy programme.” The same event the minister decried that technology such as broadband was only enjoyed by 30% of the population living in and around urban areas. She also drew the attention of ministers to cyber crime.

She said as a first step to combat such a crime, government had enacted the Electronic Evidence law. In Geneva, Shongwe had an opportunity to meet Secretary General of the ITU Dr. Hamadoun Toure who reaffirmed his commitment to funding assistance to Swaziland in the field of ICT. The event ends today.


King receives letters of credence from Britain, Mozambique

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By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Oct-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has said government is doing all possible to open job opportunities.

He was speaking at Lozitha Palace when accepting letters of credence from the High Commissioners of Mozambique and Britain. Addressing Dr. Nicola Brewer High Commissioner of United Kingdom, His Majesty said “as a developing country we are hoping that your country is going to share some of the experiences on how we can grow.” The King thanked Britain for the financial support and for all the programmes that it has provided.

“We acknowledge your commitment and are grateful of your contributions where in the end drought-stricken communities received help,” said the King. His Majesty further called on British investors to come to the country. Dr. Brewer revealed that the Flagship Programme scholarships would be back next year. He said the details of the scholarship would be advertised in the local media, stating that this was another way of ensuring good relations between the two countries.

“I cannot of course guarantee a scholarship for any particular applicant but this is a golden opportunity for promising candidates coming up through the ranks and a chance to further strengthen our bilateral links.”

The High Commissioner of Mozambique, Junqueiro Manhique, said “as I present my credentials I would like to pledge my strong commitment to continue further strengthening and expanding the already existing ties between the two countries which are based on strong historical ties of friendship, solidarity and shared values.”

His Majesty said Mozambique and Swaziland have been working well together over the years, adding that he hoped this would continue. His Majesty promised support for the High Commissioners.


Zimbabwe thanks King for peace

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By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-09-Oct-2009

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe have thanked the King for ensuring that there is peace and stability in that country.

Welshman Ncube, Minister of Industry and Trade of Zimbabwe said this when he paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday afternoon. He stated that when the King was the chairman of the SADC TROIKA organ he would chair meetings sometimes throughout the night to find a lasting solution to that country’s problems.

“The President and Prime Minister as well as the government of my country have sent me to thank His Majesty King Mswati III for his contribution in ensuring that there is stability in our country,” said the minister. He also said as a result of the efforts of the TROIKA organ, his country had made major strides towards the growth of its economy.

“We have had good working relations with Swaziland and hope this will continue.” Welcoming Ncube and his delegation, the Prime Minister said His Majesty King Mswati III was impressed with the level of development in investment and trade in that country. The Premier then asked the minister to participate in Swaziland’s trade fair.

“Our country should also participate in your country’s trade fair to strengthen


SD looking for hydro markets to supply with sugar

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

TO supplement revenue to be lost as a result of the further price reduction of sugar exported to the European Union (EU) at the end of this month, Swaziland is also seeking to supply hydro markets.

Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Investor Facilitation and After Care Director Mandla Nkambule said among the counteractive strategies being put in place, the country was looking for hydro markets so as to make up for the loss in revenue.

He was responding to a question posed by Zimbabwe Ministry of Industry and Commerce Enterprise Development Director Stanslaus Daison Mangoma, who wanted to know what Swaziland’s plans were regarding the sugar industry, taking into consideration the further decline of prices at the end of this month.

Responding, Nkambule said since some African, Carribean and Pacific (ACP) countries might drop out of the export bandwagon because of the lower prices, this would increase chances for countries like Swaziland to supply more sugar to the EU. “So we’re looking at increasing our volumes of production,” he said. “Also, smallholder sugar cane farmers are being encouraged to produce other crops.”

Annual production capacity of sugar is currently estimated in excess of 600 000 tonnes. The industry produces raw, refined and brown sugar while annual molasses production is 195 713 tonnes.

Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) CEO Zodwa Mabuza noted that Swaziland was one of the low-cost producers of sugar, so even though prices have been reduced, the industry was still profitable. She said counteractive strategy included the country producing as much as it possibly could to supply the EU as well as diversification, “where there’s more emphasis on ethanol and power production”.

More opportunities in infrastructure development

MEANWHILE, the Zimbabwe delegation led by Minister of Industry and Commerce Professor Welshman Ncube was informed on the various infrastructure development projects government is currently undertaking. Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Domestic Investments Director Sabelo Mabuza informed the delegation that these projects included development of Sikhuphe International Airport, whose complete construction he said should be done by January, 2010. He said even though there were technical challenges along the way, they were hopeful that the airport would start operations by March, next year as construction of the terminal had already started.

Other infrastructure development projects in the pipeline, Mabuza informed the delegation, included toll gates, a 30 000-seater stadium, railway expansion, international convention centre five-star hotel (projected at cost of US$40 million), an amusement park (projected to cost US $60 million).

Other projects with available investment opportunities currently being implemented are Jozini Big Six; game parks, 36-hole golf estate and holiday homes; Nkonyeni Golf Estate with five-star hotel facilities and a world class restaurant and Summerfield Casino and Golf Estate.


Companies with self-sustaining power invited to invest in SD

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

FOLLOWING de-monopolisation of the energy industry, government is encouraging companies that can generate their own power to invest in the country.

Zimbabwe Industry and Commerce Minister Professor Welshman Ncube, who is currently in the country to explore trade and investment opportunities between the two countries, wanted to know Swaziland’s projection of energy need as well as how much would be available to export to the rest of the region once the country had established an energy plant.

Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Domestic Investments Director Sabelo Mabuza said currently the country demand was about 183 megawatts, with the bulk of power imported from South Africa. He said the country was looking at eventually establishing a power station that would produce 1 000 megawatts but at the moment there were plans for construction of a 300-megawatt power station.

Last month Cabinet approved a programme for the design of a 300-megawatt thermal power plant. It also approved the engagement of consultants for the detailed design phase of the mini-micro hydro power plant at Mnjoli Dam and development of a coal-fired power station for national security.

For development of the coal-fired power station, it is expected that the project would utilise local coal resources as well as create and improve job opportunities in the local mining sector. Commissioning of the project is set for 2013. Meanwhile, Mabuza said indications were that as the country developed it would utilise the 300 megawatts. He said there were hopes that when the 1 000-megawatt power station was established, the extra 700 megawatts would be exported to other countries in the region.

“For now we’ll just start off with what the country needs. However, eventually our energy supply has to support the mines as we’re working hard to resuscitate our mining industry,” he said. “We do welcome companies that will be able to generate their own power and as we’ve de-monopolised the industry, we’re actually looking for a regulator. We hope there’ll be more companies that can generate their own power coming to invest in the country


STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEM – KING

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By Sisho Magagula - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Oct-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III has called for a concerted effort to strengthen the country’s justice system for improved efficiency in handling and dealing with matters before the courts.

The King called for more improved efficiencies in gathering of evidence, dealing with matters and reaching judicious outcomes that will strengthen the people’s confidence in the system. Delivering his speech during the pass-out parade of over 200 recruits, the King said in some instances, suspects are remanded into custody and nothing ever happens thereafter. “You hear about people being remanded all the time and suddenly everything goes away, with nothing ever heard on those cases. If the country is to maintain its peace, these are the things that need to be attended to soonest,” he said.

His Majesty highlighted that some suspects come out of prison with a high degree of confidence and prancing around jubilantly. He said this might lead to people taking the law into their own hands, something, which was unacceptable. He urged courts to ensure that justice is delivered to avoid such. The King also encouraged correctional officers to ensure that inmates do not escape from prison. He said the warders must always establish and maintain relationships with inmates to ensure that prisoners intending to escape are busted.

224 recruits pass-out

A total of 224 correctional recruits passed-out from the Matsapha College on Friday. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ndumiso Mamba, whose portfolio also includes the correctional services, said there are 1 652 correctional officers in the country.

Mamba explained that the transformation of the facility from being a prison to being a rehabilitation facility meant that officers have to be professional in their duties. He disclosed that the transformation has taken a lot of resources for the department. He informed the King that the Correctional Services participated in this year’s event and came tops. He said this was an indication that this department was working hard.

Mamba further informed the Ingwenyama that water was no longer a problem at the Big Bend prison and Mawelawela. He then presented five cows to royalty – three for the King and two for the Indlovukazi.


MANZINI ERUPTS IN TRANSPORT CHAOS

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

Chaos almost showed its ugly head at the Manzini Satellite Bus Rank on Friday

Chaos almost showed its ugly head at the Manzini Satellite Bus Rank on Friday when bus operators and conductors decided to down their “tools” in protest of the recent move by the Manzini City Council to move all buses and kombis from the east to the controversial rank.

So serious was the situation that commuters were stranded from as early as 6 a.m in the morning since there was no transport. When the Weekend Observer crew visited the bus rank, bus conductors, drivers and some operators were found having a meeting while some were toy-toying calling for the city council and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to do something as the situation will soon get out of hand.

One of the well-known bus operators who is also Chairman of Manzini bus operators, Duma Msibi, said he has since been instructed by his colleagues to go and instruct the ministry to act as soon as possible. He said they cannot work in such an environment since it was not conducive for both the operators and the commuters.

He said the person who came up with this initiative should have considered the interest of both the commuters and the operators. “If we allow such a situation, it will mean that we do not have sympathy for our customers. Today, I had to pay for two old people who had travelled all the way to this bus rank,” he said. He also disclosed that the City Council long declared that they have failed to solve this issue and it was now left with government to do something.

Also sharing the same sentiments was Thamsaqa Mbhilibhi Mkhombe who said this was unfair as kombi operators interstates once tried to use the bus rank, but they later realised that it was not conducive. “Interstate operators have a court order after they decided to take a legal route in this matter. It seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel as no one wants to come out of the closet to admit where things went wrong.” Mkhombe said relevant stakeholders were not involved when this initiative was taken.

He said it was painful because most of the operators are servicing loans for their transport and if business is halted and delayed they make a loss. Some of the bus conductors who were in a questionable state of sobriety vowed that they will not rest until the matter is resolved.


Hell ride for Swazi AirLink passengers

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By Alec Lushaba - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Oct-2009

Swazi Airlink passengers on board Flight No. 8008 from OR Tambo International Airport to Matsapha International Airport got the shock of their lives when their aircraft burst a tyre when just taking off

So loud was the noise that it sent the crew and the passengers into a stake of shock and anxiety with many said to have started praying to God Almighty, seeking His divine intervention.

The incident made their minds to quickly run to the other South African Airlink accident in Durban where another of their flights crash landed amid minutes of taking off. MP Thuli Dladla, who was back from a government business in Johannesburg, former Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE/CC) CEO Musa Hlophe, MISA Information Officer Michael Motsa and Swaziland Railway senior officials were part of the passengers who had to endure a gruelling hour and half on air whilst the aircraft burned its fuel and alerting the ground crew for an emergency landing.

It is said that the inside left back tyre of the Swazi Airlink aircraft broke open when the flight was just taking off and for a moment it struggled to reach cruising levels. “We struggled and the air hostess panicked, but thanks to the pilot who was in control and never panicked.

“I was ready for any eventuality, as it was clear to me that we were now on God’s mercy,” said MP Thuli Dladla. She said she had watched a few documentaries on crashed planes and she was not overly shocked. “We were comforted by the pilot who was calm amid the crisis. Thank God it was a woman pilot, who did not want to take any risk but ensured that we landed back safely at the OR Tambo International. “By the time we landed, fire engines and all airport crews were on stand-by and the landing was not as bad as we had anticipated,” she said.

Motsa told the Weekend Observer that they found themselves clapping hands for the pilot when they landed safely and the same happened when they took off safely with the alternate aircraft. “We were due to land at Matsapha at 5:20p.m but because of the delay, we ended up landing after 8p.m,” Motsa stated.

MP Dladla suspects that the tyre burst because of the hot weather that was experienced on Thursday, saying the heat could have been too much for the tyre. Swazi Airlink General Manager Teddy Mavuso could only confirm that he was alerted of a technical problem that delayed the flight but was not privy of the details. He advised that the Johannesburg Office be contacted on the matter.

Mavuso said it was in order for the pilot to land the aircraft at OR Tambo without proceeding to Matsapha because they don’t have sufficient spares and are not properly equipped to deal with such emergences. By late evening on Friday, South Africa Airlink Headquarters had not responded to our email.


Prostitutes hail Senator Thuli Msane

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By Sisho Magagula - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Oct-2009

Whilst Senator Thuli Msane might have shocked others with her ‘Legalise Prostitution’ campaign, the players in the ‘industry’, prostitutes have backed the legislator, contending that they also are human and have rights which ought to be respected.

Two self-confessed prostitutes availed themselves for an interview with Weekend reporters on Friday during the pass-out parade at the Correctional Services in Matsapha and hailed the senator for initiating a debate around prostitution ahead of 2010.

“VIVA Senator Thuli Msane! For a long time now, we have been silently wondering when this country would have open-minded people like her. Prostitutes have, for far too long, been humiliated and their rights infringed by almost everyone. The senator is right in everything that she is saying regarding prostitution. We just wish everyone could see sense in what she is saying,” said the prostitutes who requested to have their identities withheld. The ‘ladies of the night’ say Swaziland must move with the times and accept that there is nothing wrong with this kind of trade.

They explained that even first world countries do recognise prostitution and wondered why a third world country such as Swaziland was failing to legalise it. “We need to have more Thuli Msanes in this country. There is absolutely nothing wrong with prostitution. As the senator rightly indicated, studies have shown that prostitution does not play any significant role in the spread of HIV. Prostitutes protect and care about their bodies even much more than people who do not practice prostitution,” said the other prostitute, who claimed to have recently attended a ‘Prostitutes Seminar’ in South Africa.

They further contend that with the high unemployment rate in Swaziland, time has come to open the ‘prostitution lines’ and allow willing citizens to practice this trade. “We urge MPs to support Senator Thuli when she finally moves the motion in parliament. We need to face forward as a country and stop living in the past whilst the rest of the world lives in the 21st century,” they said.

The prostitutes said once they are legalised, they would finally have the police ‘off our backs’ as they claim they always receive beatings from cops and soldiers whilst in the ‘line of duty’. The prostitutes interviewed said they reside at Kwaluseni, in the one-roomed flats situated just outside the University of Swaziland (UNISWA).

They operate at the Mahhala Shopping Complex or near the Gables Shopping Complex on month-ends. Senator Thuli Msane set the ‘uproar’ ball rolling on Wednesday at the Orion Hotel in Pigg’s Peak when she told her fellow law-makers that prostitution should be legalised.

She has further promised to move a motion in parliament calling for the legalisation of this line of business. Thuli Msane is married to Vusi and is also the Director of Hospice at Home, an organisation taking care of the terminally ill.

“In most instances, women are the ones who engage in the trade as a result of abuse meted by partners back home whilst also struggling to earn a living owing to the meagre income received. “Yet, if we had the trade of sex workers formalised, they would pay tax and relieve us (taxpayers), contributing to economic growth,” she told our sister newspaper, the Swazi Observer on Thursday.


KING CONFIRMS MGAZI AS COMMISSIONER

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By Sisho Magagula - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Oct-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III has appointed Muzuthini Isaiah Ntshangase as new Commissioner for His Majesty’s Correctional Services.

The Ingwenyama made the announcement in the presence of throngs of spectators during the double celebrations of the Correctional Day and Pass-Out Parade for recruits. Ntshangase has been acting in the position since late last year after the departure of Mnguni Simelane, who was appointed into the Ludzidzini Committee.

Whilst making the announcement, the King threw the multitudes into stitches of laughter as he toyed around with their emotions and literally kept them eating from the palm of his hands with well-created suspense antics such that – for a moment – most people thought someone else would be appointed into the position. “I hope you have prayed well for the person that I’m going to appoint and I’m going to appoint the person who you have been praying for,” said the King, whilst keeping the people in growing suspense.

The sounds of ‘Bayethe wena Waphakathi’ reverberated across the correctional facility when the Head of State finally made the announcement. Former Assistant Commissioner was also appointed Deputy Commissioner Dumsani Dlamini during the well-attended event. His Majesty further congratulated the newly-recruited officials and encouraged them to follow in the footsteps of their seniors whilst executing their duties in the various correctional facilities across the Kingdom.

“I trust that as you will be deployed to various workstations, you will continue uplifting the high standard of the correctional services so that everyone who sees you does not doubt that you’re indeed an officer of the Correctional,” said the King.

Prime Minister Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, cabinet ministers, members of Liqoqo, diplomats and members of both houses of parliament attended the colourful event.


Fuel crisis hits Galp Energia

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By Sisho Magagula - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Oct-2009

New petroleum products franchise, Galp Energia is currently experiencing a serious shortage of fuel.

Motorists who called this publication say for the past three days, Galp Energia filling stations have been offering limited or no service at all due to the shortage of fuel. “It’s very inconveniencing arriving at a filling station only to be told that there is no fuel. You then have to drive around in search of an alternative service station. Sometimes you have to leave your car at the petrol station and walk on foot to another station to get fuel. It’s very frustrating,” said one motorist.

Galp Energia has since issued a statement, apologising to customers about the fuel shortage. “Galp Swaziland is currently experiencing temporary supply challenges from South Africa. We would like to unreservedly apologize to all our customers who have been inconvenienced by the situation. We want to assure you that we will normalize the situation in the next few days,” reads the statement from GALP Swaziland.


Roux Shabangu invest E5 billion in Swaziland

Business Section

By Alec Lushaba - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Oct-2009

Swazi born, South African business magnate, Roux Shabangu, who early this week unveiled a multi-billion Emalangeni plan for the capital city takes his investment to E5 billion in the country.

His E1.5 billion civic centre project add to the E3.5 billion investment in the mining of Dvokolwako Diamond Mine through his local company, Roux Consolidated. The Swazi Observer reported in January that Shabangu promised that when the Diamond Mine is fully operational it will create jobs for 2 000 people.

Shabangu’s E5 billion investments in Swaziland is almost half or more his total investment in South Africa, mainly in the Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Eastern Cape Provinces. Housing and Urban Development Minister Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini has given the Mbabane Municipal City development her approval. Interviewed this week, Pastor Lindiwe said government supports public, private partnerships (PPPs) and would encourage other towns to venture into these kind of partnership as it help generate revenue for the town, hence softening the burden on rate payers.

“I have looked at their proposal and agree with its principle, as it helps the municipality to generate other sources of revenue. “I have said though that the municipality and the investors should go and refine their figures, which they are doing,” she said.

Pastor Lindiwe said a similar project was planned for Manzini at the Old Trade Fair grounds, but certain challenges between the council and the investors and the lapsing of the agreement meant that it had to be shelved. Shabangu’s company, Roux Property Development Africa has interests in commercial projects where he has invested E1.9 billion and created 17 400 jobs. In residential development he has invested E2.3 billion.

In the earth moving equipment sector he has assets worth E20m and has formed partnership with Bekker Plant Hire. Roux Consolidating Investment is handling both anthracite coal concession worth E450m and platinum mining concession worth E4.5 billion. In the transport division, Roux Shabangu Transport owns 50% shareholding in Savlime Transport which has E50m worth of assets.

Summary of his investment in South Africa: Commercial development – E1.9 billion and 17400 jobs Residential development – E2.9 billion Transport division – E50m Earth moving equipment – E20m Mining – E4.9 billion NB: Additional information from Roux Development Africa website.


Prostitutes should be left alone—Senator

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By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-11-Oct-2009

MBABANE— Senator Thuli Msane says prostitutes should be left alone.

Prostitution is not a problem and no one was born a prostitute. There is always something that is pushing these people to engage in this business,” she said. She observed that there were a lot of problems that women were subjected to everyday and they should be addressed first before the focus is turned on uprooting it.

“There is a problem with this society, the society is sick, so much that women are abused everyday by men and now the trends are changing as women are now the worst abusers,” she said. The senator is of the view that prostitutes are forced into prostitution by certain circumstances that border on their very survival as human beings. “These are problems that have engulfed the nation as a whole and until we address them, the prostitutes should be left alone,” she said.

Among these problems, she also highlighted unemp-loyment. She said the country’s economy was not dynamic enough to create jobs that will absorb every adult citizen of the country. She says prostitutes are in this business because they were having a hard time in finding jobs. “We should look at our economy as to whether it is able to create jobs or not,” she said.

She said the issue of unemployment should be addressed immediately. “Even though prostitution is illegal in the country but due to the problem of unemployment, a lot of our children will end up being prostitutes,” she said. She says the country should stop demonising prostitution and instead should focus efforts in rehabilitating the women who are in this trade.

“Let us restore their dignity and empower them to be self sufficient instead of crucifying them,” she said. The senator says the country should conduct a study to find the causes of these underlying problems, which she claimed do not only affect prostitutes but also the youth generally.

The senator says the minister of Health Benedict Xaba, when he attended the workshop hosted for sex workers, showed that government recognises that sex workers are also important stakeholders in this debate. “Instead of creating laws that would stifle their operations, let us engage them and empower them to be self sufficient so that they recognise the value of life outside of the streets,” she said.

The senator observed that what was happening in Matsapha at the factories was dire. “How do you expect people to survive on E400 per fortnight,” she wondered. She said instead of helping the situation, the firms are promoting prostitution through paying women meagre salaries


Pastor Justice, Kasaro call for integrity in church

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By MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE - SWAZI TIMES-11-Oct-2009

MBABANE— Prominent preachers Pastor Justice Dlamini and Apostle Robert Kasaro urge their colleagues to demonstrate a high level of integrity and quality leadership in church.

Speaking at Emafini Conference Centre during the conferment of certificates of advanced leadership to Pastor Justice and 19 others, Apostle Kasaro said there was a great need to have consistent leadership seminars for pastors from all denominations.

The Jesus Calls Worship Centre pastor was a guest speaker at the ceremony, where 20 pastors were certificated for excellence in leadership studies from Haggai Institute. He said there was a need for life transformation and character change. He said the secular institutions were supposed to learn basics of leadership and its tenets from the church.

Kasaro talked of the necessity to inculcate the culture of integrity after Pastor Justice, who was a representative of the trainees, had hinted on the need to invest in character change, which is integrity among the church leaders. “We need lots of such seminars because they tend to transform our lives as pastors,” said Apostle Kasaro. There have been complaints about pastors of loose morals. Fornication and adultery have been cited as two most sexual sins that have compromised the integrity of the men of the cloth.

Kasaro said pastors should prescribe a solution as opposed to murmuring or complaining about it. He said the world was looking for answers, which pastors should provide. He urged pastors to be precise and definite in their approach to issues. He said pastors should acknowledge the fact that God started with the negative or the least to make it positive or big. He said the least in the society should be respected at all times because these people ended up being used by God mightily.

Meanwhile, Pastor Justice said the course taught him to humble himself and take instructions. “We are used to issuing instructions but the five-day seminar opened my eyes as a leader of God’s people that I have to lead by example, and take instructions where necessary,” he said. He said the seminar was held at the appropriate time when the country was faced with a serious challenge in terms of integrity. Also speaking on behalf of the trainees was Pastor Phoebe Makasi of the Christian Life Centre under the leadership of Reverend David Chaliyumba.

World Vision Swaziland also played part in hosting the event and the leadership of this Christian organisation was witness of the occasion. Representatives of Haggai Institute from East and Southern African region conferred the certificates to the graduating pastors. The advanced leadership course began Monday and ended on Friday


Goat gives birth to four kids

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By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-11-Oct-2009

MATSETSA—Suckling time is a survival of the fittest battle for four kids that were born to a goat two weeks ago.

Ellinah Tsabedze, the owner of the goats, said she was very surprised two weeks ago when she awoke to find that her animal had had quadruplets.

Tsabedze said although she could tell during the period of the goat’s pregnancy that the animal looked abnormally big, she never thought it would produce four kids. “It used to have a very awkward walk and it literally dragged its hind leg, with the belly almost touching the ground,” said Tsabedze.

Tsabedze said because goats only have two teats, the young animals were constantly fighting over them in order for them to suckle. “They do starve because when they are this young they constantly have to feed and I can only do so much,” she said. Tsabedze has since devised a strategy whereby she takes two of the kids and puts them in a drum whilst the other two feed.

After a certain amount of time, she then lets the remaining two to suck. “It’s a lot of work and they remain hungry, but it is the least we can do for now,” she said. Tsabedze said another problem was that the mother also had to be let out to go graze and drink from the dam and this made it even harder for the kids.

Tsabedze said they could not risk letting the baby goats go to the dam because dogs were a constant threat. “There have been a number of young ones that have been killed and eaten by dogs,” said Tsabedze. The kids, which are black and brown in colour, during the visit by this publication ensured that they stuck next to their mother and particularly sucked on the teats at any given moment.

Tsabedze said although her goat did not have a name, she was contemplating on giving it a name because of the special birth she had just had. Normally goats give birth twice a year and it is common for them to produce twins or even triplets, but rarely quadruplets and in some cases there have been those that have produced quintuplet and sextuplets (five and six respectively). Earlier in the year, a cow gave birth to two calves in Manzini.


There is A problem with judiciary - King

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

MATSAPHA – His Majesty King Mswati III is not at all pleased with the high number of suspects who are being acquitted by the country’s courts.

The king said there were instances where the acquitted persons showed no remorse for what they had allegedly done, but instead went bragging about how they had been set free, “and that is because they know very well that nothing would be done to them”.

The monarch said it was clear that there were problems with the country’s justice system and called upon all judicial agencies to strengthen their operations to ensure that suspects were convicted. The king’s statement comes at the time of the acquittal of PUDEMO President Mario Masuku, who faced sedition charges. After his acquittal, Masuku convened a press conference where he demanded an apology from the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini and further vowed that the struggle continues.

“This is not to mean that false charges should be preferred against innocent people but it becomes a problem when people are acquitted even when there was overwhelming evidence against them,” His Majesty said. The Head of State was speaking during the Correctional Services pass out parade and Correctional Services Day held at Matsapha yesterday.

“At the current rate of acquittals, the country’s jails could end up being remand centres, instead of correctional services, because there would be no convicts to be corrected. “The role of correctional officers is not that of remanding suspects but that of rehabilitating offenders,” the king said. His Majesty noted with concern that the continued acquittal of suspects could lead to a situation where the public could take the law into its own hands.

“The judiciary should bring its house to order so as to ensure that justice is seen to be done. There is a lot of finger pointing going on amongst judicial officers which results in suspects being acquitted,” he said. The king said as this situation persists, it could be necessary that stiffer laws be put in place to guard against such occurrences.

“Once that happens, the country would be seen as having no rule of law which is why the responsible agencies should tighten their screws,” said the king. The king said freeing of suspects under unclear circumstances put the country and public’s safety at risk thus action has to be taken.


Minister, ex-MP in verbal showdown

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By Sisho Magagula -- SWAZI OBSERVER-11-Oct-2009

What was supposed to be a television talk show turned out to be a volatile public mud-slinging match between Minister of Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini and former Mkhiweni Member of Parliament Maqhawe Mavuso on Thursday night on Channel Swazi

The two literally tore each other apart live on national television, much to the bewilderment of thousands of viewers. Qhawe Mamba, the host of People and Places, a programme aired every Thursday, would frequently intervene as the two threatened to exchange blows at the TV studios at Inyatsi House, Manzini (formerly Tiger City Building).

The subject of the talkshow was the confusion that manifested itself at the Manzini city this week between the City Council and public transport operators. Mavuso spoke on behalf of the operators whilst the minister had come to defend his ministry and the city council.

Hardly five minutes into the show, the former MP fired the first salvo, questioning the minister’s leadership skills and accused him of failing to consult with stakeholders. He referred to him as ‘Ndlovokay’tjelwa’ – meaning a person who never takes advice. The minister did not take kindly to this and warned Mavuso against calling him names.

This was the beginning of the showdown as what followed, thereafter, was a serious exchange of unpleasant words, with the minister labeling the ex-lawmaker ‘siwenguwengu’. Dlamini further alleged that Maqhawe does not have a public transport vehicle and wondered why he was speaking on behalf of operators when he was not even an executive member of the mother-body of public transport operators. Mavuso said he had a vehicle and was speaking on behalf of operators and people under the Mkhiweni Constituency.

Minister: Maqhawe is messing this whole thing up because he doesn’t even have a vehicle yet he claims to be representing the Mkhiweni people. They didn’t send him here. Mkhiweni people have mouths to speak for themselves. The fact that they once sent this man to represent them in parliament does not mean he should represent them even when not sent. Anyway, Qhawe, sometimes it is good to maintain your cool as a person before you’re derailed by ‘tiwenguwengu’

Maqhawe (interjects): Usho kimi kutsi ngisiwenguwengu? Qhawe: Gentlemen lets cool down. Maybe you should withdraw minister. Maqhawe: No, Qhawe, I want to know if he’s referring to me as ‘siwenguwengu’ because if that’s the case we can go outside and sort this out. Minister: Why is he getting heated up if he’s not a siwenguwengu? If he’s not a ‘siwenguwengu’ he shouldn’t be getting angry.

At this point, Qhawe attempted to bring direction and asked them cool down and address the issues at hand. Minutes later, Mavuso was at it again. Maqhawe: Qhawe I’m lucky because no matter how stressed I am, I never consider suicide as the best option. Qhawe: What do you mean? Maqhawe: I mean just that, the minister knows what I mean. Minister: Qhawe I think we should take calls from viewers before I do something nobody might like. I can’t be talking crap here all night otherwise maybe I should just leave.

Mamba then opened the lines for calls at 10:31pm. Minutes before the end of the show, the Minister, out of the blue, asked a question: “YeMaqhawe, what did the people of Mkhiweni see in you when they elected you into parliament? Qhawe: This is really getting out of hand. Anyway, respond Mavuso. Maqhawe: What did the people of LaMgabhi see in you when they elected you and you attempted suicide by chewing sigwabugwabu?. Minister: The parliament I served in was the best because there were no people who embezzled funds. Maqhawe: The parliament I served was also the best because there were no people who attempted suicide by swallowing ‘tigwabugwabu’. Minister: Your family must help you Maqhawe because you are a menace. I won’t be part of this anymore.

Minister Dlamini then stood up and walked out of the show.


E87m TB hospital now a health risk

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By INNOCENT MAPHALALA -- SWAZI TIMES-12-Oct-2009

MANZINI – After spen-ding E87 million in the construction of a ‘state-of-the-art’ tuberculosis (TB) hospital at Moneni, government is faced with the task of making it comply with inter-national health stan-dards.

Nurses posted to the new hospital have officially complained about this, saying it placed their lives at risk. It has been established that the problem is with specifications. When the hospital was established, the newer and more dangerous strains of tuberculosis had not yet been discovered.

As a result, government built a hospital that would only be able to cater for patients diagnosed with the ordinary TB strain. The more serious TB strains are known as multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extremely drug resistant (XDR), respectively.

Information sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) website clarifies that, when TB patients do not take their medicine as prescribed, by missing doses, skipping some medicine or stopping treatment ahead of time, the TB bacteria may become resistant to a certain drug. This means that the drug can no longer kill the bacteria.

Drug resistance is more common in people who have been in close contact with someone with drug-resistant TB disease, take their medicine irregularly, develop TB disease again, after having taken TB medicine in the past or come from areas where drug-resistant TB is common. MDR-TB means that a patient is resistant to at least Isoniazid and Rifampicin, the two most important TB drugs. This is a very serious problem.

People with MDR-TB disease must be treated with different drugs. These drugs are not as effective as the first-line drugs for ordinary TB and are much more expensive and may cause serious side-effects. Sources within government allege that the hospital has been condemned by international experts as not meeting health standards.

The Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA) confirmed that its members had reported that the absence of certain equipment posed a health risk. “The hospital does not have adequate infection control measures,” said Sibusiso Lushaba, SNA Secretary General. Lushaba said their members, posted to the hospital, had registered such complains as early as May 2008. The main problem, he said, was the absence of machinery to assist in the circulation of air in the wards.

This could result in nurses looking after patients getting infected with MDR-TB or XDR-TB. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that are resistant to the most effective anti-TB drugs. It has emerged from the mismanagement of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and once created, can spread from one person to another.

Statistics show that one in three people in the world is infected with the TB bacterium. Health Minister Benedict Xaba said the unfortunate situation at the hospital had forced them to improvise. “It is true that the hospital was not built with the current situation in mind,” he said, referring to the MDR and XDR tuberculosis strains. “We have, therefore, had to improvise. Nurses have reported problems but we deal with them from time to time.” The minister said as far as he was aware, the problem was with the availability of masks.


Local icons to be used to promote domestic tourism

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

MAPUTO – Local icons or public figures will soon be used by government to promote the ‘Visit Swaziland Campaign’ as well as domestic tourism.

This was revealed by Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Nsibandze during a cocktail party to introduce the campaign in Mozambique on Thursday.

The party was held at the Hotel Cardoso in Maputo, where business people and high profile individuals were guests. Even though Nsibandze was reluctant to reveal details of the new strategy, he said they were about to finish it. “We want to create what is known as an iconography; this is where we will use Swazi icons – be it celebrities, journalists, cultural or sporting personalities, as well as influential persons.

We will have a coach and go around the country, as well as in neighbouring states, showcasing the beauty of tourism,” he said. Nsibandze added that the new strategy would involve a Tourism Indaba. “We intend hosting a Tourism Indaba, incorporating church leaders through, for instance, the Conference of Churches, because churches are known to draw a lot of people from within and outside the country; as well as principals, through their association, as schools normally take trips, which are part of domestic tourism. We will also involve traditional structures that are available and also workshop Members of Parliament and Cabinet on the importance of domestic tourism,” he explained. He said they were looking at vigorously involving the media in the campaign and encouraged Swazis to visit tourism attraction places. On another note, Nsibandze said the ‘Visit Swaziland Campaign’ had taken a ‘BBC approach’, which involves Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. “The BBC strategy basically refers to ‘bush, beach and culture’; Mozambique has a beach, SA has the Kruger National Park (bush) and Swaziland prides itself with its strong cultural heritage. Due to the global economic meltdown, we are now focusing on promoting neighbourhood tourism because we know the radius of peoples’ movement will now be smaller. People now prefer going to places nearer to where they live. We do not want to take it for granted that they will come, hence the campaign to lure tourists to visit Swaziland,” he said.


MPs’ diarrhoea story gets pupils laughing

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By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-12-Oct-2009

NHLANGANO – Matsanjeni MP Qedusizi Ndlovu narrated to Qomintaba pupils how he suffered persistent diarrhoea after drinking water from the contaminated Ngwavuma River.

The Member of Parliament revealed this on Friday when delivering his speech at Qomintaba Secondary School speech and prize giving day where he was among the guest speakers. Ngwavuma River is one of the main water sources that cut across the country to South Africa and Mozambique.

Ndlovu, addressing the gathering said it was around Christmas when he drank from the dirty water as there was no rainfall in that particular year around Lavumisa. What made matters worse, according to Ndlovu was the fact that it was his first time drinking water from the river and to his shock, had a persistent running stomach (diarrhoea) which left him totally dehydrated.

“Sangijimisa lesisu leso futsi phela bengicala kunatsa lamanti,” loosely translated “I had to run to the toilet often and I didn’t understand it because it was my first time drinking from the river and I just had a glass of water,” said Ndlovu.

This got most of the pupils laughing. The MP was trying to explain the extent of the scarcity of water is in his constituency. The Matsanjeni legislator appealed to the Ministry of Education to provide schools around his constituency with clean water, to prevent pupils from having diarrhoea.

In response, Shiselweni acting R.E.O, Thabile Nxumalo, said her office was aware of the shortage of water in the area, particularly the schools falling under the constituency as it put pupils’ lives at risk and said her office would do its best to ensure that the problem was permanently solved. Nxumalo then challenged Qomintaba Secondary teachers to donate E50 for the acquisition of a tanker to fill the tanks instead of relying on a government tanker.

