Swazi Observer

30 August 2007

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu


ENGABEZWENI Royal Residence was abuzz yesterday when His Majesty King Mswati III dispatched about 100 000 maidens to cut the reed in the ongoing annual reed dance ceremony.


The enthusiastic maidens were dispatched at around 5:45 pm and the air was filled with wild, unified and enchanted screams as the maidens joined the rest of the royal family in song and dance. The figures in this year’s reed dance attendance and participation seem to have doubled as compared to the recorded numbers in the previous years.

Last year, about 55 000 maidens attended the reed dance and observers have said the ceremony seems to be gaining popularity each year.

Dispatching the girls, the King, through Inkhosatana Sikhanyiso, who is leader of the Imbali Yemaswati regiment, wished the maidens a safe and fun-filled journey throughout the reed dance ceremony. “Itsi Ingwenyama inifisela luhambo loluhle” announced Princess Sikhanyiso while the maidens responded with much jeering and a loud Bayethe Wenawaphakathi which reverberated across the entire residence.

The participation in this year’s reed dance from the armed forces seems to have also increased tremendously.

Female members of the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP), His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) and the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) also joined the excited maidens in song as they constantly took the stage where some of the maidens were dancing before the arrival of His Majesty.

“It is encouraging to see that the girls are really excited about the reed dance,” remarked one of the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe finalists whilst another maiden added that the reed dance also produced solidarity because the girls were together with one goal, that of paying tribute to the King and Indlovukazi as well as preserving the maidens’ chastity.

Swazi Times

30 August 2007

Underhand dealing at the Nhlangano Casino?

Yesterday, a statement by a civil servant summed up all that is wrong with the government and parastatal tendering process.

Mduduzi Magongo of the Ministry of Tourism said he could not reveal the price paid by a private investor for the Nhlangano Hotel and Casino.

This hotel is a fully owned government property and paid for with Swazi taxpayers money.

The price must be revealed and also that of the losing tenderers so that the public can see that there was no funny business in the whole deal. As it is now we are all wondering why the secrecy and has anything underhand occurred. We have so many reports of strange goings-on with government tenders from oil rigs to pharmaceutical tenders. Also many tenders are received from obscure companies, set up in 24 hours, professing the needed technical knowledge they haven’t a clue about.

For the past several years we have been trying without success to get from the Tender Board winning and losing tender prices of all tenders so that we can publish them and the public can then see where its money is going. Instead we have been blocked with all sorts of excuses that the requesting relevant ministry should give us the prices, who then dodge the issue, and other flim-flam excuses. If the Tender Board publishes the tenders to the public they must be the ones to reveal the prices.Secrecy invites speculation and corruption.

If we are to be serious about corruption, this is a relatively easy way to crack down on some irregularities that are loopholes for the unscrupulous.


Swazi Observer

27 August 2007

Imbali register tomorrow
By Hlengiwe Ndlovu


IMBALI Yemaswati overseer Ntfonjeni Dlamini has announced that the registration dates for this year’s reed dance have since changed.


It had been earlier announced that maidens attending the reed dance would be expected to register tomorrow at Ludzidzini, but the reed dance programme has been changed such that the maidens will now register tomorrow. Making the announcement on radio, the Imbali overseer said there had to be a slight shift in dates because His Majesty King Mswati III was expected to officially open the Trade Fair on the 1st of September, the same day it had been initially announced that the maidens would deliver the reed at the Ludzidzini royal residence.

“The King has issued an order that there should be a slight shift in this year’s reed dance programme,” said Dlamini.

The Imbali overseer further said the nation should not be surprised by such changes because Swaziland was renowned to be a peaceful country and hence there had to be harmony in the national events that will be hosted in the country in the next few days.

“In all the four regions of the country, people should understand that all the activities to be hosted in the country demand the King’s attention and especially the customary activities,” said Dlamini, adding that the Swazi nation, being a respectful nation, always embraces everything once it had been blessed by the King.

Meanwhile, Dlamini announced that trucks had been commissioned to fetch the maidens from their different chiefdoms tomorrow morning. He further called upon the community police in the different areas to be as vigilant as possible to ensure maximum safety for the maidens and issued a stern warning to all the people who had targetted the reed dance for other misdemeanours that they should desist from displaying any unbecoming behaviour at the reed dance.

Swazi Times

27 August 2007

Magudvulela’s Indian experience


MBABANE—An Indian Hotel detained a Swazi National Council Standing Committee member for failing to settle a bill. The Taj President Mumbai Hotel confirmed to the Times SUNDAY that the Liqoqo member—who we can confirm is Chief Magudvulela—was held for 12 296 rubies (Indian currency) which is equivalent to E7 000 plus.

At one time, Chief Magudvulela is said to have literally made a dash for it when asked to settle his bill.

It is also said he interrupted an official ceremony where Enterprise and Employment Minister Lutfo Dlamini was officiating—during an official opening of a certain building.

The chief stormed to the front of the guests, startling the dignitaries at the event.

“Well, the minister was busy with something else so we said, why wait for him when we can also handle the job,” he said last night, adding that to his understanding, everyone was in India to work.

The minister was contacted over the matter, and although declining to comment on the first issue pending an official report from his officers who were left behind to be in charge of the delegation, he said, “that was embarrassing,” when referring to the conduct of the Liqoqo member during the official event.

The minister said he left earlier for Swaziland leaving the chief behind and he was still waiting for reports of whatever happened after they had left. He alluded to ‘having heard’ about the matter.

It is said that just as the minister was expected to cut the ribbon, Magudvulela jumped for the pair of sensors, took it and said, “I’m the Chief, bring it hear, I’ll do it”.

He cut the ribbon leaving everybody stunned.

The chief is said to have been embarrassing to members of the Swazi delegation, mostly concluding that his behaviour and conduct served to only embarrass the king and the country more than anything.

