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MBABANE – A male officer has been suspended from work and further reported to the police for alleged sexual assault of male employees.

The officer is employed by Pots Construction in a project where the company is building Enhlitiyweni High School under a joint project by the Ministry of education and the Japanese government.

The school is situated at KaNcesi, an area between Mnyokane and Maguga in the Hhohho region.
Most of the men employed there are members of the community as it was agreed at inception of the project in 2018 that the local labour force should be engaged in order to alleviate unemployment level.

A source, who also works in this project, said when he heard about the allegations, he did not take them seriously because he got them from an employee they have always known as a heavy user of alcohol.

“But when the talk intensified we started giving it attention together with some senior employees, even though we did it privately.”
He said many reports came through and it also transpired that some of those who allegedly almost fell victim to the manager decided to quit their jobs in fear of victimisation.

“We realised this was serious because we approached some of those who had resigned due to his advances and they told us similar accounts,” he alleged.
The source revealed that most of the victims whom the suspect allegedly sexually assaulted said they would hang around with him after work and enjoy some alcohol at local bars.

“They said he would buy them lots of beer and when they were drunk, he would take one of them with him for the night and when they eventually became sober, they would realise they were sleeping at his place and that they had been sexually assaulted,” he alleged.
Chairman of the community development committee handling the project, Sakhi Dlamini, confirmed receiving reports that implicated the manager as a suspect in the matter.

He said he first got wind of the matter over three weeks ago when one employee called him to report it.
“I did not rush to report it further because I felt we needed evidence before we could start pinning him as a suspect,” he said.
He said the matter reached a peak midweek when another male employee reported the same  issue and even went to hospital where he was treated for an illness related to sexual assault.

“When he returned, he informed us about this and further reported it to the police. I also arranged for a meeting with the other managers of the company and we deliberated on the matter,” the chairman said.


He said he was also going to discuss the issue with the rest of the committee members because most of the affected employees who hailed from the community had since abandoned work.

“It’s a pity that the project came here as an initiative to develop the area and also create employment opportunities for local people. However, now it has been dented with this incident, which is quite uncommon in the area,” he said.

Dlamini said most people in the area were not familiar with such a practice because it was located in the rural areas where most people heard little about such encounters.

He did mention that they were still very grateful with the government of Eswatini and that of Japan for considering their area for the construction of the school.
Pots Construction Managing Director Sanele Mashwama confirmed knowledge of the matter and said they learned about it on Wednesday.

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