Minister's blunder on king's name
MBABANE – Minister Lindiwe Dlamini’s use of His Majesty the King’s name after making a speech at a function recently has divided the community of Nkwalini, Zone 4.
The minister was the guest speaker at the official launch of a health and social centre project on February 26, 2012.
She told the residents that, "Inkhosi iniphekele nine bekunene" meaning, "The King has made refreshments available."
This is a statement normally used by government and senior authorities whenever there are refreshments at the end of an event.
The Times SUNDAY established that what had sparked tumult within the community was the fact that the residents had been told to contribute E20 per family to repay a loan used to buy a cow that was slaughtered for the launch. A community meeting held last Sunday ended in disorder when some residents questioned why Boy Dlamini, Chairman of the Zone 4 community, took a E4 000 loan from his cousin, one Celani Fakudze, and used the money to buy a cow which he says was slaughtered for the launch.
The centre is located at Lomkiri, in Zone 4 and is one of the community projects that received funding from the Bill Gates Foundation in America.
The project worth E1.4 million was handled by the Mbabane City Council.
The minister’s statement has been interpreted to mean the food eaten during t
he launch was entirely paid for by His Majesty the King.
The residents have also threatened to shun the centre because of anomalies they are pointing out in the handling of the project.
It was launched in 2010 but was officially opened on February 26, 2012.
Zone Leader Boy (60) says it had been communally agreed that tenants should pay half the amount.
Interviewed on Tuesday, Dlamini said the community also agreed that the money would be collected by a team of motivators (bagcugcuteli) and Zone 4 Treasurer Jane Mlangeni.
He said only E1 800 was collected before the event took place.
"This happened because of the short notice given to us by the City Council," he said.
"We were only informed about the opening on February 6, 2012 and the event was scheduled to take place on February 26. This on its own was short notice for the community," he said.
He said the owner of the cow charged him E5 500 but he paid only E1 800.
"I borrowed the balance from my cousin and we bought the cow," he said.
He said the report of the money was presented on Sunday but some executive members were not satisfied by the report.
"I think what sparked confusion is that during the meeting I reminded the residents to pay up the E20 we had agreed upon," he said.
He said some of the residents however argued that there were irregularities in the collection of the money. He said he explained the procedures followed during the collection.
Project Coordinator George Hleta said the community wanted the Health and Social Centre to be suspended for an inquiry to be conducted.
Hleta resides at Zone 4.
He said apart from the call that homesteads should contribute E20 into the project, there are a lot of things which the residents are not pleased with.
"There are a lot of anomalies we have noted with the running of the project. The Mbabane Town Council has failed to engage the community members on the project and there is a distance between the parties," he said.
Meanwhile, Bongani Dlamini, City Council Public Relations Officer, says it was traditionally accepted that Swazis thanked the King during functions before enjoying refreshments.
"As City Council we will not interfere with matters that have to do with community contributions. The contributions were made by the community. It was their idea," he said.
The PRO said the council’s duty was to bring the project into the community and the community appointed relevant people who work along with the council.
... It’s a Siswati custom – minister
MBABANE – Lindiwe Dlamini, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, says it is customary that Swazis thank the King whenever there is an event where refreshments are made available.
"It does not mean that nasikhuta li-Bayethe (when we hail the King) His Majesty has paid. Swazis should know that this is a customary saying used whenever a minister is invited to such functions," she said.
She said it was in respect of this tradition that she expressed gratitude to the King.
She said she attended the launching on behalf of her ministry following that the Mbabane Municipal Council fall under her department.
Meanwhile, Timothy Velabo Mtetwa, acting Ludzidzini Governor, says it is wrong for anyone to traditionally sing praises of the King when the King is not involved.
He said the King’s praises should be strictly used at an event where His Majesty has independently contributed to that function or government. "Wonkhe umcimbi lapho khona kupheke Ingwenyama kukhutwa liBayethe," he said in Siswati.
"Alikhutwa liBayethe lapho ku gazatwe khona. (The king’s name can only be used where His Majesty has been involved not where individuals have made contributions)," he said.
Project Coordinator George Hleta said the reason residents were refusing to contribute the E20 per homestead was that it transpired that the bills for refreshments had been catered for by His Majesty.
Boy Dlamini, Chairman of the Nkwalini Zone 4 community committee, has given an account of how the community monies were being collected. He said after the introduction of the Social and Health Centre project in 2010, the community decided to contribute towards costs for the launch.
He said E1 800 was collected before the opening of the centre and that E750 was collected after.
"From the E750 I took E60 which I used to fill my car with petrol during the opening. The rest of the money is with Jane Mlangeni who is the community treasurer," he said.
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