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I am writing on behalf of a number of concerned members of the public of different areas within Swaziland. It is now obvious even to a school-going child that the crime rate in our country has reached alarming levels which can now be compared to our neighbour South Africa. Swaziland had been a very safe country overall in terms of crime in the past. Tourists are robbed (the incident of their bus being ransacked by thugs while they were on tour), housebreaking cases are on the rise, hijackings, car theft, ATM bombings, filling station robberies, supermarket robberies, the list is endless, and most are now committed with guns.

Our question is; “Is the national commissioner of police in denial of this increase?” A lot of these crime incidents are reported in the media, and of concern is the use of guns in most of these incidents but we have not seen or heard any urgent statement coming from the national commissioner of police or the authorities in government, condemning these acts and committing themselves to bring most if not all culprits to book. There was an incident reported in your daily the other week, about an armed robbery on Chinese nationals living at Madonna in Manzini during the evening when there was a thunderstorm.

The police commissioner commented on this incident and warned the public ‘to be more alert during thunderstorms because thugs take advantage of the storms due to the fact that they might not be heard breaking doors/windows’; really, is this what we expect to hear, instead of a commitment of bringing them to book and all those engaging in this crime. It is sad that the nation has to live in fear of a minority as this is a small group; the majority of Swazis are hardworking, trying to make ends meet. Police visibility is zero in residential areas, and upon requesting assistance from them, they take ages to act even on tips being given to them on crime, such as suspicious characters being seen in unusual places, yet they plead with the public to work together with them.

The police concentrate on catching drink-drivers, we agree with this for the nation’s safety on roads but they should also treat burglaries, hijackings with the same urgency. The festive season is around the corner. They have started raids on those selling liquor without licences. When will we see raids on criminals who are going to hold the country to ransom? Vision 2022 will not be attained at this rate. We all know investors do their research before investing in a country and one of the things they observe is crime; do we see investors coming into the country at this rate? A big no, which means unemployment will remain high. The police commissioner should call an indaba where all communities are represented and we look at forming neighbourhood watch initiatives working hand in hand with the police. These have worked very well in South Africa because it is clear that police cannot be everywhere at once, they need the assistance of the public. In this way it will also assist in identifying those in the communities who are protecting these criminals because at the end of the day, after they have committed a crime, they have to go and rest or share the spoils somewhere.

Concerned citizens

NOTE: In an effort to afford the Royal Swaziland Police Service the right to reply, this letter was emailed to the police service’s information communications department on Tuesday November 28, 2017 but unfortunately there has been no response.


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