“There are few tankers servicing the whole country and there are many schools in need of its service but if teachers can work together the problem of water scarcity can be solved,” said Nxumalo. The Minister of Education and Training, Wilson Ntshangase, who was the guest speaker encouraged parents to appreciate the good work done by their children and restrain from ridiculing them if they did not do well. He was represented by Inspector of Schools, Phenous Masinga. Meanwhile Qomintaba Secondary Principal, Christopher Mazibuko shockingly disclosed that due to poverty in the area, the maximum amount of money collected from school fees annually does not exceed E8 000. “As a result we are faced with problems of building at the school. There are only two teachers’ houses and each is shared by four teachers while the rest squatter at surrounding homesteads,” said Mazibuko.


SRIC makes E9m profit in life insurance

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-12-Oct-2009

MBABANE- Despite that most insurance companies recorded negative returns on their investments, the SRIC delivered an underwriting performance of E9 million on its life insurance business.

SRIC is an acronym for the Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation and its main business is to provide short-term insurance, life insurance to individuals, as well as pension administration in the country. In the Corporation’s 2008 report, SRIC Chairman Dr. Tambo Gina said the corporation remained well capitalised and could withstand deterioration in market conditions.

“The year 2008 presented major challenges for the financial sector in general and the Corporation was no exception. Global financial markets were characterised by rapid deterioration combined with volatility, mainly due to the global credit crunch. Most insurance companies delivered negative returns on their investments due to the global economic melt down including our Corporation.

Notwithstanding, the Corporation delivered strong performances, an underwriting profit of E31.28 million (in 2007: 37.57 million) on its non-life insurance business and an underwriting profit of E9 million on its life insurance business,” reads the statement in part.

It says the Corporation had done several tests and was satisfied that both 15 per cent and 20 per cent downturn on the stock market, the Corporation would still be well capitalised. “Consequently, the Board approved a special dividend of E20 million in the non-life insurance business. The Cooperation will continue to vigorously drive its business with emphasis on effective underwriting considerations, good risk management and customer service, optimal capital utilisation and cost containment and efficiencies,” reads the statement in part.


E47 million for mobile classrooms

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By Faith Vilakati - SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Oct-2009

GOVERNMENT will spend over E47 million to buy 85 mobile classrooms and 220 mobile staff rooms in preparation for the free education programme set to begin next year, Minister of Education and Training Wilson Ntshangase has revealed.

He said the structures would be purchased in South Africa and will be delivered before the end of the month.

He said the mobile class rooms and staff rooms would be distributed according to schools that would be identified by the ministry officials with the help of the principals. “We had planned to have these structures set up and functioning before the end of November but because of certain challenges within the structures that are to be followed it seems like I will not meet the time frame I have set.

“There are certain protocols that are to be followed in the government structures so that we can get the money we want,” he said. The minister revealed that the European Union (EU) has already started the construction of 58 classrooms in different schools in all four regions and 36 teachers’ houses in all areas.

“The mobile classrooms and teachers’ houses are needed because of the change in the system of education, as a number of children are expected to have been registered now that we will have the free education. More teachers will also be needed next year, which means that there would be a need for more training,” he said.


Free medication for bogogo, says PM

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By Thulani Ndwandwe - SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Oct-2009

PRIME Minister Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini has said government is working towards introducing free medical services for elderly people.

He said this was one of the many ways in which government was trying to deliver quality service to its citizens. Dr. Dlamini also highlighted that the new package would see the creation of departments for elderly people in the country’s health facilities to help the old people from queuing in their quest to access health care in hospitals.

The Premier also assured Her Majesty the Indlovukazi and the elderly that government would soon pay the elderly grants on a monthly basis instead of the three month intervals. The Prime Minister told the hundreds of elderly people gathered at Ludzeludze for the Philani Maswati presentation that the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office was the ministry responsible for issues of the elderly and urged them to visit it whenever they had problems. Different companies and organisations which included UNFPA and others contributed towards the success of the event.

Her Majesty the Indlovukazi says parents should inculcate good morals to their children so that they become good citizens. Speaking during the presentation of gifts, food hampers, and blankets to the elderly of Ludzeludze and Kwaluseni Tinkhundla centres yesterday, the Indlovukazi said she was disappointed to learn of stories of youth robbing and stealing money along with properties from old people who no longer have enough energy to work for a living.

She said this was a disgrace for the country known internationally as a Christian country. She also called on the youth, especially those working to look after their parents. The Indlovukazi said the elderly were pillars of their communities and, therefore, should not be neglected. She also urged the community to put more effort to farming as a means to fight hunger.


Overcome language barrier – Prince Tshekedi

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By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Oct-2009

SWAZILAND High Commissioner to Mozambique Prince Tshekedi says Swazis should learn to speak Portuguese in order to create business and tourism relations with Mozambicans

He said it was a pity that Most Mozambicans had learnt to speak Siswati or English, whilst Swazis do not bother to learn either Portuguese or any other language spoken in Mozambique. He was speaking in an interview in Maputo during the cocktail promotion of the Visit Swaziland Campaign.

“How can neighbours cohabit if they do not communicate? We need to learn Portuguese.” He said he had already learnt many aspects of the language himself, having stayed in Mozambique for a few years. “It is a pity that the Portuguese language school at SIMPA stopped because Swazis were not making effective use of it.” The Prince said many Mozambicans were showing willingness to visit Swaziland for cultural activities.

He said he was expecting more of these to visit the country during the Incwala ceremony, which begins next month but is usually danced in December. The High Commissioner said there were several opportunities that Swaziland could tap into, such as in the education sector. He said there were many Swazis who were educated in Mozambique, and Mozambicans who studied in Swaziland.

“The late Princess Gcinaphi and Dr Cessphinah Mabuza were all schooled in Mozambique. “Just recently, we had a Swazi who came to the High Commission to ask for a part time job to do translations because he is studying Portuguese and English here (in Mozambique). We have since asked the ministry of foreign affairs to facilitate the part time employment of the boy,” he said.


Tourism goals for 2010 possible - minister

Business Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Oct-2009

TOURISM and Environmental Affairs Minister Macford Sibandze says Swaziland is ready to team up with Mozambique and maximise gains from the 2010 World Cup.

The minister was speaking at the Cardoso Hotel in Maputo during the cocktail promotion of the Visit Swaziland campaign on Thursday evening. He invited Mozambicans to visit the country to enjoy the hospitality, smiles and warmth of the country. “The kingdom of Swaziland is hardly an hour away, however, if our neighbours are not reminded of this fact, they can either forget this or take it for granted. Our presence is intended to remind you to take advantage of this geographical proximity and make hay while the sun shines. “To those of you, who have never been to Swaziland I invite you to make the kingdom a “must see” destination and also request those who have been there before to keep coming. Swaziland is ready to welcome you all.”


SD’s first coffee farming project launched at Kaphunga

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By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Oct-2009

SWAZILAND’S first Coffee Farming Project was recently launched to authorities of the Kaphunga community.

Project Chairman - and local custodian of the title deed land on which the project would be undertaken - Walter Stow said this project was being established in Kaphunga to help provide self-sustainable development within the community, in conjunction with Red Cross International and several experts from the coffee industry, both regional and international.

“This project is unique in the area as coffee has not been grown before and we have had several Columbian and South American coffee specialists involved in the planning and evaluation process,” he said.

“The soil testing, along with other necessary factors have proven acceptable for growing the coffee plants. The agreement reached is that the people of Kaphunga will be fully trained and assisted during the start-up stages as well as the years following until the coffee fruits are reaped and processed.” Stow said this was a world class project with every intention of providing the community with economic growth well into the future. “Of course, none of this would be possible without the guidance and direction of John Frater of Avanti Coffees, South Africa.”

Kaphunga Water Project Secretary Sipho Makhubu said he was excited to be working with this project and has welcomed the initiative. He said the residents of Kaphunga were honoured to be chosen for this unique venture and would be equally honoured to work hard at making it every success intended, for many years to come.

“The success of this project will be used as an example to other communities to help boost and develop them too,” added Makhubu. Meanwhile, Project Coordinator John Frater noted that the coffee market was the second highest traded commodity market in the world today, “so we just need to work on the quality and consistency of the crops to ensure local success”.

“The Kaphunga region will become well-renowned for this commodity and there are, of course, a lot of spin-offs to a project like this, like tourism for example,” he added. The project’s objectives are the development of a world class coffee project, incorporating the production of superior quality Arabica Organic Coffee varietals; and enhancement of the Kaphunga community through development and lifestyle through commitment, education and ultimately self-preservation.


Mashaba wary of Botswana Zebras

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-13-Oct-2009

LOBAMBA – Sihlangu coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba, whilst insisting that his team will be out for the silverware in Zimbabwe, is still wary of the vastly improved Botswana Zebras.

The South African born mentor said the match against the Tswanas next week Tuesday will be vital in their quest to finally bring home the regional tournament. The stout built coach speaking after yesterday’s morning training session asserted that the first game against Seychelles will be the right platform to prepare for the Zebras.

“While we cannot underrate the other teams especially Seychelles, there is no doubt that the greatest challenge will be facing the vastly improved Botswana. However, nothing has changed with regard to our objectives of going there to challenge for honours, we won’t change now,” he said. Later yesterday, the coach was expected to announce his final squad for the tournament, ahead of Thursday’s departure.

His other worry was the injury to anchorman Mxolisi ‘Stopper’ Mthethwa, who missed the morning session. But, the player was due to be assessed further in the afternoon after consulting a doctor in the morning. “The defence is sorted because today we were able to have two sets of left backs and right backs competing effectively. That means that we can now have two players for each position at the back, but we still have problems in central midfield. ‘Stopper’ is expected to undergo a test this afternoon,” he said.

Mashaba further observed that they will still have to work on finishing. “We created so many chances today, but the finishing has not been good. One just hopes that we will utilise them during match days,” he said. Sihlangu leaves the country on Thursday for Bulawayo where the team will play its games. They open the tournament on Sunday at 3.30pm against Seychelles in a match that would be crucial in deciding the team’s progress in the tournament.

Only group winners advance to the quarter finals against a winner from the Harare based group that consists of Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mauritius. Madagascar and Tanzania have pulled out of the tournament for various reasons. Meanwhile, his counterpart at Botswana Stanley Tshosane has stated that his team will also not undermine their opponents in the tournament. Speaking to an online publication the BOP Daily Mail after the draw, he said even though the Comoros Islands, Seychelles and Swaziland were rated lower than the Zebras in the FIFA World rankings that did not suggest the group would be easy for Zebras.

“I know all of these teams and we should not take them lightly because small teams have a tendency of causing upsets,” he warned. The two teams will battle it out for the automatic qualification to the quarter finals in the group B. The deciding clash will take place next week Tuesday at Bulawayo starting at 3.30pm.


Gospel sensation Sifiso donates to destitute kids

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By Thulani Ndwandwe - SWAZI OBSERVER-13-Oct-2009

CHRISTMAS came early for the disadvantaged children staying at the children’s ward of the Mbabane Government Hospital when South African gospel artist Sifiso Ncwane showered them with gifts, which included food hampers and toiletry.

The gospel artist was accompanied by his wife Ayanda. As soon as they walked into the hospital with the gifts, the children burst into song followed by a round of applause in appreciation of the goodies.

Ncwane said he was happy to donate to the children. He said he was aware that despite their condition, which had forced them to stay at the hospital, they were followers of gospel music. He said if he had had enough time to prepare for the trip, he would have brought with him equipment so that he could perform for them.

Ncwane said he spent over E2 000.00 on the goods. Present at the presentation was the Hospital Administrator Cebsile Dlamini, who thanked the gospel artist and urged other members of the public to emulate him.


E3.5m @ stake in All Africa Poker Tournament

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By Mphikeleli Msibi - SWAZI OBSERVER-13-Oct-2009

WITH a limited number of seats available for this year’s final All Africa Poker Tournament, both amateur and pro poker players are lining up to claim their seat and a chance to win a share of the E3.5 million pot.

The Tournament will be held at Piggs Peak Casino in Swaziland from the 19th to 22nd November, with some of Southern Africa’s poker pros like Ray Rahme, Ryan Brauer, Mel Banfield, Kinesh Pather and Ryan Eber having already secured their seats.

“As always, All Africa Poker attracts celebrities from far and wide and this November tournament is no exception with the inclusion of talented singer Danny K and Supersport presenter Neil Andrews. But this hasn’t deterred the amateur players,” said Bonnie Buthelezi who is the Marketing Manager at Piggs Peak Hotel and Casino.


Swazi Hunk photoshoot on Friday

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By Mphikeleli Msibi - SWAZI OBSERVER-13-Oct-2009

THE Swazi Hunk of the Year contestants will on Friday be involved in a photoshoot to be held at Cuddle Puddle.

Tony Dlamini, one of the organisers of the event urged all the contestants to attend the event without fail. “We have confirmed the venue and they must all come prepared. This will be our third photoshoot following the one held on Saturday and yesterday at Karibu,” Dlamini said. The contestants were yesterday involved in another photoshoot where they were in their sports wear. “We urged them to come with their traditional gear as we want all of them to take part in this exercise,” he said.

The event will start at 1p.m and contestants are urged to keep time.

Dlamini said they already had over 15 contestants and encouraged other to register as soon as possible. “We are still open for at least two more who would want to register and the registration fee is E50.” Dlamini said they would only consider males between the ages of 19-35. “We just want the best out of this year’s contest since we are hosting it for the first time,” he said.

Contests

Dlamini said the whole idea of hosting the ‘Swazi Hunk of the Year’ came up after realising that there were few contests in the country that could produce young male role models. Dlamini added that they were opening their net wide and give all the deserving young man a chance to show case their strength to carry the title of being the ‘Swazi Hunk of the Year’.

All those interested can contact Sam Dlamini at 602 1318 or 665 6168.” Dlamini said it was good that all the four regions of the country were represented. “We feel it is important that we include all four regions to give all the deserving young man a chance to take part in this national event which seeks to promote the country among other things,” she said.

On another note Dlamini said had already secured a number of sponsors. Kurnitz Property had sponsored the event with E5 000 while Aqua Design has sponsored with branding. “We would like to urge local companies to help us through sponsorships since there is a lot they can also benefit by sponsoring such events which has in the past few years generated a lot of interest and following among the Swazi community,” he said.

The organising committee comprises of the ‘Swazi Hunk of the Year’, which comprises of Silindile Mtshali, Zandi S’gwane, Nhlanhla Dlamini and Sam Dlamini.


Investment Code soon to be established

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane -- SWAZI OBSERVER-13-Oct-2009

THE investment policy currently being formulated is expected to establish an Investment Code that will give a detailed guide for foreign investors wishing to come into the country.

“We’re presently operating without any investment policy. However, one of the outcomes of an investor roadmap we did was the policy, which we’re currently working on,” said Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) Domestic Investments Director Sabelo Mabuza.

“The policy will enable us to have an Investment Code and as SIPA, we will be able to issue investment certificates which will open doors for investors. “As SIPA, we will be able to hold their hands and guide them through the processes of investing in the country, including customs and immigration requirements.”

He said the Investment Code would also fast-track all the processes involved in establishing business in Swaziland, as well as enable the Authority to investigate all issues relating to investors in the country. “When we have the Code investors will be able to go through the processes quickly and within two weeks they should be able to come into the country,” said Mabuza, adding “we will also be able to address all issues that may make the country not investor friendly.”


HOPE FLICKERS FOR HANDLESS BOY

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By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-13-Oct-2009

THREE year-old Mlandzo Khumalo who needs artificial hands might have a chance to go to school like other children.

This is after Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Makhosazane Dlamini at the Mbabane Government Hospital (MGH) said he should report to the hospital today at 2pm.

The SMO did not state the details of what the hospital might do to help, but said the boy should be at the hospital at the said time. Mlandvo appeared in the Weekend Observer, where his grandparents pleaded with anyone to help him with artificial hands so he could go to school like every child. The boy, who hails from Mnyokane was infected with a mysterious disease which led to him being amputated. He first had blisters in his hands, which later developed into gangrene.

He was abandoned by his parents when he was young and ever since, he has been living with is grandparents. His grandparents said though the boy is just like other children as he plays and is bubbly it hurts them that he is not in school. Elizabeth Kunene, his grandmother said now that there is free education it was her wish that his grandson could also go to school. Free education starts next year and every child below the age of nine-years is eligible.


‘Pastors use muti’

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

MBABANE – A startling accusation – that some Swazi pastors use witchcraft to perform miracles and attract church members – has been made during a pastors’ conference.

It has been alleged that the unscrupulous pastors were envious of famous overseas preachers they normally saw on television touching sick people with their hands and the latter would collapse to the ground as part of the healing process.

In their quest to be like the overseas preachers, the local pastors are said to travel as far as Nyembane in Mozambique in search of strong muti to make them as popular. This transpired yesterday, during the fortnightly symposiums of pastors affiliated to the Swaziland Conference of Churches, Mbabane branch.

Reverend Johannes Mazibuko of the Mbabane Alliance Church, who facilitated during the seminar, told the close to 20 church leaders that “pastors have brought witchcraft into church because they want to be seen as performing miracles and bring in more church members in the process”. Mazibuko said the issue of witchcraft was one of the challenges facing the “Calling and Ministry in the 21st Century”.

The statements come at a time when there are certain local pastors being investigated by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) for allegedly performing fake miracles. “It all began with the pastors watching on television as these famous overseas preachers (some of whom he named) touching people resulting in them falling down and then think that if they could perform the same, fame would come to them,” Mazibuko said.

The renown preacher said today’s pastors had forgotten that anointing should come from God, instead, they were of the view that with witchcraft in their hands, they had everything needed to become the best. “Pastors are depending on miracles instead of Jesus to attract huge crowds into their churches and this is ungodly,” the Reverend said.

Miracles

Mazibuko said once these pastors performed their miracles using witchcraft, they would then run to the media to publicise their achievement, so as to gain more popularity. “Some of us have healed people with different ailments but have never run to the media to claim glory for having done such but we know God made it all possible,” he said. A local weekly newspaper has, in the past, reported that a certain church used a seven headed snake known as lamlambo. The Reverend noted that today’s pastors were young men who do not know what was required of them as church leaders. “A church leader has to be spiritually strong otherwise they would sink under the immense pressure that comes with God’s calling,” Mazibuko said, stressing that “these young leaders are interested in material gain instead of preaching the word of God”.

...some Church leaders now gods

MBABANE – Some of today’s church leaders have been accused of turning themselves into demigods to be worshipped by the brethren.

Reverend Johannes Mazibuko said pastors had deviated from preaching the word and focused more on presenting themselves as supernatural beings who have to be worshipped. He said this was the humanism that had marred operations of the church in the 21st century. “Church leaders are now acting like gods and want to be worshipped by the congregation. Let’s not be gods in our churches,” Mazibuko said.

He said some preachers had gone to the extent of not attending other church functions and only entered the house of the Lord to deliver a sermon. “When they enter the church they do so with a large entourage without having participated in hymn singing or any other functions prior to delivering a sermon,” Mazibuko said.

The Reverend said he was not against pastors having someone to carry their luggage, like the Bible and other necessities but should do so without being too extravagant. One known pastor who is normally accompanied by an entourage is Pastor Justice Dlamini, of the Worship Centre, who even stunned many people when he preached at Somhlolo national stadium under the watchful eyes of his personal bodyguards.

Expose bad pastors, media urged

MBABANE – The media has been encouraged to expose those church leaders who are allegedly involved in illicit activities.

Aaron Matsebula, Chairman of the Swaziland Conference of Churches (Mbabane branch), said it was his prayer that the media, especially newspapers, should monitor the activities of the pastors who were dragging the name of God in the mud. “There is this Mbabane pastor who called me after reading an article in one of the newspapers, where one church leader was accused of impregnating a school girl.

“This pastor said he had been visited by journalists regarding the story and asked that we convene a press conference where such allegations would be denied and I rejected his plea because that was his own problem and didn’t involve all of us,” Matsebula said. He said it was strange to him that the pastor would want a press conference when he had told him that he was not the one being referred to in the article. “If he wasn’t the guilty pastor then why did he want the press conference? He wanted to drag all of us into the matter and we would have found ourselves in trouble because the newspapers always have evidence to back their stories,” Matsebula stated.

Meanwhile, Reverend Johannes Mazibuko said bad publicity would always follow immoral pastors. “The newspapers are going to have a field day with these pastors and you can’t feel sorry for them because they brought this upon themselves with their bad acts,” said Mazibuko. The church leaders are expected to convene again on the 27th of this month to deliberate further on the matter.


SD will not effect fuel adjustment

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-14-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Despite the recent fall in petrol prices in South Africa, Swaziland will not effect any adjustment.

SA last week effected a drop in the retail price of petrol of 39 and 40 cents for both the Unleaded and Lead Replacement, respectively.

Diesel dropped by 0.05 per cent. However, the local Fuel Pricing Control Committee has not met to deliberate on whether adjustments are necessary. In fact, a member of the committee and Chairman of the Swaziland Fuel Retailers Association, Harry Shongwe said government would probably consider that there is no need to change the current price.

Giving a brief background, Shongwe said the country would not have made adjustments since July, yet SA has effected two hikes this year. He said a review would be necessary early next month, especially when considering the current trends in the global crude oil prices.

Shongwe predicted a hike in the next adjustments, basing his argument on the fact that the Northern Hemisphere was heading for a winter season, a period when fuel is in dem- and.

He reiterated that for this month, government would leave the price as is and probably effect a hike next month. Chief Energy Officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Henry Shongwe confirmed that the committee would not be meeting because a decision was taken that current prices remain as is.

“We are far below SA, infact they effected two hikes and we didn’t. “For now, we will monitor the situation in terms of the crude oil prices that are unpredictable nowadays before we make any adjustments,” he said. Shongwe added that it was the good exchange rate that assisted the country in maintaining the petrol prices.


EU effects final 21.7 per cent sugar price cut

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By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-14-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The sugar industry has been dealt a huge blow, with the EU having effected the remaining 21.7 per cent cut in sugar prices.

This means the price of sugar received by Swaziland, and other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, has been cut by 36 per cent. The European Union (EU) introduced the Sugar Regime, which sought to slash sugar prices by 36 per cent from 2005, over a four year period.

In monetary terms, the sugar price has decreased from about E5 708.33 per tonne (523.70 Euros) in 2005, to E3 653.68 per tonne (335.20 Euros) for the 2009/10, which is expected to apply until the 2014/15 marketing season. Chief Executive Officer of the Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA) Dr. Mike Matsebula confirmed that the EU had cut the sugar price by 21.7 per cent.

“The balance of 21.7 per cent of the EU sugar price cut was effected on October 1, 2009. As such, the EU prices have now been reduced by the full 36 per cent as part of the EU Sugar sector Reform. This has been the steepest price cut since the introduction of the reform,” he said. The first EU price cut of 5.1 per cent was effected in July 2006, followed by a cut of 9.3 per cent for the 2008/09 marketing season, which brought the cumulative reduction to 14.3 per cent.

Matsebula detailed how the 36 per cent sugar price cut affected the local industry. “The sugar industry is indeed in a situation of double jeopardy, as the steep price cut has been effected at a time when the Rand has appreciated by about 22 per cent, against the Euro from last year’s levels. Because of this, the price cut will have a significant negative impact on revenues for the whole industry, including the smallholder sugarcane growers,” he said.

He mentioned, however, the corrective measures the industry was employing to lessen the effects. He said; “Nevertheless, the sugar industry is taking all the necessary steps to counteract the EU price decline. Some of the major steps are: increased assistance to smallholder growers to improve their yields; using task teams to address major cost areas for smallholder growers; and investigating fair trade under which sugar produced by smallholder growers will receive premiums in the EU.”

Sustainability

Matsebula added an additional consideration being the ‘renewed commitment’ by all stakeholders to accelerate the pace of implementation of the European Commission Accompanying Measures (ECAM). “These measures are intended to assist the sugar industry adapt to the lower EU prices. Whilst the assistance is intended to enable the whole sugar industry enhance its sustainability under the new EU Sugar Regime, there is a proportionately higher amount of focus given to smallholder growers (both existing and new),” he explained.

The CEO added that given the multi-functional and strategic role played by the sugar industry in the Swazi economy, it was in everybody’s best interest that the ECAM programme is implemented with vigour. “Fortunately, all stakeholders beyond the sugar industry (including government and the EC) are supportive of the ECAM objectives,” Matsebula said.


Interim EPA saves local sugar industry

Main Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-14-Oct-2009

MBABANE – If government had not signed the interim EPA, the local sugar industry would be doomed, with over 200 000 tonnes of sugar without a market.

This follows the expiry of the Sugar Protocol, under which Swaziland exported its sugar to the European Union (EU) markets, on September 30, 2009. EPA is an acronym for Economic Partnership Agreement, whose negotiations are between the Southern African Development Community with the EU. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland signed the interim EPA a few months ago while South Africa, Namibia and Angola refused to sign.

Early this year, the Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA) disclosed that local sugar sales to the EU had increased from 152 000 tonnes in 2005/06 to 209 000 tonnes in 2008/09. Arrangements When asked about the Sugar Protocol, Chief Executive Officer of SSA Dr Mike Matsebula confirmed it had expired. “Yes, the Sugar Protocol lapsed effectively on September 30, 2009,” he said.

Matsebula revealed that they were now exporting sugar to the EU under the interim EPA. “The market access arrangements previously regulated by the Sugar Protocol will now be governed by the Economic Partnership Agreement,” he said. He mentioned that because of the signing of the interim EPA, no substantial negative effects were expected on the local sugar industry.

Matsebula said: “Because Swazi-land has already signed the interim EPA with the EU, which covers trade in goods (including sugar), there are no significant negative effects expected on the local sugar industry from the lapse of the Sugar Protocol.” He further applauded government “for taking the responsible action of signing the interim EPA to safeguard market access for Swazi sugar beyond the life of the Sugar Protocol”.

Matsebula said government’s continued commitment to sign the full EPA once negotiations had been concluded provided sufficient comfort that there would be no new adverse consequences. The signing of the interim EPA led to a rift among countries under the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The faction that did not sign accused those who signed of contravening the SACU Agreement of 2002, which says negotiations of trade agreements with third parties should be done as a bloc, not individually.

The main areas of concern by Angola, Namibia and South Africa were the EU’s demand for a most-favoured nation (MFN) clause and the issue of the definition of the parties.

Negotiations

However, during a SACU Council of Ministers meeting held locally last month, it was decided that members would redouble collective efforts to resolve the outstanding issues in the interim EPA and EPA negotiations. The Council agreed to follow the principle of unified engagement among member states in trade negotiations with third negotiations, including the SADC-EC EPA, while recognising different levels of development and capacity of member states. In fact, the SACU Council of Ministers Chairmanship, Namibia, said it would also focus on ensuring that all SACU member states are signatories to the final EPA.


Thief blames the devil

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Oct-2009

A 19-year-old man of Gelekeceni stunned Mbabane Magistrate Siphosini Dlamini when he said he was tempted by the devil to steal from his neighbours.

This prompted Magistrate Dlamini to say he intends to meet the devil which tempted Landvo Mdluli to steal. Mdluli was charged with breaking into the house of his neighbour Mandla Fana Malindzisa. The accused said it was not his intention to steal but was tempted by the devil. In mitigation he pleaded with the court to be lenient when passing sentence since it was his first time to have a brush with the law. “Your worship the devil tempted me to steal the items from my neighbour. I am making an undertaking that I will not commit a similar offence should I be given an option of a fine,” he said. The magistrate said the accused betrayed his neighbours who counted on him as one of the people they would call when attacked by intruders.

“You stole from your neighbours and this clearly shows that you are not to be trusted,” said Dlamini. Mdluli was eventually sentenced to six months imprisonment with an option of E1000 fine.


KING SEES SD AS QATAR, GULF'S WINDOW TO AFRICA

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Oct-2009

NO sooner had his plane landed at Doha International Airport in the State of Qatar, than His Majesty King Mswati III plunged head-on into a gruelling schedule of cementing ties and looking for investors for Swaziland.

Leading a strong delegation comprising business and public sector personalities, His Majesty was only allowed a 15 minute check-in ‘whistle stop’ at His hotel, before being whisked off to the offices of His Highness Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Altani - the leader of the State of Qatar - for talks.

His Majesty emerged an hour later with a big smile of optimism, suggesting that the talks were a success. Minister of Foreign Affairs International Trade Lutfo Dlamini confirmed the spirit of optimism when briefing the press later, where he said various exploratory issues were raised. Later in the day, the King received a contigent of hotelliers and tourism captains from the State of Qatar, an encounter that was borne of the earlier talks with His Highness.There were also various business delegations that had audience with the King, one of which was from the energy sector.

Investment

His Majesty is currently on a working tour to the Gulf States to promote Swaziland and seek Foreign Direct Investment and joint venture deals for the nation. The King is accompanied by Inkhosikati Make Langangaza, Prince Simelane, Princess Msindvose, Chief Zameya and UNISWA Foundation CEO Milcho Damianov, among others.

The delegation which touched down in Qatar at 9am (Swaziland time and 10 am Qatar time) was met by the His Highness and Her Highness themselves, which is the greatest honour that can be bestowed to a visiting Head of State. No expense was spared in ensuring the absolute comfort of His Majesty and the entire delegation in this oil rich country.

Areas of potential collaboration which were raised during the meeting with the various sectors of the State of Qatar include agro-industries, tourism and international services, manufacturing, infrastructure and construction, petrochemicals and fertiliser, mining and power generation, ICT and the hospitality industry.

“Business opportunities will not just come to Swaziland just because we are Swaziland and we are peaceful. We need to go out and look for business opportunities for our nation, just like every other country is doing,” said SIPA Chairman Musa Dlamini, who is also part of the delegation to the Gulf States.

Minister Lutfo added: “We are here to cement relations between our two countries and to make a follow up on the splendid opportunities that these countries started to explore when they established links several years ago. His Majesty, as the number one citizen of Swaziland and who is concerned about the welfare of His people is here to maximise mutual benefits between the two countries. I am happy to note that the business community in Swaziland, parastatals and the public sector are rising to the occasion and they support His Majesty’s efforts to ensure that Swaziland is a better place through investment and poverty alleviation programmes.”

Swaziland’s Envoy to the Gulf States Chief Senzangakhona said Swaziland’s attributes as a peaceful, stable and secure country argurs well with His Majesty’s vision for Swaziland as the gateway to Africa for the State of Qatar and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, His Majesty will todaycontinue with the business meetings and it is expected that an agreement to solidify the talks and pave the way for implementation will be signed. In the pipeline is also a visit to the Qatar Foundation of Education, Science and Community Development and a tour of that country’s areas of interest.


Online Marketing and Advertising Hub launched

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZILAND OBSERVER-14-Oct-2009

A website dedicated to marketing and advertising of products has been launched in the country for the first time ever.

Swaz-ejunk.com is already running and promises its clients a platform for banner adverts that leads to more detailed services by advertising clients. The website provides a variety of advertising and marketing portfolios that include property, accommodation, entertainment, motor vehicles, financial services, computers and a whole lot more.

The site’s Sales Executive Sabelo Malambe sent an invitation to all those who want to run their adverts to visit www.swaz-ejunk.com for information on how to do so. “It’s a new and innovative way of advertising where clients stand to pay a lower amount as compared to other portfolios through which they advertise,” he said.

Malambe added that clients stand to pay from as little as E170 a month to run their adverts. “We want to make this a home for both marketing and advertising. As I said earlier, it is the first time this is done in the country, hence we hope to get a good response from the people,” he said.

orders

He said clients can now request quotations and make orders for specific products online without any hassle. “We venture into the unexploited, the unexplored shores of doing business. We are changing the mindset of the Swazi entrepreneur; out of the box. That is the way we must start thinking if we are to weather the economic crisis engulfing the world.

“We are here to create a true platform for the Swazi business community, no matter what commodity they may be selling, no matter how small, and we aim to provide such a platform at a very affordable price.” Quizzed on the official launch, Malambe said they would announce the dates soon.

“We are going to launch to the public very soon, but the most important thing at the moment is to make sure we attract even more clients to sustain the business. I have no doubt that we will grow big,” he said. Malambe also revealed that job adverts would run for free on the site, adding that it was a good vehicle for consumers and business people to interact.


Establishment of the United Methodist Church in Swaziland

Main Section

Swazi Observer- By Mphikeleli Msibi -15-Oct-2009

About a year ago, on 21 September 2008, at Thokoza Church Centre in Mbabane, Bishop Joao Somane machado, now retired, of the United Methodist Church, Mozambique south Annual Conference, ordained the Reverend Peter Ssmwogerere as an elder in the church.

Matsapha near Eteni on the way to the University of Swaziland, every Sunday from 9a.m to 10a.m. “We now call upon all people of God, and in particular United Methodists living in or visiting Swaziland, to join us on Sundays for the service of word and table,” said Reverend Peter Ssemwogeree.

The reverend also invited all people of God to join them in establishing the United Methodist Church in Swaziland. “We need to reach especially those who do not worship God, those whose faith is faltering, and those who feel as if God has abandoned them,” he said.

Ssemwogerere said God’s fields called for more labourers. “We can all be those labourers to make disciples for Christ and also harvest divine benefits as Jesus promised,” he said. Born as a movement in the Anglican Church during Wesley’s work in America, this is not a new Church in the world. It has only not reached some parts of Africa.

It is well established in Zimbabwe which hosts the Africa University, in Mozambique for more than 100 years, and in East Africa. It is also expanding in South Africa preaching salvation and practical Christianity, providing spiritual and social service, brining hope and restoring love among people. “Those in need of prayers, or secular counseling and other Christian services, those who would like to join us, or who need more information are welcome to Oasis School on Sunday s,” he said The Reverend said everyone was invited to attend the services.

“It’s not about the Methodist church but everyone is welcome to come and worship with us,” he said


Dogs, horses roped in to stop jail breaks

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - Swazi Observer-15-Oct-2009

WARDERS will now use dogs and horses to guard inmates in a bid to decrease the growing incidents of jail breaks.

Commissioner of Correctional Services Isaiah Ntshangase recently met South African High Commissioner Reddy Mampane where the issue was discussed.

Just recently, eight prisoners escaped from the custody of warders. Ntshangase said South Africa would also provide the needed expert advice on how to utilise the dogs and horses. Mampane paid a courtesy call to the Correctional Services yesterday where he said he was impressed with the manner prisoners were looked after.

He said there were similarities in the manner the inmates were kept by both the SA and Swazi correctional authorities. “The Commissioner informed the High Commissioner that currently there were on-going bilaterals in so far as providing expert advice on sourcing and use of horses and dogs for patrolling and also training of Correctional Officials on handling of these vital tools in security.”

He explained that the bilateral agreements were to stop criminals from committing an offence in one country and then going to hide in another.

Ntshangase explained that exchanging information on foreign inmates helped to re-capture them.

The High Commissioner then promised to speed up progress in all bilateral projects between the two departments to enhance service delivery and fight the transnational crimes.


Swine Flu Closes Manzini School

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu -Swazi Observer-15-Oct-2009

HILLSIDE Primary School was closed indefinitely following the wild spread of the deadly A type H1N1 (swine flu) virus in the school.

Manzini Regional Education Officer (REO) Phineas Masinga said the decision to suspend classes was taken to prevent the virus from spreading and to instill order to the school. About 24 students were diagnosed with the Type A H1N1 on Tuesday, but there were more cases yesterday.

Masinga said classes would resume on Friday and explained that students had to be sent back home because the ministry of health was assessing the prevailing circumstances. Minister of Health Benedict Xaba said an emergency task team was deployed to work closely with the administration of Hillside and to assess the situation and condition of the students. Xaba observed that classes were too congested at the school and that the situation may have been aggravated by this.

“It is highly suspected that one student contracted the virus and spread it because the classes are too congested.” It was gathered that some students were eventually admitted to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) hospital whilst others had to be taken to the Mbabane Government Hospital where they were kept in isolation.