“Yes, we had such a person. He spent one night with us,” said a manager at the hotel, who identified himself as Puneet. He told this newspaper that the bill was later cleared, this after they had detained the Dlamini man.

Puneet was called on Friday.

The manager also confirmed the amount over our telephone interview and the name of Magudvulela Dlamini in their computers, which he said appears as proof that he was their guest and had had a problem settling his bill.

“I can’t deny the allegation, I’ve been hearing this embarrassing news,” further said the Enterprise and Employment Minister when asked to comment.

This was after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said he would be the right person to comment on the matter.

The minister said for such a sensitive issue he would have to wait for an official report before he could say something.

The chief was said to have been rescued by the Malaysian High Commission’s office, which paid the bills, sources said.

Sources told this newspaper that Chief Magudvulela was wining and dinning with people but he would leave the bill behind for other people to pay. But his habit could not last him as officials had been aware if his stunt, and had been tracking him until he was caught.

Unfortunately, at that moment, the chief was not carrying any cash, leading to an embarrassing situation.

“Sometimes he would just join a table and tell the people that he was Chief Magudvulela, a prince from Swaziland. ‘I’m here to inspect if this place, the environment is conducive for His Majesty the King to pay a visit,’” said sources who were in India.

“I don’t know the issue, it’s news to me, it will be a shock for the old man to go through such experience,” said the minister of Foreign Affairs, Mathendele Dlamini when called for comment.

The minister referred the matter to his Principal Secretary, Clifford Mamba who said, “I don’t know, I’m not aware, nothing has been reported as of now.”

Mamba when asked how embassies and High Commissions could deal with such a situation said, “It can happen in two ways; they can either send us a request in writing or just help right away and then report to us later.”

The PS said they would be further waiting for a report on the matter. Mamba only confirmed that Hlophe, (High Commissioner) was in charge of the trip.

Last night, Chief Magudvulela told the Times SUNDAY that his trip to India went very well.

Though trying to refute the reports, the chief wanted to know where such information came from. He also asked of the amount involved, as if gauging how much information we knew.

He said he was on his way to give his side of the story on the Indian trip which he believes was more positive.

However, he confirmed staying in that hotel for a few days but could not be specific. He also failed to say how much he paid as his final bill.

Swazi Observer

24 August 2007

By Musa Ndlangamandla


AT 1 p.m. on the dot yesterday Swaziland made history in the fast changing world of telecommunications when it became the first country ever to launch the ground-breaking Dynamic Tariffing.


The service, which was launched by MTN Swaziland, allows all Pay As You Go customers to get discounted rates when they make calls at specific areas and times of the day.

The service, which hitherto was enjoyed by callers around Matsapha and Luyengo - at pilot stages - has been rolled out to more designated areas.

The historic launch, which saw MTN Swaziland become the first ever mobile telephone company to launch Dynamic Tariffing, was held at Malutha Base Station, at Mangcongco Inkhundla.

MTN Swaziland Chief Executive Officer Tebogo Mogapi did the honours of cutting the ribbon to launch the service under the banner ‘MTN Y’ello Zone’.

Present to witness the occasion was MTN Swaziland Board Chairman Senator Winnie Magagula, Mangcongco MP Patrick Motsa, the area’s traditional authorities and residents.

Swazi Times

24 August 2007

About 200 warriors begin hunting


HLANE – At least 200 members of various regiments were in possession of licensed firearms during the first day of the royal hunt (butimba) yesterday.

It was around 3:15pm when the much-awaited hunting took place at a certain thick bush called Mdolofiya.

About 150 members of regiments, as per the calculations of this newspaper in consultation with the police, carried 12-bore shot-guns (luhlwayi) while the remaining 50 used pistols (emavolovolo) to track down the wild animals.

His Majesty King Mswati III, through Inyatsi (Engabezweni) Indvuna Dumakuphisa Mamba, ordered that the warriors armed with firearms must hunt alone.

Mamba explained: “This will help avoid any accidents that may lead to fatalities during the hunting expedition”.

It is worth mentioning that a majority of the owners of the shotguns, on Tuesday, surrendered them to the police for safety reasons.

The rest of the warriors estimated to be around 300 seemed to derive immense pleasure in using spears to hunt down the wild animals.

The spear-wielding warriors were apparently in high spirit as they leaped forward in sheer ecstasy immediately the king sanctioned the royal hunt to begin.

Others were seen sharpening their spears using stones.

Swazi Observer

23 August 2007

Local farmer conquers sandanezwe
By Phila Dlamini


A local farmer has found a profitable and eco-friendly technique of turning sandanezwe and bukhwebeletana into gold.


Charles van Wyk is a businessman who rears goats, cattle and nurtures eco-tourism on his diversified farm.

When van Vyk bought the land with intent to turn it into a game farm, he had no idea that its vegetation was quickly dying as sandanezwe had invaded the grazing pastures.

To deal with the problem, van Wyk devised a simple, cost-effective yet cunning plan setting goats onto the invasive plant and this plan brought with it several advantages; it was eco-friendly and would put money into his pocket at the end of the day.

For him, sandanezwe was not dreaded and feared as in other parts of the country.

He bought 375 Boer goats in South Africa and when they got to his farm in Sigcineni, they just wouldn’t stop feasting on the invasive shrub.

Ekhaya ranch (van Wyk’s farm) is hardly two years under his ownership, but he was soon to start making profit under the goat and tourism enterprise.

“When we bought this farm, it had been idle for about 10-15 years and heavily disappearing under sandanezwe, the goats have only been here for just 18 months, but the shrub is now kept under control,” said van Wyk. “Since the goats graze daily, sandanezwe does not get the chance to run free as is the case in other areas.”

The goats are not confined by fences and just keep feeding on the shrub.

