Blame Lutfo for my death'
BY NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA
MBABANE – The man you see in this picture wrote a suicide note to Lutfo Dlamini, Minister of Labour and Social Security accusing him of frustrating his efforts to get a government scholarship for his daughter.
The 46-year-old Simon Mkhwanazi is a civil servant.
He is under the Ministry of Health and is based at the Lobamba Clinic where he is currently working as a health inspector.
On April 11, 2012, Mkhwanazi thought of killing himself.
He then sat down to write a suicide note, addressing it to the minister, to whose office he later personally delivered it.
Mkhwanazi’s daughter, Sanelisiwe, is currently doing her fourth and last year at the Vaal University of Technology in South Africa.
She needs E45 000 to cover registration, tuition fees and expenses for meals.
Sanelisiwe is Mkhwanazi’s first-born of four children.
The youngest is in Grade V.
In his ‘suicide note,’ which the Times SUNDAY is in possession of, Mkhwanazi alleged that he had spent more than E120 000 paying fees for Sanelisiwe over the years.
He says he had hoped that she would get a scholarship from government and pay the balance.
"I killed myself because the minister refused to award my child a scholarship (Honourable Lutfo E. Dlamini), doing her fourth year which is her last year after spending more than E120 000 for the last three years (sic)," reads part of the suicide note, which indicates that he thought it would be read after his death.
The minister got to know about the letter after it was given to him by his secretary.
Mkhwanazi did not ask to speak to the minister when he delivered the letter but left it with his secretary.
This newspaper traced Mkhwanazi and found that he was actually still very much alive.
He said had it not been for one of his brothers, he would have indeed committed suicide. He said after being informed that he would not get help from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, he thought of committing suicide because he did not know how he would pay for Sanelisiwe’s last year at varsity.
He said in the last three years, he had been paying for his daughter through a loan he got from the Swaziland Development and Savings Bank (SwaziBank).
Mkhwanazi said this year, the bank declined to give him a
It is then that he proceeded to the ministry, hoping to get assistance.
"When I got to the ministry, I was told that government had no money and there was not much I would get in assistance," he said.
"I felt as if it was the end of the world. I had no extra money to pay for my daughter."
He said had it not been the fact that he failed to secure another loan, he would have not gone to seek help from the ministry.
"My daughter had been applying for government scholarship for the past three years but her applications have not been successful," he said.
"I had hoped that I would get the required help but that was not the case. I then thought of killing myself."
He said after consulting with his brother, who he did not want to mention, he thought of making other means of finding the money.
"When I wrote the letter, I was bitter about what had happened," he said. "I was thinking of my daughter, who I had worked hard for. I was thinking of the money I would have wasted if she would be kicked out of school in her last year because I have failed to raise money to pay for her fees. Many things were on my mind at the time."
Asked if he regretted writing the note to the minister, Mkhwanazi only said he was still making attempts to raise money to pay for his daughter.
"As I speak, I am going to the bank to see if I can be in a position of getting more money to pay for my daughter," he said.
"My brother told me that instead of committing suicide, it was best that we find alternative means of getting money."
Minister confirms getting note
MBABANE – Minister Lutfo Dlamini confirmed receiving the ‘suicide note’ from Mkhwanazi.
He said he got the letter through his secretary and when he saw its content, he was surprised to see that Mkhwanazi thought he was the one who allegedly refused to grant her daughter a scholarship.
"There are a number of students who had applied but were not successful," said the minister. "It is not like I am refusing to grant students scholarships but the problem is the financial crisis currently faced by government." The minister said after seeing the note, he then asked his officials to look into Mkhwanazi’s matter. "I checked and discovered that the child was among the students who were unfortunate and did not get a scholarship," he said.
"If funds were available, there is no way we would refuse to fund students. It is our wish to help all the students who need a scholarship but because of the current situation, it is difficult. If the money becomes available, the students who have applied will definitely be granted scholarships."
The minister said they were making efforts to see to it that all those who happened to owe government ended up repaying their study loans because they also want to avail opportunities to other students who want to study in and outside the country.
"That is why we urge all those who used government funds to pay in order for the others to also benefit," he said.
"If all those who owe government would pay, we would have fewer problems in as far as issues of scholarships are concerned."
It is not true that there is no money. Cabinet ministers are greedy. Take for an example, How may students can benefit from the government scholarship if cabinet were to remove circular no.1 of 2010. The government can save millions by getting rid of this circular.
May 13, 2012, 2:53 PM, Quinton Ndzinisa (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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