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MANZINI - A total of 67 people, including businesspeople, were yesterday arrested as the Manzini Disaster Management Task Team cracked down on traders who were not complying with the COVID-19 guidelines.

This comes hardly a day after the implementation of a revised curfew for Manzini, which had been declared the COVID-19 epicentre. Most of the people who were arrested yesterday were running their businesses yet their trading licences had expired, some were using unapproved sanitisers, while others failed to wear their face masks properly. As a result, some paid up to E800 as admission of guilt fines. 


The task team, which was led by Manzini Regional Administrator (RA) Chief Gija, conducted a ‘vusela’ exercise in businesses within the city with the main aim of ensuring compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines. 

During the exercise, the task team, which included members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) and His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS), inspected trading licences for validity, floor markings, and infrared thermometers. They also inspected the businesses for the availability of handwashing facilities or alcohol-based sanitisers and the wearing of masks, among other things. The task team divided itself into two groups in order to cover a wider area and, according to Chief Gija, the exercise went well. He said a number of people were taken to the Manzini Police Station to pay their admission of guilt fines for breaching different COVID-19 guidelines.

He said once a person was found to have breached the COVID-19 guidelines, the law enforcers would take them to the police station where they would pay a fine.

In fact, the RA said as they had mentioned that they would intensify the implementation of the law on people who would fail to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines, they would continue with the inspection exercise and visit the hot spots in the city.


He said as part of intensifying the implementation of the regulations, people would be charged and taken to court the following day for failing to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines. 

On the same note, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said a total of 67 people were arrested and most of them paid fines ranging between E60 and E120. However, she mentioned that some paid E500, while others forked out E800 as fines for failing to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines. 

It is worth noting that over the weekend, the task team arrested 39 people for being drunk or selling alcoholic beverages. The arrested individuals were found at Mangwaneni, a peri-urban township, about four kilometres from the central business district (CBD) of Manzini. This was during the random raids conducted by the task team headed by Chief Gija.


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Should govt counduct random raids to fight crime?