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MGENULE ‘ALCOHOL TAP’ TURNED OFF, ARMY LAUNCHES PROBE

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 MATSAPHA – The ‘alcohol tap’ has been turned off at Mgenule.

Mgenule is the canteen belonging to the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF), located opposite the army wing at Matsapha International Airport.

This publication visited the canteen and the army wing at Matsapha airport yesterday. At the canteen, it found that there was no alcohol as only the grocery shop was operating.

On the other hand, at the army wing at the airport, which is about 800 metres away from the canteen, dozens of uniformed soldiers were found. A majority of them were behind the offices and they were busy counting and repacking crates with empty bottles of beer. While the majority of the military men were counting and repacking the empty cases of beer, some were monitoring closely. It is worth noting that on the fence of the army wing, there were pieces of a tent were which  hung over and it prevented people who were outside to see what was taking place inside.  

Media

The senior officials who were found at the army wing said they were not allowed to speak to the media. They referred this publication to the office of the army public relations officer (PRO). They emphasised that if this publication wanted to take pictures within the wing, it should get authority from the PRO’s office.

As a result, when this reporter left the army wing, he was accompanied by a military man who made sure that no pictures were taken.  

Meanwhile, the UEDF PRO, Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo, said the army would launch an investigation regarding the matter, where it was alleged that despite the ban on the distribution and sale of alcohol, alcoholic beverages were being sold at the canteen in question. 

“Indeed, pertinent structures within the defence force, have since taken up the issue. Investigations are ongoing,” the army spokesperson said.

It is worth noting that this took place immediately after this publication reported that imbibers around Matsapha had never run out of options on where they could quench their thirst in the midst of the duration of the ban on distribution and sale of alcohol. This was because alcoholic beverages had always been available at Mgenule. However, the allegations are to the effect that the liquor which was being sold did not belong to the army, but one of the senior officers based at the army wing in Matsapha Airport.  

Information gathered by this publication was that the liquor was allegedly smuggled from the neighbouring South Africa, through the informal crossings along the country’s borderline.

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Should the minister of Health, PS and director of health services be relieved of their duties for failing to solve the problems engulfing the public health sector?