Minister Xaba said officials from his Ministry had engaged their counterparts in the ministry of education and training regarding the outbreak of the virus and had already provided guidelines to help counter the situation. He said his ministry had no prerogative to close down the school, save for providing information and engaging the affected institution. The acting Minister of Education and Training, Magobetane Mamba, said the situation was being closely monitored by the ministry of health. He was yet to get a full briefing on the situation by yesterday evening. Never treat any flu-like symptoms at home, Minister warns IN light of the outbreak of the Swine Flu virus at Hillside Primary School, Minister of Health Benedict Xaba sternly warned all people against treating flu at home. Xaba said nowadays it was not safe to treat any form or symptom of flu at home because of the outbreak of swine flu. He encouraged people with symptoms of flu to quickly go to the hospital as soon as they begin to feel ill.


THIRTEEN's Nature goes to Swaziland to track Africa's deadliest snake in Black Mamba.

Main Section

Reuters-15-Oct-2009

The black mamba is a snake with a notorious reputation for being fast, furious, and deadly. It can grow to 13 feet and is strong enough to raise a third of its body above the ground and look you in the eye.

Its bite is known as the kiss of death - without treatment, the mortality rate is 100 percent.

In the hot, humid climate of Swaziland in Southern Africa, black mambas thrive.They are naturally attracted to the vast sugar cane plantations, but they can also be found in homes, gardens, schools and hotel rooms, sometimes with tragic results. Snake bites in Africa are reaching epidemic proportions, and the traditional response is to kill them before they kill you, or, failing that, to rely on traditional medicine for a cure - always a hopeless option. But two individuals are making an effort to relieve the crisis in Swaziland, and to save both snake and human lives.

Thea Litschka-Koen initially became interested in black mambas after one of her sons chose snakes as a school project. Soon after, she found herself doing a lot of fascinating research and ultimately enrolling in handling and identification courses, and her involvement grew from there. Enlisting her husband, Clifton, in her efforts, Thea began responding to emergency calls from locals, removing and rescuing snakes they found. Each call-out is a daunting proposition, even for this intrepid and experienced couple. After a successful rescue, on-site demonstrations help assuage some of the fears Swazis have about the mambas that will always live among them. Thea also founded a reptile park where some of her rescued snakes could be released and where people could learn more about snakes,as well as how to handle some of them safely.

Locals always wanted to know if the rescued snakes would come back, and that led to a plan. Joining forces with an expert from Johannesburg, the Litschka-Koens began a research project to track rescued black mambas they released into the wild. They hoped to gain new insights that might help them in their work, and to learn the answer to the question the locals wanted more than anything to know.

The study was the first of its kind. The mambas were radio-tracked, 24/7, for weeks, and their behavior studied, revealing important information about the snakes.

None of it was learned soon enough to help a local family who lost a daughter to a black mamba`s bite after she accidentally stepped on it while playing hide and seek. The traditional healer was unable to help and the local hospital did not have anti-venom to save her.

There is some hope for the future. The Litschka-Koen`s work has now been recognized by King Mswati III of Swaziland, who has donated land for a new reserve and for a clinic specializing in the treatment of snake-bites. It will be the first of its kind in Swaziland.


Swaziland's Neighbour, Mozambique, announces creation of space agency

Main Section

Anon-15-Oct-2009

Whilst Swazis were meeting at Hotel Cardoso in Maputo to discuss Tourism Ventures,the Mozambique minisiter of Science and Technology was in Geneva with Loftier ideas .

Mozambique is preparing to set up a space agency, according to Mozambique's Science and Technology Minister, Venâncio Massingue, speaking at the International Conference of World Leaders on Telecommunications taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

During a speech at the Telecom World 2009 conference organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and by the Swiss Confederation, Massingue said that the government was focused on setting up low orbit satellites, as well as encouraging companies that are involved with wireless and satellite technological solutions in order to launch a programme to train Mozambican technical staff.


Thermal power station tender out!

Business Section

FAITH SHONGWE - Times of Swaziland-15-Oct-2009

MBABANE :The contractor that will be selected to supply power for the coal fired power station, is expected to begin mining operations within the next two years.

This comes after the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), has sent out an invitation to contractors that will supply power for the thermal power station. The thermal power station will produce 300 Megawatts (MW) and a presentation on the project was done early this year. The project is expected to assist the country in meeting the challenges of energy supply.

Cabinet approved the establishment of the 300MW coal fired power station last month and SEC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pius Gumbi also announced during the recent Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC), Annual General Meeting, that Cabinet had mandated the SEC to build a thermal power station. “Tenders are invited for selecting of a coal mining contractor for the Swaziland Electricity Company in Swaziland,” reads the statement in part.

When contacted to give details on the project, SEC Corporate Services Manager Sifiso Dlamini said the contractor was expected to begin the mining operations within the next two years.

“The SEC mining contractor is expected to mine coal and deliver it to the power station for the duration of the project life and in this respect, the SEC is looking for a contractor that shall include locals in the coal mining sector,” Dlamini said.

The tender documents are available from the SEC Commercial Services Manager, as well as by emailing a request to, thermal.project@sec.co.sz Tender documents cost E6 000 and this fee is not refundable. The closing date for submission of proposals is November 27, 2009.

According to a report from Reuters, the country no longer planned to build a 1 000 megawatt power plant, to cut the country’s reliance on imported electricity but may opt for a smaller one.

“The land-locked country currently produces 70 MW of power from hydro plants, with the remainder of its demand of 200 MW met by imports from neighbouring South Africa. Media reports said the small country of 1.1 million people wanted to reduce its reliance on South Africa, especially in the face of fast rising tariffs in the continent’s biggest economy,” reads the report in part.

It says the SEC said it still had plans to build a coal-fired plant, but on a much smaller scale. “Swaziland intends building a significantly scaled down plant capacity ... the feasibility study will indicate the optimal plant size,” it said in an emailed response to questions. “SEC wants to invest in a power station in order to mitigate power supply risks as well as to mitigate tariff hikes,” reads the report in part.


Man arrested for faking marriage to civil servant

Main Section

Swazi Times-SABELO MAZIBUKO -15-Oct-2009

MBABANE : A 43 year old man of Mbhuleni has been arrested for allegedly falsifying a marriage certificate to claim a dead civil servants estate.

He is currently out on E200 bail for contravening the Marriage and Death Registration Act of 1983. John Sofana Sibandze, who currently hails from Mbhuleni, briefly appeared at the Mbabane Magistrate Court. Sibandze is alleged to have contravened section 33 (e) of the Birth, Marriage and Death Registration Act of 1983 in that while he was at the Master of the High Court in Mbabane, he allegedly uttered a false Swazi customary marriage certificate with registration number 39/5 to the masters office.

It is alleged that Sibandze did this for the purposes of opening an estate file for late Elizabeth Tozi Shongwe, who was employed by the Ministry of Health. The value of the estate was not disclosed in court.

Sibandze briefly appeared before Magistrate Xolisa Hlatshwayo and the Crown, represented by Stanley Dlamini, applied that he be remanded out of custody.

His bail conditions were that he should not interfere with the Crown’s witnesses, attend remands and stand trial, as well as not committing a similar offence while currently out on bail. Yesterday, Sibandze did not spend much time inside the dock as he simply listened to the instructions and then left the court.


Cosmos in row over Swazi player

Sports Section

Kickoff- Ernest Fakude-16-Oct-2009

Swazi midfielder Felix Badenhorst has become the centre of a row between his former club Manzini Wanderers and his new club Jomo Cosmos.

Wanderers have applied to the Swazi FA requesting them not to issue the player’s international clearance.

The Swazis claim that Ezenkosi has only paid R50 000 of the R100 000 price initially agreed on.

Furthermore, they say that they are holding onto the R50 000 as a ‘fine’ for breach of contract as the player was signed while he was still on their books.

A Wanderers official, Bheki Gamedze, is quoted in the Swazi Times today as saying, “We have discovered that Cosmos deposited only 50 000 into our account instead of the 100 000 they claimed to have to have paid.

“Felix is still contracted to us and therefore we view that amount (R50 000) as a fine for breaching the contract and expect further negotiations before we release his clearance.

“We just don’t want to set a bad precedent for other teams by releasing good players for meagre amounts,” Gamedze adds.

Jomo Cosmos manager Andrew Rabutla, however, tells KickOff.com a different story.

“We paid the club (Wanderers) the full amount yesterday and so I am surprised when you ask me if we still owe his team.

“We have applied for his international clearance through Safa and hopefully we can get it today and register him in time for the game against AmaZulu on Sunday.”

It remains now to be seen whether Badenhorst will be in Ezenkosi’s line-up against AmaZulu at the weekend.


2010 dream for Northern Hhohho

Main Section

LUNGA MASUKU- Swazi Times-17-Oct-2009

MBABANE : As the mad rush for the most talked about 2010, the people of northern Swaziland do not want to be left out.

In deep rural northern Hhohho in an area known as Mvembili, community members have come together to form Northern Hhohho Conservancy.

The project emphasises the importance of community participation, engagement and ownership.

The ultimate goal of the project is to achieve sustainable human development within that community through establishing natural resources utilisation and management systems that will enhance poverty alleviation efforts, by developing sustainable community-based tourism enterprises that provide massive tourism attractions and opportunities for private sector investment.

In an interview with Swazi News on Tuesday this week, chairperson of the project steering committee Sheila Sibindzi said the project was to put the place on the map. “We used to hear our elders telling us about this Mantjinga Waterfall and it was regarded as one of the longest running waterfalls in the country. This waterfall was very symbolic in that whenever something good or bad was to befall the area or country, it would give a thundering sound. Before the passing away of King Sobhuza 11 in 1982, the waterfall allegedly gave a thundering sound.

This lasted for days before he died, such that the elders of the area went to report their concerns to the local chiefdom. None of them knew that it was signaling the death of King Sobhuza 11,” said Sibindzi.

This project came about after the 2006 Bio-Diversity and it came to light that Mvembili was one of the protected areas. She believes that once the projects were up and running, they would create a lot of opportunities for the people of the area, they would be able to sell their wares.

Sheila said they have made it quite clear that food to be sold at the place would have to come from the area because they have almost everything.

“We have the Chinese Mission which will give us rice, chicken, beef and other foodstuffs must come from our own people. We have already started identifying people to embark on projects like raising road-runners,” she added.

She said as you climb the Mcwayiba Mountain you are met by a traditional house made out of stones. Local story tellers alleged that the house was used as a hideout by British soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War in 1901. The British soldiers would climb on top of that house to guard against the Boers who were hot on the heels of the British.

Sheila said one was at the top of the mountain it gives a nice aerial view of places as far as Nelspruit, Komatipoort and other parts of South Africa and Swaziland.

“With this project we want to use it as walking trails then have these chalets where the tourists would put up for the night before they can decide to visit other areas of tourist attraction the next day,” she added. Just next to the Mcwayiba there is Mambhiteni Waterfall and this waterfall empties its water into a clay-pot-like containers.

The chalets would be run by locals and income raised from there would go into a fund to be administered by the community. Phase one of the project would be the botanical garden meant at preserving endangered species for future generations and also get plants from other parts of the country. She said as you move further down towards the Matsamo Border Post, there is a well whose water gives white bubbles and it smells like a fresh egg.

“At the centre we also want to have a cultural village so that we can keep our guests entertained. Local people were already gearing themselves up for the opening of the centre which is expected to change our fortunes,” added Sibindzi.

Last Friday a community meeting was held where the chairman of the Land Management Board (LMB) under Prince Hlangabeza did not approve the project. The meeting was to deliberate on what would happen to grazing areas and their livestock.


End of the road for cigarette export dealers

Business Section

Sisho Magagula - Swazi Observer-17-Oct-2009

Government has stopped the storage of imported cigarettes in bonded warehouses, with effect from October 1, 2009.

This effectively means that all persons dealing in the importation and exportation of cigarettes will now have to pay tax.

Section 2 of the Legal Notice No.151 of 2009 reads: “With effect from the 1st day of October 2009, the use of bonded warehousing for the purposes of storing cigarettes imported into Swaziland and intended to be exported from Swaziland shall no longer be permitted.”

Persons who already had cigarettes in bonded warehouses before October are expected to declare such cigarettes to the Commissioner of Customs and Excise.

They will also be required to furnish the Commissioner with information regarding the cigarettes as he may require in order to ascertain the volume and value of cigarettes held in stock. In an interview on Friday, acting Commissioner of Customs and Excise Mlamuli Dlamini confirmed the issuance of the gazette and said its objective is to put the cigarettes business in order.

“Business, any type of business, must be conducted in a fair and legal manner. This is exactly what the gazette seeks to do,” he said.

Asked on cigarettes already detained before the coming into force of this gazette, Dlamini said such cigarettes were “as good as being outside Swaziland”.

“Anything detained is not within the procedures of the Customs Department. It’s as good as being outside Swaziland. Owners of such cigarettes must, if they still want them, pay the required duties and continue with business,” he said.

Section 5 of the gazette says with effect from October 1, 2009, a person who intends to import cigarettes into Swaziland shall pay the full applicable customs dues and sales tax at the point of entry, even if that person intends to export the cigarettes. Anyone who breaches the provisions of the gazette risks the withdrawal of his/her trading licence to trade import or export cigarettes.


Prostitution a morality issue – Dr von Wissell

Main Section

Swazi Observer-Sisho Magagula -17-Oct-2009

The legalisation of sex work, also known as prostitution, has nothing to do with protecting women or their rights.

The legalisation of sex work, also known as prostitution, has nothing to do with protecting women or their rights. Also, gender inequality and gender-based violence are not, in any way, associated with prostitution. This is the view of the director of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA), Dr Derek von Wissell.

He was responding to questions from the Weekend Observer in the wake of Senator Thuli Msane’s call for the legalisation of the sex trade. Dr. von Wissell says instead of diverting efforts to the legalisation of this line of business, energy should be directed at supporting ‘women and their rights within a moral society’ and not only ‘women who are prostitutes’.

“It is short-sighted to think that by legalising prostitution you are protecting women or women’s rights. Gender inequality and gender based violence has nothing to do with prostitution,” says the director. He believes that prostitution is a matter of morality.

“It is accepted that prostitution has always been there but in a Christian context in the bible it has always been condemned. Who are we to now, if we claim to be a Christian country, to go against biblical moral teachings and say prostitution is OK,” he wondered.

Von Wissell says from studies and modelling that has been done, it would appear that prostitution is not a significant player in the spreading of the HIV pandemic in Swaziland. He said evidence shows that condom use with sex workers is high and programmes are in place to maintain this.

“Other forms of ‘transactional’ sex seeking behaviour are more significant as a ‘driver’. This would be sex for food, or material gain, even fashion items or cell phones and airtime or just a dinner out. It is sometimes referred to the as the 3Cs sex for cash, cars and cell phones. This is much more dangerous because it is a relationship which is usually concurrent with another relationship and we know that ‘multiple concurrent partners’ are the ‘primary drivers’ of the HIV epidemic,” he explained. The NERCHA chief says the call for the legalisation of prostitution is a symptom of our times where all values and norms are being secularised under the banner of freedom and rights.

“It is this very decay of values and moral norms that is driving the HIV epidemic in Swaziland. 50 years ago all men were married and children grew up in families with mother and father at home. Today only 23% of men are married and only 22% of children grow up in a two parent home.”


Free entry at WFT games

Sports Section

By Ntuthuko Dlamini - Swazi Observer-17-Oct-2009

SOCCER Local fans will get a rare opportunity to watch womens football at the countrys Mecca, Somhlolo National Stadium, free of charge.

According to a fixture released by the Women’s Football League (WFA) office administrator S’bongile Skaggel yesterday, there would be one game Saturday between Mbekelweni and Interladies at Somhlolo at 3pm.

Sunday, there would be a double header featuring Wanderers Ladies against league pacesetters Imbabatane at 1pm while the second game will involve defending champions Muchachas against Kappa Ladies at 3pm.

“We are inviting all football fans to watch the women’s football games at their best this weekend as we have decided to host them at the national stadium.

“We hope that people will come in numbers as there games will be free of charge at the gates,” she said. She further mentioned that there would only be one game, which will not be played at the stadium. This is the game between Mhlume and Buffaloes, which will take place at Mhlume Stadium on Sunday.

Women’s Football League (WFL):
Suturday Somhlolo National Stadium:
Mbekelweni vs Interladies 3pm
Sunday at Somhlolo National Stadium:
Wanderers vs Imbabatane 1pm
Muchachas vs Kappa 3pm
Mhlume Stadium:
Mhlume vs Buffaloes 10am


Underdogs set to meet sports giants in netball

Sports Section

Swazi Observer-Bodwa Mbingo -17-Oct-2009

NETBALL It will be a case of fresh talent against experience as underdogs are set to meet the sport’s giants on their road to the finals in the National Netball Association of Swaziland (NNAS)

Knockout Tournament scheduled for the OlympAfrica Centre from Saturday morning. Starting time for the games is 10am.

Lowly rated and youthful Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs netball team will meet giants Correctional Services who are the netball league defending champions in the first semi-final of the day.

Giants Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) netball team will go into the second semi-final of the match anticipating an easy match as they face a lowly rated SUFIAW when the clock hits 11:30am. However, NNAS Secretary, Victor ‘Mavikana’ Dlamini on Friday revealed that all the small teams have promised to turn the scales around and defy all odds to qualify for the finals slated for 3pm.

“All is in place for the games tomorrow afternoon and we anticipate as full crowd as top class netball never been witnessed before will be displayed on the day. “We invite all netball fanatics in the country to come and have extreme fun on the day as even families are catered for on the day with a jumping castle available for young children to enjoy themselves on the day,” he said.

The finals will be preceded by the third place play offs at 1:30pm.


Khethiwe is no longer the face of top lotto

Recreation Section

Swazi Observer-Benele Dlamini -17-Oct-2009

It will come as a shock to many as the pretty face of Top Lotto we have so gotten used to seeing will cease to be a PRO at the renowned company due to tertiary calls.

Khethiwe Alexandra’s Top Lotto shares her aspirations, her life and leaving Top Lotto for a while to pursue her studies for her degree in Business Administration.

1. When can we expect to see you again on our local mediums as Top Lottos PRO??I am taking a break for a few months; I’m due to sit for my exams soon so I figured I might need a lot of time to study.
2. What course are you pursuing? BBA
3. During the course of your absentia, do we get introduced to a new face or we wait for the brand’s face???I do not have an idea really but I think that will be up to the company
4. Anything you would like to say to the public on
i) Top Lotto- Top Lotto is a company that has been quite successful in its first year of operating and I am proud to have been part of that success.
ii) Education- Beauty fades, Education doesn’t.
5. While still with Top Lotto were your dreams achieved, how has it changed your life?
I have had the time of my life working there; I learned plenty of lessons that ill carry along with me forever. It has given me the platform to do better things and also achieve bigger dreams.

L&E: Any additions?

Basically I would like the public to know that they won’t be seeing much of me as before. I’ll be leaving to further my studies and career.


Sheriff orders SwaziBank to pay

Main Section

Swazi Observer-Njabulo Dlamini -17-Oct-2009

SwaziBank could lose several assets running into hundreds of thousands of Emalangeni after a deputy sheriff was given power to attach property of the financial institution.

This is in respect of a judgment in favour of an ex-manager, Kenneth Ngcamphalala who won a case of unfair dismissal by the bank at the Industrial Court.

The industrial Court ordered the bank to pay the former manager over E264 000 together with interest at the rate of 9% per annum effective from Mach 2005.

This could effectively see the former bank manager pocketing almost half a million Emalangeni.

On Friday, Hhohho deputy sheriff Themba Dludlu delivered the writ of execution at the bank’s headquarters located at Gwamile Street in Mbabane where he was informed the money was being processed.

On Monday, Dludlu would be following the matter up with the bank to determine whether or not they would have, by then, raised the money required from them.

In the warrant of execution, the deputy sheriff was instructed to attach movable goods belonging to the Swaziland Development and Savings Bank for these to be realised by public auction for the recovery of E264 516.00 together with interest at the rate of 9% per annum calculated from March 17, 2005 in the case between Ngcamphalala and the bank (Case No. 26 of 2003) and also other costs of the Applicant in the above-mentioned case is to be hereafter duly taxed according to the law. Further, the bank was ordered pay to the said Applicant or its attorney the sum or sums due to it.

The writ of execution is dated October 15 2009 and was signed by High Court Deputy Registrar Thandi Maziya.

Dunseith attorneys represent Ngcamphalala in the case. Contacted, the Hhohho Deputy Sheriff said the bank had to honour its obligations as per the court judgement and they were hoping this would be so. No comment could be obtained from the bank as the authority on the issue - MD Stanley Matsebula - was reported to be overseas.


Three attempts, plane fails to land

Main Section

Swazi Times-MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE-18-Oct-2009

MATSAPHA Yesterdays misty and interminably wet weather has been blamed for failure by a Swazi Airlink aircraft to land at the now infamous Matsapha International Airport.

It made three attempts to land in the morning but failed because the pilot could not direct it down to the runway as it was misty.

The aircraft departed Johannesburg at 8am and was to reach Matsapha at 8:45 am. Teddy Mavuso, the General Manager of Airlink-Swaziland said the weather was not good, hence the failure by the aircraft to land.

However, Mavuso said the sky cleared up in the afternoon and the aircraft was able to touch down on Swazi soil and later took off for Johannesburg, South Africa at 2pm. “It was misty even in Johannesburg. Even aircraft fail to land in Johannesburg when the weather is not good. We directed one aircraft to make an alternative landing in Nelspruit because the weather was not good in Johannesburg,” said Mavuso.

The General Manager said the aircraft went back to South Africa after making three attempts to land.

Claimed

Incidentally, this mishap comes a week after a Ghanaian prophet claimed that a plane crash was a possibility at the airport in the next few weeks. Emmanuel Adjenku emailed a message to this newspaper, warning that in December, there was a high likelihood that a plane would crash.

He called on the Swazi nation to pray that this did not happen. It was not immediately possible to establish if the pastor’s past prophecies had come to pass. He has also warned that Gelane Zwane, the Senate President, is in danger as some people are out to harm her.


Local vendors unhappy with Mozambicans

Business Section

Fanyana Mabuza Weekend Observer-18-Oct-2009

Some Swazi second hand clothing vendors have bitterly complained over the unfair competition posed by some Mozambicans, whom they claim evade paying custom tax through a number of ingenious ways.

The Swazi vendors claimed that as a result, their Mozambican counterparts tend to make better profits than them, as they incur less costs, while at the same time taking their profits back home to Mozambique. “This way, they manage to make more money and buy the expensive bales which are guaranteed of containing quality clothing that simply flies off their stalls during makert days,” they said.

They said as locals, they spend a lot of money incurring travelling and customs costs, while some of the Mozambicans only pay the E35 for the stalls only. They emphasised though that it is not all of the Mozambicans but a sizeable number of them.

They stated that it was a bit difficult for the locals to thrive in this business since the foreigners dominated this market.

Dora Nhlengetfwa was less candid about the state of things here, adding that the foreigners were acting like they were a syndicate intending to edge them out of this fast growing and lucrative market.

She mentioned that she had to force her way into the business after she was systematically denied entry while these vendors were still situated at the Bosco Skills centre, before their relocation to the present place.

“Every time I brought my stuff in, they would approach me to declare that they were given the place by the Roman Catholic Church, which was sympathetic to their plight as they were refugees having fled political strife in their respective countries.

“In a sense, they were telling me that the place was reserved for them only, but I shot back telling them that I was also a refugee fleeing economic strife and poverty at my village, so were in the same boat. They eventually relented and soon I was joined by other locals who had been shut out. We eventually swelled our ranks and the council had to move in relocating the market to its present precincts,” she said. She continued that most of the Mozambicans openly boasted that they jumped the border with their bales taunting us that we were afraid of being shot by soldiers along the border line hence we had to pay the customs tax at the border gate. “Indeed, by their hardy nature and their turbulent past, Mozambicans are brave people and they are always willing to take any risk. So they avoid paying tax by jumping the border. In any way, they know the paths that are not regularly checked by the soldiers, and even if they can be apprehended by them, I am sure they use any means necessary to get their way. Either they bribe the soldiers or pay them in ‘kind,’ to get their way.” She said.

Nhlengetfwa stated that this was grossly unfair since the Mozambicans make money in the country and take it back to their own country without leaving anything here. She continued that the government, the council and other stakeholders should look at this issue more deeply since it was allowing foreigners to have an edge over local small businesspeople, and in this way Swazis will never make it or grow into big and successful business people.

“I am not being xenophobic here, but the law must be followed and the playing field levelled. We buy from the same wholesalers in Maputo, paying the same prices, why should they then have an edge by merely being Mozambicans. Council should protect us and demand some sort of clearance before allocating them stands. We need protection from the authorities otherwise the foreigners will shut us out of this business in our own country.


Ambitious target for male circumcision

Main Section

IRIN News-18-Oct-2009

Swaziland's Ministry of Health and Human Services aims to provide circumcision to 80 percent of men aged 15 to 24 in the next five years, in response to the surging number of men requesting the procedure to reduce their risk of HIV.

Circumcision was widely practiced during the 19th century, but it fell out of favour until evidence in the past few years showed that circumcision could reduce a man's risk of contracting HIV by more than half.

Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world - 26 percent of adults are infected according to UNAIDS - but health ministry studies have shown that men still reject condoms and engage in unsafe sexual practices such as having multiple partners.

Health officials are now encouraging the renewed popularity of male circumcision by devoting publicity and resources to making it more easily available. Around 1,000 men have already been circumcised at the Litsemba Letfu (SiSwati for "our hope") Male Clinic in Matsapha, halfway between the capital, Mbabane, and the central commercial hub of Manzini.

The project is funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the first medical facility specifically for men.

"Litsemba Letfu is more than a circumcision clinic; we offer the minimum package of male circumcision services, which includes HIV counselling and testing and the provision of condoms," said Jessica Greene, technical services director of Population Services International (PSI), the non-profit organization that runs the clinic.

"We are in the process of integrating STI [sexually transmitted infections] treatment and have longer-term plans to integrate a broader range of men's reproductive health services." At the official opening of the clinic last week, Health Minister Bennedict Xaba noted the misconception that circumcised cannot become infected with HIV.

"Male circumcision can reduce the risk to men of acquiring HIV from their sexual activity, but they must also know that it is not a magic bullet. Men who are circumcised, and their sexual partners, must continue to take additional HIV prevention measures," he said.

Bongiwe Zwane, a communications officer at PSI Swaziland, cautioned that male circumcision was "a step forward", not a solution, to Swaziland's AIDS epidemic.

"We use the opportunity of men coming to the clinic to open their eyes to other ways they can protect themselves," she said. "It is also new and good that men are talking to other men about this."

The celebrity endorsement of Okwakhe Dlamini, the reigning Mr Swaziland, has also boosted efforts to promote male circumcision. Dlamini agreed to write a weekly diary of his experiences after undergoing the procedure for the Swazi News, a local newspaper, and has done spots for national radio and addressed students at tertiary education institutions.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook with even people I haven't spoken to in ages wanting to find out what it's like," he told IRIN/PlusNews. "My loved ones, my parents, my siblings and my friends have been there every step of the way, encouraging me to share with my peers and other Swazi men. I want men to think about their future."

Dlamini said women should also be informed about the benefits of male circumcision so they could encourage their partners, friends and male relatives to follow suit.


Energy, water, tourism at top of kuwaits agenda in SD

Business Section

Musa Ndlangamandla Swazi Observer-19-Oct-2009

The Swaziland business delegation currently in the State of Kuwait has began negotiations for funding of several capital projects in the country, including roads, hospitals and industrial sites.

The delegation led by His Majesty King Mswati III, who is currently in that country on a four-day State Visit is captained by Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Jabulile Mashwama.

They are optimistic to clinch deals for the Manzini-Lomahasha Highway and the Mbabane Referral Hospital, in talks that are on-going with the Kuwait Fund.

Swazi City is also being pushed in earnest in talks the business delegation is holding mainly with the Kuwait Investment Authority. That organisation has also been asked to finance an International Convention centre under the auspices of the millenium project.

Other projects that are being pushed by the all-inclusive Swazi business delegation include discussions for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce. It is envisaged that such a deal would remove whatever frills and promote effeciencies in investment drives between the two countries.

“We are also involved in talks with some of the investment companies and conglomerates here to fund Strategic Storage Fuel Depot and Oil Refinery at Phuzumoya which would cost about E5.2 billion.

“The talks will also explore funding for the Science and Biotechnology and Research Park and other agro-business concerns,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza.

He added that Kuwait is in a good position to assist Swaziland as it is one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Ginindza said it is a highly industrialised country with a GDP of USDollars 138.6 billion and a per capita income of USDollars 55,300. He added that their GDP growth rate is 5.7 percent. “Their Human Development Index is the second highest in the Middle East and the highest in the Arab world.

“The talks we have held so far indicate that their primary interest is in the energy sector, water projects and tourism, though other sectors such as agriculture have also attracted a lot of interest,” Ginindza said.


Miss Teen Swaziland Ayanda Mhlanga does it again

Recreation Section

Slindelo Nkosi - Swazi Observer-19-Oct-2009

SHE confidently scooped the First Princess position together with the Miss Personality title during the prestigious staging of Miss International Student Organisation (ISO) over the past weekend in South Africa.

Mhlanga’s gruesome experience with the previous staging and eventual crowning of the long-awaited Miss Teen Swaziland in 2008 did not stop her from venturing into new and high-profiled beauty competitions.

The newly crowned Princess affirmed to this notion saying: “I had my fair share of dreadful challenges after joining the Miss Teen Swaziland competition and from that, I made a vow not to take part in any sort of beauty competition.

“However, with persuasion from my fellow country mates to join in the contest, I eventually took my past experience with a stride.”

contestants

The 19-year-old first year Logistics student was joined by two more Swazi representatives, who unfortunately did not make it to the top three list of contestants in Nontobeko Simelane (18), specialising in Human Resources Management and Phiwayinkhosi Sigudla (21) who would be completing her National Diploma in Bio-Technology later this year.

The trio was competing against four other international countries, namely: Angola, Botswana, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Even though Phiwayinkhosi could not make it to the top five list of contestants, Ayanda and Nontobeko were there to further represent the Kingdom through their responses, which they gave during the Question and Answer session.

Firstly, Nontobeko was tasked with defining beauty, which she confidently responded with: “Beauty is an internal feature which comes with a lot of hard work and determination which is then externally exposed to the rest of the world,” followed by Mhlanga, who was asked what her values as a woman were. She replied with a smile, “respect, discipline and hard work are my true values.”

contentment

During an interview after the crowning of the eventual winner of the pageant, Gloria Muambu from Congo, Mhlanga showed contentment with the judge’s final decision stating that it was a fair and final decision that had to be reached by the judges. “I am personally satisfied with the decision and happy that I could proudly represent Swaziland.”

Mhlanga ended by saying she hopes and pray that she does her best in working her way up in placing Swaziland on the appropriate spotlight through the position she has obtained: “I’m hoping to do my best in well-signifying the Kingdom of Swaziland and I am obviously hoping for a better experience this time around.” While on the other end, Sigudla and Simelane were happy and excited enough to have taken the opportunity to raise the Swazi flag high.


SA Hijacked truck recovered at ngwenya

Main Section

Swazi Observer-Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla -19-Oct-2009

A horse and trailer truck that was stolen at gunpoint in South Africa has been recovered by the police in the country.

When the truck was spotted by police just after entering the Ngwenya Border Gate, the driver, who is suspected to have played a hand in stealing it, managed to run away.

He took to his heels whilst the truck was searched for border formalities at Oshoek.

He had already passed through the SA side. The truck was stolen on Wednesday at Ermelo.

A border officer stated that it was around 10pm when the truck arrived at the border on Thursday, which is usually the busy hour.

“I guess he thought that he would not be noticed at around this time.”

Police Assistant Public Relations Officer Inspector Stephen Dlamini confirmed the incident. He said the truck was in the custody of the police pending investigations.


Drama as cheated wife pulls gun on waitress

Main Section

NATHI GULE- Times of Swaziland-19-Oct-2009

MBABANE : There was drama when a married woman drew a gun on a waitress in one of the popular restaurants in Manzini after uncovering a love triangle involving her hubby.

The woman is married to a police officer and had earlier accused him of dating the waitress. The matter has been reported to the police and the identity of the players in this love web are all known to the Times but will not be disclosed for now as investigations continue.

The incident took place at about 4pm according to an eyewitness who said three other customers were stunned by the confrontation.

When the waitress was called, she confirmed the nasty confrontation and said she first received smses from the angry wife on Saturday threatening her.

“The man then called me and said she would be coming with his wife to prove to her that we are not going out and I had no problem with that. However, once they were in the restaurant the woman started calling me names and said we were making a fool out of her before drawing out a gun and threatened to kill me.

I then ran out of the building while the man grabbed the gun from his angry wife,” she said.

She said moments later she received another sms informing her that the woman would be returning to finish off what she had started.

“I am not scared because I have nothing to hide, he is not my lover,” she said. At the time of compiling this report the young lady said she was waiting for the police to take her statements, a wait that had been for two hours since calling 999.


Hunting banned at Mbilaneni hills

Main Section

Swazi Observer-Starsky Mkhonta -19-Oct-2009

MBILANENI Chiefdom has banned hunting within the sacred Mbilaneni Mountains, which is the final resting place for kings.

The ban comes after several instances where hunters were found with packs of dogs within the mountain. Traditional authorities of the area have further threatened to arrest hunters found going about their illegal business in the area.

Mbilaneni Umphakatsi Indvuna Thami Thikazi said they have put in place strategies aimed at apprehending the hunters, saying soldiers were also on the lookout.

“Not only is hunting prohibited in that area, no one is allowed to come anywhere closer. That there are now people who go there to hunt is something we are not going to tolerate. We will shoot down the dogs and if any straying bullet hits the owner, we need not to be blamed. We believe that no one is unaware that Mbilaneni is a respected place, where no stranger should be seen loitering,” said Thikazi. He said taking pictures near the respected royal caves was also barred. The Indvuna said the Mbilaneni Umphakatsi authorities were also shocked to learn that there were people who invade the mountains.

“We have also urged the community police to help in identifying the culprits.” He also warned farmers to ensure that cattle do not stray into the sacred mountains


Priest identified as fake marriage man

Main Section

Welcome Dlamini- Times of Swaziland-19-Oct-2009

MBABANE :The man who has been arrested for allegedly falsifying a marriage certificate is well known Zionist priest and gospel artist Reverend John Sibandze

Sibandze is the leader of gospel group, Umkhumbi Wamaphiko, which is famous for its hit ‘Khanya Jerusalema’. Sibandze is alleged to have contravened section 33 (e) of the Birth, Marriage and Death Registration Act of 1983 in that, while at the High Court in Mbabane he allegedly issued a false Swazi customary marriage certificate with registration number 39/5 to the master’s office.

It is alleged that Sibandze did this for the purposes of opening an estate file for the late Elizabeth Tozi Shongwe, who was employed by the Ministry of Health.

The Times of Swaziland can reveal that this is not the first time Rev Sibandze is involved in controversy over a woman as four years ago, the priest was engaged in a bitter dispute with his in-laws over the burial of his wife identified as Betty Sibandze (nee Dludlu).

The Reverend was accused by his in-laws of forcefully taking the body of Betty whom he had deserted for almost four years. Sibandze had married Betty through Swazi law and custom. When he allegedly deserted her, the gospel artist reportedly went on to marry another woman through civil rites marriage and this infuriated his in-laws who believed he no longer loved their daughter.

As is the case with the present court matter, Betty’s family claimed that Sibandze wanted to benefit from Betty’s estate by accessing her death benefit scheme for which he was the only benefactor.

