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SITEKI - Protocol was broken by police officers from the South African Police Service (SAPS) at Tonga Police Station when they entered and investigated a 62-year-old man in relation to a missing wife and a burnt house belonging to a senior traffic police officer in South Africa last month.

Elphas Mandlenkosi Magagula from Nyokeni area at Nkambeni, alleged that two police officers dressed in plain clothes came to his home on June 28  just before 1pm, driving a Nissan double cab with a registration number of a place from the Mpumalanga Province. He claims they did not introduce themselves  as police officers, but only  introduced themselves using their surnames. Magagula alleged  the police officers, Mlambo a male and Magagula a female, did not produce any form of identification or a warrant granting them permission to conduct their investigation in the country or even their passports after they claimed they crossed into the country through the Mananga Border Gate.

Narrating the incident, Magagula said he called his sister to inform her about the strange visit from the  police officers. He claimed  the police officers told him that they came to enquire about the whereabouts of the missing wife of Enock Sifundza, who is a senior Traffic Police Officer in South Africa, who also happened to be his cousin. Magagula further alleged  that he was also asked about Sifundza’s visit into the country on May 16, on the day his cousin’s house was burnt down by a mysterious fire at Magudu area under the Nkomanzi Municipality


The elderly former mine worker said their visit had shocked and traumatised him such that he now feared for the safety of his family. He said he suspected that the two police officers were in the company of someone who knew his home. “The current state of affairs in the country puts everyone’s life at risk as people are attacked and killed by unknown people. My cousin Enock is a police officer in South Africa and I recently went to my grandmother’s home at Magudu to give moral support following the disappearance of his wife and the burnt house,” Magagula said.
Adding, he said he then called his cousin, Enock, to inform him about his colleagues’ visit.

“I told him what they asked and the car they were travelling in and he confirmed that indeed they were  his colleagues,” he claimed. He mentioned that he reported the matter to the Tshaneni Police Station and was told the police would institute investigations. “It has almost been seven days since I reported the matter, but there is still no feedback about the police investigations,” Magagula said. In essence, the missing wife, according to the senior police officer disappeared on May 28.

Sifundza claimed he enquired about his wife’s whereabouts at her workplace, Magudu Primary School where she was an Administration Clerk, but he was told that they last saw her when she attended an event and had been delegated to bring sanitisers from the head office. The senior traffic police officer, who is the husband of the missing wife, said he regularly visited the country and used the Mananga Border Gate to cross into the kingdom.
“On the weekend of May 13-15, I visited my cousin and left on May 16 on the day my house was burnt. I have proof because my passport was stamped at the Mananga  Border gate. I wondered how they could ask my cousin about that incident as Captain Khoza from Tonga Police Station also called to inform me about it while in the country. He told me that the house catching fire was suspected to have been started by a faulty electric cable at around 2am,” he claimed.

When asked if he knew the police officers who came to conduct the investigations, Sifundza responded to the affirmative. “I regularly come to Eswatini   as I have relatives here. On May 6, I came to bury my cousin in Nhlangano. “On the issue of my house, even though there is load shedding, it might happen that a faulty cable resulted in the mystery fire but police are still investigating.“On the wife issue, it is the third time my wife disappeared in this manner without informing anyone.


“She once asked to attend a  funeral in Eswatini and came through the Mananga Border Gate, but she was later traced through the Beit Bridge Border Gate, crossing to Zimbabwe. Police are also handling their investigation,” he alleged. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed the matter. “An inquiry file has been opened and Magagula reported the matter to the police. The police are still conducting their own investigations,” she said. When asked if protocol was broken by their counterparts in South Africa for entering the country without involving the local police service, Vilakati asked not to comment further as she was not the right person to make any further statement in this regard.

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