Monday, September 26, 2016

BOY, 16, HELD IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT



A 16-year-old boy in Swaziland has been kept in solitary confinement for five months, although he has not been sentenced for a crime.

He had been granted bail of E2,000 (US$145) but his family have been unable to raise the money, so he has had to stay behind bars.

The boy admitted stealing five pairs of sneakers, worth E4,000.

The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday (21 September 2016) that he had been serving time in a solitary confinement cell for about five months. It reported the boy saying, ‘I miss school and I might go mad in that cell all by myself. I do not care what happens to me now as I have already suffered enough for all my sins.’

He has been kept in the solitary cell at the Pigg’s Peak Correctional facility, because he is too young to be detained with adult prisoners. 

He was originally arrested on 23 March 2016. His father appeared before the Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s Court to request bail in July. It was set at E2,000 by Senior Magistrate Siphosini Dlamini. But, the newspaper reported, the boy’s father could not raise the bail money, forcing the minor to continue his time in jail. 

The minor will re-appeared in court on 3 October for sentencing.

See also

KIDS WHO COMMIT NO CRIME LOCKED UP

BOY, 12, JAILED FOR INSULTING GRANNY

Friday, September 23, 2016

‘TORTURE’ POLICE INVESTIGATE SELVES



Police in Swaziland are to investigate themselves after reports that officers ambushed and tortured striking workers.

An unnamed senior officer was reported in the Swazi Observer newspaper saying, ‘We as the police have opened an inquiry of our own over the allegations made against our officers.’

It relates to reported attacks by police on workers at the Plantation Forest Company, near Pigg’s Peak. The newspaper said two investigations had been started, one of them independent of the police.

The Observer reported on Tuesday (20 September 2016) that the senior office said, ‘everybody involved, be it the police officers or the workers themselves were all under investigation’.

Meanwhile, the Swaziland Agriculture and Plantations Workers Union (SAPWU) want to open individual assault cases against police officers, following the alleged assaults on Friday 9 September 2016.

General-Secretary Manqoba Dlamini said, ‘We intend opening various assault cases against the police. This is because the violation by police happened at various times during the strike, but the Friday’s assaults were severe and most shocking. That fateful Friday, police picked up five females and assaulted them in a secluded location and further accused them of arson attacks at the Plantation Forest Company sports field,’ he said. 

Dlamini said the names of the police officers involved in the alleged assault were known to them. 

Dlamini also said SAPWU intended to alert the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the strike action by workers of the Plantation Forest Company. He said, ‘The poor working conditions suffered by workers coupled by the low wages topped off by attacks by police have to be told to the international community. Worth noting is that the assaults that happened on Friday started as a labour dispute that turned ugly,’ he said. 

See also

‘HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE

POLICE ‘BRUTALLY ASSUALT’ WORKERS

Thursday, September 22, 2016

KING BUYS JET BUT NO MONEY FOR FOOD



In the week that it was revealed that Swaziland had paid E90 million (US$6.4m) as a deposit on a private jet for King Mswati III it was announced that 500,000 Swazi people – nearly half the population – would need food aid by December, but the kingdom cannot afford to pay for it.

Swaziland has been under a national emergency since February 2016 because of drought. The kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, appealed to the international community for financial aid. Meanwhile, the King who has a reputation for his personal lavish lifestyle spent millions hosting the Southern African Development Community summit in August. The King is chair of SADC this year.

On Friday (16 September 2016), media in Swaziland reported the kingdom’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Chief Executive Officer Russell Dlamini saying an estimated 500,000 people would need food assistance by December 2016.

Dlamini said that donor agencies had promised aid, but only about a quarter of it had been received.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported that Dlamini said more than E97 million had been pledged, but only E24 million had been received.

The Times of Swaziland reported Dlamini saying all food aid would cease by April 2017 unless something was done.

Newspapers also reported that members of the Swazi parliament were questioning what had happened to the E90 million that had been paid as deposit for the King’s private jet. No jet has jet been delivered. The jet is expected to cost a total of E207 million.

The media in Swaziland which often censor themselves when reporting about the King made no connection between the E90 million being spent so far on the jet and the nearly similar amount needed for food aid.


See also

MONEY FOR KING’S JET, BUT NOT DROUGHT

SWAZI KING’S DROUGHT BLUNDER

SWAZILAND DROUGHT – TRUTH REVEALED

KING BUYS JET, UN FUNDS DROUGHT RELIEF