“All we wanted from this pretender was our sister’s body which we wanted to give a respectable burial. We do not need his money. Our problem is that Sibandze showed that he no longer cared about the deceased,” Betty’s sister, Lindiwe Hlatshwayo (nee Dludlu), told the Times Sunday four years ago.

Lindiwe alleged that Sibandze had not visited Betty for the four years she was suffering from tuberculosis. The family eventually left Sibandze to bury Betty after it was felt that she had suffered enough, otherwise they had wanted to engage a lawyer who would have made a court application stopping the Reverend from taking the deceased’s body from Dup’s Funeral Undertakers, where it was kept.


TV mans bed, flat items destroyed by angry lover

Main Section

LINDA JELE- Times of Swaziland-19-Oct-2009

MANZINI : A Channel Swazi news reporter had his property destroyed by his girlfriend after she suspected he may be cheating on her.

Their names would not be revealed as the matter has not yet been reported to the police but both confirmed the incident that shocked neighbours.

*Sibongile Langa left a mess in her boyfriend of three years’ flat, after getting rumours that he was seeing another woman. She cut cables from all electronic appliances in the flat and opened a huge hole in his double bed.

She also poured water on the bed and mixed cooking oil with mealie meal in a fit of anger. Langa is a granddaughter to one of the prominent figures in the royal family.

When the times team arrived at the flat, the reporter’s brother was found trying to sort the mess that had been left by his brother’s girlfriend.

He told this publication that she had been taken by Fairview North Police officers. She had left her bags packed and was ready to go home saying their relationship had come to an end. She also mentioned that she was told by a friend that her boyfriend would come with different girls to their flat.

“I do not want anything to do with him, as he has made a fool of me for a long time. I have sacrificed a lot for this relationship, only to be let down by him,” she said. Langa also mentioned that she continued with the relationship with the reporter against the will of her parents. She also mentioned that she destroyed his property on revenge against the many relationships he had.

“I have been patient for a long time, but it seems he is not willing to change. At least now it is 50/50 because he hurt me for a long time and I have destroyed his property,” she said.

In an interview, the reporter denied that he was involved in a relationship with another woman. He said the mother of his child acted on rumours. He also mentioned that she was feeling insecure, such that she scrolled his phone and called sources’ numbers stored in his phone.

“I have never come with a female friend into the flat and I do not know where she got such information. She is just insecure. She would sometimes record the dialled or received numbers and would insult them. Some of them are my sources,” he said. He mentioned that he was still shocked to decide whether he would press charges against her or not.


MARIO WINS E1m LAND SALE

Business Section

Faith Vilakati- Swazi Observer-19-Oct-2009

The sale of a property belonging to PUDEMO President Mario Masuku and a relative has again caused a lot of controversy.

The matter was in court where it was withdrawn on the understanding that the Masukus will sort it out but that has not happened.

The property in question is at Lwandle in Manzini and was last Thursday sold to Siteki tycoon Moses Motsa for E1.020 million. Mario is one of the directors of the land. Bani Masuku, who was fighting Mario over the sale of the property, has confirmed that he is having serious talks with his lawyer with the intention of going to court to nullify the sale.

Bani’s outbursts prompted auctioneer and businessman Walter Bennett to laugh off such threats.

Bennett claimed Bani does not know what he is doing. Mario’s lawyer Mandla Mkhwanazi said Bani should not despair as not all the portion of land was sold and that this remaining portion will be owned by him. However, Bani tells a different story, saying the whole property he wanted to use for farming has been sold.

Bani said he was not at home when the land was sold last Thursday “When I got home, I almost collapsed when I saw cars parked in front of my house. I questioned the owners and it was then that I was told that they were subdividing the land and about three people had come to bid for it. I tried to stop them from doing so but Bennett continued with the bid and the land was eventually bought by Moses Motsa,” he said.

He also said he tried to explain that the land that was for sale belonged to him but no one cared to listen Instead, police were called but arrived after the bidding was already over. Bani said all that Bennett told him was that he had been sent by lawyer Mandla Mkhwanazi to do the work and had no time to entertain him.

“I then called my lawyer who said he was not aware that the land was auctioned. I had planned to do commercial farming on the land,” he said. Motsa confirmed purchasing the land but said he was not aware of the controversy that surrounded it. "Yes, I bought the land at E1.020 million. I am not aware that there were people who were against the selling of the land, but heard people talking about it,” he said.


Electricity tariffs expected to hike despite fall in inflation

Business Section

Teetee Zwane - Swazi Observer-19-Oct-2009

DESPITE inflation falling to 5.11%, electricity tariffs are still expected to hike further. This follows South African power utility Eskom's proposed 45% tariff increase every year for the next three years

Reports said there were other options, but Eskom recommended this one be considered as it “mitigates the impact of price increases on customers and the economy and provides for a sustainable long-term solution.” Also, it was stated that the parastatal said government had endorsed this approach which was based on the smoothing of price increases.

Swaziland imports the bulk of its power from Eskom and a tariff hike would mean increases in local tariffs as well.

“An increase in power tariffs would mean the cost of producing goods and services would increase and this would inevitably be transferred to consumers, ultimately pushing the general level of prices upwards,” said a local economist.

“This would affect virtually all sectors of the economy and is expected to translate to an increase in the inflation rate, which means interest rate cuts may be put on hold and the cycle of monetary easing might be over.”

He said further electricity price hikes would not only affect consumers but also big companies, especially those in production. “An electricity price hike, given that it affects all productive sectors, would be transmitted into the price mechanism fuelling inflation, which is bound to cause stress on the poor and vulnerable segments of society.”

Meanwhile, even though analysts in SA say the increase would inflict further damage on manufacturing capacity in that country, which would subsequently lead to more job losses, they also say it’s a ‘necessary evil.’ This is despite that the South African government vetoed a 31.3% electricity price hike not so long ago, much to the chagrin of various sectors of society in that country.

However, Swaziland’s reliance on SA for its energy supply may soon come to end as government has given the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) the go ahead to establish a 300-megawatt thermal power plant to meet the country’s demand, which currently stands at approximately 200 megawatts.


JL Investments pumps E10 000 into netball league

Sports Section

Bodwa Mbingo - Swazi Observer-19-Oct-2009

NETBALL : THE National Netball League has been sponsored to the tune of E10 000 by JL Investments.

The company, which deals in refrigerators and air conditioners, is based in Matsapha. The league was last year sponsored by ACS Properties to the same amount.

JL Investments’ James Machel on Saturday revealed the sponsorship package and hoped that their new relationship with the National Netball Association of Swaziland (NNAS) will last for long spells.

He mentioned that they are very proud to be associated with netball in the country and also stated that they are keen to see the sport develop in the country. NNAS’ Secretary Victor ‘Mavikana’ Dlamini thanked the company for the sponsorship and urged teams to prepare extensively for the tournament, which will commence very soon. He mentioned that netball is fast improving in the country and stated that it is because of companies such as JL Investments that they will forever be thankful to for their support.

“We’re very grateful to make a new relationship with this company where it concerns the league. Netball is improving quite a lot in the country and such has been demonstrated by the national squad’s performance in the recent Confederation of Southern African Netball Association (COSANA) Championships that was held in Durban, South Africa where the country got the fourth position. The league will commence very soon and I urge teams to prepare for the tournament to make it interesting,” he said.


Widow (55) HIV + and still fighting on

Main Section

Swazi Times-19-Oct-2009

MBABANE- A 55-year-old HIV positive widow of Phobane area near Sigwe in the Shiselweni region opts to look beyond her current status.

She strives to build a better life for her children. Being HIV positive has not robbed her of her zeal for life and her dream of attaining a better future. Diagnosed after falling ill in 2007, * Ruth Myengwa, is dependant on food assistance for her nutrition and survival.

Her husband passed away in 2000 after succumbing to AIDS related sicknesses, leaving her to care for two children, aged nine and 18 years old and a grandchild who is four.

Support

She is a beneficiary of food assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) since 2008, under the Support to Households affected by HIV and AIDS (STH) programme, where household members of a breadwinner who is chronically ill receive food assistance. WFP provides this assistance at community level to households that have no means of self-support.

comprising

WFP provides a household with a monthly food basket comprising of cereals, pulses and vegetable oil for up to six members for a maximum period of 12 months.

The STH programme aims to assist government improve food security, livelihoods and productive capacity of the most vulnerable households impacted by HIV and AIDS and natural disaster. The food support complements government’s roll-out of ARVs for People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV). At community level, food support complements livelihood activities implemented by WFP cooperating partners including provision of agricultural inputs and training in improved farming practices, nutrition and HIV and AIDS education and training of community support groups in various skills.

Since Mrs. Myengwa does not have a regular income, the family depends on food aid and handouts from neighbours. Before and shortly after her husband’s death they were successful cotton growers.

However, looking at the home now, the only sign that the family was successful in its cotton farming is an old rusty tractor and dilapidated van parked in the yard.

It was after Mrs. Myengwa fell ill in 2007 and following consecutive years of poor rainfall that the family stopped cultivating their fields. The last time they ploughed the family fields, the Myengwas produced about 300 kilograms of cotton, which at the time they sold for E2.20 (US$0.26) per kilo.

failure

The Shiselweni region has been experiencing erratic rainfall for the past seven years, which has led to serious crop failure and increasing food insecurity among many households in the region.

Even though the family had tried to save their earnings, they had no choice but to use the savings in order to get treatment for both parents.

“We now rely on food from WFP and when the food runs out after three weeks, our neighbours chip in. The food I receive from WFP helps me to take my medication everyday,” she said. The family receives 54 kilograms of cereals, 10 kilograms of pulses and 3.3 litres of vegetable oil every month.

* Not real name.


Zionist shoots lover, himself dead

Main Section

By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI AND JOSEPH - SWAZI TIMES-20-Oct-2009

TIKHUBA – A teenager watched in horror as an enraged member of the Red Gown church (umJericho) shot and killed his live-in lover, before turning the gun on himself on Sunday.

The spine-chilling incident occurred at an area called Tidvumane, which is approximately 30 kilometres south east of Siteki town. Xolile Mlaba (20) and Bonginkosi Ntshangase (26) who left behind two sons aged three and two years, are said to have engaged in a fierce fist fight before the latter ended their lives. Residents said the woman’s insecurities began earlier after her lover received an sms, which was one of the causes of their fight.

Xolile is said to have demanded to see the message and Bonginkosi refused. The argument intensified after a female resident greeted Bonginkosi. This saw Xolile packing her bags and leaving for her parental home but he grabbed a gun and shot her dead.

The police are said to have taken the cell phone but no message was retrieved from it and it is believed that it may have been deleted during the fight. According to Apollo Fakudze, an eye witness, as they were fighting over the SMS Bonginkosi greeted a woman who was passing by, something that irked Xolile even more. “She accused her boyfriend of having an affair with the woman. She claimed that the two used sign language when they conversed, making a fool of her,” he explained.

After this argument, Fakudze said a fist-fight ensued, which saw Xolile packing her belongings. Seeing that she was about to leave him, Bonginkosi is said to have picked up a 12 bore shotgun (luhlwayi) which he had borrowed from a friend and pursued her. Fakudze said he ran after Mhlaba to warn her that Bonginkosi was coming after her with a gun. “He found us talking and grabbed her left arm, saying she should go back to their house, but she refused. He then cocked the gun. I tried to grab the gun from him, but failed.

“Bonginkosi shot her on the head. In my confused state I ran and hid behind a shrub. He walked away and then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself on the head,” Fakudze said. He said an alarm was raised, and immediately the scene was littered with people including those from Tikhuba umphakatsi, and members of community police.

The 19 year-old Fakudze and other relatives led reporters to the scene, which is a stone throw away from the pitch where Bonginkosi used to flex his muscles. Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the reports and said police were still investigating.

...borrowed gun owner arrested

TIKHUBA The gun which ended the couple’s lives had been borrowed from a resident Apollo Fakudze, which he used for hunting.

Fakudze, who was also an eyewitness to the murder, was later arrested by the police for removing his gun from the scene of crime. Fakudze appeared before Magistrate Donald Mavuso.

Although he pleaded guilty, it did not seem that he understood what his charges were. He instead explained the shooting which made Mavuso wonder whether the information was not on the charge sheet. “I will have to change your plea to not guilty,” said Mavuso. He was told to appear before court on November 6, to be remanded for trial which was set for November 18.

Fakudze was released on E500 bail, which he paid. During a visit to the deceased, Bonkhosi Ntshangase’s homestead his grandmother Dzeliwe Fakudze was so emotional she cried uncontrollably and no comment was obtained from her.


Resident shoots escaped lion

Main Section

By MBONGENI NDLELA - SWAZI TIMES-20-Oct-2009

HHELEHHELE – An escaped lion yesterday threw residents into a state of panic when it emerged within their homesteads.

One resident was brave enough to grab a gun and shot at it. The lion is believed to have been injured by the shots fired from the 12 bore shot gun as it could not escape thereafter and its movements were monitored by the residents, with the hope of capturing it.

It is suspected that it had escaped from South Africa but it could not be established if it was among the six lions reported to have escaped from the same country last month. The six lions and two elephants had been spotted in the Southern part of the country.

The residents, who were later joined by the police, held the lion ‘hostage’ until 8pm. This after having spotted it at Mganda at about 9am. Mganda is situated in the northern Hhohho region across the Mlumati River, near Hhelehhele. According to Madukuza Shongwe one of the residents shot at the lion with a 12 bore shotgun in an attempt to scare it since there was livestock in the area.

“An alarm was also raised and we followed it to a nearby bush where it sat. We used 14 dogs to track it,” he said. He described the lion as being big. “It appeared as if it had recently made a kill as its stomach was swollen. It also had no interest in attacking as it just sat there,” added Shongwe.

Though armed police went to the scene and further spotted the lion, they did not have permission to kill the lion. They monitored its movement for the better part of the day, waiting for rangers to capture the animal. The injured lion would at some point roar signalling its intension to leave the place but barking dogs prevented it from running towards the residents.

The residents and the police had maintained a 200-metre distance from the ‘king of the jungle’. It was gathered that rangers from Hlane Game Reserve were called late to the scene but when they arrived it was already dark. They promised to return this morning.

Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed that the lion had not been captured. “Residents in Hhelehhele should be very careful when walking around as the animal might strike. Rangers from Hlane will tomorrow morning track down the animal so that it can be recaptured into its sanctuary,” said the police mouthpiece. Meanwhile, one of the dogs reportedly guarding the lion has been reported to have been attacked.


‘Man’s hand chopped off for urinating in car’

Main Section

By SABELO MAZIBUKO - SWAZI TIMES-20-Oct-2009

MBABANE – A man’s left hand was cut-off with a bush knife after a nasty fight ensued outside Lucky’s Bar over the weekend.

It could not be ascertained as to what sparked the fight as the accused was not questioned much when he appeared before court. However, sources close to the matter, alleged that the complainant urinated on a car belonging to the accused while it was parked. The source said the accused was irked by the complainant’s character and he produced a bush knife and cut-off his hand.

Senzo Dlamini (22) of Sibuyeni is alleged to have, while at Lucky’s Bar in Mbabane, assaulted Bongani Maseko by cutting-off his left hand with a bush knife last Saturday. It is alleged that Dlamini intended to cause Maseko serious and near fatal injuries and thus he was charged for attempted murder.

Dlamini appeared before Senior Magistrate Henry Khumalo, who applied that he be remanded to custody pending his committal to the High Court. “You are to be remanded to custody until next week Monday pending your committal to the High Court and if you desire to apply for bail, you will move your application before the High Court,” added the Prosecutor Stanley Dlamini.

The matter attracted a number of people who had came to witness what really happened, however, the crown applied that Dlamini be remanded back into custody.


Cattle rustlers using new methods?

Main Section

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

MBABANE – Cattle rustlers are allegedly using sophisticated ways in their illicit business, according to Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini

Cattle rustling has been one of the major problems faced by many cattle owners, especially those residing along the country’s borders. Dlamini said the ministry had been made aware that cattle rustlers now allegedly use duplicated livestock removal permits.

“We recently opened a dip tank at Qomintaba and the Station Commander at Qomintaba Police Station complained bitterly about cattle rustling at Shiselweni. This habit should stop because you know very well that this is done by several people in our communities. The rustlers cannot be successful without your assistance. I have been told that the cattle rustlers have now started using the duplicates of the livestock removal permits in their illicit business and for that, I have warned my officers to make it a point that the livestock removal permits are not easy to forge,” Dlamini said.

He went on to appeal to community police to be vigilant in their work in order to protect livestock from being stolen. “Make sure you patrol during the night because the thieves slaughter the beasts during that time of the day. If you catch them, make sure they are arrested and arrest them even if they are your relatives,” he said. He also urged all community members to report any suspected people, adding that if the suspects are found guilty, this could have serious repercussions.

Dlamini also said the ministry had achieved a huge milestone through the fodder conservation initiative. “I am glad to report that a stock farmer at Matsanjeni has started doing the fodder conservation initiative and that this is milestone achievement for the ministry because we always teach farmers to practise what we preach if they hope to see an improvement in livestock production,” he said.


Yes, pastors consult me - Nhlavana

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-20-Oct-2009

NHLAVANA Maseko, President of the Traditional Healers Association, says some pastors have come to him to ask for muti to deliver powerful sermons and to swell memberships.

He said this in an attempt to clear the air following widespread allegations that men of the cloth go as far as Mozambique to get such portion.

Maseko said these pastors heal and help people using unholy spirits. The healer said these pastors should come in the open and admit that they consult traditional healers. He said if pastors could stop consulting traditional healers, most churches would be empty.

Maseko said some of the church leaders had christened themselves with titles such as Reverends and Bishops, yet they consult traditional healers and have muti bags (tikhwama). He said they take the tikhwama and use them for praying. This enables them to perform magic.

“The only thing the pastors do wrong is that they preach against the same thing that helps them,” said Maseko. He said it was not a shame to consult traditional healers. They should come so they can get help. “We come across some pastors who came from far away places such as Nigeria where they travel to get the magic portions.”

Bishop Dr. Nash Shongwe of Devine Healing said only God had the power to judge. “I cannot deny or agree to this as each person can do whatever he feels is right for him or her said Dr Shongwe.


Govt monitoring sappi situation closely

Main Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-20-Oct-2009

EMPLOYEES of troubled Sappi Usutu can breathe a sigh of relief as government is closely monitoring developments at the company which is the largest pulp producer in the country.

Sappi suffered severely from the world economic crisis, which nearly led to its closure sometime last year. Recently, government dispatched a Cabinet team led by Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Jabulile Mashwama and Minister of Labour and Social Security Magobetane Mamba to investigate the problems engulfing the company.

In an interview yesterday, Mamba said during their mission they found that the management at SAPPI was currently discussing possible ways through which the company could come out of the situation. He said they admonished them not to take any decision without informing government.

“We understood and appreciated the fact that they were still engaged on the issue and as a result we thought it would be best to give them the chance to exhaust their channels before we intervene. “We are expecting them to come back to us as soon as they are done with deliberations,” said Mamba.

relief

This should come as a huge relief to the company’s employees, who were not at ease due to the possibility of losing their jobs in case a new investor takes over the company. Mamba said as government they had a huge interest in the operations of Sappi, be it in relation to closure or the welfare of its employees.

Sappi is a privately owned company that employs hundreds of Swazis. Its closure would be a devastating blow to the country’s economy as a lot of people would lose their jobs. “It would be premature for me to state exactly what government will do because talks are ongoing. As I said, we expect the company to inform us on decisions arrived at once they are done with their talks,” added Mamba.

Last week, Sappi General Manager Shane Perrow said talks aimed at ensuring a sustainable future for the company were in progress. He added that it would be premature for anyone to speculate on issues of retrenchments


DEMOCRACY’S LIKE A BABY - KING

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-20-Oct-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has likened the notion of democracy to a ‘baby’ whose nature and upbringing is developed and moulded by each nation according to its unique circumstances and interests.

The King described Swaziland’s form of democracy as people driven in that the people themselves are consulted through various national structures on all important matters.

“As a peace loving nation, the Kingdom of Swaziland strongly subscribes to the principle of national consultations and dialogue as a way of dealing wityh all issues of national interest. Since time immemorial, from the leadership of yester year, people either come in their numbers and from all walks of life to be where the King is if there are national issues to be discussed on the direction that the country is to take. The King also sets up commissions from time to time to go out to the people in all corners of the country to find out their views on the direction the country is to take,” he said.

The King said even in this day and age, the country has held several dialogues which they have found to be an effective tool to address national challenges. “As a result of such consultations and dialogue, the Kingdom of Swaziland has maintained peace and stability,” the King said. His Majesty was speaking when responding to questions during an interview with a Kuwaiti television station ‘Al-Watan TV’.

The King said each country decides its form of democracy, adding that what works in one country may not necessarily work in the same way in another. “Like a baby, it all depends on how you groom that child. It is a process and it should be moulded to suit the needs of that country,” he said.

His Majesty explained that such consultations and national dialogue sessions do not necessarily confine to political issues, but encompass all aspects of national life - be it the economy, health, social matters or investment. In another matter, His Majesty was asked to shed light on matters of media freedom and the work of journalists in Swaziland.

The King said what is always emphasised in the country is that journalists should at all times strive to uphold the highest professional standards, balance and cross check their information be sensitive to the rights of the people about whom they publish news and also put the overall interest of the country first.

“These, we believe are the cardinal pillars of journalism all over the world. There are international standards that all journalists must follow which call for responsibility and the understanding that all rights are accompanied by responsibilities. Other than the international standards there are also rules and regulations that govern the work of journalists in general in that country,” he said.

Meanwhile, His Majesty said the Kingdom of Swaziland was grateful for the strengthening of relations with the State of Kuwait, adding that it has transcended to the level where it has benefitted the people at grassroots level through assistance in capital projects and other technical areas. He said the Kuwait was the first State he visited in the Gulf region, saying the leadership has always been ready to assist the country establish relations with others in the region.


SD major contributors to tourism growth in africa

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-20-Oct-2009

SWAZILAND has been noted as one of the countries that have contributed to tourism growth in Africa.

A statement released by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said while tourism in the rest of the world took a heavy knock from the global economic recession and threats of the N1H1 influenza, tourism in Africa grew by 4% in the first seven months of 2009.

The organisation said the positive results in Africa reflected the strength of North African destinations around the Mediterranean and the positive results of destinations such as Kenya, South Africa and Swaziland. It also said with the exception of Africa, all regions recorded a decrease in arrivals during this period.

Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze expressed happiness and gratitude that the global community recognised Swaziland’s contribution to tourism in Africa. He said even the smallest mention of the Kingdom’s role in the continent’s tourism growth meant a lot to the country as it put it on the global map.

“This achievement is through joint efforts. I thank His Majesty for his wisdom, through which our marketing of the country has been made very easy as our most important selling point is our culture, especially the reed dance which has put us on the global background,” he said.

Sibandze also expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini for his support of the tourism sector. He also attributed the success of the country’s tourism sector to Cabinet, parliament portfolio committees, the nation and media. “The ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign has also played an important role in putting us on the global arena as it was strategically launched to the eyes of the world in South Africa, and at a time when everyone is talking 2010,” added the minister.

He said the BBC (Bush, Beach, Culture) concept - which encompasses South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province, Mozambique and Swaziland - also plays a crucial role in marketing the country to the world.

“When Mpumalanga markets itself it also advertises Swaziland and Mozambique while we also do the same to promote the concept where we want tourists going to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to also visit Swaziland to experience its culture and Mozambique for its beaches while also enjoying the nature reserves of Mpumalanga ,” he said. “All these things together have contributed immensely to tourism growth in the region. Mine would be to express gratitude to all stakeholders for the success of the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign.”

Sibandze said other strategies that had been used to promote the country include his being able to get into the system, having successfully established a rapport with other regional tourism ministers, some of whom have been in office for a considerable length of time and have therefore been able to advise him on matters regarding tourism.

He said through these relationships he had been able to get his regional colleagues to mention Swaziland whenever possible, like during tourism related events held around the continent. “Our challenge now is to vigorously market the country because what we’ve been doing all along was mostly on the lines of public relations and communications. We need to put Swaziland in the global community’s face even more,” added the minister.


Zionist hacks, kills four children

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By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI AND JOSEPH Z - SWAZI TIMES-21-Oct-2009

BIG BEND – Four women are mourning the loss of their children after they were hacked to death by a man they had lived with in the neighbourhood for years.

The children were aged three, four, five and six years respectively. What makes it worse is that nobody knows what really caused Dumsani Mkhonta, a Zionist, to go on a murderous rage and hack seven people, including the children, with a machete that evening.

The man employed as a woodcutter was later apprehended by the police, after teargas canisters were fired into the house where his own son, aged four lay dead. Mkhonta is alleged to have first kicked the boy while chasing his wife Bethusile, who had their 18-month old baby on her back and later returned and hacked him to death. In his attempt to hack his wife, Mkhonta hacked the baby twice on the head and shoulder.

The baby sustained a deep cut across the face and Bethusile said she only discovered that he was still alive when they reached hospital. The incident happened on Monday night at about 8pm at KaGoboyane, Big Bend. Bethusile said she was still baffled on what had triggered the murderous rage in her husband. Things that came to mind was how she stopped him from singing and praying while they were aboard a kombi from hospital, at Good Shepherd. “He was diagnosed with TB and was advised to start treatment. In the kombi he wanted to sing but I said he would embarrass me so he should not. He then said he wanted to pray and again I stopped him from doing so,” said Bethusile, adding that by then he was acting strangely but she thought nothing of it at the time.

“When we got home he played with the younger of the children but in a violent manner. Before we went to bed, I saw him place his hand on the machete. I tried talking to him but he slapped me across the face.” Mkhonta is said to have then reached for the machete. Bethusile narrated how she escaped, leaving her four year old son. Mkhonta kicked the boy hard a few times before chasing after her, she said. “There was nothing I could do.”

She ran to her landlady’s house for refuge but only brought them trouble. Here he hacked everybody he came across while searching for his wife. Hlengiwe Simelane, said they heard Bethusile screaming for help while asking that they open the door as her husband wanted to kill her.

“She got inside and we locked the door, while also screaming for help. He kept hacking the door in a bid to get in while calling me all sorts of names,” said Simelane. By then Bethusile had made good her escape through a back window. This did not stop Mkhonta from hacking Simelane on the neck and proceeding to hack her daughter, Lomathemba (Form Four Ponjwane High School pupil) and three other children. Some of the children were already asleep.

“I crawled out the house screaming for help but he just hacked them, one after the other. I could hear them screaming for help but there was nothing I could do,” Simelane said. He then left the house in pursuit of Bethusile who had jumped over a fence, to their neighbour’s place where she again sort refuge.

Mkhonta was unsuccessful in his attempt to break into this house and in frustration damaged the car which was parked outside. This was before returning to his house where he killed his boy. From where Bethusile had sort refuge, she managed to call the police.

...Community was crime free

BIG BEND – The small community of Goboyane is shocked at the brutal killing incident by one of their own.

Some community members, mostly women who were found along the way to mourn at the Simelane homestead, wondered what might have trigged Dumsani Mkhonta to kill innocent souls.

Demonstrating their shock, some of the women would occasionally clap their hands saying, “Hawu angikwati lokunje.” They pointed out that this was the first of its kind in the area, saying the only crime they heard of was house-breaking, which was also not rife. “This is a very quiet and safe community. What happened here is frightening,” one woman said.

A mother to one of the children killed, Khaya Simelane described Dumsani as an introvert (someone who tends to concentrate on his own thoughts and feelings, according to Macmillan English Dictionary). Simelane had never raised a finger on his wife before, making it difficult to understand what made him to kill.

Alleged killers are Pharisees - Hunter

MANZINI – Following gruesome murders by some members of the Zion Church, the perpetrators have been described as Pharisees.

Chairman of the Southern Africa Zion Church, Hunter Shongwe said these people have painted a bad picture of the church. “This will make the church look like a church of Pharisees. They pretend to be Christians but in actual fact are Pharisees,” he said.

Shongwe quoted a scripture from the Bible that Christians should put their candles on top of the table not underneath, but these people opted otherwise. He explained that Christians should be exemplary by shining bright, similar to the candle which was on top of the table.

About the spine-chilling incidents, Shongwe briefly said these were signs that people should repent, and be baptised because the Son of Man was returning to fetch His people. On Sunday, a member of the Red Gown church shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself.


Swine flu threatens schools’ final exams

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By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-21-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Ministry of Health officials and school principals yesterday raised serious concerns at the threat posed by the A H1N1 influenza to pupils as they sit for their final examinations.

Making matters worse was that both parties failed to come up with clear answers on what should be done to an infected pupil who cannot afford to miss an exam paper. The Health ministry officials could only advise the close to 200 principals to adhere to the precautions that they (principals) were taught about yesterday during an open seminar for Hhohho teachers on the A H1N1 influenza (swine flu) held at St Mark’s High school.

Some principals called upon the Ministry of Health to avail face masks that would be distributed among pupils who exhibited signs of the influenza, as well as those around them. However, the health officials, who were mostly from the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) team, said there was no budget for the purchase of the masks, hence alternative measures, like pupils covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, had to be undertaken. Head of the EPR Masitsela Mhlanga was first to raise the issue of a need to find ways to handle the risk of the influenza’s spread during the final examinations.

Currently, pupils who are sitting for their final examinations are those in Forms Five and Three. “It is now time for writing final examinations and we’ve to discuss issues of how an infected pupil would be able to write a paper without posing a danger to the others. We’ve to look at useful methods to be applied,” said Mhlanga, who went on to inform the principals that officials from the Schools Health department would pay regular visits to schools to help where necessary.

Michael Zwane, Herman Gmeiner primary school principal, said provision of the masks would ease the burden on teachers as they would not run helter-skelter if they saw a suspected case. “We would simply give that child the mask,” Zwane said. Being in a crowded place, as is the case during exams, for too long with an infected person increases the chances of one contracting the influenza.

Principals said it would have been better had the Ministry of Health also invited officials from the Exams Council, who would have provided their views on how the matter of infected candidates could best be handled. The health officials shared similar sentiments but said that issue was between the principals and the council. “As health officials, we only advise you on the steps to be taken when a person is suspected to be infected, but can’t dictate to you on how and when a pupil who exhibits symptoms of the illness should write a paper as that is between you and the Exams Council,” said Nonhlanhla Nkambule of the Health ministry.

Over the past weeks, a number of schools reported a large number of suspected A H1N1 influenza cases, with Hillside primary the hardest hit, as over 800 pupils were rushed to hospital after exhibiting symptoms of the virus.


Two arrested for catching 225 fish at Maguga Dam

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By MBONGENI NDLELA - SWAZI TIMES-21-Oct-2009

PIGG’S PEAK – Two suspects were yesterday morning arrested after they were found fishing illegally at the Maguga Dam.

Sifiso Mavuso (21) of Matsapha and George Mzimba (23) of Big Bend were arrested by the Pigg’s Peak police after they had already caught 255 fish. It was gathered that the two had erected nets across the dam which they monitored through the night. They were, however, spotted by residents who then tipped the police.

To their surprise, a faction of concerned residents pounced on them and later called the police. They were found with some pots which, according to sources, they had used to cook at night. Records revealed that this is the second time Mavuso is arrested for illegal fishing at the dam.

On previous records, he was arrested and had his nets destroyed after being found with more than 1 000 fish. He was convicted at the Magistrate’s court and paid a E200 fine. Ever since the dam was constructed, fishing had been banned by officials from the Komati Water Basin Authorities. People who want to go fishing at the dam are expected to apply for permission from KOBWA.

The company has, on a number of occasions, warned people against illegal fishing and further educated the community members on how to report those committing the offen- ce. Recently, a man died and his friend was lucky to survive at the dam while they were fishing illegally. The man’s body was retrieved after a week’s search.

Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the arrests. He said the suspects would this morning appear at the Magistrate’s court.


Girl drops out of school for sex

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By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-21-Oct-2009

NHLANGANO - A mother was shocked when her daughter revealed how much she loved sex and did not want to go to school anymore.

Siphiwe Magagula* (40) of Gege was left tongue-tied when her 16- year-old Grade Seven daughter, Deli*, told her that sex was doing wonders for her and that she was wasting her precious time sitting behind a desk. She is a former pupil in one of the schools in the Shiselweni region. According to Magagula, Deli told her as much last week Thursday when she tried to reprimand her about her wayward behavior.

Magagula revealed that her daughter would abscond classes to stay with her businessman boyfriend at Fairview North in Manzini. She said when she was addressing her daughter that her sex life might expose her to early pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), the pupil sprang up, put her hands around her waist and said she was fine with her ‘sex’ life and pleaded with her mother to stop bothering herself because her blood pressure (BP) levels would soar.

The mother said she felt embarrassed by her daughter’s words such that she cried instead of thinking of another option to stop her child’s wayward behavior. Trouble for the young girl, according to her mother, began when she ran away from home before schools closed for the second term and stayed for almost three weeks with her boyfriend in Manzini.

She said her daughter would frequently call using a private number just to say she was fine and secured where she was and they shouldn’t bother looking for her because she lived with a female friend around Matsapha. During the process, according to the mother, her daughter would flood one of her friends with calls telling her she lived a nice life with her soon-to-be husband because he spoiled her with cakes and fruit juice every-day.

Magagula said the pupil was fetched from the one room flat owned by the boyfriend when the third term was about to commence. “She only went to school for two weeks and started her ways again and ran back to her boyfriend in Manzini. “We were unable to locate her up until she visited one of her friends last week at Ndubazi,” said Magagula. A grandmother to the visited young girl called Magagula to inform her that Deli was at her homestead and wanted to ascertain if she attended school.

The grandmother, who works as a cleaner in one of the schools around Nhlangano allegedly reported the matter to the Ndubazi community police, who took Deli back to her parental home. The friend, when sought for comment, said she tried convincing Deli that she should stop her madness and return to school because without education, she would not succeed but she ignored her advice.

... leave me alone - pupil

NHLANGANO - The Grade Seven pupil allegedly told the community police to leave her alone and mind their own business.

This was revealed by Mapumu Methula, a member of Ndubazi community police, when reached for comment on how they ‘arrested’ the pupil and took her back home. Methula, however, admitted it was not an easy job apprehending the pupil because she insulted them, telling them why they were bothered with her life because they had theirs to look after.

The community police member said despite the threats from the young girl they applied minimal force and took her home after being called by Gogo Shongwe saying the child was at her home. Methula further wondered what could have corrupted the child so much because she was still young and had a bright future ahead of her.

. . .mother optimistic child will mend her ways

NHLA NGANO - Distraught Deli’s mother, Siphiwe Magagula said she was happy when her daughter was brought home by Ndubazi community police and was optimistic this time around she would mend her ways.

“Look, no matter how much she wronged me, I was prepared to forgive her because she is my last born child and the only one still attending school, Grade Seven for that matter,” said Magagula. She said she was hurt when Deli told her sex was doing her good and she loved it so much such that she was not prepared to go back to class. *Not real names.


Ratepayers concerned about proposed toll gate at Ezulwini

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By Nomile Hlatshwayo - SWAZI TIMES-21-Oct-2009

EZULWINI – Ratepayers in the valley are concerned about the proposed toll gate that is expected to be erected within the area.

Alec Taylor has since written to the relevant authorities to lodge a formal complaint. In the letter dated July 16, 2009, Taylor says they (residents) were objecting the establishment of the tolls on the access road to Ezulwini.

“This is because it will adversely affect the valuation of the properties in the valley, which are over valued considering the lack of essential services such as adequate water supply and that there is no sewer disposal plant,” he said. Taylor added that a toll gate in the area would raise the cost of living for all residents, many of whom work in Mbabane and Manzini.

“It will also discourage people from Mbabane and Manzini who now support the various shopping centres, hotels and restaurants in the area; it will further discourage visitors to Ezulwini, as they already pay E50 for the privilege of crossing our borders into the country,” he said.