He added: “The Boer goat gets 85 percent of its food requirements from browsing and the remaining 15 percent from grazing on grass or other feed. Since sandanezwe is a bush, it is one of their favoured delicacies,” he said.

“On the contrary, the Nguni goat gets its 85 percent of feed from grazing on grass.”

So astonishing were van Wyk’s revelations that Nhlambeni MP Obed Dlamini could not find a word to describe the farmer other than umtsakatsi (a wizard) because of his unbelievable yet logically simple miracle.

However, things have not always been sweet-sailing for Ekhaya Ranch as 75 of the 375 imported goats were lost as soon as they set foot on the farm.

Farm Manager Joe Verimaak said the goats mainly succumbed to heartwater, a tick borne disease. “We now dip the goats daily before they leave for the veld.

“This helps a lot as the mortalities have greatly decreased.”

Once the goats have fed on the shrub, it hardly grows and this makes it easier for cutters to destroy the remainder of the plant.

“As a result, the grass has started growing and the system will be restored as it was created,” added van Wyk.

Meanwhile, he said farmers who wanted to buy breeding stock from him should wait as he wanted to increase the herd to 2 000 before he could start selling.

“We will, however, be selling about 50 castrated goats in December. Currently the farm has about 350 goats.”

Swazi Times

23 August 2007

‘Popeye’ Hillary was protecting girl, car


MANZINI – Gladwin Popeye Hillary says he accidentally shot his friend Mmiso Dlamini during a scuffle they had over the firearm.

Hillary, who is employed by Swaziland Lumber Security as a Human Resources Manager, says he only meant to scare his friend off when the gun went of.

Hillary is the son to Police Commissioner, Edgar Hillary.

According to Hillary in his founding affidavit during his bail application at the High Court, on August 11, 2007 he was arrested by the Pigg’s Peak Police after surrendering himself to them after the incident where his friend was accidentally hit by a bullet from a pistol in his possession.

Hillary said his friend had a quarrel with his (Dlamini’s) girlfriend and that the said girlfriend is known to him.

The said girlfriend, according to Hillary, ran to his car to seek refuge and locked herself inside.

Dlamini then pursued her and tried to gain access through the car’s front door open window and it was at that stage that he tried to intervene as he believed that his car would be dented.

“I tried hard to reason with Mmiso who did not listen to anything I said, but continued with his efforts to get into the motor vehicle through the window meanwhile inflicting serious dents on the vehicle.

“In an attempt to scare him off I pulled out my pistol and told him to back off, but he seemingly was never scared but went for the pistol and it was at that stage that it went off and Mmiso was shot,” Hillary alleged.

Manzini based Lawyer Bhekisa Zwane of Rodrigues and Associates represented Hillary in the matter.

Swazi Observer

22 August 2007

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu


Three passengers of a sedan cheated death when the car they were traveling in collided head-on with a truck and was pushed for about 500 metres until it crashed in a ditch at Makholokholo yesterday morning.


The sedan was headed for the direction of Ngwenya when suddenly, the truck that had apparently lost brakes whilst climbing down the hill, rammed onto it. As the truck drove back the sedan it hit other stationery cars along the road. Still, the sedan's passengers could not jump the ship because the doors were jam locked.

Like a mouse in the mouth of a cat, the sedan kept shedding particles and fuel along the road. The truck also ripped electricity cables, subsequently sparking a fire that burnt the grass within homes close to the road.

Finally, the truck fell on its right side. The lucky passengers were so injured they could hardly move from within the wrecked remains of the sedan. Residents had to use picks and shovels to tear the sedan apart and remove the survivors. They were then given first aid and immediately whisked to The Clinic in Mbabane.

When the Swazi Observer tried to have an interview with the survivors, it was gathered they were still in the clinic theater by late yesterday.

The truck driver, however escaped unhurt.

Meanwhile, two of those that survived the accident yesterday were sons of Mbabane West MP Zinhlavu Sikhondze.

They were aboard a van which was smashed beyond repairs when the truck climbed down the hill.

At least nine people were reportedly injured in the accident.

Swazi Times

22 August 2007

Residents fight cops over booze


MBABANE – Sidvwashini residents were not intimidated when police fired into the air and threw smoke canisters to disperse a crowd from looting bottles of alcohol that littered the road after the truck carrying it overturned.

The chaos and looting started after the driver of the truck, which was bound for Matsapha, lost control of it resulting in it ramming into nine vehicles before finally resting on its side, spilling its load, which consisted of various types of alcoholic beverages on the road.

The accident happened around 10:30am.

A man and his child were said to have been rushed to hospital from the carnage that left some of the 12 cars extensively damaged.

While the few police officers who were first to arrive at the scene focused on the wounded, the residents opted to secure what remained from the crates carrying the drinks for themselves.

The pieces of bottles that littered the consignment and road also did not deter the residents who came out in their numbers.

This included pupils from a nearby school as they left their teachers in class on their own and rushed to the scene of the accident. It was not to assist the injured, but it was to join in the looting.

Reinforcements had to be called in as the few police officers were overwhelmed by the residents who were around 300 in number.

The backup, which included members of the National Fire and Emergency department, did not have any impact at first as the residents stood their ground.

An effort by the fire service personnel to stop the looting by spraying them with water while some police officers chased them with sticks resulted in the residents fighting back by pelting them with stones.

This resulted in two officers of the National Fire department and an employee of the WBHO, the company constructing the Mbabane-Ngwenya Bypass Road, rushed to hospital.

The police had a torrid time trying to stop the residents from having a field day on the alcoholic beverages.

The police at some point fired several gunshots in the air in an attempt to disperse the ever-growing crowd, but they did not move an inch. Instead they told the police that they were not afraid of guns.

The police and fire fighters ended up requesting back up as the crowd was getting out of hand.

