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INYATSI TO LOSE E50M, OFFERS E0.5M REWARD FOR INFO

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MANZINI - E50.5 million is what Inyatsi Construction is willing to lose in order to protect its workers and assets and to bring to book the perpetrators of the arson attacks.

This amount includes E50 million which Inyatsi Construction Group Holdings will lose as it has decided to suspend operations for a week and in the process, the income of the company’s direct 2 300 workers will be affected as they will be on unpaid leave.

Reward

Also, the company has put up E0.5 million as a cash reward that will be given to anyone who will assist with information that will lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of the people behind the arson attacks, which the construction company viewed as terrorism attacks. The company revealed this during a press conference where it was represented by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Derrick Shiba, Managing Director (MD) Sandile Mhlanga and CEO of the Investment Portfolio of the Group Paul Lwiindi. The press conference was held at the construction company’s Head Office, Inyatsi House at Zakhele, Manzini yesterday morning and it followed the recent arson attacks at the company’s sites, including the recent one which took place at Sigombeni on Thursday night.  

Security

Shiba said for the sake of its 2 300 direct employees, they had to take a proactive stance to tighten security in response to the escalating and recurring targeted attacks that had seen the destruction of machinery and equipment at three of its sites in the past six months, and left damages costing the company over E65 million. Meanwhile, Mhlanga, who explained the impact of the decision, said the implementation of this resolution would see the company losing E50 million in a space of a week. When he was asked to expand on the upgrade of their security, he said they would not reveal that to the public. He said the malicious attacks had created an unsafe working environment for their dedicated teams of emaSwati, hence they had taken the decision to reconfigure and heighten their security protocols.

“During this period, our direct employees will be on unpaid leave, while ongoing projects that are valued at over E700 million in the current financial year, will be temporarily suspended. We can no longer defer the enhancement of our security and safety measures in the face of sustained attacks perpetrated by terrorists who are still at large,” the CEO said. He said it would be negligent of them to continue with the 18 projects that were currently ongoing as if it was business as usual. He said the 18 projects included roads, water, maintenance, township developments and agricultural development projects, which all had a direct impact on the communities of the country, which include vulnerable groups.

Shiba further said even though Inyatsi Construction Group Holdings was a clear target of these attacks, the company itself was not the real victim. He said the incalculable and far-reaching consequences of these attacks had been sadly borne by the communities, sub-contractors and employees who relied on the company. “We are duty-bound to protect our workers above our profit margins and this is not a duty we take lightly,” Shiba said.

Importance

As Inyatsi Construction Group Holdings, he said they valued their human resource and their safety was of utmost importance. As they reconfigured their operations to heighten safety and security protocols in the wake of sustained attacks, he said they had seen it prudent to temporarily suspend operations for security reasons, for a week. Again, the CEO said as they were taking a stand to proactively protect their employees, they had put up a reward for whoever would lead them to the successful prosecution of the perpetrators of this act (arson attacks).
“We have put up an amount of E0.5 million as a reward,” Shiba said.

He appealed to the nation and stakeholders to assist them in protecting the company for emaSwati, because Inyatsi Construction Group Holdinging was owned by a liSwati and its interests were for the people of Eswatini. He said there were people who knew the individuals behind the arson attacks. He said informers’ confidentiality was guaranteed, as all they wanted was the perpetrators of the arson attacks to be held accountable. Shiba also appealed to the nation to support them during these difficult times, as they tried to protect the company which was classified under Grade I in building and civil works. “This is not a problem for Inyatsi Construction Group Holdings alone, but that of emaSwati,” the CEO said. He said the company had shown its commitment to serve the country by setting up head offices in the kingdom and that leadership positions were occupied by emaSwati.

Economy

He added that they would always ensure that the business was protected for the next generations and allow the circulation of proceeds in the economy. He said all employees of the company had bank accounts in Eswatini, which was where they got paid. The CEO said this meant that the money started circulating in the country even if they (workers) had interests elsewhere. “When we talk about numbers, there is a bill of about E400 million which is circulating here in Eswatini through the employees,” Shiba said. In terms of insurance, he said all their subcontractors were insured, because having insurance was one of the requirements for them to participate in the value chain. On the other hand, the construction company’s MD said while they had suspended operations, they would be meeting their stakeholders and clients to assure them that they would deliver the projects they were working on.

Prosecute

It is worth noting that this is not the first time a cash reward has been put up in a bid to arrest and prosecute arsonists in the country. Following a spate of arson attacks in the country, in September 2021, the police offered a cash reward for information that would lead to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of people behind the burning of structures. This was announced by the National Commissioner (NATCOM) of Police, William Dlamini, in a press statement. He said the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) noted with deep concern and dismay the ongoing acts of sabotage being perpetrated around the country. He said the acts of sabotage were targeting various government structures, key community social service facilities such as schools, tinkhundla centres and imiphakatsi. The NATCOM said businesses also continued to bear the brunt of the debilitating and senseless acts of saboteurs. He said lately, they were witnessing the bombing of police camps and private homes of police officers.

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