He wondered if and how the funds collected from the toll gates would benefit the town. “The valley, under the new circumstances will certainly no longer be ‘The Valley of Heaven’,” he said.


‘KING ORDAINED BY GOD TO LEAD HIS PEOPLE’

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Lutfo Dlamini says His Majesty King Mswati III was living proof that Kings and Monarchs are ordained by God to lead His people.

In a rare occurance, Minister Dlamini dedicated a poem to His Majesty as part of his speech before the King during the official opening of the Swazi Embassy in Kuwait. The day doubled as a celebration of Swaziland’s National Day, since the staff could not do so on September 6 as they were preparing for the King’s visit.

Minister Dlamini’s poem titled ‘Long Live The King’ reads: Your Majesty you are the champion of unity, Yes, you are the anchor of prosperity, Your passion for your people is felt by everyone, You are the symbol of unity and cultural preservation, which has eluded many a nation of the world, You are living proof that Kings and Monarchs are ordained by God to lead his people. Long live the King!

“Your Majesty, I recall with pride and a sense of deep satisfaction that when the nation enquires from you year-after-year, the kind of Birthday gift that is closest to your heart – you have always requested to be given one gift - that of peace among your people. It is such unselfish love and sense of duty to your people that has ensured Swaziland’s place under the sun, as a peaceful, stable and secure nation. These attributes are a direct consequence of our conscious choice as a nation to preserve, promote and protect our Monarchy as a symbol of national unity,” he said.

He added that the King’s philosophy has been a catalyst to the nation’s efforts to lure investors into the country as he has been steadfast in his belief that the backbone for sustainable development is peace.

Dlamini pledged that the ministry and the staff of the embassy would work hard to fly the Swazi flag up high. “Your Majesty we once again wish to take this opportunity before your gracious self to pledge our unwavering loyalty to honest service to Your Majesty and to uphold the values whilst upholding the pride of the Swazi nation at all times,” he said. Added Dlamini: “Our National Day reminds us of the progress we have made under the able leadership of our Monarch as we have come a long way from being a British Protectorate under what was termed a ‘Paramount Ruler’ to a fully-fledged Sovereign State under the wise leadership of our King and Ingwenyama. From then on, we have come together as a nation to forge the way ahead and together to decide own destiny,” he said. Dlamini added that the nation takes pride in the fact that the country’s independence is rooted on the principles of peace and stability.

“It gives us a deep sense of pride and patriotism, Your Majesty, that our independence and sovereignty are deeply founded and rooted on the principles of peace and stability. This philosophy has guided us since 1968 up to this far. It is for this reason that 41 years later the Kingdom of Swaziland continues to establish both bilateral and multilateral relations all of the world,” he said.

He said the relations have helped the nation exchange valuable experiences and expertise with other nations of the world. “Today’s event is testimony of our determination to establish solid ties with all friendly nations of the world with which we share common values of economic development and self-determination. We are here in the State of Kuwait in furtherance of that goal and to cement our relations and cooperation,” he said.


KING CALLS ON KUWAITI INVESTORS

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III says the ‘skies are open’ for Kuwaiti investors to come to Swaziland.

His Majesty King Mswati III says the ‘skies are open’ for Kuwaiti investors to come to Swaziland. He invited Kuwaiti investors to come to Swaziland to explore opportunities in energy, mining, ICT, tourism and manufacturing. The King was speaking yesterday when he officially opened the Swazi embassy in Kuwait.

“I am grateful that our framework for cooperation actively promotes trade, industry and investment growth. In that vein, my delegation comprises captains of business and government from the Kingdom of Swaziland who have come to share information with their Kuwaiti counterparts on investment opportunities in Swaziland. It is with this in mind that I wish to take this opportunity to invite business people from the State of Kuwait to visit Swaziland to explore opportunities for investment in sectors ranging from, energy and power generation, mining, ICT, research, science and technology and agri-business,” he said.

His Majesty said Swaziland also looks forward to cooperation mechanisms in ensuring enhanced value addition to products for export, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

infrastructure

“Swaziland is an ideal safe, secure, stable and investor-friendly destination, which boasts world class infrastructure. The completion of Sikhuphe International Airport in March 2010 will further improve our standing,” he said. His Majesty thanked the State of Kuwait for its continued assistance towards Swaziland’s development goals.

“The Swazi nation remains grateful to the State of Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for the support extended to us for various development projects. This has surely made significant improvements to the lives of our people. We also appreciate the tremendous support given to the Kingdom for the establishment of this embassy” he said.


SD can benefit from sabi membership

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

THE South African Irrigation Institute (SABI) has stated that Swaziland can benefit a lot from being a member of the organisation.

SABI President Isobel van der Stoep, speaking during a meeting between her organisation and irrigation farmers at Malkerns Club yesterday, said SABI was an organisation dedicated to promoting proper norms and standards of maintaining better irrigation systems.

She said they have been in Swaziland since 1976 and over time they had seen the need for the country to align itself more with the company as it could benefit a lot from doing so. “Our key area of focus is the development and management of knowledge and standards of best irrigation practice, and we know very well that Swaziland stands to benefit a lot from sharing ideas with us,” she said.

interest

Van der Stoep added that the country shared water resources with South Africa on the other side of the border, which made them have a keen interest in the area of water management in Swaziland.

“We basically want to reconcile our activities with the water community, be it individuals using water or companies engaged in same,” she said. In addition, she said if the country joined SABI, it would be included in the annual SABI awards, benefit from networking with other regional SABI bodies, gain increased access to training at member rates, information sharing and exposure to irrigation companies, and a lot more.


SA irrigation expert punches holes in lusip

Main Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

AN irrigation firm from South Africa trading as South African Irrigation Institute (SABI) has punched holes in the biggest irrigation system this country has ever established, the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP) dam project.

LUSIP is managed by the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE). SABI did an extensive technical study of the project and found a variety of loopholes in areas such as the dragline, drip, the sumps, valves and a whole lot more.

Delivering his address to a sizeable number of irrigation farmers around the country at Malkerns Club yesterday, SABI Design member Tiekie de Beer said in their study they found that the irrigation system at LUSIP needs a lot of professional expertise to run efficiently and to the benefit of the farmers who use it.

De Beer first noted that the dragline, which logically should measure 18 metres, has measurements ranging from 16 to 24 metres. He pointed out that this meant that a farmer in the short run could achieve 85% production of the soil’s actual potential yield, but in the long run, the same farmer could achieve 50% of the soil’s actual potential.

He also revealed that they also did a survey of the sumps (where the water is picked) and found that some of these were good, but were not utilised to their full efficiency levels. “The excuse normally given is that the Komati River carries a lot of sand, but if you look around, you will find that 70% of the rivers in the world do carry sand,” he said. He made an example of the sump at Mnjoli dam, which he said was very scary in that it leaned into the water yet the river was infested with crocodiles. “The fact that you have to row to reach it means it was not correctly done,” he said.

Other areas of concern, as pointed out by de Beers, were fittings on the valves, which he noted that some were very expensive but were either totally not in use, blocked or employed inefficiently. “We discovered some excellent valves in some places, some of which were acquired at a very high cost, but most of them are not working,” he said.

“The people in charge of the system have an idea of what has to be done, but they lack that edge, which could make them do the job perfectly. 95% of the most expensive valves are disconnected and this is disappointing.”

Further problems were discovered with the sprinklers, but in conclusion, de Beers said there was a need for the designers, engineers and the other parties who work on the system on a daily basis to sit down and forge a way forward.


swade acknowledges responsibility

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

THE Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) has accepted that it has a huge responsibility of maintaining an irrigation system covering an area of around 16 000 hectares,

THE Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) has accepted that it has a huge responsibility of maintaining an irrigation system covering an area of around 16 000 hectares, much of which is covered by the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP).

Responding to the South African Irrigation Institute’s analysis of the system used at LUSIP, Musa Ngwenya, who is an irrigation engineer at SWADE, said as a result of the many loopholes discovered by SABI, the need was clear for the country to develop a lot more of its own engineers and designers in order to ensure sustainability of the project. Ngwenya said Swaziland as a country has the capacity to manage the project, but there was a dire need to invest in human capital so as to ensure that the resources available were employed fully.

“The area we control would likely grow by a further 8 000 hectares as the LUSIP project is expected to expand in the near future,” he said. He also added that as SWADE, they had a number of issues that needed to be attended to and these include design, project management, especially the field of quality assurance, to make sure that companies supplied them with the right material, as well as maintenance.

“As a company, we feel it is our responsibility and obligation to take the lead in issues of capacity building. We want to make sure we have the necessary engineers, designers and so on. There is also a need to develop the expertise we currently have,” he said. Bongani Bhembe, who is a member of both SABI and SWADE, said studies that were conducted proved that production in any instance where an irrigation facility was in use was directly proportional to the efficiency of that system.

“It is on this premise that I implore all of us to urgently address the problems of poor management that we currently have,” he said. Bhembe also exposed the need to attach Swazis to SABI in order to improve the manner in which the country’s irrigation systems work.


swade acknowledges responsibility

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

THE Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) has accepted that it has a huge responsibility of maintaining an irrigation system covering an area of around 16 000 hectares,

THE Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) has accepted that it has a huge responsibility of maintaining an irrigation system covering an area of around 16 000 hectares, much of which is covered by the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP).

Responding to the South African Irrigation Institute’s analysis of the system used at LUSIP, Musa Ngwenya, who is an irrigation engineer at SWADE, said as a result of the many loopholes discovered by SABI, the need was clear for the country to develop a lot more of its own engineers and designers in order to ensure sustainability of the project. Ngwenya said Swaziland as a country has the capacity to manage the project, but there was a dire need to invest in human capital so as to ensure that the resources available were employed fully.

“The area we control would likely grow by a further 8 000 hectares as the LUSIP project is expected to expand in the near future,” he said. He also added that as SWADE, they had a number of issues that needed to be attended to and these include design, project management, especially the field of quality assurance, to make sure that companies supplied them with the right material, as well as maintenance.

“As a company, we feel it is our responsibility and obligation to take the lead in issues of capacity building. We want to make sure we have the necessary engineers, designers and so on. There is also a need to develop the expertise we currently have,” he said. Bongani Bhembe, who is a member of both SABI and SWADE, said studies that were conducted proved that production in any instance where an irrigation facility was in use was directly proportional to the efficiency of that system.

“It is on this premise that I implore all of us to urgently address the problems of poor management that we currently have,” he said. Bhembe also exposed the need to attach Swazis to SABI in order to improve the manner in which the country’s irrigation systems work.


HANDICRAFT ENTREPRENEURS’ WARES ‘EYED’ FOR SA SHOPS

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

LOCAL handicraft products left quite a lasting impression on the South African business community at the annual Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) held in Bloemfontein recently.

The Small Enterprise Development Company (SEDCO) had sent eight women to represent Swaziland’s handicraft sector at the 12th edition of the festival which seeks to empower small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) as well as promote tourism.

The women entrepreneurs, who represented the Motshane, Manzini, Ezulwini (Greyhound and Gables) handicraft markets took with them wares, including their colleagues’ products to exhibit and sell at the festival which was held on October 1 to 10. “Our handicraft is unique and exclusive. It is different from other countries’ products and if they had been awarding the best exhibition stand, we wouldn’t have had any competition,” said SEDCO’s Zodwa Mahlalela.

“This was the first time we’ve sent entrepreneurs to represent Swaziland. We felt it appropriate to do so to give the women an opportunity to not only sell their products but also to network with others in the industry. Networking is important as it creates long-term prospects.”

She said South African business people were so impressed with the handicraft that some expressed interest in establishing curio shops in South Africa that would sell the local products. Mahlalela said the women’s contacts were requested by a lot of business people who want to target tourists that would be visiting that country during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. She said the women got the opportunity to meet Free State Province Premier Ace Magashule, who was also impressed with the local wares and noted that Bloemfontein had no curio shop, hinting at future prospects for such.

Some of the products exhibited included handmade leather shoes, beadwork, grass mats and dried grass flowers, which Mahlalela said sold like hot cakes as the type of grass used to make them was not available in SA. The Swazi delegation was also requested to promote its culture through a fashion show where they donned traditional attire.

“I would like to encourage local entrepreneurs not to take such opportunities lightly when given the chance, they must be committed and make sure to attend these forums where they can establish long-term contacts because it’s not just about selling their wares today, but expanding their businesses in future,” she added.


Americans share ideas with local artists

Main Section

By Nokukhanya Aimienoho - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

Local artists benefited immensely from a three-day workshop hosted by United States Embassy

US Embassy Information Assistant Nomfundo Msibi said the purpose of the workshop was for the American dancers to share dance skills and tips with the local artists. Quite a number of artists attended the workshop that began on Sunday and reached a climax yesterday.

Twenty young people turned up to work with the two dance choreographers Bafana Matea and Sean Scantlebury over an intensive programme that culminated with a performance yesterday evening. Matea and Scantlebury are under the Battery Dance Company. The group of local artists was eager to learn and explore new things.

Artists who attened the workshop include Jazz P, Za-Za, Cyborg Girls and MJ Boys just to name a few. The Battery Dance Company performs on the world’s stages, teaches, presents, and advocates for the field of dance.


Multi-party democracy a monster - TV

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Oct-2009

ACTING Governor of Ludzidzini Royal Residence Timothy Velabo Mtsetfwa has urged the Swazi nation to respect the Royalty because it cares for the needy.

He said multi-parties were a monster, to which many countries had succumbed and fell. He was speaking at Ludzidzini Royal Residence yesterday when receiving donations directed to Philani Maswati Charity Organisation, whose Patron is Her Majesty the Indlovukazi. Mtsetfwa said many countries envy the Swazi nation because there is peace and stability, which are a result of the existence of the monarchy.

gift He said Royalty was a gift from God. He said many nations were faced with internal wars because they opted for multi- party democracy, which turned to be a monster.

He state that by establishing Philani MaSwati, Her Majesty and the King were trying to bridge the gap between those who have and the needy in the society. He said Her Majesty wanted to share what she had with the destitute citizens. “In other countries, especially those under multi - party democracy, the leaders only think of themselves and their immediate families and forget about the needy people.

“All they are concerned about is their own stomachs,” he said. Mtsetfwa advised the youth not to desert their parents, saying such behaviuor contributes to the escalating poverty rate in the country. He thanked all those who donated to Philani and urged other companies and individuals to follow suite and assist Her Majesty as she tries to improve the welfare of the needy.

donations

Announcing the donations was Deputy Chairman of Philani MaSwati Mathokoza Mthethwa who said the kind gesture would benefit a lot of people around the country. He said a number of people were motivated by Her Majesty’s actions of going out personally to the people to distribute the donations and also give words of hope to the elderly.

Dups donates 20 coffins

DUPS Insurance donated 20 coffins to Philani, which will be used to help give a decent funeral to the senior citizens who have no one to take care of their funeral expenses. The same company donated a similar number of coffins last year which were all used up, as request for such assistance came from all over the country.

Others were Sicamelo Savings and Credit Cooperative, which is made up of King’s office staff members. The staff presented a E5 000 cheque. City Group presented 100 blankets, while former Minister of Works Elijah Shongwe donated five wheelchairs. Other donations as announced by the Treasurer of Philani Thoko Shongwe were three bags of maize, which were donated by Morris Thwala and clothes from Jan of SUB.

Meanwhile, former Senator Bishop Mavovo Mkhonto who is the Chairman of Philani Maswati in Nothern Hhohho Region said the success of the charity organisation rests entirely on the Swazi people. He said Her Majesty’s dream was to see all Swazi citizens leading a happy life.

He urged the nation to rally behind Indlovukazi by bringing donations to Philani. “As Christmas time draws closer, one can only urge the nation to assist Philani by bringing in more donations so that the needy people can also enjoy during the happy season,” he said.


Man sues E350 000 for ‘faeces order’

Main Section

By Sabelo Mamba - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Oct-2009

A South African man, who was allegedly forced by soldiers to collect his faeces from the country and carry them in a plastic bag to South Africa, is now claiming E350 000 from government.

Aaron Ngomane, in papers filed at the High Court, says on July 28, 2005 near Lomahasha area, Nadinyo Yamposse, while carrying a rifle ordered him to do push ups for three hours.

Collect

“He forced me to collect my faeces from Swaziland and carry them in a plastic bag to South Africa,” he alleges. Ngomane says the soldier threatened to shoot him when resisted to do further push ups. He claims he sustained injuries after being hit with the barrel of the rifle.

Dressed

“When Nyamposse committed the acts, he was fully dressed and armed as a member of Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force,” he says. He alleges that Nyamposse was acting within the scope and course of employment.

Ngomane

Ngomane, as a result, says he was humiliated and suffered damages amounting to E350 000. The case is before Judge Jacobus Annandale. He is being represented by Ben Simelane and Nhlanhla Zwane is appearing for government


Marauding lion killed, another devours cow

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Oct-2009

ONE of the six lions that escaped from South Africa was yesterday shot dead.

The lion, which was terrorising residents of a village near Lufafa Mountain in the northern Hhohho, was first shot and wounded by a resident before it was eventually put down by rangers from the Big Games Parks.

It took residents, rangers and the police three days to locate the already wounded lion. One of the residents, Sipho Mandlazi, said they were happy that animal, which was giving them sleepless nights, had been captured and killed.

“We will now walk and sleep without fear and our cattle will graze freely,” he said. At Hlane residential area, one of the lions killed a cow in one of the homesteads around the area. Hlane Member of Parliament Mduduzi Magagula said he went to the place where the remains of the cow were found.

Rangers from the Big Game Parks were busy searching for the lion at the time this report was compiled. A Senior Ranger identified as Mbatha also went to the scene and was still inspecting the damage caused by the lion late yesterday.


SD, YEMEN: PARTNERS IN PROGRESS

Main Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Oct-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III and his entourage arrived safely in the Republic of Yemen in the last leg of his working tour to attract investments in the Middle East.

He was met at the Sana'a International Airport by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, members of cabinet and other dignitaries, amid very tight security.

The King accompanied by Inkhosikati LaNgangaza and a contigent of business delegates from a wide range spectre of the Swazi society are in that country to explore investment opportunities for Swaziland. His majesty spent roughly 15 minutes freshening up from the flight before he joined President Saleh in co-chairing official talks between the Swazi delegation and their Yemeni counterparts.

Thereafter at 8pm, he attended dinner at the Presidential Palace. Amid under tight security, His Majesty first held initial talks with President Saleh at the V.V.I.P. lounge at the airport before being whisked, still under heavy security to one of the palaces.

Yemen shares borders with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Oman and is seperated from Somali by the Red Sea. This is the first time that the oil and gas rich country is visited by the Swazi Monarch. "This is my first and historic visit to Yemen and it marks the beginning of strong diplomatic relations and cooperation between our two countries. “I am very happy to be here and to represent my country in your beautiful country," he said.


SWAZIBANK TAKES CENTRE STAGE IN KUWAIT BID

Business Section

By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Oct-2009

SWAZIBANK Managing Director Stanley Matsebula says it is important for Swaziland to position itself correctly to reap the fruits of the State of Kuwait's interest in partnering with Africa for development.

He said Swaziland's status as a monarchy placed it in better stead with Kuwait - also a monarchy - to be the central point from which the latter could expand its tentacles in the continent.

"The government of the State of Kuwait is using what is called moralsuassion [as opposed to persuassion] to appeal to their companies to look favourably at opportunities to invest in Swaziland because of the long standing bilateral relations and historical similarities between the two countries,” he said in conversation with Business Observer.

“His Majesty King Mswati III has done a tremendous job in opening up opportunities for us and what we need to do now is roll up our sleeves and finish what he has started for the benefit of all the people of Swaziland.” Matsebula, who yesterday led Swaziland's cluster of financial institutions in talks with the National Bank of Kuwait, was upbeat about the chances of success.

members

The other members of the cluster are African Alliance MD Stofeni Ginindza, SIPA Chairman Musa Dlamini, SIPA CEO Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza and SIDC General Manager Dr Tambo Gina. "If you look at the State of Kuwait, though they should be more developed than the rest of the United Arab Emirates, they were seriously disturbed by the invasion by Saddam which set them back economically. However, their resilience has proved over the years to be very strong as they have recovered tremendously and as we speak they have a minimum USD200 million [E1.5 billion] excess funds that are invested outside their country and it is accumulating dividends at a rapid pace," he said. Matsebula added that the State of Kuwait was looking around the world for areas where they could expand their investment as a country and Africa was one of the continents in which they want to participate.

partnerships

He said they were looking for mid- to long-term partnerships in the form of lines of credit and development funds. Matsebula said that was the crux of the cluster's meetings with the National Bank of Kuwait. He added that besides leading the cluster, he also had an interest in creating relations for SwaziBank.

"As SwaziBank we are also keen to pursue a partnership with them and we would like for them to make us the bank of choice in their activities in the Southern African region and Swaziland. This they can do either directly or through intermediaries from their country.

“SwaziBank is pursuing a line where we can facilitate all their transactions in Swaziland and the region. “We are aware that some of the talks by His Majesty's delegation in the State of Kuwait border around projects in power generation, tourism, agriculture, ICT and as a bank we are interested in creating relations where we can be utilised to facilitate the deals that may come through," he said.

centre stage

Added Matsebula: "We are at the centre stage of what they want to do in the region and in Swaziland. This will benefit the bank and its customers very much. At the moment, we get short-term funds which are quite expensive. “If we can get Kuwaiti money it can be more affordable as it will be in a mid- to long-term basis and the end result would benefit the customers."

He explained that SwaziBank's interest was not just to participate in credit provision but to facilitate trade and whatever the Kuwaiti institutions would be doing. "The chances of success are quite high and the talks are going on very well. In fact, one of the organisations we visited earlier in the week invited me on a return visit to discuss specifics and potential areas of cooperation with SwaziBank," he said.


Pool squads make bright start in African Championships

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - SWAZI OBSERVER-22-Oct-2009

POOL – THE country is well within touching distance of emerging winners of the All African Blackball Championships after managing to win three of their four matches yesterday in the ongoing Championships taking place in Pretoria, South Africa.

The country has sent three teams to take part in the championships, which include the masters, seniors and ladies teams.

According to correspondence received from Swaziland Billiards Association (SBA) Executive Committee member Vusi Masilela, who travelled with the squad to the games yesterday, the Masters squad managed to beat their Cameroonian counterparts 16-0 while they then lost to the hosts, South Africa 6-19. On the other hand, the Seniors won all their matches as they beat Tanzania 13-12 before going on to also beat Cameroon 16-9. Masilela revealed that the games are going well at the moment and they are hoping to finish at the top or at least land on second spot.

The games continue even this morning with the ladies amongst the teams expected to play.

Yesterday’s results: Swazi Masters 16-0 Cameroon Swazi Seniors 13-12 Tanzania Swazi Seniors 16-9 Cameroon Swazi Masters 6-19 South Africa


‘I still love killer hubby’

Main Section

By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES-22-Oct-2009

MANZINI – After all has been said and done, Bethusile Dlamini still loves her murderous husband.

On Monday evening, Dumsani Mkhonta who was earlier diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), is said to have hacked eight people, leaving four toddlers dead.

In an interview yesterday Dlamini, who other patients said had been crying frequently since the incident happened, said this did not shatter her feelings for her husband.

Willing

She said once the case was over she was willing to go back to him because she believes he was merely driven by ‘demons’ to kill.

She said she would like to speak to her husband and ‘apologise to him’ for what befell him and also find out more on what was going on in his mind. Yesterday she was clueless on his whereabouts as the last time she saw him was at the murder scene when he was bundled into a police vehicle.

“I would like to know from him as to what went wrong. I have known him to be a gentleman. I would also like to comfort him, and tell him to trust in God. I still love him. That has not changed. “More than anything, I know that he did not do it, but the devil in him,” she said, before asking if her husband had come back to his senses.

Asked about her safety, Dlamini said she was afraid to face the public, more especially the Simelane family. “I would like to apologise to the general public about the incident, since I had not wished for this to happen. I also like to ask for forgiveness, especially from the Simelane family,” Dlamini who was almost in tears pleaded.

About her relationship with Mkhonta, she said they started dating about six years ago before he tekaed her in 2007. She said they only had an argument this year when he allegedly beat her with a belt after a misunderstanding when they returned from shopping in Manzini about two months ago.

...suspect killer to be taken for psychiatric check-up

MANZINI – The alleged serial killer Dumsani Mkhonta will be taken for psychiatric observation.

It was gathered yesterday from sources close to the investigation that Mkhonta needed to have his mental status assessed before he could be taken to court.

Yesterday he was expected to make his first remand hearing but it was postponed. It is believed that he will be taken to the Psychiatric Centre sometime this week. His behaviour shocked other residents as he was described as an introvert, (someone who keeps to himself) and a normally loving husband.

Meanwhile, Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku clarified that police did not run for cover. Initially, Masuku said police received a report that they should come and assist certain people who had been injured. “When they arrived at the scene, they found that the situation was tense and the man armed moving up and down the premises, threatening them with violence.

One of the officers immediately rushed to a police vehicle to inform other officers to come with the necessary equipment while the other was monitoring the situation. It should not be interpreted by the residents that the officer was running for cover but was running to the radio for back up and the other officers came with the neces-sary equipment,” Masuku explained.

The residents had earlier told the Times that they thought the police officer was running for cover towards his vehicle.


Senators increase human trafficking fine, pass Bill

Main Section

By LINDA JELE - SWAZI TIMES-22-Oct-2009

MANZINI – Parliament has passed the Human Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Bill of 2009 after a lengthy debate on increasing the fines.

Senators have proposed that any person who is found to have forged a document with the intention to traffic another, should face 15 years imprisonment or a fine of up to E75 000. This was during the debate of the Bill where they also amended some sections before passing it. One of the amended sections stipulates that a person who makes, obtains, gives, sells or possesses fraudulent travel or identity document for the purpose of facilitating an act of people trafficking commits an offence and is, on conviction liable to a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years or E50 000 fine.

The senators have proposed to increase the number of years and the fine option, citing that such a form of crime causes death and brutality to victims. Their amendment came after the House of Assembly decided to increase the number of years one could face in prison to 15 years, which prompted Senate to increase the fine to up to E75 000. Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Office Portfolio Committee, Moi Moi Masilela said the fine of up to E75 000 was justifiable because human trafficking was a serious crime, which needed to be averted at all costs. He said the fine could help in preventing people from practising the trade.

Differed

However, Senator Prince Sobandla differed and said the sentence should not carry a fine option, because a majority of the people practising the trade were rich and could afford such amounts. He said money was nothing when compared to a person’s life, which could be lost or tortured. “The sentencing should not just carry a fine option. We need to look at the seriousness of the offence and the torture the victims could be subjected to,” he said.

Senator Prince Magudvulela said the hefty fine was made to give a court judge to exercise his discretion when sentencing a suspect. He also said the hefty fine on such crimes was of world standards. He said when sentencing a novice, a judge could slap him with a few years or a small fine, but when it is a syndicate, he would impose a huge fine. Senator Robert Zwane warned the Senators to be careful when setting the sentences because their relatives could also fall in the same trap.

Senators should make sure that the sentence set in the bill would not make them not to practise what they passed, when it is their relatives found on the wrong side. It is true that this is a bad practice, but you should not refuse to pay the fine, but equally put people in jail if found guilty” he said. Senator Malambe said the fines should be high because the people who may forge the documents could have been sent by business moguls who could afford to pay fines if it is easily manageable.


Expect to buy more this festive

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-22-Oct-2009

MBABANE - With the Festive Season just around the corner, consumers should expect to have more goods in their shopping baskets.

This is because of the lower inflation rate, which now stands at 5.11 per cent from 6.31 per cent recorded in August. Economist Bongile Dlamini-Simelane said consumers were expected to purchase more goods this festive season, as their purchasing power would increase due to the lower inflation rate.

“When the inflation rate is as low as the current rate, consumers tend to buy more goods and this is good because we are approaching the festive season and a lot of consumers are looking forward to going on shopping sprees. It will seem like people have more money yet that is not necessarily the case because it will just be their buying power that will be increased and not their salaries,” she said. Elaborating Dlamini-Simelane said when inflation was at a 13 and 12 per cent high in November and December respectively last year, a consumer who had E1 000 to spend on gifts and food during the festive season did not buy as many gifts and food stuffs as they would this year.

Shopping

This year, the consumer will have more money left over to do their shopping than last year when the inflation rate was at 12 per cent,” she added. Asked on the effects of the lower inflation rate on negotiations for Christmas bonuses between employers and employee union representatives, Dlamini-Simelane said it was more likely that the negotiations would not be below the inflation rate.

“When unions negotiate with employers on behalf of employees on matters of Christmas bonuses, they normally look at the inflation rate and negotiate from that particular rate. It is not likely that the negotiations will go below the inflations rate, but this varies with the different employers,” she said. Economist Muzikayise Dube said most people had the tendency to confuse the effects of inflation on prices of goods.

“The tendency is to translate the direct change in inflation rate to prices of goods yet it has been seen in many instances that prices change at a much slower rate. Although consumer’s buying power will increase because of the lower inflation rate, people have different tastes on what they prefer to buy for Christmas and the rate at which the buy goods will be determined by their preferences,” Dube said. The country’s inflation rate has sky-rocketed since June 2006 and reached peaks of over 13 per cent in recent months. The main catalyst of the high inflation rate was the international crude oil prices, which drove up the cost of food and transportation. However, international crude oil prices started stabilising from last year and the inflation rate also started falling.

Attributes

The Central Statistics Office news for September 2009 attributes the lower headline inflation to decreases in the annual rates for various goods and services in the basket that were recorded during the month under review. It shows that prices fell drastically in restaurants and hotels. The report further says food, which has been the main driver of inflation during the past two years, also decreased from 9.45 per cent in August to 8.42 per cent in September and likewise the rate of change in recreation and culture, also fell slightly from 2.49 per cent to 1.88 per cent during the month under review.


Ministry probes sex drawing saga

Main Section

By SABELO MAZIBUKO - SWAZI TIMES-23-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The Shiselweni Regional Education Office has launched a probe into the issue of a pupil who was kicked out of school for allegedly drawing a naked couple.

This comes after the Times exposed the story of a Mantambe Primary School pupil doing Grade Six who was allegedly given 25 lashes and later kicked out of the school and told to get her head examined before she could return. The school administration said they would not allow her back unless she had a report from a psychiatrist because they doubted her behaviour.

However, this has not gone down well with the Ministry of Education, which in the past has said pupils should not be expelled from school especially without the involvement of the REO.

First to respond to the expulsion and corporal punishment suffered by pupils was the Minister of Education Wilson Ntshangase who expressed shock that teachers had turned it a bad habit and should resist doing such. Ntshangase said; “As a ministry, we are expecting principals to lead by example and show a sign of leadership every where they are, it is sad to learn that a pupil has been expelled at school before she is taken for disciplinary hearing or first approaching the Regional Education Officer before taking their decisions.”

He said he would wait for a report from the REO’s office and they would then as a ministry act on it. He said if someone was found to be wrong he/she would face the wrath of the law.

When drawn for comment, Shiselweni acting REO Thabile Nxumalo said they were already looking into the matter. “We will be soon sending a report of our findings to the ministry, and we believe the matter will be sorted out,” said Nxumalo. When further pressed on what were their findings were, Nxumalo was coy to give information on grounds the minister first had to be briefed.


Swaziland loses deal to export sugar to UAE

Main Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-23-Oct-2009

MBABANE- It appears that Swaziland missed out on an opportunity to supply sugar to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE is a net importer of raw sugar and sugar related products and is also a large group of some of the richest countries in the world, including Dubai among others. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s 2nd Quarterly Performance Report for the 2009/2010 financial year, following an approach to import Swazi sugar into Dubai by a Dubai-based company called Oasis Global Trading, the Swazi Embassy in Dubai allegedly approached the Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA) on the matter.

“The Dubai-based Oasis Global Trading Company expressed interest in purchasing Swazi sugar in June 2009. This follows bilateral discussions between representatives from the company and the embassy held in Dubai in May 2009 during the first Arab-Africa Initiative attended by among others, Her Royal Highness Inkhosikati LaMatsebula where the subject on Swazi sugar exports was first broached,” reads the report in part.

It goes on to say the company was looking forward to importing substantially large quantities of raw and refined sugar with the regular supply from Swaziland.

“This subject matter has been vigorously pursued between the embassy and the Swaziland Sugar Association. As a way forward and in order to convene exports of Swazi sugar into the UAE, the company requested to be furnished with basic information such as the volume of sugar that the country produces on an annual basis, loading port and the method of loading, including the Free on Board(FoB) Price,” reads the report in part. It further says during the marketing year in question, the SSA allegedly informed that all the sugar exports had already been committed.

“As such, the deal on possible Swazi sugar exports could not take off,” adds the report. A questionnaire was sent to the SSA on this matter on Wednesday afternoon and this reporter was informed that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Mike Matsebula was not in the office and would be back by Thursday (yesterday). Efforts to get comment from the SSA yesterday proved futile by the time of compiling this report. On another note, the report says Swaziland should consider prospects and opportunities for goat meat exports into the UAE.

“The UAE remains a net importer of a relatively large number of food commodities including beef and goat meat (halal). This was a point of discussion during the recently concluded first Africa-Gulf Conference held in Dubai. It is important for the country to consider closely the prospects and opportunities for the goat meat exports into the UAE.

Such an exploration would of course have to take into account potential competition posed by regular and traditional suppliers such as Sudan in which case transportation costs are likely to be a critical determinant, given Sudan’s proximity to the UAE,” reads the report in part.

It says notwithstanding this, the demand for goat meat in the UAE remained high, adding that this was an opportunity worth exploring.


Chopped taximan discharged from hospital

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Oct-2009

The pirate taximan who had his arm chopped off during a night war has been discharged from the Mbabane Government Hospital.

Bongani ‘Silwane’ Maseko’s left hand was chopped off by another taximan who has since been charged with attempted murder. Maseko said he could not recall what happened during that day in question, but said he was now feeling better.

He was discharged on Wednesday and is currently at home. On the other hand, Maseko said sending his assailant to jail will not help him since he had already lost his hand. He said he now regarded himself as useless because his right arm was also paralysed, after he was attacked by thugs who had hired him.

The accused on Monday appeared before Mbabane Magistrate Henry Khumalo, who remanded him back to custody pending his committal to the High Court, where he is expected to move a bail application.

Senzo Dlamini was remanded back to custody until 26 October pending his committal to the High Court and is represented by Sipho Madzinane.


1 300 athletes to participate in Zone VI Under 20 Games next year

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Oct-2009

SPORTS – ABOUT 1 300 young athletes from countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are expected to cascade this country’s borders to take part in the Zone VI Under 20 Games to be hosted in December next year.

A further 250 officials from these countries are also expected to come to the country for the games, announced Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairperson Winnie Magagula during a press briefing held in the Committee’s newly acquired offices in Mbabane yesterday.

She announced that the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), whose facilities are soon to be revamped to meet international standards, has been identified as the games village while other venues to be used include the Mavuso sports centre, Olympafrica Centre and Mater Dolorosa High School (MDS). Amongst the sporting disciplines to be accommodated during the games include swimming, athletics for the visually impaired and basketball. She said the rest are football, boxing, tennis and netball.

“We’re anticipating recruiting volunteers who will assist in achieving the country’s dream. As this is a national event, we are looking at having 250 to 300 volunteers skilled and non-skilled. Most importantly entrance to these games will be free for the whole duration of the games,” she said. This is the fourth edition of the Zone VI Under 20 Games as they have previously been hosted by South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia respectively.


GOVT REQUESTS E2.34BN FINANCE FROM KUWAIT FUND

Main Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Oct-2009

GOVERNMENT has submitted a proposal for possible funding estimated at approximately E2.34 billion (US$312 million) to the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development

These funds are for three projects; the Manzini (bypass) to Lomahasha road project, Industrial Estates Development Programme and strengthening of the referral for specialist care in Swaziland.

