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KOMBIS TURNED BACK, COMMUTERS WALK UP MALAGWANE

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MBABANE - Turn back!

That is one phrase that public transport drivers got from the police while trying to get to Mbabane after the stipulated time of 9am. The police had mounted a roadblock at Mvutjini. Commuters had to make their way back from where they came from while others walked up Malagwane Hill to the city. It was not just public transport that was stopped as motorists also had to give valid reasons for going to the city before they were allowed to proceed.  Some of them were turned back.

Protecting

The police would ask what the public had as means of protecting themselves. This publication noted that most people were making excuses of going to hospital or to pay bills as the reasons for going to town. At least 20 kombis and about seven motorists were turned back at Mvutjini. However, a kombi which was ferrying people from Nhlangano to Mbabane was allowed through by the police. The commuters expressed their frustration at the new system. Doris Makhubu said she was going to hospital and that she suffered from high blood pressure. She asked this reporter if going to hospital was not listed as a permissible reason for travelling. Seluliwe Vilane, on the other hand, said she was going to renew her travel document that had expired. She said her fears were that she would have to pay penalties should she have waited for the partial lockdown to be over.

Meanwhile, Meluleki Nhlabatsi said he was on his way home as he was waiting to get paid after they were stopped from work last Friday. He stated that he was not aware that he had to wake up at 5am. “I came from Bhunya heading home to Pigg’s Peak. I did not know I had to wake up at 5am to get home,” he said.  Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said they were checking compliance during the partial lockdown. She stated that they were met with different attitudes but were hoping that people would understand the nature of the situation as time went by. “If your reason is not valid enough, we are obliged to turn you back,” she said. Vilakati specified that the reason they turned back the kombis was because of the time given for operations.

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