“These are the methods we use to disperse crowds but we are failing at this particular time,” said a senior fire fighter.

Swazi Observer

21 August 2007

By Timothy Simelane


INGWENYAMA Mswati III will lead regiments to a hunting expedition known as Butimba at Hlane Game Reserve today.


The ancient old tradition has been observed by the nation, and is practiced after an order issued by the head of state.

Acting Ludzidzini Governor TV Mtsetfwa said all king’s regiments were ordered to assemble at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence and wait for an order commissioning them to launch to the plains of Hlane Game Reserve.

Mtsetfwa said regiments from all the country’s regions were expected to take part in this year’s butimba.

The last time Swaziland had an official butimba was seven years ago when His Majesty also led regiments to Hlane.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, Mtsetfwa said regiments should come with own traditional weapons and licensed guns, as has always been the order during past butimba ceremonies. The ceremony is expected to draw crowds of fanatics of Swazi traditional heritage, including spectators.

Regiments will be transported aboard trucks and buses to the game reserve where the action will begin in earnest after an order from the heads of regiments.

It is expected that they will spend the night at Hlane, afterwhich they will wake up early in the morning to start the expedition.

Mtsetfwa said the duration of this year’s hunting expeditions was not known, but would depend on a directive from His Majesty. However, the norm has been that such an occasion lasts for two to three days, at most.

“All regiments are expected to attend without fail as this is a Royal Order,” the governor said.

The preparations committee for the butimba comprises the Ministry of Home Affairs which is represented by Prince Gabheni, Big Game Parks represented by Director Ted 'Machobane' Reily, the army and the police.

The committee sat yesterday at Ludzidzini Royal Residence to arrange modalities for the cultural event, afterwhich a press conference was called.

Swazi Times

21 August 2007

Mzikayise’s rival shot at three times


NHLANGANO – A member of a faction, which was against the late Mzikayise Ntshangase’s chieftaincy was on Saturday forced to flee his homestead using a window as three armed men attacked him and his wife. This was after the three men broke into Dalton Zwane and his wife Zanele Khumalo’s homestead and later shot at the couple as they tried to return home.

Zwane had woken up to check why the dogs were barking continuously when he saw the men who were also armed with an axe standing outside his door.

The incident happened at Mavundluthi area in the Shiselweni region. The area was in dispute between the late Mzikayise and Salebona Ntshangase as they both claimed chieftaincy over it.

Zwane is currently serving at the disputed chief Salebona Ntshangase’s inner council as a member. He was not found at his homestead yesterday as it was reported that he had been summoned to the Ludzidzini Royal residence.


While it could not be confirmed what the cause behind the attack was, Zwane’s wife said they were equally baffled and said it could have been a robbery as she runs a grocery together with her husband.

Relating the ordeal yesterday, Khumalo said it was around 11 pm last Saturday when they were woken up by a nagging barking of dogs at their yard.

She said since cattle rustlers were currently looting in the area her husband woke up to peep through a window.

“When he looked out he saw the three men who were carrying an axe standing at the doorstep. We then heard a deafening sound as the men used the axe to break the door down.

“As they were hacking the door we sneaked out through the window and fled to hide in the nearby long grass. We stayed there for about an hour before my husband went to check if they were still there. At the time we were busy trying to contact the Hluti police using our cellphones but their lines were busy,” said Khumalo.

She said she tried to contact her brother who stays in Hluti to go and alert the police of the attack.

Khumalo said she followed her husband back to the homestead but as they were about to reach it, the men appeared from behind a boulder, which is in the yard and fired three shots at her husband.


“Luckily they missed and we again took to our heels and had to dive into the thicket to avoid being seen and shot at again. As we lay in the thicket we heard the men running away at the same time giving one another instructions on which direction to take.

“We lay there for sometime and when we thought it was safe we ran to our neighbour’s place to seek refuge there,” she said.

Khumalo said she had managed to get hold of her brother and he had managed to contact the police. The police are said to have arrived around 3am and that is when Khumalo and her husband returned home only to find that it had been ransacked.

She said she believed the men were looking for money.

Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the attack on Zwane and his wife adding that investigations were on-going. Masuku could not be drawn to comment on the motive behind the attack.

Swazi Observer

20 August 2007

Lazy community to lose out on water project
Stories by Njabulo Dlamini

RESIDENTS of Zombodze constituency may lose out on a E1.2 million water project to benefit over 600 homesteads following their apathy.

The residents who were enthusiastic when the project was launched on July 3 this year, have failed to provide the manpower needed to dig trenches for the piping system to be put up.

As a result, Rural Water Supply officials Elijah Sikhondze (Community Development Officer) and Sibusiso Mamba (Clerk Officer) pleaded with the residents to own up to their promise or they risked forfeiting the project to other equally needy constituencies.

Addressing a well-attended meeting at the Zombodze constituency on Saturday, Sikhondze said he was disappointed that only a handful of residents turned up for the work since it commenced seven weeks ago.

“Six months was allocated for the project and in terms of procedure, budgeted funds are forfeited if not utilised within the specified period. We ask you to stand up and be counted, through participating in the digging of trenches,” he said.

Sikhondze said the project would not benefit all the four chiefdoms under the constituency, noting this caused an uproar at the project launch.

“If you are not interested, we might as well consider the other chiefdoms who were left out since they had expressed desire to work. We also have constituencies ravaged by drought and scarcity of water supply; government may divert the funds to those areas if you aren’t careful.

“Since 1995, when I came here, you’ve been appealing to government for the provision of clean water and now that she has responded, suddenly you’ve grown weary. Watch out, you risk losing out!”

He further challenged the headman of the Zombodze chiefdom and constituency team as well as chairman of the project committee to do something about the state of affairs since materials were gathering dust and could be stolen where they were kept.

