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MANZINI - Some inmates who are awaiting trial at Sidwashini Correctional facility have broken their silence regarding cases of high profile people in the country.

In fact, the inmates demand an audience with Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu, National Commissioner of Police (NATCOM) William Dlamini together with the office  of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over the aforementioned concerns, among others.

The cases of high profile people which they said they were concerned about included that of a prince who is accused of allegedly raping a University of Eswatini (UNESWA) student and that of an ex-convict who was shot, allegedly by Industrial Court Judge Abande Dlamini at Kai Kai Holiday Park.
Others are that of suspected cocaine, which was found at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the recent one of the senior magistrate who was accused of bashing his wife.

The concerned inmates voiced their concerns and demands in a petition dated October 27, 2019 and addressed to the above three mentioned government offices. In their petition, the inmates asked the minister, NATCOM, and the DPP’s Office to answer or give clarity on some issues involving the Eswatini law enforcement agencies.


They said they needed clarity on how the agencies treated ordinary citizens of the country. Their concern was that they felt they were treated differently by the law-enforcement agencies when dealing with their cases.
In fact, they alleged that the justice system of the country favoured certain individuals, hence it seemed that those, whom it apparently gave special treatment, were above the law.

As citizens of the country, they said they were happy when the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act 15 of 2018, was passed because they hoped it would protect their children, sisters and the communities at large.

“However, we are concerned about the delay of the law-enforcment agencies when dealing with certain cases which fall under the SODV Act and other high profile matters,” they said and further made an example about the aforementioned cases.

They said these cases were making a mockery of the laws of the country, let alone the justice system of the kingdom.
“We are concerned because some of us were arrested without evidence, but the DDP’s Office decided let the charges stick and went on to refuse us bail,” they alleged. They claimed that some of them had been incarcerated for over seven years without being tried.

“We have lost confidence on the law-enforcement agencies of the country (sic), ” they added.
Furthermore, they said according to their analysis, the justice system of the country was allegedly not just and fair.
In fact, they claimed that they had a lot of questions which could not be dealt with in the petition; hence they were seeking an audience with the minister, NATCOM and DPP’s Office.

They also alleged that the correctional officers in the facility had allegedly tried numerous times to help them get their charge sheets, but their efforts were in vain. They said according to their understanding, it was clear that this was beyond their powers and that was another reason they wanted to have an audience with the aforementioned departments.

Moreover, the concerned inmates said other concerns involved police brutality when dealing with cases of ordinary citizens and the arrest of suspects before investigation, which led to overstaying in prison.

Meanwhile, His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Senior Assistant Superintendent Gugulethu Dlamini said some officers from the facility said they were aware that there was a petition which was written by the inmates.

However, she said when she inquired about it from the Legal department and Commissioner General’s Office; she found that they were not aware of it. There after she said they would investigate the matter with the aim of getting hold of the petition.

On the other hand, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said they had not received the petition yet. However, she said she had been made aware that it was there, but it had not been delivered to the organisation.

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