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NEW COMPLEX TO AFFECT THOUSANDS

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MATSAPHA – Ideally, development is expected to have positive developmental spinoffs to the public.  However, this cannot be said about a construction of a multimillion shopping complex in Matsapha that will affect thousands of emaSwati, most of them being textile workers.


The already commissioned project is situated at the Matsapha Industrial sites, a few metres away from the Matsapha Police Station (Sigodvweni). The commercial property is being constructed on land where a path that was used by about over 10 000 textile workers runs through, and now it has since been blocked. Other than the textile workers, residents of the areas surrounding Magevini will also be hugely inconvenienced as the path was the only route they had been using connecting them to the main road. 


People who had been using the route from time immemorial are those staying in Mbikwakhe, Kwaluseni, Mbhuleni and Mhlaneni. Ideally, it is one of the preffered routes as it is a shortcut to most of the textile workers’ firms.


Along the path, there are some dongas but the residents put in place footbridges (botebetebe) enabling them to cross to the other side. At the site, currently, earthworks are being done and a wall fence is being constructed with the intention of blocking the pathway. However, the wall fence is still at knee height, making it easy for people to walk over it, at least for now.


Duing a visit on Tuesday afternoon, some of the people who were seen passing over the under construction wall fence said they were regular users of the pathway.


They decried that the new development would have a negative impact on their livelihood.
One of the affected, a female textile worker, envisaged that the development would have financial bearing, not only to her, but even to those who use the pathway as a short-cut to and from work.


Shortest


“I stay at Mbhuleni, and this is the shortest way to work. Once they block it, it means I will now be expected to use public transport to and from work.
“A return ticket costs about E12 per day. If you multiply that by five days, it basically means I have to part with E60 per week. Then transport fee for a month will be E240,” she said.


She lamented that E240 was a lot of money.
According to ATUSWA Secretary General Wonder Mkhonza, on average, a textile worker is salaried at E1800 per month. ATUSWA stands for the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland.


Another regular user of the pathway, Sipho Dlamini, said he appreciated the development, but it would be frustrating to stop using the path he had used for approximately five years.


“It was an easy access route to when was going to do shopping at Pick n Pay, Mashayitafula. However, with the new development, I will have to walk about 10 kilometres to the shop,” he said.
Adding, Dlamini stressed that he would be greatly inconvenienced by the construction of the complex.

 

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