Meanwhile, Mamba said the project should be through by December this year or residents would lose out if they failed to beat the deadline.

He wondered what had made residents grow weary feet since it was them who called for provision of clean water in the first place.

“Forget those who are misleading you; no funds were allocated by government for those digging the trenches. By providing the manpower, you are contributing to the project in a way or otherwise if government does everything, you could think it belongs to her when it’s yours,” he said.

MP Thwala had complained that some amongst the residents were misled into believing funds had been allocated for manpower so that they stopped working on the site, which was a l

Swazi Times

17 August 2007

E550m for Sikhuphe Airport


MBABANE – Costs for constructing the Sikhuphe International Airport at Hlane have now risen to E550 million.

The costs have been escalating over the years, even though the actual amount it was to cost was never made specific. A progress report from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development places the projected figure for total costs at E550 million. This, the report says, is according to calculations done last year.

The airport is part of government’s Millennium Projects, which also include factory shells being constructed in various areas around the country, an amusement park to be built in Manzini and a state-of-the-art Convention Centre.

The new Mavuso Trade Centre is also part of the Millennium Projects.

When these projects were initiated, there was public outcry on their viability.

It was felt in some quarters that the kingdom did not, for instance, need another airport because the Matsapha International Airport is underutilised as it is.

Economic Planning Minister Reverend Absalom Dlamini said last week that a lot of work had been covered at Sikhuphe.

He said at least E237 million that had been requested and included in the initial budget for the 2007/08 financial year had been sought to pay contractors for work already done.

A supplementary budget approved last month added a further E47 million, which would also go to this project.

It was explained when the supplementary request was discussed, that the money was only for the current financial year, as there was still ‘a huge programme’ planned for the terminals, hangars and other things.

The target, according to the minister, is to have the structure ready by 2010, when neighbouring South Africa will be hosting the FIFA World Cup Finals.

Swaziland hopes to benefit economically from the activity that will come with this international soccer showpiece.

Swazi Times

17 August 2007

MP’s fleeing son dives into ‘crocodile river’


MBABANE - Sigwe MP Joshua Mangena Jele’s son, a fugitive of the law, dived into the crocodile-infested Usuthu River while fleeing from the police on Tuesday.

This river has in the past been reported for incidents in which crocodiles attacked people.

Mndeni Jele, 26, of Lulakeni is on the police’s list of most wanted suspects in connection with a string of robberies and house breakings that were staged in different areas around the country.

Jele is a former soldier and was implicated in the armed robbery that took place at Mpaka Shopping Complex early this year.

Sources close to the matter said a team of police officers from the Lubombo region teamed up to look for Jele, one Fuhlu Sibiya, and other suspects on their list.


“The police were driving in a kombi and when they stopped it a few metres away from the homestead where Jele had taken refuge, he fled and climbed over a fence and headed for the Usuthu River,” said the source.

It was said the police pursued him to the river without firing a shot even when it transpired they were not catching up with the speeding Jele.

Jele went straight into the reeds on the banks of the river and into the water, leaving the police standing on the bank around the spot where they last saw him when he disappeared. A witness, who was among the residents who were attracted to the scene by the drama, said the police proceeded to the river, but could not see him in the water or anywhere on the banks.

“They waited there for a while, nursing hopes that he would eventually emerge from the water, if he had not already made it across,” said the witness.

The police are said to have abandoned the search for the day and returned to the homestead, where they conducted a raid before they moved to neighbouring homes.

The search continued even yesterday morning, but had not been successful by the afternoon.

Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the matter and said the police would not tire until they rounded up all the suspects.

MP Jele said he was aware of the incident and that his son last went home in December last year.

Swazi Observer

16 August 2007

Satanic worshipper’ gets two years imprisonment
By Sipho Dlamini


THE self- proclaimed ‘Satanic worshipper’ has been sentenced to two years imprisonment without an option of a fine after being found guilty of house breaking with intent to steal.


Nkosinathi Zoro Dlamini (22) of Ntfonjeni area, was further fined E200 or two months imprisonment for being found in possession dagga weighing nine grams.

His companion in crime, Sabelo Nxumalo (19) of Nkambeni area, was also sentenced to the two years for the house breaking and theft charge, and a further E1 000 fine or six months imprisonment for the theft of clothes at Ngomane, in October last year.

The sentences for both the accused will run concurrently.

On the main charge, both the accused were charged with breaking into the house of Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) medical doctor Jackson Bitarabeho, of Ugandan origin.

They stole items valued at over E30 000 when they broke into the doctor’s house, on June 23 this year.

Before passing the sentences magistrate Mandla Mkhaliphi, told both the accused that he had noted their mitigating factors and more-so that they both pleaded guilty to the charges.

He said he took consideration of the fact that the accused had indicated remorsefulness towards their action and that they were still young men who needed to change their ways of life.

In the case of Dlamini, the magistrate said he noted with serious concern his mitigating factor wherein he told the court that he was driven by some spirits that had possessed him to commit the offence.

He also considered the fact that Dlamini had told the court he wanted to repent from his ‘devil worshipping’ ways.

About Nxumalo, the magistrate said he had considered the fact that he had told the court he was invited by Dlamini to accompany him to the scene of crime, where he would have to assist him with something.

In determining sentence Mkhaliphi said he considered their level of understanding things as well as their level of education.

He noted the fact that the commission of the crime was pre-meditated by both the accused as they left their place of abode to the scene of crime, with a common interest and intention.

While he considered the personal circumstances of the accused, the magistrate said the predicament faced by the complainant also needed serious consideration.

He said this was especially so because the complainant lost his valuables that he had worked hard to obtain.

Mkhaliphi said some of the thousands of Emalangeni worth of property he lost would never be recovered as police had failed to get them even during their investigation of the matter.