Government states that implementation of these projects would ensure a safe, reliable and cost-effective transport system; economic development through promotion and development of industries; and improving health for all citizens in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Programme (PRSAP).

THE PROJECTS Industrial Estates Development Programme

This programme estimated at a cost of E131 million (US$17.5 million) is for the development of industry and promotion of foreign direct investment (FDI). The industrial estates and factory shells development programme seeks to provide fully serviced industrial land and ready-to-occupy factory shells to potential domestic and foreign investors.

It involves construction of roads, sewerage system, water supply, power and telecommunication connections as well as building of factories measuring on average 6 000 square metres. The total hectare coverage is 289 of which 209 hectares is situated at Phocweni and 80 hectares is situated at Matsapha.

The programme is divided into two projects: 1. Expansion of Matsapha industrial area by 80 hectares, which entails provision of basic infrastructure (roads, water supply, sewerage system, electricity and telecommunication connection) and building of 10 factory shells. Duration of this project is two years and construction of 40 hectares is already ongoing while phase two is expected to commence in 2010.

2. Development of 209 hectares at Phocweni and building of 20 factory shells with basic physical infrastructure. Detailed designs for the entire area will prepared and construction will be in phases starting with 50 hectares and 10 factory shells. Duration of this project is three years and the proposed commencement date is 2010.

Manzini (bypass road) to Lomahasha MR3

The project will upgrade the road infrastructure between Manzini and Lomahasha border post. It entails construction of a dual carriageway of 100 kilometres and resettling homesteads that will be affected by the road construction. The road provides access to the Sikhuphe International Airport currently being constructed and the Lomahasha border post which connects Swaziland to Mozambique. A feasibility study, which has since been commissioned and detailed design for the project will precede the implementation of this project.

The objective of the project is to provide an efficient and cost-effective access to Sikhuphe International Airport. Furthermore, the MR3 road section is part of an integral part of the supporting system to enable economic development within the Swaziland by virtue of the fact that it falls within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional map of corridors.

The results of a traffic study indicate that the traffic volumes and safety conditions on the MR3 from Manzini to Lonhlupheko are at such levels that will justify the upgrading of the road section to a higher geometric standard and width. The project is expected to be implemented over a period of five years and (based on historic data) it is estimated at a total cost of about E1.406 billion (approximately US$187.5million).

Strengthening of referral for specialist care

Government intends to provide national medical referral capability and improve specialist care, facilities and management of the health system. The project intends to construct and equip a 500-bed referral hospital that will have all the necessary facilities and capacity to provide specialist care to patients referred by regional hospitals.

The project entails constructing and equipping the hospital with appropriate technology and training of at least 30 Swazi specialists in various medical fields. The major specialities are surgery, medicine, paediatrics and child health, diagnostics and obstetrics and gynaecology. The hospital will be sited in a central area with good access roads, electricity supply and water around Ezulwini valley (Ezulwini – Lobamba Corridor).

The project is expected to be constructed and equipped over a period of five years. Training of medical specialist remains a long-term goal as the training will depend largely on the type of speciality or sub-speciality. The total estimated cost of the project is approximately E802.5 million (US$107million).


Killer of four kids remanded

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Oct-2009

THE man who chopped four children to death with a bush knife at Big Bend has been remanded at the Big Bend Police Station.

Dumsani Mkhonta was remanded by Magistrate Dumisa Mazibuko pending his date with a psychiatrist. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed that Mkhonta was remanded at the police station. He is expected to appear before a magistrate again next Wednesday.


Weevil tablets law coming

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Oct-2009

PARLIAMENT yesterday passed a motion that seeks to regulate sale of the deadly weevil tablet so that it is not open to abuse and individuals do not access it easily.

MP Thuli Dladla had moved the motion and was seconded by Ludzeludze MP Nonhlanhla Dlamini, receiving a unanimous approval from the House.

Motivating her motion, MP Dladla said as parliamentarians and Swazis, they were greatly disturbed by the increasing cases of suicide after one had swallowed weevil tablets. “We ask the minister of agriculture to consult with relevant departments as it is not possible to go at this alone. Fortunately, the ministry of tourism has come up with a Bio-Safety Bill that could partly be used in addressing such issues. “We have lost husbands, wives and children to the weevil tablet and in recent times have seen an upsurge in such cases even with school children owing to prevalence of the HIV pandemic and other sicknesses in society.”

She said the tablet was clearly being abused and called for more stringent methods of securing it so that individuals could not access it if not in the company of others. “As law makers, we should do something about this and not let the situation continue unabated. Psychological assistance is not there in Swaziland, so, people don’t know who to consult in case problems conquer them,” MP Dladla said. She said even if some regretted their actions it proved a tad too late as suicide is non-reversible.

The MP proposed that government should consider registering weevil tablets as they come through the borders and that whosoever purchases it was known and identifiable. The motion called upon Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini in consultation with the Ministry of Health and other relevant departments to introduce stringent measures to control sale of the weevil tablets.

The agriculture minister was called upon to table a report within two weeks on the issue. The Ludzeludze MP said the tablet was now being abused and reiterated something had to be done about it calling upon government to intervene.

“Some now regret their actions but suicide is not reversible,” she said. Before MPs could air their views on the issue, the agriculture minister shot up to say he accepted the motion, noting his ministry was coming up with a Bill (Pesticide) as some used other chemicals to end their lives other than weevil tablets. He said it was a clear motion and properly phrased.


Re-launch of King’s Golf Cup to assist in SADC tourism

Main Section

By Teetee Zwane - SWAZI OBSERVER-23-Oct-2009

THE 2010 re-launch of the King’s Golf Cup has been highlighted as one of the initiatives expected to address challenges in tourism development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

This initiative is part of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA)’s Strategic Plan approved on Wednesday at the organisation’s 42nd Board meeting in George, Western Cape. The strategic plan is aimed at addressing challenges faced by the region in developing and growing tourism. In a joint statement issued by the South African National Department of Tourism

And RETOSA, it was noted that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) report states that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region receives about 2% of global tourists on average instead of the expected 7%. “The lack of growth has been attributed to constraints which include the under-exploitation of the rich tourism potential, lack of proper infrastructure development, price competitiveness and non-aggressive marketing of the region,”

RETOSA is a body responsible for the promotion and marketing of tourism in 14 Southern African countries and its mandate is to leverage tourism as a major economic driver for the region. It comprises Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. At the board meeting, the organisation reviewed the repositioning of RETOSA as a semi autonomous body and its significance for tourism in Southern Africa.

RETOSA Chairperson and Director General of Tourism in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Berthe Akatshi Osako said the repositioning effectively provides RETOSA with an opportunity to transform the promotion of growth and development of tourism in the region. She added that the region could realise sustainable return on investment on its marketing efforts and market share of the global tourism arrivals through a shared-vision, improved infrastructure development and collaborative and aggressive marketing.

Director for Infrastructure Services at SADC Secretariat Remmy Makumbe said this perspective fulfilled the decision of the SADC Council to re-brand RETOSA as a vibrant coordinating and lead institution for joint marketing of tourism for the SADC region, which can rapidly respond to challenges devoid of bureaucratic tendencies.

Some of the initiatives highlighted in the Strategic Plan to address challenges in tourism development include, amongst others, the opportunity provided by the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique, the re-launch of the King’s Golf Cup in Swaziland in 2010 and the 50th anniversary in Democratic Republic of Congo.

National Department of Tourism Deputy Director General Sindiswa Nhlumayo said successful tourism depended on the supply of quality products, service excellence and the safety and security of visitors in the region. She said the leverages from the 2010 FIFA World Cup would contribute to achieving the set objectives of the organisation.

On the other hand, RETOSA Executive Director Francis Mfune said SADC was a unique tourist destination by virtue of its cultural and natural endowment and the essence of ubuntu.

“The potential of the region’s tourism product offering is immense and if effectively managed, it will take tourism experiences and arrivals to new heights.” The meeting ended yesterday at the Garden Route in the Klein Karoo.


What we need to do before a referendum

Main Section

By LUNGA MASUKU - SWAZI TIMES-24-Oct-2009

KWALUSENI – Calls for a national referendum are growing louder by the day. Amongst those calling for the referendum were high ranking Swazi officials.

This comes in the wake of calls for multi-party democracy by some vocal Swazi groups and international organisations. New diplomats from Western Europe accredited to the country have expressed their desire for a multi-party system for Swaziland.

University of Swaziland Political Science Lecturer and Professor Qambukusa Magagula believes that the country would need to do a lot before it can consider holding a national referendum. “The starting point is to teach citizens what a referendum is, before the country holds a referendum. A referendum should be democratic by nature. The country needs to first allow free political activity before calling for a referendum. The prevailing scenario is not conducive for free political activity. At the moment people were made to believe that those calling for multi-party politics were anti-monarchy, when it was not the case.

Citizens should be taught the difference between multi-party and the current system of government and that can be done by political parties themselves or even non-governmental organisations or even traditionalists can embark on it, as long as they will be impartial when doing it. At the moment proponents of multi-party were portrayed in a bad light,” said Professor Magagula.

Embracing the above mentioned points could lead to a free and fair referendum, explained the professor. Professor Magagula said in the early 60’s Swazis were tricked during that referendum, where they were asked whether they wanted the king or a reindeer popularly as ‘Mpondompondo’. To avoid a repeat of the 60s, he said the starting point would be to allow every organisation a chance to market itself before a referendum could be held.

“The referendum must be done under observation of foreign observers, so that the outcome could be binding to everyone. Our traditional system must bind itself to respect the outcome so that they can accept whatever outcome. It would also give scientific figures on the number of people who participated and to know the number of people who want or do not want change,” added Professor Magagula. Professor Magagula’s reaction comes in the wake of calls for a referendum by senior prince also Regional Administrator for Manzini Prince Masitsela. The prince was quoted by Times Sunday as saying the country’s former colonial masters were behind the obtaining political situation. He said they were the ones behind the country’s political quagmire. “All this started when King Sobhuza 11 demanded independence from the British. The British tried to pull a fast one on BakaNgwane when they threw the country’s leadership with other parties that were formed at independence. As far as I am concerned Swazis were happy with the current system of government. It is only a minority that is complaining about the system. Maybe we should hold a referendum to prove that Swazis love the current system of governance,” said the prince.

Former speaker of the House of Assembly, Mgabhi Dlamini wrote, in his Monday in column, of our sister newspaper The Times where he said we should allow a referendum to determine the future political direction of this country. He argued that bombings and border blockades and threatening to kill those political parties was not the answer. Professor Magagula lamented the repeal of the independence constitution arguing that it turned the country into a one-party state which was not good for liberal democracy. “Multi-party gives people the choice so it helps improve service delivery. I know that some may argue that countries like Botswana and South Africa have been ruled by one and the same political groups since independence but that does not take away that the countries were democratic. In South Africa the African National Congress (ANC) has been in power since 1994 while the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been in power since 1966,” said Professor Magagula.

He said the people of these countries were voting for the philosophy of that organisation instead of voting for individuals. Professor Magagula was responding to a question on the talk that in the next parliamentary elections the country was likely to experiment with independent candidates. “Independent or not independent does not mean anything because these people would be standing for elections as individuals and they would not have any election manifesto that they can use to lure voters with. Elections should be based on a philosophy not on how many soccer kits a person can buy for his/her constituency,” he said.


I grabbed him by his testicles – rape victim tells court

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

A 20-year-old brave woman of Mahwalala on Friday told the Mbabane Magistrate Courts how she grabbed testicles of a man, who was raping her at Coronation Park in Mbabane.

The survivor (name withheld) told Mbabane Magistrate Sabelo Mngomezulu that it was while her assailant was raping her for the second time that she eventually got a chance to escape. “It was while I was running half naked that he followed me and wanted more. It was then that I decided to grab him with his testicles,” she said.

She told the court that she ran from Coronation Park to the Swazi Plaza Police Post half naked to report. The survivor told the court that the accused was not known to him, but they only met at Wild Wingz and he offered to accompany her home since it was already late. “Along the way I told him that it was dark and I was afraid to walk at the Coronation Park as there were no street lights, but he told me that there was no one to attack us as he was a ‘gunman’ ” she said.

She said along the way, the accused pushed her into a thick forest, forcefully undress her and raped her. Prosecutor Stanley Dlamini moved an application that the accused be found guilty as charged as the crown has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the he did commit the offence. Dlamini said all the evidence that was given by the accused’s witness did not hold any water and it was fabricated.

In his submission, the accused said the woman agreed to have sexual intercourse with him after he had proposed love to her and she accepted. “To prove that the complainant agreed to have sex with me, along the way, near Checkers shop, I ask her to wait for me outside so that I can buy condoms and she agreed,” he said. He further submitted that while they were making love, the complainant came on top, saying he was not performing according to her expectations.

Principal Magistrate postponed the matter until 29 October where a judgement will be issued.


‘Evil spirits’ halt exams at Londunduma High

Main Section

By Sisho Magagula - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

External examinations came to a standstill on Thursday at Londunduma High School when some students were suddenly attacked by what was believed to be evil spirits (demons).

So serious was the situation such that an ambulance was hastily called to take the students to the Mbabane Government Hospital. Surprisingly, the spirits attacked only female students. There was commotion as the students suddenly screamed and rolled on the ground, loudly uttering inaudible words. They were also sobbing and covering their eyes, whilst rolling helplessly.

Most of the affected students are doing Form 4 and 5. Teachers watched with awe at the situation, whilst helping load some of the students on the ambulance. Two pastors were immediately called to pray for the students. Whilst being prayed for, the students would scream and shake their bodies violently.

Deputy Principal at the school, whose identity could not be ascertained, said this was not the first time evil spirits attacked students at the school. He stated that the same happened last year and pastors were called to calm the situation. Registrar of the Swaziland Exams Council, Dr. Edmund Mazibuko said his office had not received reports on the halting of exams at the school.

“The school has not formally reported the incident to us. If anything like that did happen, the school has to send correspondence to us and we’ll in turn advise them accordingly. Our examination rules and regulations state that a situation such as this one has to be reported to us and certain steps are taken to work on the situation,” he said.

Mazibuko said he would send officers to the school on Monday to ascertain the situation.


Three Swazis vying for Executive Director’s post

Main Section

By Alec Lushaba - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

At least Swazis, including one based in South Africa, are vying for the Swaziland Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SEPARC) Executive Director’s post.

Finance minister Majozi Sithole informed Parliament in his 2008’s Budget Speech that with the support of the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), government was planning to establish SEPARC.

The Board of Governors led by Muzikayise Dube, now with Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) started the process of recruiting the executive director hence three candidates were interviewed. Finance PS Dumsani Masilela who is also a member of the Board of Governors told the Weekend Observer that the process is almost done.

“We had hoped to have finalised the recruitment process a long time ago, but due to circumstances beyond our control, it was stalled for sometime. Our major partners, ACBF had to undergo a process of internal restructuring hence the funding of the entire process stalled. “They have since come back to us to say now everything is in place and we can continue with the recruitment exercise,” he said.

Masilela stated that given the fact that it has been a while they concluded the interviews, they have to go back to the candidate they had earmarked for the job to ascertain whether he was still available and agree on the package.

“As soon as we get clearance from the candidate and agree on his package, we should have the SEPARC up and running. “This has to be an independent body that will do research and analyse our environment and advise government on appropriate and informed choices on critical areas of investment,” he said. Masilela said members of the Board of Governors include institutions like Central Bank of Swaziland, Financial Sector, Civil Society including employers and government.

Chairman of the Board, Dube concurred with Masilela on the process and said soon they would be in a position to know whether their preferred candidate is available to assume his new position or not.

He said the executive director will have his work cut out as there is a framework document which stipulates the kind of job that has to be done.


UN gives Swaziland E350m grant

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

Swaziland is set to receive a total of over E345 million (US$46 million) for the 2009/10 year from the United Nation’s humanitarian programme.

The funds cover a broad development spectrum from HIV and AIDS, implementation of the Poverty Strategy and Action Plan (PRSAP), including a monitoring and evaluation system.

These funds were sourced under the auspices of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in Swaziland for the 2006-10 and the mentioned assistance is for this year alone. Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini said the country had benefited immensely from the UN over the years. “Through UNICEF the UN is assisting our children and providing safe water. Through UNFPA the assistance focuses on sexual reproductive health and through FAO, the UN is financing the distribution of farms aids to vulnerable families. Through WQHO we are receiving support to our primary health care.

“Preparations will soon begin in drawing up the next Development Assistance Framework 2011-2016. A valuable contribution to that framework will be the Complementary Country Assistance currently being prepared in which the most relevant development needs of the coming five years are being identified.”

The PM said the UN especially through UNDP, was the foremost global vehicle for furthering development in poorest countries to the extent of US $30 billion (E225 billion) a year.

The World Food Programme (WFP) provides 3.3 million tonnes of emergency food assistance to 86 million people in 80 countries. Speaking at the same function, Hhohho Regional Administrator Ben Nsibandze thanked the UN system and international organisations that have provided financial and material assistance to help improve the country’s socio-economic challenges over the years.

“The support and assistance I am referring to covers such major fields as poverty, hunger, education, health, agriculture. Collectively we are doing all we can to improve our national development programmes. “Only last week the country assisted by the UN system and its development partners focused attention on poverty, which is the greatest threat affecting the livelihoods of our people”.

Nsibandze said within the poverty parameter they aimed at addressing health, hunger, educational issues and food security. He concluded that the country was doing all it could to improve the lives of the people. Present at the function included parliamentarians, Principal secretaries, envoys etc.


INYANDZALEYO! 31 000 PEOPLE DIE EVERY YEAR

Main Section

By Alec Lushaba - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

The Ministry of Economic Planning and Development is sitting with scary statistics that paints a bleak future for the country.

In their possession is information that the population is shrinking towards extinction. In fact, it is projected that by the year 2050, there will be only 700 000 Swazis remaining and a majority of them will be poor.

At current rate, at least 31 000 die every year, which translates to 2 630 deaths monthly or 88 deaths daily. These statistics confirm the interim 2007 Population Census report released by then Economic Planning and Development Minister Rev. Muntu Dlamini, who at first stated that the country’s population had shrunk to a mere 954 000 people. At second analysis, it is now confirmed that the country’s population sits at 1.02 million (1 018 449 to be exact) people, a far cry from the initial 1.1 million projections touted immediately after the 1997 Population Census.

The slight increase represent 38 000 from the 980 727 people enumerated between 1997 and 1986. This translates to an average growth rate of 0.38% for the period between 1997 and 2007, which is a drastic decrease compared to a growth rate of 2.9% per year between 1986 and 1997.

The cause of the decline is linked to high mortality (death) rate and declining fertility rate (low birth rate per family). Chief Economist Nomsa Ntibane, in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development concurs with the figures and say the current statistics points to a disaster.

“The shrinking population is worrying and confirms the projections that by the year 2050 there would be about 700 000 Swazis alive. “What concerns her most is that the quality of the population will be worse off than now. The current information tells us that the majority of the people who die are those who have the means (labadla kusale). Worse still, these are the people who have the lowest fertility rate who sire one or two children. The majority of the have not are the ones who sire about four to five children and that increases the burden of dependence on government,” she said.

Ntibane said the current statistics are a concern not only to government but to even potential investors, as they tend to look at the population of the haves before deciding to invest their money.

“They look at things like what are the population growth rate figures, social indicators, health status and education. At current rate, the quality is shrinking too. It wouldn’t be of great concern if the 700 000 that would remain by 2050 would represent a quality population, but a population of dependents does not make it one,” she said. On the social side, the chief economist said people are generally frustrated by lack of jobs and having means of survival. “We need to deal with the root causes of rape, homicides and too much abuse in our society. Maybe these are indicators of people shouting for help or is it that people have lost values,” she wondered.

Ntibane said to her this is inyandzaleyo, a call for help and she is worried about the type of future generations we are going to have. She said these things probably talks to the institution of the family.

“In fact, Swaziland like many other countries is built around the institution of the family. If we allow this institution to crumble, then there is very little hope for the future. If we want to turn things around, we need to focus or target the family. “It is the family that is responsible for the upbringing of a sound society. That is not possible when government takes over the function of a family. A government doesn’t know how to raise a proper family because it doesn’t have one. We need to strengthen social cohesion,” Ntibane said.

UNISWA Head of Statistics and Demography Department Dr. Solomon Dlamini agree with the figures. Dr. Dlamini is worried too by the high number of deaths, saying some of them are preventable.

He said the low fertility level is not a concern as it is in line with regional figures, but the mortality rate is unacceptable high. “To address this challenge, it is not just a health sector problem, but needs a multi-pronged strategy,” he said. Dr. Dlamini said the country needs to target preventable deaths and emphasise family planning, so that people can have children whom they can afford to look after.

Meanwhile, Police PRO Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku say whilst he cannot talk to the figures per se, but can talk generally on their mandate, which is that of protecting life and property. “We make it a point that we are visible to prevent accidents of any nature in public roads that lead to fatalities and also in neighbourhood and emphasise on partnership policing hence nawe uliphoyisa. “We condemn any form of violence and we appeal to the sense of respect and humanity to prevail at all times to all people,” Snr. Supt Masuku states. He says where crime has been committed they try their best by engaging their officers to crime dictation. “Cases are fully investigated, suspects arrested and the matter taken to the next level of judiciary. “We try to uphold the philosophy that people should not die through illegal human act, but through old age and feebleness. “With the Lunyazi method of operation ,we will try to deal with all criminal dissidents that cause harm to innocent people.”

Historical growth of the Population of Swaziland 1966 -2007 Year Population Population Growth Rate

Increase 1966 393 916 - - 1976 520 184 126 268 2.78% 1986 712 131 191 947 3.14% 1997 980 727 268 596 2.97% 2007 1 018 449 37 722 0.38%

Fertility rate Number of children / woman 1986 6.4 (6) 1997 4.5 (5) 2007 3.8 (4)

Life expectancy Years 1997 60 2007 33

Mortality Rate Number of deaths/1000 7.6 2007 31

Infant Mortality rate IMR/1000 1997 78 2007 85 Maternal Mortality Deaths/100 000 229 2008 589


Characteristics of a successful entrepreneur

Business Section

By Alec Lushaba - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

In recent times, government through its poverty reduction strategies has initiated a number of funding schemes to encourage the culture of entrepreneurship.

Some of the notable schemes that have been initiated include the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards engineered by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade.

There has been also the private sector like Nedbank Swaziland which support women in business through its Business Women of the Year Awards and the United States funded TechnoServe’s Believe, Begin, Become (BBB) project. Over and above these schemes, funding is already available in the country’s financial institutions like FINCORP, SwaziBank, Nedbank and Standard Bank for businesses.

This is over and above the stage funded small schemes through the Regional Development Fund and other funding initiatives initiated by the State to stimulate economic activity. Given the lack of capacity amongst the populace to appreciate what they need to do to venture into or tap into the available financial resources, the Weekend Observer brings you some tips that would stimulate your interest to think of starting your own business.

Guts:

Guts mean you must have an entrepreneurial instinct, which is an overwhelming desire to have your own business. You must have the guts and dedication to be completely devoted to your goal. Incidentally, devotion to your goal is much more likely if you have a love for your intended business. Life is too short to start a business that doesn’t give you satisfaction and joy. And, through good times and bad times, you will stick with something you love. As Solomon said, “There is nothing better for men (and women!) than they should be happy in their work-so let them enjoy it now.”

Brains:

While appropriate educational credentials are important, entrepreneurial ‘brains’ means more than scholastic achievements. To become a successful entrepreneur, you should have a working knowledge about the business you plan to start before you start it. Common sense, combined with appropriate experience, is the necessary brainpower. Prudence, follow through and attention to detail are very important.

Capital:

Every business needs money of your own plus sufficient cash to maintain a positive cash flow for at least a year. In a future session operating entrepreneurs will learn how to forecast future cash requirements through cash flow control. Many businesses can be started on a very small scale with a small investment. Then, as the business grows and you gain experience, cashflow from your business can be used for growth. In some cases, you don’t need starting capital to hire other people because you might start by doing everything yourself. The ‘do it yourself’ start is a good way to learn everything about your business and also makes you better qualified to delegate work to others later on. You can control your risk by placing a limit on how much you invest in your business

Step-by-Step Approach

Decide if you really want to be in business: You are putting some (not all, hopefully) of your net worth at risk. You may run the risk of becoming eccentric, meaning creating a life that is out of balance, with working hours taking away from other family or pleasurable activities. There may be levels of stress you have not experienced as an employee.

Decide what business and where:

Once you are satisfied you have the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur and that you definitely want to be in business, then you must decide which business is best for you and where to locate that business. Selection strategy is covered later on in this session. Also see Session 16 Home Based Business for those considering operating a business from their home

Decide whether to operate full-time or moonlight: There are some interesting advantages and some pitfalls in operating as a moonlight business. (That is, a business you start in your off hours while still working at your current job.) More often than not, the advantages of starting as a moonlighter outweigh the risks: You avoid burning your bridges of earnings including retirement, health and fringe benefits and vacations. Your full-time job won’t suffer if you maintain certain conflict of interest disciplines, including compartmentalising your job and business into completely separate worlds. You can avoid conflict of interest with your job by choosing a business that is appropriate for moonlighting, such as single products, real estate, specialised food, e-commerce, direct marketing or family-run operations. There are great advantages for operating a family business. If you are a moonlighter the family can run the business while you are at work. You have a built-in organisational structure. You can teach your kids the benefits of being in business. But there are also some pitfalls to consider in starting a moonlight business: There is a temptation to spend time at your job working on your moonlight business. That is unfair to your employer and should not be done under any circumstances. (You may need a family member or some trusted person to cover emergencies when you are at your job.)

Another problem may be competing with your employer, which is not right. Think of how you would feel or handle this employee if you were the boss. Any kind of conflict with your regular work can jeopardise your job and moonlight business. Overwork and mental and physical exhaustion can also become a very real problem for moonlight entrepreneurs. A special message for people in transition: If you happen to be unemployed and are thinking about starting a business, our following template “Helping People in Transition“ will offer some suggestions.

Selection Strategy

Operating the wrong business is the most frequent mistake that start-up entrepreneurs make. Here is a checklist to help you evaluate if you are in a potentially successful one or to reassess the business you are in: If you have not yet selected a business, take your time and wait for the business that is just right for you. You will not be penalised for missing opportunities. The selection process takes a lot of planning and your experience and complete knowledge is vital for your success. Don’t tackle or pursue businesses that may be too challenging. It is better to identify a one-foot hurdle than try to jump a seven-footer. Try to identify a business that has long-term economic potential. Follow Wayne Gretzky’s advice, “Go to where the puck is going, not to where it is.” A big mistake can be an error of omission. This means you may fail to see an opportunity that is right in front of you. Keep in mind that as a general rule specialists do better than non-specialists. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to take your sick cat to a veterinarian whose practice is limited to cats rather than to a general practitioner?

Operate a business that will grow in today’s and tomorrow’s markets. Many small retail stores are no longer in business because huge stores such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot provide more choices to the customer and often at a cheaper price. Follow the advice of Chairman Warren Buffett, of Berkshire-Hathaway Inc. and the most successful business picker in American history. Buffett looks for businesses that focus on a “consumer monopoly” with pricing power and long-term predictable growth prospects. Here are two books that will give you invaluable insights into how Buffett selects businesses in which to invest. BUFFETTOLOGY by Mary Buffett and David Clark. The previously unexplained techniques that have made Warren Buffett the world’s most famous investor. THE WARREN BUFFETT WAY by Robert G. Hagstrom, Jr. Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investor. You can copycat these basic principles to help select your own business.

Businesses to avoid are “commodity” businesses where you must compete entirely on price and in which you must have the lowest cost to survive. As Buffett has said, “In a commodity type business you’re only as smart as your dumbest competitor.” Most service businesses have pricing power. Pricing power means that you will not need to have the lowest price in order to secure business. Your customers will be willing to pay a fair price for a better product or service. Should you bet on a business you don’t know when you can bet on a business you do know?

If you are manufacturing a product, consider the pros and cons of contracting out production to a low-cost supplier. In other words, operate a “hollow corporation.” A “hollow corporation” is a company that subcontracts manufacturing and packaging.

If your business is based on marketing an invention or patent, keep these ideas in mind: First check to determine if there are any issued patents similar to your idea. You can secure information from the U.S. Patent office at www.uspto.gov. Be cautious about getting involved with firms that ask for up-front fees to market an invention. No matter what you hope for, you will need a product to test, to show and to solicit feedback.

Things to Avoid:

Impatience Do not let overconfidence short circuit you from analysing your business carefully. You must not fear hearing the negative aspects; it is much better to be aware of them and face them early on. The lure of high rewards. They will come if you have selected the right business and if you understand every aspect of the business before you open its doors.

Required Activities It is worth repeating again: The most common mistake and the most costly one is not selecting the right business initially. This is the time for soul searching for operating entrepreneurs.

IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DECIDED ON A BUSINESS, DO THIS: On the top of a blank sheet of paper, write an activity you like to perform (make this the heading). Do a separate page for each activity or interest you have. On those same sheets list as many businesses you can think of that are related to that activity. On the same sheets, list all the products or services you can think of that are related to that activity. Use your imagination and think of every possible product or service you could perform. Make a list of businesses that do better in bad times (one may be appropriate for you). Some examples might be pawnshops, auto repairs and fabric stores.

EXAMPLE Let’s assume you end up with three potential businesses: towing service, used car sales and auto repairs. You can now make a comparative evaluation using the following checklist (or better still your own checklist) with a 1-10 scoring system. This kind of analysis can help you gain objectivity in selecting your business. This kind of analysis can help you gain objectivity in selecting your business.

Unleashing Entrepreneurship Believe Begin Become is a business plan competition (BPC) developed by TechnoServe to support and grow new businesses in Africa. It is an incentivised, practical training and business development program to help entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into fundable and implementable business plans. The program is currently being run in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Swaziland.

This program is designed to give enterprising men and women the training and resources they need to launch or expand businesses, while fostering a broader culture of entrepreneurship within their country. Believe Begin Become is based on a similar program that we established in 2002 in Latin America, where we currently run BPCs in Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.

Our BPCs catalyze the creation and expansion of profitable and competitive small- and medium-scale (SME) enterprises—a vital engine of growth, jobs and income in the developing world. They also create a vehicle for local financial institutions to provide access to capital and build momentum for SME development, spurring governments into action. Source: www.myownbusiness.org and TechnoServe


Agriculture, Investment: A thought about Swaziland

Business Section

By Muzikayise Dube - SWAZI OBSERVER-24-Oct-2009

The agricultural sector in most countries, including Swaziland, still continues to serve a critical and indispensable role in contributing to food security, rural development, employment creation and poverty reduction.

According to the World Food Summit Plan of Action 1996, food security is defined as: “all people, at all times, having the physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food in order to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” Clearly therefore, food security is more than just food production, nutrition or food aid.

Alleviating hunger, a severe manifestation of poverty, depends in the long run on sustainable and broad-based economic growth and income generation. In many poor countries, these depend on a productive, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector. To achieve these conditions, countries must invest in rural areas to strengthen agriculture, aquaculture, the food system, and infrastructure and to restore and conserve critical natural resources for agricultural production. This requires both public and private investment, both domestic and foreign. Investing in agriculture and aquaculture for food security means that community together with government, the private sector, multilateral and bilateral efforts at national level should all be focused on a common vision and agenda for food security.

Misconception Many investors shy away from agricultural investment because of a misconception that agriculture is a very risky venture, but the reality is that chances to reap large financial rewards are great. Whether the venture is risky or not does not lie in the sector but more on the investor himself. It will indeed be risky to invest in low-quality land as opposed to good quality where one can harvest good returns. By being able to provide the basic necessity - food, agriculture creates an immense economic impact by way of stimulating the economy and addressing the global food situation.

The lack of investments in agriculture can constrain the ability of the country’s poorest people to cope with climatic and economic shocks. Despite perceived low returns on investing in marginalised areas by donors and the private sector, investing in developing country agriculture pays for itself by reducing poverty. A healthy agricultural sector acts as a multiplier in local economies, leading eventually to higher wages and vibrant rural markets where farmers and workers spend their earnings.

The Government of Swaziland has in place, the National Development Strategy (NDS), which essentially comprises a national vision, a vision that has seemingly been adopted by stakeholders. The NDS underlines the need to define and strengthen national policies geared towards poverty alleviation in the long-term and also provides an overall development framework for the agriculture sector to contribute significantly in the development of the country. It recognises that poverty is more prevalent in the rural areas, and therefore suggests that investment in smallholder agriculture, among other organised means, will be vital in poverty alleviation.

Furthermore, government’s five-year plan of action provides a short to medium-term framework for prioritising development interventions in the country. Its focus is on development of a sustainable economy and enhancing economic growth through expansion of the private sector, encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI), the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), industrialisation, the provision of infrastructure and regional development.

Agriculture is the only basis we have for feeding humanity. If our agriculture is not sustainable then we, the human species, will also be unsustainable. By defining and strengthening the appropriate national policies, one would prevent bottom farmers from crashing to welfare dependency. Empowering and equipping our farmers will uplift their standards of living as they take advantage of existing and future opportunities

Poverty The Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan (PRSAP) which includes policies and action programmes that ensure that growth is participatory and inclusive; and takes place through greater and equitable access to productive assets is aimed at increasing the efficiency of individuals. The policy objective is to create an environment that will empower the poor to participate actively in elevating their standards of living as they make use of the available opportunities. At the focal point of this is the transformation of the agricultural sector, structural reforms, investing in the lives of the poor to reduce their risks and vulnerability and restructuring the public expenditure pattern.

Agriculture is also important from the standpoint of assessing a country’s development, based on the capability of its farmers. Poorly trained farmers cannot apply the higher methods and new technologies. Even if agriculture frequently contributes to the gross domestic product of a country, it still requires a substantial increase from both the local and the international community. Nowadays, the importance of agriculture lies in the fact that people practice it both for subsistence and commercial purposes. So important is the role of agriculture that new concepts keep looming to give the traditional activity a modern turn.

Sustained agricultural growth and measures to raise farm productivity and farm incomes should be key priorities of the Government. Investment is of special interest as a limiting factor to agricultural production capacity and production because an alarming trend is being observed: public and private investment in agriculture has been declining (World Food Summit, 1996a). The decline in public investment is of particular concern because investing in basic infrastructure, human capital formation and research and development are necessary conditions for private investment. Public investments also promote technology adoption, stimulate complementary on-farm investment and input use and are needed for marketing the agricultural goods produced.

Improvements Economists recognise that, though difficult to measure, a comprehensive agricultural investment measure should include improvements in land, development of natural resources and development of human and social capital in addition to physical capital formation. Public funds will be needed to achieve a better functioning agricultural system and food security, including research and development; large-scale infrastructure such as roads and power; and education, sanitation, clean water supply and healthcare. Public and private expenditures on research and development are often used to proxy the level of human capital as well.

Required areas of investments include crops and livestock production, downstream support services such as cold chains, storage facilities, market facilities and first-stage processing. Most of the investment will come from private investors, including farmers purchasing implements and machinery and businesses investing in processing facilities. Foreign direct investment in agriculture in the country can make a significant contribution to bridging the investment gap.

Such deals should be designed in such a way as to maximize benefits to the country, effectively increasing food security and reducing poverty.


Families worried ‘child-killer’ could be released

Main Section

By SIBUSISO NGUBANE - SWAZI TIMES-25-Oct-2009

SIGOMBENI – Families of three of the children allegedly hacked by a Zionist at KaGoboyane in Big Bend on Tuesday night now live in fear.

Interviewed by the Times SUNDAY after the mass funeral of the three young ones, held at Sigombeni, Hlengiwe Simelane, the owner of the homestead where the incident occurred, said they were still shocked. She said since the incident occurred she had been having nightmares and could not sleep.

She said the way Dumsani Mkhonta, who allegedly brutally murdered the four children, attacked them was so scary that she feared going back to her homestead. She does not know what will happen when they get back there.

