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Wednesday, 28 June 2017


School administrators in Swaziland are imploring poverty-stricken parents to send their children to school with food as hunger grips the kingdom. They say children could soon die.

Parents should at least give the children sweet potatoes to suppress hunger pains, they say. The call comes after the Swazi Government failed to pay for food for the children as the economy slumps.

Food shortages have hit schools all this year and the government school feeding scheme known as zondle has collapsed.

The Times of Swaziland reported, ‘As the food shortage situation in schools worsens, the Swaziland Association of Schools Administrators (SASA) has pleaded with parents to at least put sweet potatoes, tindlubu (jugo beans) or umbhonyo (boiled peanuts) in their children’s lunch boxes so that they could have something to eat during break time.

‘The administrators were of the view that this would enable the pupils to at least concentrate during lessons.’

The newspaper added, ‘Sphasha Dlamini, the Secretary General (SG) of SASA said the situation in schools was getting worse by the day.’

 The Times reported, ‘The head teachers said hunger was written all over the faces of the pupils, something that made teachers’ jobs difficult.

‘The school administrators have sent a number of requests to government, asking it to act fast on the matter because they fear that they would soon start losing lives due to hunger in schools.’

In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children aged under five.

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017


Residents in Swaziland allegedly killed an elderly woman because she was a witch, a local newspaper has reported.
They enlisted a prophet to seek out the woman, the Swazi Observer reported on Friday (23 June 2017)

It happened at Sithobelweni where the woman reportedly had been ‘roaming around their homesteads and bewitching them’.

The Observer reported, ‘An elderly woman married to one of the residents was eventually killed after being fingered by a prophet who was hired by the community to root out the witchcraft practices in the area.’ She was named as Philphinah Mamba.

A case of murder is being heard before High Court Judge Sipho Nkosi.

The newspaper reported, ‘Giving evidence under oath, Sicelo [Mamba] told the court that the community was having a problem with a woman who would be spotted in the odd hours of the night moving around people’s homesteads naked and this was reported to the Royal kraal. 

‘Sicelo said following various incidents where the woman was spotted, the Inner Council convened a meeting where hundreds of residents were in attendance and deliberated on the matter.

‘At least three meetings in connection with the witchcraft, according to Sicelo were held and it was in the last meeting that they resolved to seek the services of a prophet who would assist them in fingering the witch giving them sleepless night.’

The Inner Council ordered that each homestead owner pay a sum of E50 (about US$4) as contribution towards payment of the services of a prophet called Boy Sithole. The woman was taken before a crowd of residents where she admitted to witchcraft, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper reported, ‘At this point, people insisted that a declaration be made with everyone signing next to their names to the effect that the witch be killed.’

She was later stabbed three times in the chest at her home.

The court case continues.

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Monday, 26 June 2017


Swaziland is riddled with corruption in both private and public places, according to a new report. Public officials take bribes to avoid regulations and the law, it states.

‘The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state,’ the report from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) states.

It adds, ‘For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.’

It gives many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million (US$120,000) was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in use.  The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred to another government department. 

The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa states, ‘This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.’

It adds, ‘It has been suggested that Swaziland has no less than 31 millionaires who are junior government officials. In 2005, the then minister of finance Majozi Sithole estimated that corruption was costing the Swazi economy approximately E40 million a month.’

The report authored by Maxine Langwenya states, ‘Poor people who suffer as a result of corruption took the minister’s statement as confirmation of the extent to which the country was being driven to bankruptcy through corrupt activities. The corrupt public officials thought the minister was exaggerating the extent of corruption while academics were sceptical of the statement as the minister did not provide a basis for his assertion. 

‘The minister’s statement was significant in so far as it highlighted the fact that the economy of the country was being undermined by corrupt activities.’

The report states, ‘In the past, ministers have been found by a parliamentary select committee to have acted in a manner that is tantamount to theft of state property. The ministers had allocated themselves and subsequently “bought” land belonging to the state at ridiculously low prices without competing with other would-be buyers. The land was given to the ministers at below market value.’

The matter was never pursued by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The report goes on, ‘In 2015 Judge Mpendulo Simelane stated that he had been approached by the former Minister of Justice Sibusiso Shongwe and told that judges could and should make money from cases over which they presided. The then Minister of Justice is then said to have asked the Judge to preside in a case of wealthy business people who were suing the Swaziland Revenue Authority for goods they had imported. The then Minister is said to have told the Judge that the business people were willing to pay about E2 million for help in winning the case. 

‘Shongwe suggested that Simelane should preside in the case and explained how the E2 million would be shared between the parties. Simelane and Shongwe were subsequently arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission and charged with corruption but charges were subsequently dropped against Simelane. Simelane remains on suspension while Shongwe is presently out on bail. This case illustrates how the Swazi justice system was abused to settle political scores and make it complicit with the actions of corrupt public officials.’

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