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MBABANE – Small business owners are distraught following the illegal closure of their businesses by law enforcers countrywide.  

Hairdressing salons, dressmaking and retail outlets are some of the small businesses which were yesterday affected by the illegal action of security forces as the country is on a 20-day partial lockdown. A group of police officers forced hairdressers out of their workplaces at the Commercial Centre in the capital city yesterday; and were carrying batons while shouting at the frightened employees. What seemed to be the gripe, according to the small business owners, was that neither government nor the law enforcers had notified them that they should close, but the police came to their businesses and ordered them to close shop. Nokubongwa Mamba, who operates her salon at the business centre narrated that she was in her business at 8:15am when a uniformed police officer who was carrying a baton stormed inside and demanded that she leaves.


“I asked why he wanted me to leave because it was early in the morning and the salon did not have any customer. However, he was aggressive and simply told me that he would forcefully drag me out if I defied his order,” the shocked businesswoman said. She said she went out as instructed and did not even close the windows due to the trauma she had experienced.
The hairdresser wondered why government had deemed the exercise as a partial lockdown when in essence it seemed to be a total lockdown. Mamba expressed her concern on the confusion government had caused for small business owners in the country as she stated that they had not received any communication from government that there was a total shutdown of businesses.

The business owner also registered her dissatisfaction on the law enforcers for the manner in which they dealt with them. She was of the view that government was not willing to assist them yet it wanted to close their businesses. In the same breath, another hairdresser shared the same sentiments. She also expressed her confusion on the law enforcers’ actions. “Eswatini declared a partial lockdown and we seek clarity on what exactly it entails as it now appears that all shops are being closed and everyone is chased home. Why were emaSwati, especially businesspeople, not notified of this, why are we being closed?”


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