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MANZINI – A second senior member of government and prince suffered an arson attack last night.

The senior member of government is the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Defence, Prince Sicalo. A house, which was still under construction, belonging to the PS at Mbekelweni, was petrol-bombed in the wee hours of yesterday. The house, which is a rondavel, had its roofing collapsing after unknown arsonists supposedly threw a petrol bomb inside it. According to impeccable sources, the petrol bomb was thrown inside the house just after midnight. The sources disclosed that a loud thud was heard by neighbouring homesteads before the blaze engulfed the house. It was reported that the unknown arsonists gained entry by cutting through the fencing of the homestead, before setting the house alight.


When this publication’s reporter arrived at the compound, it was gathered that there was an individual who guarded the yard. The guard was said to have been at the far end of the compound. It is worth noting that within the residence, there is an incomplete guard house, the main house and a shack constructed from corrugated iron sheets. When the individual responsible for manning security at the compound was sought for comment, he said: “The elders are not here. Please wait for them.” When this reporter requested to assess the damage, he politely requested that the proprietors of the homestead should be the ones to give the authority to do so.

On the other hand, it was established from neighbours that police officers had already visited the homestead to carry out an investigation. Also, while this publication’s reporter was at the compound, senior members of the community arrived to assess the damage. Thereafter, a vehicle which is frequently driven by the PS, arrived at the compound. It had three occupants, which among them was a member of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF). The UEDF member, who was identified by his last name, Dlamini, was approached by this publication’s reporter. Subsequent to pleasantries, he was informed that means had been made to establish communication with the Prince; however, at the time they had not been successful. This was at around 8:40am.

Dlamini said given the circumstances which had brought the reporter to the compound, it would be hard for him to comment or allow pictures to be captured. He said the arson attack was a sensitive matter, which required the elders to engage the media. Dlamini further cast doubt that the PS would arrive at his homestead yesterday, as there was the annual Buganu Ceremony at Hlane Royal Residence; hence he was committed. In vernacular, he further said: “Tindzaba takaNgwane atikhulumeki tidzinga banikati.”


Worth noting is that kaNgwane is often used to refer to the royal family and in this context, the verbatim of the UEDF member loosely means ‘Issues involving the royal family, can best be addressed by them (royal family). Thereafter, the compound was left at about 9:15am. Meanwhile, the first senior government official to have his house petrol-bombed was the Minister of Tinkhundla Administration and Development, David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala. He had his house at Sigwe petrol-bombed on December 21, 2021. Also, Madlangempisi Member of Parliament (MP) Sibusiso ‘Scorpion’ Nxumalo had his three-bedroom house, including the sitting room, kitchen and the three bathrooms, petrol-bombed by three unknown men who were armed with guns (pistols). The incident, which left everything inside the house reduced to ashes, took place around 10pm last Wednesday. This publication last Friday reported that the MP said his children, who were in the house, informed him through a phone call that there were armed men who were looking for him at his home, and that they had set the house alight. This arson attack follows others that have happened in recent months.

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