Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

MBABANE – A resident of Mankayane has taken ICT Minister Princess Sikhanyiso, MTN Eswatini, Eswatini Mobile, EPTC and ESCCOM to court over internet disruption.

Melusi Simelane wants the High Court to order the respondents in the matter, or anyone acting under their instruction and/or advice, to be restrained or interdicted from shutting down the internet.  Simelane is the Director of Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities. The respondents are Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Princess Sikhanyiso, MTN Eswatini, Eswatini Mobile, Eswatini Communications Commission, Eswatini Posts and Telecommunications Corporation and the attorney general. Simelane is also seeking an order that the respondents be, or anyone acting under their instruction and/or advice, directed and/or ordered to allow the provision of unlimited access to the internet. Simelane is represented by Celumusa Bhembe of Bhembe and Nyoni Attorneys in the matter.

He told the court that at midday on Tuesday, access to the internet was suddenly, and without any notice, interrupted. He submitted that since Tuesday, access to the internet has been almost non-existent. Simelane informed the court that on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at 4:33pm, MTN Eswatini notified him that: “Dear valued customer. MTN regrets the internet service interruption. We are engaging stakeholders to restore internet connectivity.” Simelane argued that, notwithstanding the fact that MTN Eswatini had promised to restore the internet connectivity, ‘to date she has not done so without any justifiable reason.’


He further told the court that Eswatini Mobile, EPTC, and ESCCOM, or Minister Princess Sikhanyiso allegedly never made any attempt to notify him about the internet interruption. “I humbly submit that the respondents’ conduct of interrupting access to the internet at a whim is unlawful and infringes on my constitutional right to receive ideas and information without interference as guaranteed in terms of Section 24 of the Constitution of Eswatini Act No. 1/2005,” Simelane said. Simelane argued that he had no alternative remedy but to approach the High Court because most of his work was virtual, in particular that government continued to encourage innovative and technological interventions to economic stimulations. “I further submit that with the current political unrest and the surging number of COVID-19 cases, government has insisted on working from home for those who are able to do so,” Simelane argued.

He explained to the court that the right to freedom of expression was affirmed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Simelane said Article 19(2) of the ICCPR states that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to seek, received and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. 


Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: Surnames change
Is it wrong to change a woman's surname to that of her husband without her consent?