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MANZINI – The partial lockdown imposed by government has come up with scathing allegations against security personnel manning the hub.

The security personnel deployed by government are from the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) and Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF). Some entrepreneurs within the hub claimed that some members of the security agencies had demanded that they pay a certain amount so that their shops would not be closed.
These allegations came about when this reporter was visiting some of the shopping complexes that were illegally closed by the security agents. In fact, the hub of the country has a few shops operating as many were closed after they were classified not to be essential service providers by the law enforcers yet government was clear that businesses were allowed to operate, so long as they adhered to the precautionary measures of not more than 20 people in the shop, practise social distancing and have sanitisers for clients.


The business owners alleged that some of the security personnel had offered to let them operate their businesses as long as they gave them money.  One of the entrepreneurs claimed that the security personnel had said they would let him operate his business if he paid them something. “They said they would alert me if another group (of security personnel) was approaching. However, I did not pay because I did not have the money.” The businessman claimed this happened on Saturday, which is the very day the clampdown on many businesses began.

Efforts to establish why he did not report this to the officers’ superiors yielded nothing positive as he claimed that he did not want to get into trouble. “I am only here for business and I don’t want to have enemies as that would complicate my life,” he said. Another entrepreneur claimed the same thing. He also said this happened on Saturday as police officers forced him to close his shop. The businessman also claimed that the police had offered to let him trade as long as he paid them E700. He further claimed that the officers were three in number and wearing blue uniforms. Insinuating that there were elements of corruption was another popular businessman in the country.



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