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MBABANE – Criminals in Mankayane and surrounding areas are having a field day as members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) face a shortage of motor vehicles. 

Police officers are reportedly forced to walk or hitchhike to crime and accident scenes because government has challenges with fuel or vehicle repairs. 

Information gathered from an impeccable source, who preferred to comment on condition of anonymity, was that currently, there was only one motor vehicle available at the Mankayane Police Station. The only vehicle available is shared among  the General Patrol, Crime Investigation Department (CID) and the Traffic Department. “Traffic officers are currently using their personal vehicles to mount roadblocks,” said the source.


According to the source, there had been three cases of armed robberies where police were contacted but could not make it on time due to the fact that there was a shortage of motor vehicles.

 This, she said, gave the robbers ample time to leave the crime scene before the police could apprehend them.  

She also mentioned that there were scenarios where thieves would attack people within their houses and it became a challenge for the police to make it on time before they (thieves) gained entry into houses.

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said the Mankayane Police Station was not the only police station affected by the shortage of motor vehicles as a majority of others around the country were also facing the same predicament. 

According to the police mouthpiece, for a long period of time now, motor vehicles had not been bought due to the fiscal challenges faced by the country.


“The situation has become even worse as it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic to a point that we couldn’t service even the few cars that we have and on top of that the issue of fuel shortage also contributed dearly,” she said. 

Vilakati expressed her apologies and said they were aware that the nation was not receiving the appropriate service due to the prevailing challenge within the police service. 

She pointed out that they had noted that government was also playing a pivotal role in assisting the police to execute their duties and she thanked residents from different communities who offered their vehicles to the police to carry out their duties.

“At times police would dedicate even their own cars to carry out their duties and we appreciate their efforts so much, however, it is worth mentioning that we have seen that government is doing everything within its powers to rectify the situation,” she said.

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