The presiding officer noted that the complainant would always suffer trauma of knowing that some intruder invaded his privacy by breaking into his house and taking away his valuables.

Mkhaliphi then took note of the fact the accused were facing very serious crimes and the sentences that should be meted should serve as deterrent to other would-be offenders.

He noted further that the crimes of house breaking were prevelent within society, thus it had to be combated by all possible means.

Dlamini had recently told the court that he was a ‘devil worshipper’ who fed on human blood mainly that of children because it made him more potent. He had also told the same magistrate that he had sent his evil spirits to haunt him (Magistrate) so he could not reach judgement for the case. Consequent to this, the Magistrate lost keys to his office last week, just when he was to pass sentence which forced him to postpone the case to yesterday. Get a full report on the revelations made by the devil worshipper in The Weekend Observer tomorrow.

Swazi Observer

16 August 2007

Drivers on the phone face arrest
By Timothy Simelane


DRIVERS who use cellular phones behind the wheel will face the long arm of the law as the Road Traffic Bill has now been made law.


This is because it was found that cellular phones distract attention and contribute to traffic accidents.

The law is now awaiting to be published by government as a legal notice before it is implemented by traffic police officers.

The Swazi Observer got literal lessons when calling Principal Secretary of Public Works and Transport, Evart Madlopha on his cellular phone to ask him about the coming into effect of the law. Madlopha, who was driving, asked this newspaper to wait until he had parked his car to avoid causing an accident. After a while, he called back to say he had safely parked his car and would now freely answer the questions. This conduct, Madlopha said was required of drivers if they wanted to avoid being hauled to jail.

The PS said the Road Traffic Bill was passed by parliament recently, and details many other road traffic offences and their punishment.

“Drivers should know from now on that it is illegal to drive whilst on the phone.

The Bill has received accent from His Majesty and now awaits being officially published,” he said.

One alternative for drivers is to use a hands-free kit so that all hands can concentrate on the wheel. However, a survey conducted by University of Witwatersrand students after in introduction of cell phones, found that the hand-free kit equally distracts attention.

In the same bill, motorists will also face the law for failing to fasten seat belts

Swazi Times

16 August 2007

Please arrest my son - MP


MBABANE - Nkwene Member of Parliament (MP) Aaron Dladla has pleaded with the police to arrest his son, who is 19 years of age, for a string of cases with immediate effect.

MP Dladla has come to this decision after his son (name withheld for ethical reasons) disappeared from home last month and is suspected to be engaged in criminal activities. The Member of Parliament says he is concerned about his son such that disciplining him won’t help, but only the intervention of the police could be of great assistance in this case.

The honourable Member of Parliament says his son started exhibiting deviant behaviour when he would steal chickens from the community and those that belonged to his own home and sell them.

“I would give him a good hiding, but his criminal tendencies would just not die as he later began stealing from me as well,” Dladla said.

The MP said he once beat his son for stealing his cellphone and E50, which was inside a car, but his habit of stealing just continued, as neighbours in the community would complain that he had stolen from them.

“Just last month, he disgraced me during a traditional ceremony at a Hlophe homestead where he stole a whole leg of the beast that was slaughtered for the event,” the MP said.

He said since his son was known in the community for his stealing tendencies, the family members in the homestead interrogated him and he led them to where he had hidden the chunk of meat. “He was beaten severely and I told Hlophe to lay a charge against my son. I was the first to arrive at the Hlatikulu Police Station, but unfortunately the police could not arrest him since Hlophe changed his mind and decided not to lay charges,” the MP explained.

Dladla said recently there had been a number of break-ins at local primary school teachers’ quarters and the teachers have since held him (MP) accountable for these, as they say his son is the first culprit.

“Well I cannot deny the fact that he could be loitering around at night breaking into houses because it’s now over a month since he left home,” the Nkwene MP said.

When sought for comment, Public Relations Officer Vusi Masuku said the police were aware of the matter, as they had once taken the teenager for counselling. “The police were still to check on the teenager as to whether he had improved from his previous behaviour,” Masuku said.

“We would like to commend the parent for being such a responsible citizen to see to it that his child is not a social liability, but a law abiding citizen,” he continued. The Police PRO added that they were investigating a house breaking case in the same community, where a primary teacher’s house was broken into and property valued at over E1 700 was stolen.

Swazi Observer

14 August 2007

By Ackel Zwane


A Manzini businessman has lived survived to tell how he survived a volley of bullets from the police after a chase in the early hours of Sunday morning.


Siphila Gamedze said he was coming from the casino in Ezulwini to his home in Manzini when a sedan with four men forced him out of the road near the Lusushwana River at Manzana. He said he had reached the junction with the intention to turn and join the highway to Manzini when the police vehicle almost forced him into the drainage canal along the road.

He said by then he was not aware that he was being followed by police but insisted he accelerated and feared that the men may have been trying to hijack him.


He further alleged that while he swerved his car into the highway, he noticed that the blue vehicle had a PO registration, which meant it was a police car. He was driving his Isuzu KB 250 Fleetside.

“But I was not so sure whether they were genuine police officers because there was no reason why they should force me out of the road without even using the loud hailer to order me to pull over. They were just too rough and I was extremely afraid given the time of day,” said Gamedze.

Prior to the highway episode he said he had just crossed the bridge in Lusushwana when he suddenly spotted the vehicle moving at fast speed in his rear mirror. He said he had not noticed the car trailing him when he left the hotel where he was gambling.

Along the highway he increased speed while the sedan followed him at close speed. “At Lozitha I tried to leave the highway to take the road to Ludzeludze via Ngabezweni in attempt to get to a dirt road as fast as I could because the vehicle would not drive at that speed. That was not to be as they overtook me and blocked the way. I then drove at fast speed towards Mahhala flyover,” said Gamedze.


