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MBABANE - Swaziland’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Her Excellency Dumisile Sukati has strongly refuted reports that she trafficked her housekeeper Zanele Shongwe to London in 2011.

In a full statement to the media on the matter, Sukati said she did not fear investigation into the issue because she was innocent of any alleged wrongdoing. If anything, she said a closer look into the matter will reveal the truth of her initial good intentions, which she said were all within the confines of the law.

Sukati has apologised for the impression such allegations by her housekeeper had given to the public.
“I have not been charged nor am I under investigation for human trafficking, yet now my name has been made to appear like I am a criminal. I, therefore, wish to categorically refute links to such act and assure the public that I would never do such a thing as I am a person of integrity and a law-abiding citizen,” she said.

She thanked all those who have supported her in this issue and noted that people who have interacted with her know that she had always been a person of high integrity.
Sukati, who is a former Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, has described the allegations made by Shongwe and published in the Swazi News on May 21, 2016 as barefaced lies, aimed at tarnishing her good name. The High Commissioner strongly believes that her housekeeper cooked up a story in order to obtain asylum status in the United Kingdom.

“Given her brutal conduct, it is almost likely that her contract will not be renewed when it expires in two months’ time. She is looking for an excuse to convince the UK Border Control to allow her to stay on here. It’s common practice for some people to use this route to hoodwink the immigration department, but the unfortunate part is that Zanele is using this dirty tactic at the expense of my good name,” Sukati said.


 “If Zanele was mistreated as she claims, why has she on numerous occasions gone to Swaziland on holidays and happily returned to London? There is a clause that allows her to terminate the contract anytime and give only a month notice.
“Zanele is aware that government would willingly pay for her ticket back to Swaziland if she opted to terminate the contract. Therefore, there is no need for her to be wandering in London with no place to sleep, as she has alleged to the media.”
The high commissioner confirmed that there was a rift between herself and Zanele. As a result, the latter has deserted her self-content bedsitter situated within the high commissioner’s official residence. To make matters worse, she has not surrendered the keys and her whereabouts remain unknown.

Giving an account of the topsy-turvy working relationship with her housekeeper, Sukati stated that not at any stage was Zanele trafficked to the UK, but she independently accepted a job offer by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The high commissioner further stated that despite accepting the employment terms and conditions, Zanele had, of late, developed an offensive attitude towards her. Reports gathered are that the trouble started in 2014 when Zanele discovered, while on holiday in Swaziland, that payment of her salary had been discontinued.  

“I’m not privy to know whether her salary has been paid or not, but I’m only responsible for her foreign service allowance. She did not enquire about this even from government while in Swaziland, but just decided to neglect her duties. I would call, send text and voice messages, without any success. Somewhere down the line she responded and told me that she was deliberately ignoring my calls until her salary was released.”

Sukati added, “Seeing that I was held to ransom, I had to beg the ministry to speedily attend to her salary issue and the anomaly was rectified. Subsequent to that, she still blatantly refused to perform her daily duties even when we had some high-profile visitors, including the Minister of Public Works and Transport Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini and House of Assembly Speaker Themba Msibi, among others. I was extremely embarrassed”

The housekeeper has reportedly made life miserable by developing a negative attitude towards Sukati’s two children, who only visit the residence during university and Christmas holidays. In some instances, Zanele allegedly told the high commissioner that she would hide in one of the rooms in the main house when there were visitors so that she could overhear the conversations.

“When some visitors called on the landline to inform us that they would be visiting London on official business, she did not tell anyone and they got stranded. She also religiously refused to wake up and open the door for the driver, but left the door unlocked. As a result, someone sneaked in one day and stole a few items, including my daughter’s laptop which contained her academic work,” Sukati related.

At some stage, Sukati said she advised Zanele to quit her job if she was unhappy and even offered to buy her an air-ticket so that she could go back home, but she declined the offer.
“The truth is that she has publicly made these allegations that I trafficked her so that she could use the media article when applying for asylum. She wants to falsely create an impression that her life would be in danger if she returned to Swaziland. She is pulling every trick in the book to stay permanently in the UK,” said Sukati.   

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