Uncomfortable

Simelane, who is the mother of one of the deceased children, said what made them more uncomfortable was the possibility that Mkhonta might be mentally unstable. “If he is certified to be mentally unstable, government might release him and what will happen to us? I fear that he would come after us if he is released,” she said.

The teary-eyed woman explained that the incident would haunt her for a long time. She said she and her family were vulnerable to attacks as they lived all by themselves since her husband passed away in 2003. Three of the four children were buried at a mass funeral yesterday at their grandfather’s home. Simelane explained that they agreed with the parents of the other children, who are relatives, that the young ones be buried together.

The three children buried at Sigombeni are Lungelo Mhlanga (three), Simphiwe Nkonyane (five) and Mlamuli Simelane (six). The bereaved woman explained that Lungelo and Simphiwe were her grandchildren, but lived with her. Simelane said she miraculously survived the attack, even though the accused allegedly hacked her on her right foot and hit her with the bush knife on the neck. She said they were still confused about what might have led Mkhonta to attack them as he had gone to Good Shepherd hospital in Siteki with his wife and returned in the afternoon.

During the interview, Simelane was with her daughter, Nomathemba, who also survived the attack. Nomathemba, a Form Four pupil, suffered injuries on the head, hands and knees. Enock Simelane, a relative to the deceased children, said they were still in the dark about the whole incident. “We are still sad about the incident, but we cannot blame anyone yet as we are still to find out what led to it,” he said.

He said they would have suspected foul play if Mkhonta had only hacked the three children but since he hacked his own child, it was difficult for them to figure out what might have led to the attack. The mass funeral went well and there were no disturbances whatsoever even during the night vigil. Asked whether relatives of Mkhonta were present during the funeral, he said he was not sure as a lot of people showed up. While the three children were buried yesterday, Mkhonta’s child, Philiswa was buried on Friday.

Alleged killer a responsible man - landlady

SIGOMBENI – Hlengiwe Simelane, the landlady of the homestead where Dumsani Mkhonta allegedly hacked eight people, leaving four children dead, said the latter was supposed to have vacated the house he rented last month.

Simelane told the Times SUNDAY that Mkhonta bought a piece of land around Bhunya and had just completed building his homestead.

She said initially, Mkhonta and his wife had planned to leave the Simelane homestead last month but for some reasons they postponed. “I asked them why they were not leaving because I had already found a person who was going to replace them in the house they rented,” she said, while trying to hold back tears.

Staying

She explained that Mkhonta, who works at Bhunya, staying at her homestead about five months ago. She said Mkhonta told her he was sorting a few problems but as soon as they were sorted, he was going to vacate the house. She revealed that Mkhonta and his wife had told her about their intention to leave the homestead about two months ago. She described Mkhonta as a person who was very quiet and would spend most of his time in the house he rented with his wife.

“He did not like his wife to mingle with the other tenants,” she said. She alleged that she was once told by Mkhonta’s wife Bethusile before the incident occurred that he used to brutally beat her but he stopped.

Children’s murder a national tragedy

SIGOMBENI – Assistant Headman of Sigombeni Chiefdom Amos Madzinane says what has befallen the Simelane family is a national tragedy.

Speaking on behalf of the chiefdom during the mass funeral of the three children, Madzinane said when one person dies, it is a family issue but when four children die at once, it becomes a national tragedy. “We have heard of car accidents, people burning in houses, but we have never heard or seen such a tragedy before,” said the assistant headman.

Shocked

He said they were shocked to learn of the incident and he sympathised with the Simelane family for their loss. The mass funeral was attended by among others Ludzeludze MP Nonhlanhla Dlamini, Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors member Thabile Myeni, Secretary General of the unregistered police union Khanyakwezwe Mhlanga, relatives and members of the general public, who came in their numbers.

MPs assist family with funeral costs

SIGOMBENI – The call for help by the Simelane family to bury the three children who were allegedly hacked by Dumsani Mkhonta did not go unnoticed as two Members of Parliament came to their rescue.

Trusty Gina and Nonhlanhla Dlamini, the Members of Parliament for Nkilongo and Ludzeludze constituencies respectively assisted the family in paying some of the costs for the mass funeral. Gina, under whose constituency the incident occurred, assisted the families of all the four children who were allegedly hacked by Mkhonta.

According to Enock Simelane, Gina also paid the expenses of keeping the deceased children in the mortuary, as well as transporting them from Santa Lucia Funeral Undertakers in Mbabane to Sigombeni. He revealed that Dlamini, the Ludzeludze Member of Parliament, who is also a resident of Sigombeni, helped the family with food.

“We are very grateful to both Members of Parliament for assisting the family in such time of grief,” said Simelane. He also thanked members of the communities of Sigombeni, KaGoboyane and Mndobandoba for being with the family. He further thanked all those who attended supported them spiritually, financially, emotionally or otherwise.


FA’s E250 000 bill !

Sports Section

By LWAZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-25-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The National team, Sihlangu not only suffered ano-ther ignominious exit in the group stages of the COSAFA Senior Challe-nge Cup for the fourth time running, but the fruitless sojourn has left the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS)

MBABANE – The National team, Sihlangu not only suffered ano-ther ignominious exit in the group stages of the COSAFA Senior Challe-nge Cup for the fourth time running, but the fruitless sojourn has left the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) with a big hole in its pockets.

The host, Zimbabwe, apparently renegade in some of the promises they had indicated they would fulfill as hosts including participation fee and allowances for the players and as a result, the FA now has to foot the bill, which currently stands at over E250 000.

The money is in respect of air-fares, which amount to E180 000 alone, plus players training and match fee allowances.

withdrew

The host, Zimbabwe, was hard done when South African Breweries (SAB), who had earlier indicated they would co-sponsor the tournament with the Zimbabwean Tourism Depart-ment, shockingly withdrew at the eleventh hour. As a result, there was no package for the tournament and COSAFA is currently working around the clock to negotiate sponsorship for next year.

In the end, the host, Zimbabwe co-uld only cover accommodation expenses for the participating countries. Sihlangu was booked at Church-hill Hotel in the heart of Bulawayo. National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngo-mezulu confirmed that they now had to settle some of the outstanding bills.

“COSAFA is still to reconcile some of the invoices we have to pay. “There were no allowances for players this time and some of the benefits they had been promised could not be fulfilled like the transport, which we have to pay,” he said.Mngomezulu said all those expenses now had to be catered for by the association.

expenses

He said among expenses was the players’ allowances “and we have to sit down, calculate the number of matches and pay them.” Mngomezulu said Sihlangu won’t rest after the COSAFA Senior Challenge’s fruitless sojourn and would be playing some friendly games in the forthcoming last two FIFA weekends before the end of the year. “We want to maintain the same squad so that by the time they play Zimbabwe in the African Cup of Nations Championships in March, they can produce a better perfor-mance than in the COSAFA,” Mngomezulu noted.


Swaziland King leaves Yemen

Main Section

YEMEN NEWS AGENCY - SABA NET-25-Oct-2009

ADEN, Oct. 24 (Saba) - Monarch of Swaziland Mswatti III left Aden city on Saturday after a few-day visit to Yemen.

During his visit, Mswatti held talks with President Ali Abdullah Saleh and a number of the state officials and businessmen.

He also discussed the cooperation relations between the two countries and ways of boosting them in the various fields as well as a number of issues related to the regional and international developments of common concern.

"It was a good opportunity to support the diplomatic relations and developing the trade and investments ties between the two countries", Mswatti said.

Hr expressed his pleasure for signing a cooperation agreement and establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries by which a ministerial committee to be formed to enhance the bilateral cooperation in the different trade, economic and political areas.

Mswatti III arrived in Yemen on Wednesday for a three-day visit to discuss the bilateral relationship between Yemen and his kingdom as well as means to boost mutual cooperation.

MB/BA Saba


Ncandweni reconcile

Main Section

By Phila - SWAZI TIMES-26-Oct-2009

MANZINI – After months of in-fighting within Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors, the feuding parties on Saturday put their differences aside.

This happened in an emotional fashion, charact-erised by prayer, punctuated tears and climaxed in a performance by the group led by Lubulini Member of Parliament Timothy Myeni together with Khayalethu Masuku and Mzwakhe Myeni, for the first time since their much publicised fall out. All this unfolded during Sazi Mamba’s, a gospel artist’s wedding at the Divine Healing Ministries. Mamba was getting married to Siphiwe Dlamini.

Suspensions

The multi-award winning group had temporarily split after suspensions on Mzwakhe and Masuku but reunited for the performance in front of over 200 guests and were also prayed for by Bishop Nash Shongwe. Ncandweni was amongst the groups that had been invited to provide entertainment. Myeni had suspended both his brother and Masuku after misunderstandings in the group. Masuku was slapped with a suspension after being arrested and found guilty of drink-driving, while Mzwakhe’s reasons for suspension were not mentioned in public.

The reconciliation played itself out after gospel artist and Nhlambeni MP Frans Dlamini, who was the Master of Ceremony (MC), called Mzwakhe to take the stage. After he had finished singing a few songs, Mzwakhe asked to sing a duet with Masuku, which was to be their last song.

While they were singing the song titled ‘Yiba Nami Nkosi’ (be with me Lord), some of the people began to scream, while others shed tears after seeing the troubled Masuku on stage for the first time since his arrest. Soon after they had sang, one of the pastors who had attended the wedding, Pastor Cyprian Mkhwanazi stood up and asked all the artists who had attended to stand. He then said while Mzwakhe and Khayalethu were singing, God told him that he should pray for the two together with the other artists. As he was still talking, Timothy stood up with the others and shed tears.

Prayed

When Mkhwanazi finished praying, Timothy went to the front, where Mzwakhe and Khayalethu were standing. He bowed down and they joined them. Bishop Nash Shongwe who was also present went to the front to pray for the three. By then, most people who were present were in tears.

Soon after the prayer the M.C then called Ncandweni to take the stage. Mzwakhe and Masuku went back to their seats while the rest of the members went to the stage. Just as Ncandweni began to sing, Mzwakhe and Masuku joined the group, something that brought emotions to almost everyone who had attended.

The group sang one of their hit songs titled ‘Noma Ungawubasa lowo mlilo ngeke sikhothame’ (even if the Devil can set the fire on, we shall not bow). Gospel music lovers danced with the group, as all the members sang together.

Most people congratulated the group members for reconciling in this manner urging the group to continue praying. Others promised to pray for them stating that the reconciliation was a sign of new beginnings. Myeni was non-committal on the next official move for the group and if this means Masuku’s suspension would be lifted. He said the public would be notified of any new developments in time.

...I saw God in action - Frans

MANZINI – Gospel singer and Nhlambeni MP Frans Dlamini who was the Master of Ceremony (MC) during the wedding says he saw God in action.

Dlamini, who also played a major role in the reconciliation of Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors, said he saw God mending the broken pieces. “What is impossible with men, is possible with God. We are all aware that Ncandweni was faced with serious challenges but today (Saturday), we saw God reuniting the group,” he said.

Dlamini added, “I thank God for performing miracles during this wedding, something that is not usual. God reunited the group and they once again sang together and became the group that we knew. Indeed I can say that I personally saw God in action.” He urged Christians to continue praying for the group so that the work that God had started should not come to the end. “We need to strongly pray for the group members. Since they are now together, we have to play a major role in making it a point that they do not split,” he said.

...Timothy, Thabile cry on stage

MANZINI – Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors’ leader Timothy Myeni and his sister Thabile became emotional and cried after seeing the group reuniting.

It could not be gathered as to what made them cry. It took close to five minutes before the group could begin to sing and most of the people were already shedding tears of joy. These include gospel artist Sipho Makhabane.

Most of the people who attended were happy that the group came together and became one. They said the group had said been divided for a long time. It has been about six months since they last performed together.


Shock for Swazi pupils wishing to study in SA

Main Section

By SABELO MAZIBUKO-- SWAZI TIMES-26-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Swazi pupils who have finished Form Five and are preparing to enroll for matric in South Africa are in for a shock

They will now virtually have to restart Form Three before proceeding to Grade Twelve as the programme has since been upgraded. This shocking news was disclosed by the Cefups. principal M. Makofane during their prospective parents meeting held at City Inn Hotel.

Cefups is a private school in South Africa situated 11 kilometres away from Nelspruit and has been in operation for a full 16 years and offers tuition from Grade 1 to 12. “Parents are advised to send their children there after completing Form Two here in Swaziland so they will join Grade 10 (Form Three) and then they will be eligible to write the final matric exam.

Reason

The reason is that the course is now three years starting from Grade 10 (Form Three),” the principal said. Makofane said all has resulted from the rules that have since been imposed and they too as a school they cannot challenge them. That means pupils who have finished Form Five in Swaziland and in any other country excluding South Africa will have to go back to Form Three in South Africa in order for them to write matric.

Understand

He said as a school they understand the pain which will be felt by parents but there is nothing they can do because of a new version of the syllabus that was introduced specifically for South Africans without considering interest from Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) countries.

He, however, said those who had already been registered for the one year course will not be affected as they have already enrolled and today they are writing their exams. Makofane, however, noted that a pupil might apply but end up not being considered because of the criteria used to select those who qualified.


LLDC ministers adopt Ezulwini Declaration

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-26-Oct-2009

MBABANE – Trade ministers of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) adopted the Ezulwini Declaration, which denounces all protective measures that may curtail market access for these countries’ products.

The declaration, which was adopted during the closed session of the last day of the third Meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs that was held at the Convention Centre on Thursday also expresses the ministers’ concern about the economic and social implications of the global economic crisis, particularly with regard to the impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Jabulile Mashwama said through the declaration, Trade ministers of LLDCs also called upon their bilateral and multilateral development partners to honour their development commitments and to also take decisive measures in support of LLDCs.


‘Izinyoka’ steal 300m copper wire

Main Section

By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Oct-2009

COPPER wire thieves ripped and stole 300 metres of power lines belonging to the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) at Bethany over the weekend.

Police PRO Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku said it was suspected that the stolen wire would be sold to scarp metal companies.

lamented

Masuku lamented the theft of the wire, saying the only people who could assist to arrest the culprits were the scrap metal companies. “The scrap metal companies should write down the names of all the people who sold material to them. This would help the police in tracking down the culprits.” He also appealed to the public to call the police to report any suspicious theft of copper wire.


SD, Moz, Mpumalanga sign landmark MoU

Main Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Oct-2009

Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa’s Mpumalanga province have signed a landmark memorandum of understanding which will see a free flow of tourists from the three destinations leading to the 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa.

The signing took place at the Royal Villas at Ezulwini last Friday. Mpumalanga and the two countries were represented by top brass in their respective tourism sectors, with Swaziland also having the Minister for Tourism and Environmental affairs, Macford Sibandze, being represented by the Minister for Health, Bennedict Xaba.

The package is designed to create some sort of a village between the three destinations, with tourists having possible access to all three in a space of 24 hours. The idea is to ensure that people are able to enjoy the rich wildlife in


Tripartite to advertise extensively

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-26-Oct-2009

The tourism package signed between the Mpumalanga province, Swaziland and Mozambique is set to be advertised extensively in order to lure tourists to these destinations during the 2010 world cup

The trio is set to take full advantage of the city of Mbombela being one of the host cities during the tournament and draw tourists from other cities as well. Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) Board Chairperson, Tim Zwane said the 2010 world cup was a once in a lifetime opportunity, hence the need to take full advantage of it.

“Soon after the signing, marketing in the region would be re-enforced. The tripartite shall jointly do marketing research, planning, and engage in campaigns aimed at sensitising people about our routes. We aim to use sales promotions, travel agencies as well as public campaigns to achieve our targets,” he said.

Zwane further added that their vision was to become a model for the Southern African hemisphere, if not the whole African continent. “We have to create genuine friendliness at all our borders, strengthen information dissemination in our target markets, as well as provide added information in relation to road safety, and so on,” he said.

His words were echoed by both Mpumalanga and Mozambique, who emphasised the need to make the route the most attractive in the region and beyond. “We have to sell good news and stories about the African continent, because in doing so, we would be intensifying the African brand,” said Mpumalanga’s Sabelo Mahlalela.


TIMOTHY, THABILE CRY ON STAGE

Main Section

NONHLANHLA MATHUNJWA -- SWAZI TIMES-26-Oct-2009

MANZINI - Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors leader Timothy Myeni and his sister Thabile became emotional and cried after seeing the group reuniting

It could not be gathered as to what made them cry. It took close to five minutes vefore the group could begin to sing and most of the epople were already shedding tears of joy. Those include gospel artist Sipho Makhabane.

Most of the people who attended were happy that the group came together and became one.

They said the group had divided for a long time. It has been about six months since they last performed together.


Storm leaves disaster

Main Section

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

SIKHUPHE – The heavy rains that fell over the past weekend not only caused damage to several residences but also struck along the Sikhuphe airport construction site.

Construction workers were surprised to discover that equipment worth approximately E400 000 was washed away while in the Shiselweni region over 20 homesteads were destroyed by similar heavy rains.

At Sikhuphe the equipment had been on the bank of Sulutane River at a construction site, about six kilometres away from the Mpaka/Manzini highway. This is along the Sikhuphe public road which is currently under construction. S&B Site-foreman Augusto Quintela explained that a temporary earth dam which was situated about 200 metres from a bridge which they are constructing, burst.

“Besides, washing away the equipment, the rain caused damage on the site and it will take some time to rapair,” he said. He then appealed to members of the public who reside along the river bank to return the material if they happen to find it. In the event they fail to retrieve some of the equipment, he said they would have to liaise with their insurance company.

Asked about the effects of the damage, Quintela said it had delayed the construction time frame. “We will lose about a week or more in clearing and cleaning. However, before the rains, we were on schedule,” he said. When the newspaper arrived at the site, some workers were found clearing the area using a compressor to pump-out water. Others were searching for the beams that have been washed away.

Fortunately, there was not much damage to homesteads that are situated along the river banks because they are far. Residents were found tilting their fields. He anticipated that the road will be completed by April 2010.


Over 25 homesteads destroyed

Main Section

By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-27-Oct-2009

NHLANGANO-Due to the strong winds and heavy rainfall on Sunday, over 25 homesteads at Mantambe constituency were destroyed.

According to the constituency headman, Nicky Sithole most of the homes had their roofs blown away by the strong wind and the inside of the houses filled with water whilst others were partly destroyed. Sithole said he, together with some officials from the constituency, assessed the situation and discovered that the families were in need of immediate help as many were left homeless.

“Even the figure could increase because I think many families are still to report their cases,” said Sithole. Gogo Nicholina Shadu (74) of Mantambe said the hailstorm started at around 4pm and was from the western direction. She said her roof was damaged such that the corrugated iron was found 500 metres away. Shadu said she got trapped inside the house for almost 30 minutes and luckily for her a neighbour, Mthembeni Mhlanga (50), came to her rescue and broke down the door.

Gogo Shadu said the bad part was when the lightning would strike, whilst at the same time there was heavy rainfall. “I shared my room with two of my grandsons attending Mantambe High School whose school material was also destroyed as the text books were littered all over the place,” said Shadu.


Govt to hire Religious Affairs overseer

Main Section

By Phila - SWAZI TIMES-27-Oct-2009

LOBAMBA – Government is in the process of hiring a person to oversee issues that have to do with religion.

The person is to be known as the Coordinator of Religious Affairs and will be based at the Ministry of Home Affairs. Home Affairs Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze yesterday told Parliament that the Ministry of Public Service has already been notified of the need for such a person and the rightful candidate would soon be identified. “The person will be a civil servant and will be hired through the Civil Service Commission. The office will function independently,” Gamedze said.

The minister was responding to a question from Mbabane West MP Johannes Shongwe who had called upon the ministry to, in consultation with the Ministry of Public Service, consider the creation of a post of Director of Religion. After the minister had explained that the position would soon be made available, MPs had questions regarding the criteria to be used in employing the person as well as his functions.

Gege MP Musa Kunene wondered whether or not the candidate would be drawn from existing religious organisations like the League of Churches. Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo asked the minister if the new post will not clash with duties that are performed by organisations like the League of Churches.

“The person won’t be a member of a particular religious organisation but will be independently hired by the CSC and the duties will not clash with that of the League,” responded the minister.

Guduza kicks AG out of chambers

LOBAMBA – A constantly ringing mobile phone irked Speaker Prince Guduza who ended ordering the owner of the gadget to move out of the august House.

When the Speaker heard the mobile phone ringing, he called upon the owner to get out and switch the gadget off but no one responded, prompting the prince to state that there would be stern action taken against the responsible person once identified. “Honourable members I call upon the owner of the cellphone to move out of the House to switch off the gadget,” said the Speaker.

Eyes of the honourable ones quickly moved towards MP Johannes Shongwe’s direction but the latter said it was not him. After minutes of finger pointing, Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini stood up and walked out of the House. Mkhiweni MP Rodgers Mamba said the House could not continue with its business without the AG, but the Speaker ruled him out of order hence business continued.

20 security companies violating the law

LOBAMBA – A total of 20 security companies have been found to be in breach of labour laws in the way they treat their employees.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Patrick Mamba told the House of Assembly that these companies would soon appear before the country’s courts to answer on charges of violating the labour laws. The minister was responding to a question from Matsanjeni North MP Nkululeko Mbhamali who wanted Mamba to explain why there was no legal action taken against owners of security companies who subjected their employees to long hours of work.

“As a ministry we’ve conducted a number of inspections to see whether the security companies were adhering to labour laws and out of the 25 that we examined, 20 were found to be in total breach of the laws,” Mamba said. He named the laws that were being violated as the Compensation Act of 1983, the Employment Act of 1980 and the Safety and Occupational Health Act.

The minister said they were working hand in hand with unions and labour federations in making sure that security company employees are not abused.

Speaker gets tough on brother

LOBAMBA – A no nonsense Parliament Speaker Prince Guduza yesterday showed no remorse for his brother and minister Prince Sihlangusemphi.

The Speaker did not take kindly to the minister walking in front of Minister of Labour and Social Security Patrick Mamba while addressing the House. Protocol of the august House dictates that no one shall walk in front of a person who has the floor, instead one is supposed to walk behind the person.

“I would like to call upon the honourable minister to please stand up and go back to walk behind the person who has the floor. The minister did the same thing when he walked out of the House as he disregarded that someone was speaking by walking in front of him,” the Speaker said. Minister Sihlangusemphi adhered to the Speaker’s order and walked behind Mamba.


Chiefs want cattle pounds built at their chiefdoms

Main Section

By KWANELE DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-27-Oct-2009

MANZINI – Chiefs have recommended that pounds should be constructed in their chiefdoms if the problem of stray cattle is to be solved.

This was heard at a meeting the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini held with chiefs from Manzini region at S&B Restaurant in Matsapha where he sought their intervention on the issue of stray cattle. The minister told the chiefs that his ministry had done more than enough to remove cattle from public roads and to sensitise cattle-owners to take responsibility of their animals, but nothing seems to work.

“As a ministry, we do not seem to succeed in the fight against stray cattle which make their way to public roads hence seeking your intervention. We have since realised that impounding the animals has proved not to be the solution,” said the minister to the chiefs. He added that the ministry was contemplating hiking the fine to reclaim impounded cattle and to add two more trucks.

Each region will have its own truck. Manzini Administrator Prince Masitsela said the Manzini region needed about three trucks on its own. Acting Chief of Kutsimuleni, Lomalombo Dlamini suggested that it would be better to have the pounds closer to the people as the available ones are too far from the communities. As a result, Chief Mdlaka Gamedze of Bulunga said people would easily know that their cattle had been impounded and reclaim them before the fine escalates. Currently, the cost of reclaiming an impounded beast is E200 per 12 hours.

The minister assured chiefs that the ministry will provide any chief who has a piece of land set aside for the pound with the necessary material to set it up. “If a chief approaches us, we will send our officials to take measurements of the land and provide the fence, poles and other material that may be required,” he said. He said chiefs would be monitored to ensure that the fence provided by the ministry is used appropriately. The ministry will also ‘look’ after the person who will man the pound and this person is expected to come from that chiefdom.

The minister revealed that two chiefs have already indicated that they have set aside land for the pound to be constructed in their chiefdoms. These are Chief Sbengwane and the newly installed chief of Mdumezweni, Kusa Dlamini. Members of the community, it was suggested, will have to be sensitised about the dangers caused by cattle on the roads. The minister, however, said a lot had been done to inform the public on the dangers of stray catt


Human trafficking bill passed

Main Section

By Njabulo Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Oct-2009

PARLIAMENT has passed the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Bill, No. 11 of 2009.

The Bill was brought to the house with a certificate of urgency by Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini. In passing the Bill Members of Parliament considered amendments made by the Senate and noted these were not tempering much with the substantive contents of the Bill thus passed the law. Reacting to the developments, the PM lauded both MPs and Senators for acting on the Bill swiftly thus ensuring it became an Act of parliament.

“Mr Speaker I would first want to thank the (PM’s) Portfolio Committee for having considered the legislation thoroughly thus came up with a number of amendments to the Bill which were accepted by the house. “Despite the Bill having been brought with a certificate of urgency, MPs applied themselves to it and thus managed to propose various amendments to its Sections despite this being a bulky document,” the PM said.

He further thanked the Senate for equally applying themselves to it as well and also coming up with own amendments that were brought to the MPs’ attention and were accepted. The PM said statistics had shown that people trafficking and smuggling had become such a booming business the world over. “Victims of trafficking are mostly women and children, and recent statistics have revealed that this new ‘business’ has since overtaken the smuggling of drugs and other illegal substances.

It is in that regard that one acknowledges the work done by MPs and Senators in ensuring the Bill was passed into law,” the PM said further making an undertaking that the process of seeking the King’s assent was on course for the Act to be operationalised soon.


SA instructor to hold swimming workshop

Sports Section

By Ntuthuko Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Oct-2009

SWIMMING – THE Swaziland National Swimming Association (SNSA) will on Saturday host South African instructor Basia Garnier to conduct one day swimming workshop at Khanyisile Primary School.

SNSA Secretary Janice Hopf invited all the people interested in the workshop to attend. It will start at 9am and finish 3:30pm. Those willing to take part can contact her at 602 3160. “Registration for the workshop is E75 including meals (tea and light lunch) for participants. After the workshop, our guest from South Africa will award the participants with certificates,” she said.

Hopf also extended their invitation to all schools sports teachers who are instrumental in the development of the sport at grassroot level to attend. She said the invitation was also open to swimmers.


55 volunteers employed

Main Section

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Oct-2009

THE Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs is in the process of hiring 55 volunteers who will train youth on the operations of the E10m Youth Fund.

Director of Youth Affairs in the Ministry Bheki Thwala said the ministry had already started short listing the candidates, after receiving an overwhelming response in the application process.

He said most applicants hold university BA degrees and Diplomas, which is an indication that many graduates are unemployed and are desperately looking for jobs. In an interview yesterday, Thwala said the number of volunteers matches the number of tinkhundla centres in existence in the country. Thwala explained that the volunteers will be conducting trainings at chiefdom level and assured that the youth in all the country’s chiefdoms would receive training before the fund is rolled out.

“We want to ensure that by the time the fund becomes fully operational, every young person in the country will have an idea about what it is about and how it will be operating,” he said.

Thwala said before the volunteers begin training the youth, they will also receive training in a weeklong workshop.


Lightning kills jobseeker

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Oct-2009

LIGHTNING struck and killed a 19-yea-old man of Siphofaneni on Sunday.

Mbongeni Mamba died on the spot, whilst four of his siblings were treated and discharged at Sithobela Health Centre. MP Gundvwane Gamedze said the five boys had gone to look for a job in one of the contractors in the area. He said on their way home, it started raining and the boys took cover under a tree not knowing that they were exposing themselves to more danger.

“We are appealing to members of the public to help the family in buying the coffin as the boy’s father is bedridden,” said the MP. Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the incident.


SD TO BENEFIT FROM ICT

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Oct-2009

Swaziland is set to benefit from the International Centre on Trade (ICT), a wing of the United Nations that is under the umbrella of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The organisation seeks to help African countries improve opportunities for trade in world markets. They were in the country last week to meet the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade to look at ways through which the country could find better routes to access world markets. The Africa office of the ICT was represented by Treasure Maphanga in the meeting.

Interviewed ahead of the meeting with the Minister, Maphanga said ICT’s area of focus mainly was to help ensure that products from the developing countries compete successfully in the world markets against products from other places. “We have the necessary information that could help developing countries realise full potential as far as trade with other countries of the world is concerned,” she said.

marginalised

Maphanga added that it was a known fact that most African countries were marginalised when it came to issues of trade, hence the need to assist them. “Our main targets include the majority of landlocked countries in Africa as well as Islands in other parts of the world,” she said.

Services provided by ICT include in-house experts who specialise in different areas within the trade frontier, gather information on trade issues and disseminate such information to the countries in need before they could engage in any form of transaction with the outside world.

“As an organisation, we are keen to promote the integration of trade to development planning. For instance, Swaziland can only grow through exports. Therefore, there is the need to focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” she said. According to Maphanga, the country is export ready, but there remains a requirement for a strong push on capacity building. The minister for commerce thanked Maphanga for the visit, and assured her that the country stands ready to exploit any opportunity that would arise.


War rages on between gospel artists

Recreation Section

By Mphikeleli Msibi - SWAZI OBSERVER-27-Oct-2009

LOCAL gospel artist Zaga Dlamini yesterday fired from all cylinders alleging that Reverend Vusi Gumedze of Gumedze and the Gospel Warriors was behind all the negative publicity he was receiving.

The two have been to several pastors including Bishop Nash Shongwe and Reverend Johannes Mazibuko to create peace between them but it seems as if their war is far from over. “I have been receiving bad publicity and to me it is crystal clear that Gumedze is the man behind this. This I say because I did most of these things that are being said with him,” he said.

smoked

Just recently, it was said that the two had smoked the peace pipe but Zaga alleges there is nothing of the sort. “We have been to several pastors but Gumedze is now twisting what was said and dragging my name into the mud. He is still fighting me from a different angle using the media, “he said. Dlamini said the war started after Gumedze’s failed attempts to sleep with his wife.

“He just wanted to sleep with my wife and fortunately I was able to stop that before it happened. My wife was brave enough to come and report Gumedze to me,” Dlamini said. He said that’s when the whole thing got blown out of proportion as Gumedze was allegedly bitter to have not been able to sleep with Zaga’s wife. “He is just a bad person and right now he is going around telling people that I set him up in the recent case where he was beaten up by a mob at Mbhuleni. All I can say is that I have my facts about that and I am sure that Gumedze slept with the said child,” Dlamini said.

He added that he was so confused as to why Gumedze would go around and badmouth him. “I almost lost my life because of him after we were attacked by a group of men who wanted to kill Gumedze who was with another man’s wife one night. He came to my house with the wife not realising that the husband and other men were following him.

“Just upon arrival, he asked if I would give them some privacy but that was cut short after the men that were following him alighted with bush knives. All they wanted was to kill Gumedze”. Dlamini said they ran towards the police station because Gumedze’s car had no enough petrol on that day.

“The matter was settled at the Manzini police station where we ran to and found four police officers,” he said. Dlamini said just yesterday there was an article in one of the daily newspapers alleging that he made four women pay him for jobs. “It’s true they gave me that money but it was their idea for me to speed up the process. I am friends with the Asians who operate the shop where they were looking for employment. There was no false motive, I just wanted to assist them,” he said. Dlamini said now that things had come this far, he would give them their money back.

“I will be getting money on the 28th November and that is when I will pay them. They gave me E200 each,’ Dlamini said.

‘No pastor can resolve this misunderstanding’ - Zaga

“BE it a pastor from overseas or anywhere in the world, no one can resolve the impasse or misunderstand between me and Gumedze,” says Zaga Dlamini. Dlamini said they had been to a number of pastors but still the war rages on between them.

“This misunderstanding only can be resolved if and only if Gumedze could accept Christ as his personal saviour whole-heartedly. A number of pastors have tried and failed but for a fact nothing is impossible with God,” Dlamini said. He said pastors, including Bishop Nash Shongwe and Reverend Johannes Mazibuko, had prayed for them in an attempt to end the rift between them but things are for from over.

seek

“It now lies entirely upon us to seek first the kingdom of God and the rest shall follow. We call ourselves pastors but the things we do are a nuisance before the eyes of the Lord,” Dlamini said.

He said Gumedze should do some soul searching and ask God for forgiveness. “I would like to tell all the pastors who think they can offer us any assistance in this matter to please stay away from this madness. Gumedze knows very well what to do and if he does not then my advice would be that he turns back to Christ,” he said. Dlamini said the Lord saw both their hearts and he can never be deceived. The bible states that: “The Lord searches the heart and examines the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to His deeds deserve” – Jeremiah 17:10. “We may lie to people but not to God. We both know where our understanding is coming from and it’s only the truth that can set us free. Another thing is that we tend to do bad things in the name of the Lord and only for that the punishment is severe,” Dlamini said.

He added that he was in Christ himself and invited Gumedze to also turn to the Almighty. “I am with the Lord and that is where He will find me if he wants this matter resolved. Pastors will not help us but the Lord will. They will pray but there will not be any chance because we hide things from them but Christ sees everything,” he said.

When sought for comment, Gumedze said he knew nothing about what Zaga was saying.

tamper

“It’s all news to me and I have tried all possible means to resolve our differences with him but in vain. I can only tell him that he can never tamper with my spiritual life. For now, I am only focused on God’s word,” he said.


Residents declare war

Main Section

By SIZWE MAZIYA - SWAZI TIMES-28-Oct-2009

NGOLOLWENI - Residents had to run for their lives after a mob from Kontshingila armed with bush knives and leading dogs invaded the area in a dispute over a ploughing field.

The incident happened yesterday morning at the area which is under Mtsambama constituency. About 25 men and women attacked a Dlamini family and others over the field which is part of land that is at the centre of a long standing dispute between Kontshingila residents and those from Ngololweni on who rightfully owns it.

The dispute is currently being handled by the traditional authorities after being referred there by the courts. Kontshingila is presently under the leadership of acting Chief Gelane Zwane while Ngololweni has no chief. The residents were attacked after a tractor from Kontshingila was stopped while ploughing a field belonging to Vakumo Dlamini (54) of Ngololweni.

An irate Dlamini said he could not believe it when he saw the tractor ploughing the fields without his consent such that he confronted the driver and told him in no uncertain terms to stop or else. “He told me he was sent to plough the fields by a resident from Kontshingila,” said Dlamini. According to Dlamini, he and a Fakudze man had been stopped by ‘labadzala’ from ploughing the fields pending finalisation of the matter by the traditional structures.

An hour after the tractor driver had left, the armed impi invaded Dlamini’s homestead demanding answers why the tractor was stopped from ploughing. Seeing the armed impi arriving in the area saw a number of residents running to lock themselves in their houses for safety. One woman related to Dlamini that some of her family members were assaulted by the Kontshingila impi when demanding answers.

“We ran and locked ourselves in our rooms as the Kontshingila impi invaded our home in fear of the unknown because those people are capable of doing anything. We even feared that they may set their dogs on us,” said Hlengiwe Dlamini.

Dogs

The mob is said to have continued looking for the members of the Dlamini family in different households while leading dogs and armed with bush-knives. Due to the seriousness of the situation, the Shiselweni District Commissioner, Mandla Mavuso, Hlathikhulu police and King’s Liaison Officer (Ndabazabantu) identified as Ndwandwe are said to have arrived at the scene after being called by Dlamini to calm the situation. The armed impi were later spotted inspecting some of the fields and then held a meeting at a certain Mziyako homestead.

“The matter is currently handled by the traditional authorities and there was no need for that tractor to plough my fields because a verdict had not been issued yet. This is a sign of disrespect to Labadzala,” said a furious Dlamini. Dlamini said the Kontshingila residents were taking advantage of the situation by ‘illegally’ allocating their land due to the fact that Ngololweni had been without a chief for the past few years following the death of Chief Mchoza. Another field belonging to Mzondi Dlamini of Ngololweni was also allegedly ploughed by a faction from Kontshingila.