He added that when he was approaching the flyover another volley of bullets came from the sedan and hit the car in the bakkie. He said he kept on driving until he arrived at the flyover and drove towards the circle. Maneuvering the circle he spotted a traffic police vehicle under the flyover and he decided to drive towards the University of Swaziland.

Both police vehicles trailed him. He said he drove towards Ludzeludze and they trailed him. Other shots were fired as he drove past Ludzeludze towards Mbekelweni. “I continued to drive fast trying to reach the gravel road. At least I know that road very well and my car is almost a four wheel drive and could stand the bad road at that speed,” he explained.


He said the police followed him until Dlembeni past Sigombeni where he finally eluded them by hiding in a nearby thicket while they drove past at high speed.

“I parked the car in the bush and waited for about ten minutes. It was after I was certain they had and lost my track that I continued with the journey, this time driving past Kukhanyeni to Manzini,” he said.

He further said on arrival at Manzini, around 5am he remembered that he had a trip with his family. While relating the ordeal, he also prepared to leave because he wanted to report to the police and find out why they were shooting at him.


When he was about to leave he noticed that the rear tire had a puncture. Checking closer he saw that there was what appeared to be a shot.

“I then decided to report to Matsapha police at Sigodvweni but they said since my ordeal started at Elangeni, Lobamba police were responsible for patrolling that area.

Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Vusi Masuku said neither Lobamba nor Matsapha police were aware of the incident. He said he was still consulting by late yesterday.

However, Gamedze said having proceeded to Lobamba police they also denied knowledge of a car chase and shooting earlier that day. They further referred him back to Matsapha, he said. He added that he told that Matsapha police had referred to Lobamba and therefore someone must at least own up. He said finally the Lobamba police accompanied him to Matsapha where he took down a statement and was promised that they were investigating. “I fear for my life because I do not understand why the police shot at me. I am a citizen and businessman, therefore the police should have taken down the registration number of my car or at least used a hailer to show that they were genuine police instead of pushing me off the road and opening fire,” he said. It is suspcted that he was shot using an R4 rifle and pistol, given the shots that penetrated his car.


Guard shot with AK 47

A security for a firm at the Matsapha Industrial Sites is fighting for his life at the Raleigh Fitkin memorial Hospital after he was shot with an AK 47 assault rifle.

Supt. Masuku said police suspect that a wanted criminal Raymond Matimba may have been responsible for the attack. He warned members of the public that Matimba was extremely dangerous. The security guard however refused to meet journalists at the male surgical ward yesterday saying he was still dazed and confused about the circumstances leading to his getting shot. he had apparently refused to assist Matimba rob his place of work and that is why he was shot.

Swazi Times

14 August 2007

Panic as HIV drugs run out


MBABANE – Panic struck people living with HIV and their carers as the Mbabane Government Hospital’s Voluntary Counseling and Testing Unit (VCT) suffered acute shortage of Anti Retroviral drugs in the past three weeks.

This is the latest of the many crises faced by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Patients undergoing the HIV/AIDS treatment are said to have started to panic after being told that there were fears that the VCT would soon run out of the tablets.

Information gathered yesterday was that the problem started three weeks ago after the VCT staff members discovered that they were running short of one of the ARV drugs known as Nevirapine.

This drug reduces mother-to-child HIV transmission during birth.

The same drug is also given to patients who are on art combination as it is combined with Vidovudin and Lamivudin drugs.

Art combination refers to that stage where a person is put on ARVs.

After it was discovered that the VCT Unit was running short of the drug, it was then decided that the amount of drugs given to the patients be reduced.

Before, the patients were given drugs that would last for a month, but because of the fears of the shortage, they were then given drugs that would last for only two weeks so that there would be enough for everyone.

A patient found at the VCT Unit confirmed that she was among those who were told that they would be given tablets that would last for only two weeks.

“I asked why they were doing this as they were supposed to give me a course that would sustain me for a month, but I was only told that there was a drug shortage. I do not know if they will give me more today or not,” she said.

She stated that most of them were shocked when they were informed about the shortage.

“When I started the treatment, I was warned that if I missed them, I would die. I cannot afford to miss the drugs because I do not want to die,” she said.

When one of the VCT nurses was asked about the problem, she acted as if there was nothing wrong.

“Who said there is a shortage of ARVs? There is just nothing like that. All patients are getting their drugs and there is no problem at all,” said the nurse.

Health Services Deputy Director Dr Vusi Magagula confirmed that they had fears of the drug shortage, but said the problem had been solved.

Swazi Observer

13 August 2007

LSDI ‘ditched’ for gorgeous Jozini
By Ackel Zwane


LUBOMBO residents have expressed misgivings about the ‘blatant abandonment’ of the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative (LSDI) for the more attractive Jozini Big Six project.


They observed that it was the intention of Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique to develop a joint implementation plan among them for the creation of the new regional transnational route.

The geographical area targetted by this initiative was defined as the eastern Swaziland, the southern part of Mozambique and the north-eastern areas of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa.

“However, South Africa and Mozambique forged ahead with the project, leaving Swaziland behind as usual. it was envisaged that new international roads were going to be constructed linking Maputo to Swaziland via Mhlumeni border gate to Siteki, Maphungwane, Tikhuba, Lukhetseni then Mambane to Usuthu gorge where tourists villages for the three countries would be built; and finally to Kwazulu Natal,” said resident Robert Mbhamali.

Swaziland was also tasked with developing appropriate facilities at localities close to or on the main tourism routes. Mbhamali said the specific strategies were:

*to create convenient stopover where passing tourists could be guaranteed quality services and spend their money to the benefit of the local economy, within areas that have the potential to offer add-on attractions and accommodation facility over time;

*to encourage more tourists to visit the area through the exposure of existing and new Swaziland products at such stopovers;

*to build similar accommodation facilities with those stopovers, thus encouraging tourists to also stay over in Swaziland;

*to develop integrated packaging of variety products and market a well-branded regional destination to tour operators and tourists;

*to develop a significant range of products around the Jozini/Pongola poort dam, and at the Mlawula game reserve that will act as anchor project to kick start the development of the new cross border tourism destinations.

