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WOE UNTO THOSE HARBOURING ‘GAWUZELA’ - NATCOM

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MBABANE - The National Commissioner of Police (NATCOM), William Dlamini, says the law will take its course on those who are harbouring Siphofaneni MP Mduduzi ‘Gawuzela’ Simelane.

He said people who had information on Simelane’s whereabouts had an obligation to inform the police as he was a wanted person. Dlamini highlighted that according to the law, harbouring a wanted person was a criminal offence. “Once we get information that someone has knowledge of his whereabouts, but fails to inform the police, the law will surely take its course on that particular person,” said the (NATCOM) of police. He went on to plead with those who were in constant communication with Simelane to encourage him to surrender to the police.

Harbours

Section 43 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act provides that: “Any person who harbours or assists in a manner whatsoever in harbouring or concealing any person whom he knows or has reason to believe has committed an offence or is sought by the police in connection with the commission by that person of an offence; knowing  the whereabouts of any person whom he knows or has reason to believe has committed an offence or is sought by the police in commission by that person of an offence, fails to report such whereabouts within reasonable time to a police officer or to the nearest police station; shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding E3 000 or to a term of imprisonment exceeding three years or both.”

Dlamini further urged those who saw Simelane to contact the police as there was a warrant of arrest against him which was still valid. He also advised those who were closer to him (Simelane) to persuade him to surrender himself. “We still urge him to surrender himself to the nearest police station or tell us where he is so we can come to fetch him in the event he has difficulties going to the police station on his own,” said Dlamini. Alternatively, the national commissioner of police said, Simelane could ask his lawyer to accompany him to the police station. In an interview with the Times of Eswatini SUNDAY, Simelane was quoted having claimed that he was continuously praying on a secret mountain. He is, however, reported to have declined to reveal the location of the mountain.

The Crown has described Simelane as a fugitive from justice. On July 8, 2021, a warrant of arrest was issued against Simelane. In the charge sheet that was presented in court last Monday, Simelane is alleged to have acted jointly with Members of Parliament (MPs) Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube to incite the people of Eswatini to revolt against the Government of Eswatini.

Incitement

According to the Crown, as a consequence to the alleged incitement by the trio, there were riots in all regions of the country. The riots, according to the Crown, caused loss of life, bodily injury to people and destruction of private and public properties.
Meanwhile, during the argument of Mabuza and Dube’s bail application, the court was implored not to release them as they would follow Simelane. Principal Crown Counsel Macebo Nxumalo submitted that the accused persons’ (Mabuza and Dube) co-accused was Simelane, who was at large. Advocate Mduduzi ‘Tsotsi’ Mabila, who represented Mabuza and Dube, objected to Nxumalo’s submission. Mabila told the court that the Crown alleged that Simelane was a fugitive. The advocate said a fugitive was one who had been served with a warrant but did not avail himself to law enforcement.

Judge Mumcy Dlamini said Simelane was a wanted person. Mabila said there was a difference between a fugitive and a wanted person. Nxumalo said Mabuza and Dube were charged together with Simelane and Judge Dlamini pointed out that he was raising a point that was not in the Crown’s answering papers and asked if the accused persons would follow in the footsteps of Simelane. Nxumalo agreed and the judge asked why that was not in their answering papers and they should forget about it.
On the other hand, Mabuza and Dube will today appear at the High Court for their second remand hearing since their arrest. Remand hearings of accused persons charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act are conducted at the High Court. The Crown opposed their application on the basis that it claimed they were likely to disturb public order, undermine public peace, evade trial, interfere with Crown witnesses, commit similar offences and jeopardise public confidence in the justice system. Judgment on their bail application was reserved indefinitely. During their court appearances on Monday and Thursday, security was heighted at the High Court and some of their supporters were turned back at the entrance.

Remand

The duo filed bail applications last Monday during their first remand hearing. It remains to be seen whether they will garner the same support that they have been receiving in the two days they have appeared at the High Court. Among those who have been present during both their appearances are their close relatives and supporters. Last Monday and Thursday, Mabuza’s wives, who were dressed to the nines and drove identical Ranger Rover SUVs with personalised licence plates, stole the show. The MPs’ supporters demonstrated near the Mbabane Bus Rank after being turned back at the High Court where the bail hearing of the two was taking place. At the High Court, the supporters were advised by security officers to leave since the courtroom where the matter was heard was already full and they could not be accommodated due to COVID-19 regulations restrictions.

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