It was gathered the impi was stopped in their tracks by the police and the delegation from the DC’s office. Due to the tense situation no one from the Kontshingila faction made a comment on the incident. The acting chief could not be located for comment as well.

...police warn Kontshingila residents

NHLANGANO – The police have sent a strong warning to Kontshingila residents not to take the law into their own hands.

Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed that police officers were deployed to the area to calm the situation. “People should refrain from taking the law into their own hands because the law may turn against them as a result of their unlawful behaviour.

Authorities

They should also learn to settle such disputes via traditional authorities,” said Masuku. When reached for comment the Shiselweni Regional Administrator Paul Dlamini said he was not aware of the latest incident but said after trying to mediate in the matter earlier he then took it up with the traditional structures and was now with Liqoqo which is still working on it.

“I am not aware of the incident you are asking me about but what I can tell you is that I took up the matter with the traditional structures,” said Dlamini.


‘Child-killer’ injured in custody - relative

Main Section

By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES-28-Oct-2009

MANZINI – Mystery surrounds injuries that have been discovered by relatives on the man who allegedly killed four children last week in Big Bend.

The bruises are such that the family fears Dumsani Mkhonta may have been whipped or beaten after his arrest. A relative, who did not want to be identified fearing victimisation, said they only discovered the injuries on Friday during his visit to the Psychiatric Centre.

The relative alleged that Mkhonta had bruises and swelling on his thighs and buttocks. “As a result of the injuries, he cannot sit properly. It should be known that we are not commending Dumsani for the crime he committed, but people should let justice take its own course,” the relative said.

Worried

The relative said they were worried that Mkhonta’s state of mind will be affected more if he was subjected to torture. His wife, Bethusile Dlamini confirmed that he had problems with sitting, but did not want to comment further as the matter was sensitive. Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku, said it was disheartening to say the least that despite the professional conduct demonstrated by the police officers during the apprehension of the suspect, there are people who are raising complaints.

“It must be taken into account that the occurrence took place at night as the suspect went berserk hacking and killing innocent and defenseless people. “The suspect was grabbed by his torso in order to overcome him, and was loaded into a police van.

Minor injuries may have not been avoided in such circumstances,” the police spokesperson said. He added that these allegations would not dampen the police as they will continue to protect innocent citizens. Masuku was quick to point out that the allegations would be investigated.


500 posts created ahead of World Cup

Sports Section

By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI NEWS-28-Oct-2009

MBABANE – A total of 500 new posts have been created to bolster operational capacity and readiness for the 2010 World Cup.

As a result, the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) has said it is ready to play its part in contributing to efforts of making the region safe for the throngs of soccer fans who will cascade to Southern Africa for the soccer spectacle. This is contained in the RSP’s Second Quarter Performance Report on Recurrent and Capital Expenditure (July 1 to September 30, 2009).

These posts which will be filled by the recently passed out police recruits follows a recommendation during the Southern Africa Regional Police Co-operation Organisation’s (SARPCCO) Annual General Meeting that was held early last month in South Africa.

In his maiden address, the Chairman of the SARPCCO emphasised the need for police services in the region to be at the same level of competence to be able to counter trans-national crime, especially with the coming FIFA World Cup.


South Africa to help SADC unlock border congestion

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-28-Oct-2009

MBABANE – There are possibilities that Swaziland stands to benefit from a E40 million grant that is meant to unlock congestion at border posts.

This follows that neighbouring South Africa intends seeking a E40 million grant from the World Bank and a grant proposal is said to be at the final stages. It is more likely to be submitted to the World Bank before the end of this month.

The scale of cross-border road problems spreads across most countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and trucks ferrying goods are sometimes delayed because of various reasons, including that the transported goods do not have the appropriate documents needed at the border among other reasons. Traders have also complained several times about the delays at the country’s border posts, attributing the delays to the use of the manual system of capturing data.

However, the Department of Customs and Excise has started implementing a system of automating all declarations in all the country’s border posts, using the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA++) and as such, traders are required to submit all declarations to customs through the DTI facility.

When reached for comment on knowledge of South Africa’s E40 million grant proposal, Commissioner of the Department of Customs and Excise Thamsanqa Mpanza was reportedly off and the Assistant Commissioner was reported to be in a meeting and would not be available for the better part of the day.

Handled

When reached for comment, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade Cyril Kunene said; “In as much as our ministry works hand-in-hand with the Department of Customs and Excise but this particular matter is handled by the department and they capture all the data. I would suggest you try the department.” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce Zodwa Mabuza said she was not aware of the matter.

“All I know is that the country is already in the process of implementing ASYCUDA++,” she said. According to the South Africa Business Day plans on usage of the grant include, assisting some of its neighbours develop modern border information management systems.

“South Africa is preparing to tap a new World Bank grant to help ease congestion and untangle red tape at border posts across the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Charles Kuneka, senior trade facilitation specialist at the World Bank, says the E40m grant is meant to address specific constraints on the movement of people and goods in developing nations, including southern Africa, and improve border post management, incorporating integration of customs, standards, tax and other procedures,” reads the report in part.

It goes on to say the World Bank facility might not be enough, given the scale of the cross-border road problems in the SADC region, which affect 12 of its 15 member states (three are island states) .

“Lovemore Bingandadi, the transport corridor official at SADC, says the facility the World Bank has created could assist southern African states to find solutions to problems of capacity, institutional performance and training. But to tackle all infrastructural, institutional and legal challenges, many more resources will be required.

Bingandadi says donors have pledged to provide R1.2bn to help upgrade roads and set up one-stop border posts that connect 13 corridors across the region. We need more than this,” reads the report in part.


Judiciary independent in SD – Germany

Main Section

By Nelsiwe Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Oct-2009

GERMAN Ambassador, Dieter Haller has showered praises on Swaziland for the independence of the judiciary and for upholding the provisions of the Constitution.

He was speaking during the 19th German Unification held at Ezulwini yesterday afternoon. He said the rule of law and the Judiciary are the two most important political principles. He said without the two, a country’s foreign investment may suffer and there would be not trust in the state as well as no justice.

The ambassador explained that he was convinced that even though it had been reported that some people were not happy with how the constitution was adopted, he believed it was a major step forward. He said “It encompasses a Bill of Rights and postulates the rights and obligations of constitutional organs such as government and parliament.”

He said the constitution affirms the separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary “and it provides the legal political framework for serious debates around the future of the country.” Haller further commended the government for formalising the smart partnership dialogue and the establishment of the smart partnership hub.

The Ambassador said every person’s view and opinion should be respected. “Without a proper dialogue, without broad consultation of all relevant parts of society it is rather unlikely to identify the right decision and make the right choices,” he said. The event was attended by Emakhosikati Make LaMatsebula, LaMotsa and LaDube among other dignitaries.

Germany to sponsor E6m project

GERMAN Ambassador, Dieter Haller said his embassy would fund E6 million projects in the country. He said the projects were mainly to promote economic growth and social development. “We would like to support community initiatives and projects and in particular for and with children in the rural areas,” he said.

He stated that they would be working with the Swaziland Investment Development Authority (SIDC) on the upcoming project. He said Germany and Swaziland had been working together even in the United Nations. “We work together in development co-operation, in poverty alleviation and in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the fields of culture and sport,” he said.

Climate Change worries King

HIS Majesty King III said Swaziland would take a lead in ensuring that it establishes environmentally friendly industries. Speaking through Prince Mahlaba during the 19th German Unification, His Majesty further asked developed countries to assist the Kingdom to establish such industries by providing technology.

He said “The Kingdom would not repeat the mistakes of those who have industrialized at the expense of our environment.” His Majesty said the country continued to use resources and capabilities to expand the investment opportunities for both foreign and local business.

The King said “we are happy to have Germany as part of our development partners through bilateral assistance and through the European Union.”

His Majesty further thanked Germany for the support it has given to the country. He further stated that programmes were already in place to ensure that by 2022 standards of living of the Swazi people have improved.


STUDENT SHOT DEAD BY BUSINESSMAN

Main Section

By Starsky Mkhonta - SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Oct-2009

MYSTERY surrounds the death of Salem High Form Three student Sthembiso Gwebu

He died recently, allegedly from a car accident, but now indications are that he was allegedly shot dead by a businessman Figi Mpiyakhe Sithole at Salem. The businessman has since been charged with murder and is out on bail.

When the postmortem was conducted on Sthembiso, a bullet was discovered in the body, which made the police to open a murder case against the businessman, who runs the Tholen Days Transport.

Sthembiso has been described as one of the bright students of Salem High by his principal George Dlamini. Tensions are now high as Sthembiso’s friends accuse the businessman of cold blooded murder and want to revenge. Police have warned them against taking the law unto their hands, saying the businessman must have his day in court.

Sthembiso stayed with his uncle Chief Makhosikhosi at Ekwenzeni Royal Residence. Indvuna of Ekwenzeni Royal Kraal Sam Siyabhadla Dlamini confirmed that tensions are high with the youth baying for the businessman’s blood.

Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the killing of Sthembiso and warned the community against taking the law unto their hands.


Company develops bottled marula

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu - SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Oct-2009

Bottled marula brew will soon be available to the public from beverage outlets as Swaziland Marula Company (SMC) has ventured into the professional brewing and bottling of the product, which has for many years been enjoyed seasonally through traditional b

The Siphofaneni-based company is a brainchild of Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, who was also behind the establishment of Swazi Secrets products based in Mpaka. The whole idea behind this was to empower rural people financially through selling the fruits to some companies, which in turn produced different products.

Interviewed during the Simunye Fun Fair this past weekend, SMC’s General Manager Robert Kunene said the company was in the process of rolling out the beverage to the public like all other beverages. He said they have since done a lot of work in as far as setting standards for the beverage and ensuring that it meets all the requirements.

“We are currently in the penetration stage to introduce the product to the public. Our long-term goal is make the beverage available to the public across the year unlike in the past where people only enjoyed it in the beginning of the year,” he said.

“People are very excited about the product. We believe they will support this initiative as its primary goal, as stated by Her Majesty, is to improve the lives of the people in the rural areas. Those people will be able to make a living in and out of the marula season, especially because our factory also buys the marula seeds through which we produce oil,” he said.

The bottled marula beverage was provided to the public for the first time during the Simunye Fair. It is available in 500 millilitre plastic bottles with a 5% alcohol rate. Kunene also mentioned that the oil they produce through processing the seeds is earmarked for export, indicating that there was a great demand for the oil overseas.

“We have already started exporting to some of our clients overseas. We have recently sent about four tonnes to South Africa for refinery, after which it will be exported to overseas markets,” he mentioned. According to the GM, through the oil product, the overseas clients want to produce lotion, perfumes and other related products. He added that the marula seeds have been identified as good oil for such products.


Free internet for media in 2010 World Cup

Sports Section

By Kenneth Dlamini - SWAZI OBSERVER-28-Oct-2009

SOCCER – THE media will have free internet access for the first time in next year’s World Cup to be hosted by South Africa.

It is the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup that the media will use such a service free of charge. This was announced by 2010 World Cup Media Operations Manager Jens-Peter Hecht during a 2010 FIFA World Cup Media Accreditation Workshop at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit last Friday.

However, Hecht said it was important that the media go through the accreditation in time and follow the correct procedures. He said accreditation was an integral part of the overall security and workforce management of an event. He said the accreditation application process was meant to identify and register all participants involved in the staging of the event, including officials, media, service providers, volunteers). The process is also meant to access rights and privileges to which every participant is entitled according to its function.

“Excitement regarding the FIFA World Cup is already running high and the FIFA and the Organising Committee have been receiving many enquiries on when the accreditation procedure will begin and how it will be handled,” Hecht said. He also highlighted that since they started the process of going to each of the nine provinces in South Africa, they have received tremendous response from the media. He said he was also impressed by the attendance in Nelspruit, adding that it showed that the media was eager to learn about the process.

About 40 media practioners attended the workshop. These were from media houses such as Lowveld Media which is home to Mpumalanga News, Lowvelder and Mpumalanga Mirror. Also present were African Eye News Service (AENS), SABC, Ligwalagwala FM (sport unit) and Jacaranda FM.

Hecht was accompanied by Media Accreditation Coordinator Sifiso Cele and Marcia Mahlalela, who represented FIFA TV Rights. Cele took the media through the accreditation process, saying such procedure was the same for all journalists applying to cover the World Cup from all over the world. Mahlalela’s role was more on explaining about the rights of the media concerning TV and radio broadcast. It was announced that the accreditation process for the 2010 FIFA World Cup would begin on December 5, 2009.

The process will last for more than a month, closing on 31 January 2010, announced Cele. He added that there would be no late requests or registration for those that would fail to adhere to this process. Apart from the workshop, the media was taken through a tour of the Mbombela Stadium, which is being prepared for the World Cup. The tour guide was Ronny Moyo, who is the 2010 Manager Marketing and Events. Moyo, taking the participants through the stadium, explained that they had set November 22 as the date for the official opening of stadium.

He highlighted that they were happy with the progress that has been made in the construction of the 46 000 impressive Stadium.


Man busted with E1m fake notes at Oshoek

Main Section

By CASSANDRA SHAW - SWAZI TIMES-29-Oct-2009

MBABANE – South African police at the Oshoek border gate have arrested a man they caught with fake R100 notes worth E1million in big plastic bags.

According to a report carried by the South African media yesterday, the man emerged from a direction where there is no gate to leave or enter South Africa. He was spotted by a police officer at about noon on Tuesday.

“The police constable, who became suspicious after seeing the suspect carrying some big plastic bags, asked a colleague to help him follow the man,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlathi.

“They searched him and found 10 bundles, each containing R100 000 in R100 fake notes.” Hlathi was quoted as saying the parcels bore the words DHL Express and had Johannesburg addresses on them. The man said his boss from the DRC had sent him to collect the parcels from a certain man in Swaziland.

“He claimed he did not have an idea what he was carrying because he was working for his boss, who had not told him what was in the parcels,” Hlathi said.

“He was charged under the South African Reserve Bank Act 90 of 1989 and will appear in court soon,” he said. Police Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Vusi Masuku said no immediate details were available on the link to Swaziland on the bust and would investigate it further.


Schools will close earlier

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES-29-Oct-2009

MBABANE – In what might come as good news to both pupils and parents, schools will now close a week earlier.

Initially, schools were to close on December 11, however, they will now close on December 4.

Minister of Education and Training Wilson Ntshangse said after considering a number of factors, including marking of external exam papers, seeking of new places for pupils, as well as the tedious admission process, they found it proper that they close schools a week earlier.

“As you are aware that teachers have to start marking in time so that the results would not be delayed, therefore, we found it fitting that schools close a week earlier. Teachers need enough time to finish the marking and also parents need sometime to look for places for their children. In order for the education system to flow, we had to make sure that all the parties are given enough time,” said the minister.

He said he had already engaged Cabinet on the matter and had its blessing. “I have also engaged stakeholders, which include the Swaziland Examination Council (SEC) and the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and they understood all the reasons tabled before them,” he said. The minister said in most cases, lessons did not begin on time, especially at the beginning of the year because of the fact that most principals, were busy with admissions.

“Pupils admissions should be done weeks before the schools open. We want admissions to be done as early as possible so to allow lessons to begin early,” he said. On another note, the minister said they were working on releasing the Standard Five and Junior Certificate (JC) results before the end of the year.

“I am already working with the Exams Council on this issue. My aim was to have the results out before December 31, 2009. However if we fail to meet the deadline, the results will definitely be out on the first week of January. We want the school principals to have enough time to admit pupils,” he said.


Judiciary to be strengthened as SA Justice minister arrives

Main Section

By ZWELAKHE MOAHLOLI - SWAZI TIMES-29-Oct-2009

MATSAPHA – In a move to fight cross border crime and improve the judiciary, Swaziland and South Africa will today sign a Mem-orandum of Understanding (MoU).

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ndumiso Mamba said money laundering was one of the crimes they were targeting. He said this when welcoming his South African counterpart, Jeff Radebe, yesterday at the Matsapha International Airport. Mamba said such an agreement would assist both countries in tracking such crimes.

He said they would be signing a lot more other agreements that will strengthen the countries’ bilateral relationship. Mamba said these agreements would come in handy as the country is currently formulating a Commission for Human Rights.

Units such as the Anti-Corruption, the police and the judiciary stand to benefit from the relationship, said Mamba. In response, Radebe said the signing of the agreements would ensure that fighting crime would be taken to another level. “I believe that this is the first step in a journey to fight criminals in the SADC region. Crime should not be tolerated. “As ministers of justice, we have to make sure that the legal frameworks are in place,” he said. The SA minister’s diary for today

10.30am: Minister and his delegation depart Royal Villas 11am-11.30am: Courtesy call on the Prime Minister (he will meet the DPM as the PM is out of the country) 11.30am-12pm: Signing of agreements and media briefing at Cabinet offices 1pm-2.30pm: Lunch hosted by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs 2.45pm: Delegation departs for Matsapha airport 3.30pm: Minister and his delegation depart from Matsapha airport


SA forex changes to boost local exports

Main Section

By NOMILE HLATSHWAYO - SWAZI TIMES-29-Oct-2009

MBABANE – The relaxing of exchange controls by South Africa is expected to make even local exports competitive in international markets.

The SA Treasury unexpectedly announced sweeping new measures, on Tuesday, to relax exchange controls in a bid to weaken the Rand to a more ‘competitive’ level and cut red tape for investors. Swaziland’s currency, Lilangeni is held at par with the Rand, and therefore any monetary policy changes in South Africa would tend to directly affect the local economy.

The Rand has been one of the best performing currencies (strengthening) in the world this year, scaling a 14-month peak at R7.15 earlier this month. An economist who preferred anonymity said the strengthening of the Rand/Lilangeni against major international currencies was a threat to local exports.

“When the exchange rate strengthens, our exports become more expensive for buyers internationally such that they have to use, for instance, more Dollars or Pounds to buy our products. This undermines our exports’ competitiveness, as we sell to same buyers with other markets using other currencies, which results in our economic growth being adversely affected,” he explained.

He said there would be expected spill-over effects on Swaziland mainly because the major of exporters traded in Rands as well as that most local businesses conducted trade with South Africa. The Central Bank of Swaziland could not immediately respond to a questionnaire sent to them on the effects of the foreign exchange changes implemented by South Africa.

According to South Africa’s Business Day, the measures to be put in place included removing a 180-day time limit during which local companies were required to convert foreign exchange earnings into Rands, although they still had to repatriate the money within a month.

“South African companies will now be able to open foreign bank accounts without prior approval. Local firms can also now invest up to R500m anywhere offshore without prior approval, up from R50m previously. A foreign capital allowance for residents, last adjusted in 2006, was doubled to R4m,” the report says. Standard Chartered’s Regional Research Head for Africa Razia Khan is said to have backed the move. He reportedly said this was definitely unexpected and a pleasant surprise, adding that it showed authorities were being more long-term in their thinking.

The decision to loosen exchange controls was seen as a masterstroke that would keep markets, business and labour unions happy. It also signalled that the authorities were confident the Rand would find its feet regardless of the global circumstances.

“This will be welcomed by investors. The shift to the left, if there is such a thing, has not detracted from market-friendly policy so far,” Khan reportedly said. Analysts say the Rand has appreciated or depreciated 20 per cent in seven of the past 14 years. Its volatility is a much bigger concern than its level as it made it difficult for business to plan ahead.

The SA Treasury is reported to have said a more stable and competitive real exchange rate was important for growth and that reform of exchange controls could facilitate greater two-way flow of capital and help to reduce volatility.


Robbery suspect wants to fetch underwear from home

Main Section

By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze - SWAZI OBSERVER-29-Oct-2009

man who has been languishing in custody for allegedly committing a string of robberies wants the Mbabane Magistrate Court to release him so that he can fetch his underwear.

Phuzukuvela Nkambule told the court that the other underwear he heard on was accidentally flushed in the toilet after he had soiled himself during interrogation.

“Life is not good for me where I am currently kept and the worse thing is that as I am standing before this court I am without an underwear,” he said much to the amusement of those in court. The accused who showed signs of desperation told the court that he once raised the issue with the welfare officer at the Sidwashini prison but it seems his request was turned down as nothing had been done up to now.

“I ask this court to release me since I cannot withstand the conditions I am subjected to and I need to get an underwear,” he said. Nkambule, who was dressed in a brown shirt and a black trouser, looked serious throughout his submission which was a clear indication that he really needed his underwear.

Nkambule has been charged with Melusi Zwane, Hopewell Bhembe and Sandile Kunene for allegedly staging a string of robberies at Mantenga Estate. His application was, however, turned down by Magistrate Siphosini Dlamini who told him to move it with the magistrate who is presiding over the matter.

Nkambule, with his alleged partners in crime, are said to have robbed Nomkhosi Simelane at Mantenga estate. They also threatened to shoot her if she did not do as told. They then proceeded to take various items from one of the houses.


Email conmen claim ILO employee stranded in UK

Main Section

By Simon Shabangu -- SWAZI OBSERVER-29-Oct-2009

AN employee of the local branch of the International Labour Organisation Victor Mamba, is upset and worried about an email circulating among friends and acquaintances that he is stranded in the United Kingdom and needs E15 000 to return home.

Mamba is still shocked after receiving news that his name is being used by internet hackers to get money from his friends and relatives, who are receiving an email to the effect that he is stranded in that country after being robbed of his valuables including money and travel documents.

A dejected Mamba said he did not believe it when he was called by a friend from South Africa who wanted to confirm what he received from an email to the effect that he is in trouble. Mamba said he was shocked when he received a call from a friend in South Africa who told him he had received same. “While I was still shocked by the first caller another friend of mine in Malawi called me and told me the same thing and that is when I started to realise that there was something wrong. It was not so long when I received yet another call from a concerned friend who was about to deposit the money but thought he should double check first before doing so,” he said.

Mamba continued to say that Jackie Whittaker from one of their offices outside the country then forwarded him the email which was also a fact finding mission only to find that the man is at work in Swaziland.

Mamba said he was worried because some of his friends might not think about calling but would deposit the money to the accounts indicated in the email. “I just want to warn all my friends that I am not in any trouble so they should not bother to deposit money in to any account because these are just thugs who happened to hack into my emails and accessed the contacts of my friends whom they sent the letter to. I am afraid that I will find myself in serious debts because the email indicates that I will pay back the money as soon as I am sorted out,” said Mamba.

Below is a copy of the appealing con email message which was sent to all of Mamba’s friends asking for ‘help’.

Hello, I am in a hurry writing this mail to you, I had travelled to Wolverhampton (United Kingdom) for an urgent function and I arrived safely. But, unfortunately for me all my money, wallet and contact diary was stolen at the hotel where I lodged. I am so confused right now, I don’t know what to do or where to go. I didn’t bring my phone and the hotel telephone line was disconnected during the robbery incident, so I only have access to emails. Please can you send me 1450 Pounds today so I can sort myself out, I will refund it immediately I leave here. Please send it through Western Union Money Transfer, it is the fastest and safest way I can get it since I can’t access my account now. Below is my name and address to send it to:

Name: Mangaliso Victor Mamba Address: Wulfruna Street City: Wolverhampton Country: United Kingdom Zip Code: WV1 1SB

Please send me all the details you used in sending it including the transfer code or scan the receipt and send it to me so I will be able to get the money. I will let you know immediately I get it. I will be waiting in the hotel lobby for your help.

Mangaliso Victor Mamba International Labour Organisation United Nations Development Programme P.O Box 261 Mbabane


SLOW RECOVERY IN TEXTILE INDUSTRY

Business Section

By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-29-Oct-2009

RECOVERY in the textile has been very slow following last year’s economic recession that hit a number of industries in different countries worldwide.

Most local textile companies were forced to close down at the beginning of this year as a result of falling demand for textile products in countries like the United States of America, who stopped importing primary products like textiles from the developing world.

Companies that closed down in Swaziland include Matsanjeni Factory, Sant Low Factory, Siphofaneni Factory, and others. Interviewed yesterday, Managing Director of Spintex, which is one of the largest textile manufacturers in the country, Fanigan Michael said the industry was far from full recovery as even their South Africa counterparts are experiencing the same problems.

He said there was no hope that Spintex would have recovered anytime soon, and that they were living on hope that government and other utilities would lend a hand and assist the industry out of the position it finds itself. “Things have not improved at all despite the recovery of some major economies in Europe and America. We do not know when things would normalise, and as I told you, we are literally living on hope,” he said.

His assertion, however, was in contrast to the situation at Texray, another major textile player in Swaziland. A shop steward from Texray, who was interviewed in the absence of management, said the future was looking good for the company. “Things have improved a lot from last year as we have received a lot of orders, both local and abroad. I think Texray would be able to sustain itself for the next two years at least,” he said.

Other textile companies that were expected to have problems to the extent of retrenching by the second quarter of the year include Master Garments, HO’s Enterprises, and Zheng Yhong in Nhlangano. This is contained in the first quarterly report of the Public Enterprise Unit (PEU) under the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) category, which fortunately also reported that companies like HOs Enterprises would have normalised by the fall of the third quarter.

Zheng Yhong, especially, was expected to benefit from the closure of its wing in Cambodia, which facilitated the transfer of orders from that region to the Swaziland plant. Comment was sought from SIPA yesterday, but an email left with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was not responded to.


REDUCE MTM CHARGES - MP'S

Main Section

WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES -30-Oct-2009

LOBAMBA - MTM Swaziland , the Kingdoms only mobile phone network service provider, has been attacked by Parliament for its high charges

Memebers of Parliament yesterday accused MTM of charging its customers too much because it enjoyed a monopoly and therefore could charge as it pleased.

The MP'S called upon the Minister of Information, Communication and Technology, Nelissa Shongwe, to do something to reduce the high charges. Currently for Pas As You Go subscribers, who recently hit the 500,000 mark, it costs E2,20 per minute to make a call during peak hours and E1,60 off peak.

However, the MP'S did not state the figure that they wanted the charges to be reduced by.


D-Day for SAPPI future

Main Section

Cassandra Shaw - SWAZI TIMES-30-Oct-2009

MBABANE - SAPPI Usuthu Pulp Mill Chief Executive Officer, Jan Labuschagne, will today announce the future of the mill.

The troubled pulp mill, one of the biggest in the country, has been hard hit by the global economic crisis such that closure was inevitable.

Last week close to 90 per cent of the pulp companies workers, who are unionised, voted for a strike action after complaining about their welfare.

The CEO will address the media, among other stakeholders at a meeting to be held at the Mhlabanyatsi Club at 8.45 am. Trouble at SAPPI started when 40 per cent of the wood ( forest ) was lost through wild fires that struck across the country.

The fires, coupled with the global economic downturn caused the company to have serious financial problems and as a result the company's future has been hanging in the balance.


Sappi to Close Swaziland Mill, Reorganize Assets

Business Section

By Nicky Smith - BLOOMBERG-31-Oct-2009

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Sappi Ltd., the world’s largest maker of glossy magazine paper, will close its Usutu pulp mill in Swaziland and reorganize its forestry assets in the country in response to falling demand and fire damage.

The combination of “adverse market conditions” and cumulative damage since an August 2008 fire that destroyed 40 percent of Usutu’s timber crop has meant the Usutu mill is no longer sustainable, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement to the city’s stock exchange today.

The Usutu mill, which employs as many as 600 people and has the capacity to produce 190,000 tons, will be shut by the end of January, Sappi said. Sappi will seek ways to use the forest assets, which may include “the introduction of new investors.”

Demand for pulp and paper has fallen as recessions in the world’s largest economies caused job losses and curbed consumer spending. On Oct. 22 Sappi announced the planned closure of its Kangas mill in Finland because of lower demand for coated magazine paper.

Sappi won’t comment further because local stock exchange regulations prevent the company from giving price sensitive information before it reports earnings next month, Andre Oberholzer, the company’s spokesman, said in an interview on his mobile today.


Spitting players risk swine flu - experts

Sports Section

By CHRIS DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-31-Oct-2009

MBABANE – With government recently issuing a national warning on swine flu, spitting footballers will be shocked to learn that they could easily spread the virus among themselves.

A warning was on Tuesday issued in the United Kingdom (UK) to the FA Premier League players that spitting could increase the risk of spreading swine flu as two clubs were struck down by the virus.

The UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the ‘disgusting’ habit – a common sight in many matches worldwide, could lead to infections being passed on. Blackburn and Bolton Wanderers both have a number of players showing signs of the virus ahead of their Carling Cup matches.

The HPA said spitting should be discouraged by football clubs as experts attempt to halt the spread of the infection. “Spitting is disgusting at all times. It’s unhygienic and unhealthy, particularly if you spit close to other people, Footballers, like the rest of us, wouldn’t spit indoors so they shouldn’t do it on the football pitch.”

“If they do, it could certainly increase the risk of passing on infections. It’s about setting examples for young people who idolise these players,” said an HPA spokesman. He added that footballers should follow the same guidelines as other members of the public by washing their hands, covering their mouth when sneezing and disposing of used tissues.

“The advice is catch it, bin it and kill it,” he said. That country’s Football Association and Barclays Premier League said they were following guidance from experts in handling the issue.

“As ever, when it comes to health matters, the Premier League will be guided by relevant statutory authorities,” said a Premier League spokesman. However, National Football Association of Swaziland’s (NFAS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu could not be reached when sought for comment.


Namibia: Six Boxers Victorious in Swaziland

Sports Section

Corry Ihuhua - all africa.com-31-Oct-2009

Six Namibian amateur boxers fought their way to victory after they competed against Swaziland in an international boxing tournament in that country last weekend.

Eric Kalenga beat his Swazi counterpart Nkhosinati Duuba on points over three rounds in the 57-kilogram weight category.

Mika Shinonena beat Frank Gamedza on points their 60kg fight, while Erastus Marenga ended on the winning side when he ousted Sfiso Mkhonfa on points in their 64kg fight.

Titus Iiyambo won with a technical knockout when he downed Thabiso Maseko in the 64kg category, while Desmond Kasuto also won with a TKO after he dismissed Sbonelo Ndzimandze in the 69kg category.

The Namibians who did not make the grade at the event were Immanuel Shapaka (48kg), Natanael Kamati, (51kg) and Norbert Ashewetu (54kg).

Kasero Sirongoghts in the 81kg did also not make the grade as he was beaten on points by Musa Nqozo.

Namibian boxing official Ambros Kandjii called on the business community to support the code, while he also took a swipe at some officials who only want to be associated with the code when it represents the country at high-profile events.

"Officials should offer their help and be involved from the onset and not only wait until the last minute when the team is going to the Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games. We must fight the cause together and fight for the boxers together through difficult times, he said.

The boxers were coached by Mistake Gariseb and Eduard Ferre and were accompanied by referee Pattema Kandjengo, while the medical doctor was Ramon Durand.


Swaziland Parliament confuses Ugandan MPs

Main Section

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

LOBAMBA – A group of visiting Ugandan Members of Parliament expressed surprise at the structure of Swaziland’s Parliament.

The three MPs and Committee Clerk informed Speaker Prince Guduza and Senate President Gelane Zwane that the two Chambers of Parliament were something they had not heard of before.

Leader of the Ugandan legislators Kiiza Rwabembera told the Speaker and president that they were used to a Parliament with a single chamber thus sought clarification on the composition of the local one. “We’ve noticed that there are two Parliaments here and that’s something we’ve never seen before as even in Uganda we’ve only one, so could you explain to us how you operate,” Rwebembera asked.

The Speaker then told the MPs that there was in fact one Parliament with two chambers, one for Senate and the other being the House of Assem- bly. “Since independence in 1968, we’ve had two Houses of Parliament that always work hand in hand with each other. All laws that are to be enacted have to go through both Houses before His Majesty signs them,” Prince Guduza explained.

The MPs wondered if this arrangement did not cause unnecessary delays in enacting of laws but the Speaker said even if that were the case, the procedure had to be followed. “At the end of the day we’ve to all agree to whatever amendments that have been made to a proposed law,” the Speaker explained.

Senate President Gelane Zwane explained that having the two Houses was advantageous as it ensured checks and balances before anything is passed by the legislators. The Speaker and president play hosts to visiting MPs.

Speaker, Senate President welcome Uganda visitors

LOBAMBA – Parliament Speaker Prince Guduza and Senate President Gelane Zwane yesterday welcomed a visiting group of three Ugandan Members of Parliament.

The MPs, who are members of the tourism, trade and industry portfolio committee, are accompanied by their clerk Alice Mukyasi. The Ugandans arrived in the country on Sunday evening and are expected to leave tomorrow after meeting with their local Parliament portfolio committee counterparts.

The visiting legislators were identified as Kiiza Rwebembera (committee chairperson), John Bosco Lubyayi Seguya (Vice Chairperson) and Sauda Mugerwa (member).

The MPs held a meeting with the Speaker and President where matters of mutual interest between the two countries were discussed. Senate President Gelane Zwane told the legislators that Uganda was the second home for Swazis and said President Yoweri Museveni was “our godfather”. The Ugandan MPs highlighted that issues of intra-Africa trade, ecotourism and culture sharing were some of the things in their agenda.

Visiting MPs impressed ith peace in Swaziland

LOBAMBA – The visiting MPs yesterday expressed envy at the peace that has characterised Swaziland since independence.

The MPs, through their chairperson Kiiza Rwebembera, asked specifically as to “what do Swazis attribute their peace and stability to?” Speaker Prince Guduza had the pleasure of stating that firstly culture had played a major role in uniting Swazis. “Secondly, there is the issue of intermarriages which has ensured that nearly everyone has a relative everywhere in the country thus conflict is a distant thing,” Prince Guduza explained.

The speaker said the monarch had also played a significant role in the unification of the country’s citizens but, Prince Guduza said, “to top it all, it’s through God’s grace”.


Prayer for peace

Main Section

By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA - SWAZI TIMES-31-Oct-2009

LOBAMBA – Christians gathered at the Lobamba National church on Saturday to pray for peace in the country.

The national prayer was themed ‘In all matters of wisdom and understanding be found 10 times better.’

It had been organized by the Swaziland Conference of Churches.

Attending the prayer were emakhosikati to His Majesty King Mswati III, LaMotsa and LaMahlangu.

Also attending was the Ministry of Home Affairs Principal Secretary Meshack Shongwe together with outgoing Minister of Tourism Thandi Shongwe.

Mbabane Deputy Mayor Jabu Mabuza, who was also the programme director, said the time had come for the nation to believe in prayer as God had protected the country through thick and thin.

"We all have to bow down and pray thanking God for the peace he has given us in the country.

"Many countries so wish to have such peace but that has not been possible. We have to thank God for all he had done for us," she said.

She said while the country was celebrating its 40 years of independence, it was important for all the people in the country to thank God for giving them life in abundance.

"We all have to thank God that the country has grown up to 40 years and we are still enjoying the peace and stability. God has been with us and he will continue being with us," she said.

The prayer started just after 8am and lasted for about five hours and was attended by people who came from the different regions of the country.

… 40/40 does not mean stop praying – Rev Mazibuko

LOBAMBA – Mbabane Alliance Churh Pastor Reverend Dr Johannes Mazibuko has encou-raged Christians to con-tinue praying and ask God to give the country more years of peace.

Mazibuko, who was the guest speaker during the national prayer held at the National Church, said the fact that God has been with the country for the past 40 years did not mean that people should stop praying.

"We have not reached the last point of praying. We still have to continue crying before God. We have to continue praying so God would hear our cry. I can tell you for a fact that if we pray without failure, we will see the next 40 years," he said. Mazibuko also thanked those who attended the prayer stating that God would bless them abundantly.

"The fact that you have decided to come here means a lot. God is looking at you and your needs and indeed he will bless you," he said.



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