“:If this programme was adhered to and followed as planned by the government, the D12 road-Mhlumeni, Siteki- Maphungwane and Mbabane would have been tarred by now. On the contrary the Lubombo Plateau community is more than grateful to the government for good work in providing electricity network in the area. It is commendable indeed,” said Mbhamali.

Swazi Times

13 August 2007

Wanted suspect is shot dead


NHLANGANO- “All that these people want to do is kill me and not to arrest me as they claim to the public and that is my problem.”

Those were the last few words of one of the most-sought after armed robbery suspects Ntokozo Ngozo. On Saturday morning he was shot several times by the police after an attempt to arrest him ended in a bloody shoot-out.

He died while undergoing treatment at the Nhlangano Health Centre. Ngozo sustained multiple bullet wounds on the chest and stomach as members of the Lukhozi, the police Serious Crimes Unit, closed-in on him and his accomplices at a Mhlanga homestead they had used as their hideout.

The incident happened around 9am at Makhosini area in Nhlangano.

A 23-year-old man who had allegedly harboured Ngozo and his friends was arrested immediately after the shooting, and is due to appear before the Nhlangano Magistrate’s Court today.

The deceased was one of five men who were sought by the police for allegedly masterminding a series of crimes that took place around the country and recently Nhlangano town. Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Vusi Masuku confirmed the incident.

Masuku said the man identified as Ntokozo Ngozo of Ngcina area was killed by police in retaliation as he had opened fire on the police who were closing in on him at his hideout at the Mhlanga homestead.

“Police acted on a tip off from an anonymous caller and they reported to the scene. The police introduced themselves after cordoning the house.

“Amidst their introduction a shot was fired from inside the house and the suspect Ngozo came from the house running and officers tried to stop him but he did not comply.

“Subsequently he was shot with an intention to incapacitate him and he was injured. He was later conveyed to the Nhlangano Health centre where information about his death was disclosed later in the evening.”

Masuku said the anonymous caller strongly believed the men were involved in last Saturday’s robbery at The Place (Endaweni) in Mathendele Township.

“ They were also linked to last Tuesday’s break-ins at Cashbuild, Wozani Supermarket and Metro Wholesalers,” Masuku added.

Masuku further said police later gathered that Ngozo’s accomplices had fled into South Africa the previous day.

“In the house police found illegal guns and live ammunition. These comprise of an AK 47 rifle loaded with three live rounds, a single barrel shotgun loaded with four live rounds and four rounds of ammunition of a pistol,” Masuku added.

... deceased

feared arrest

NHLANGANO- Ntokozo Ngozo, who was listed among the most wanted criminals in the country, had expressed fear of handing himself over to the Nhlangano police before the shooting.

His fears were made known in an interview with our sister publication, The Times SUNDAY hardly a week ago, and his story was published in yesterday’s edition.

Eventually what Ngozo averted by not handing himself to the police befell him as he succumbed to death while undergoing treatment from gunshot wounds.

Ngozo of Ngcina area was alleged to have shot a police officer, identified as Shakes Shabangu, something he claims are false allegations peddled by the police force to smear him.

In the interview he was quoted stating that Shabangu was shot in a skirmish while he (Ngozo) and his friend, Thulani Dludlu, tried to disarm the police officer who had, out of the blue, drawn a gun on him.

Ngozo alleged that Shabangu shot himself during the skirmish.

He was quoted saying that he surrendering himself to the police would mean was tantamount to committing suicide as he claimed that police officers who were hot on his heels had vowed to end his life.

Some quotes from the interview;

“Who am I that they could change their minds after surrendering if they have already declared that they want me dead?”

“When I see them now I see a leopard and it’s either I run for my life or I hide,”

“I’m not afraid of the cases they claim I have committed, I’m sure I can defend myself. I have been more than willing to surrender myself but past experiences taught me otherwise”

“They just threatened me, swore at me, told me I will die like a dog.”

“They even called me one time and told me to take a rope and hang myself because I was already a dead man.”


1) Robbery of Mafutseni Clinic where household property worth E11 000 was taken at gunpoint.

2) Robbery at Mafutseni where an FNB Manageress was robbed at gun point her Mercedes Benz and jewellery amounting to E300 000

3) At a Supermarket at Sicelwini they murdered a security guard and took E313 000 cash.

4) Attempted murder of a police officer who was effecting arrest on one of them at Mhlaleni. One suspect was arrested and the four escaped.

5) Robbed JHB Plastics in Matsapha where they tied a security guard and stole a money safe with E250 000, that was later found at Lobamba.

6) Robbed Bonkhe Supermarket in Mahlanya where they attacked shop assistants and robbed them of E3 300 in cash and further took a Toyota Corolla valued at E85 000 which was later found abandoned in Matsapha.

7) At the Manzini Central robots they staged a cash-in transit robbery where they shot at secur-ity guards who retaliated with fire and the robbery was foiled.

8) Robbed Lubulini Joyela Supermarket where they took money from shop assistants amounting to E6 500.

9) Robbed Ritchie Wholesalers in Manzini where they took E3 000 in cash at gunpoint.

10) Robbed Tri Cash at Sidvoko-dvo where they committed armed robbery on petrol attendants at the filling station making away with E13 655. They also robbed a truck driver whose truck was parked at the filling station of E4 000 cash and cellphones.

11) At Nhlangano Mathendele Bottle Store they stole E6 000 cash and cellphones and property worth E370.