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SITEKI – People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Lubombo Branch Treasurer Tenele Mashwama was yesterday arrested in a joint operation of the party.

They were arrested together with six other members by police officers from the Lomahasha and Siteki Police Stations. Tenele and Manqoba Kunene were arrested yesterday in the wee hours at around 5am, while Light Mkhabela and Manqoba Nyoni were apprehended at their respective homes on Tuesday morning. This latest incident comes against the backdrop of another matter whereby PUDEMO Head of International Relations Siboniso Mkhabela had his two cellphones and clothing items in a bag, together with a notebook, confiscated by the police during a roadblock manned at Lukhula area on Friday. Mkhabela was on his way to the Multi-Stakeholders Forum (MSF) prayer service which was held at Good Shepherd Mission Church when he was stopped by the police, who were in a joint operation with the army. On Monday, the Siteki Police Station released his bag with his clothing items.


It was further established that the police further arrested three others who were later released at the Simunye Magistrate Court. The quartet of Tenele, Nyoni, Light and Manqoba were charged jointly for contravening the Public Order Act of 2017 and Traffic Act of 2007. They are all expected to appear at the Simunye Magistrate Court today. The quartet are represented by the Siphofaneni based Lawyer Maxwell Nkhambule. Nkhambule confirmed the matter and stated that the four were expected to appear in court today. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed the matter. “We have four who have been charged by the police,” she said.

Worth mentioning is that it has been gathered that the police were still looking for others who were on the list, used to arrest the four PUDEMO members. Narrating the circumstances leading to the arrest of the quartet, PUDEMO Head of International Relations, Mkhabela stated that on Monday after the police released his bag with clothing items, they left Siteki Town but were followed by a Toyota van without number plates and it overtook them at Lonhlupheko.


Mkhabela said while approaching Maphiveni T-junction, a soldier flagged them down to stop but some of the occupants of the vehicle they were travelling in advised that they should not stop but sped-off. He said they drove to a homestead around Maphiveni area and fled in different directions towards the Black Mbuluzi River, leaving behind some of their items inside the car. “We lost each other but reunited after about six hours of being in the bushes. We found that soldiers had been deployed around the homesteads at Maphiveni and roadblocks were manned at Nduma and Lomahasha. Some of our members went to the car and found some of the clothing items,” he said. Mkhabela said two phones belonging to Tenele were missing. He added that there was a police car that was parked close to his home.

“The death of Mpostoli and Sigubhu sparked the intensifying fight for democracy and that police allegedly shot one pupil. As Lomahasha residents, we will use peaceful means of protesting and don’t believe that the burning of tyres warranted the state to deploy soldiers at Lomahasha,” he said. Mkhabela further said if it called for seeking the help of the international community, he was ready to do so. Meanwhile, recently, police officers from Lomahasha Police Station fired four gunshots to stop a Nkalashane High School pupil from fleeing at his home.

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