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LOBAMBA – In support of the calls for the national dialogue, Members of Parliament (MP) have implored government to initiate community outreach (vusela exercise) under ‘Operation Alibuye’.

The MPs called for the setting of the date for the envisaged national dialogue as the situation on the ground seemed to have now improved. The MPs made the call during the sitting of the Portfolio Committee of the Prime Minister’s Office, for the debate on the ministry’s annual performance report for the current year (April 2022 – March 2023).
Madlangempisi MP Sibusiso ‘Scorpion’ Nxumalo said government should utilise the E30 million budgeted for the national dialogue in conducting the community outreach in all the over 300 imiphakatsi in the country.

Nxumalo said through these community outreach initiatives, government might find that the issues that were troubling the people were simply the lack of jobs and poverty, which could be addressed. He encouraged government to go to the people to hear their concerns ahead of the dialogue. He said such would help to understand what really needed to be addressed during the dialogue.


The MP opined that by so doing, government might also be able to win the trust of the people and in that way the political impasse could come to an end. The legislator appreciated the police for restoring peace in the country.
Nkilongo MP Timothy Myeni asked Prime Minister (PM) Cleopas Sipho Dlamini what was stopping government from convening the dialogue as it was able to commence the processes for the national elections.

Myeni said it was worth noting that these days there had been calm in the country and this made one believe that the environment was now conducive. He said there had been less incidents of violence reported these days. It is worth noting that due to the acts of violence, government was of the view that the environment was not conducive for the dialogue.


Mhlangatane MP Madala Mhlanga observed that there was calm, such that emaSwati were able to even sleep peacefully at night. He further appreciated members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) for their tireless efforts in providing security to the nation, despite the attacks against them. Elected MP Princess Phumelele also appreciated the police for their work even when it put their lives at risk. The Princess, however, wondered how the dialogue would be convened as it was not provided for in the Constitution. She said the only thing she noted was that provided for in Constitution was Sibaya.

Princess Phumelele highlighted that transition to the democratic reforms should be done amicably, unlike what was currently happening where people were seemingly forced to move from the current system to the suggested democratic State. She said people were currently victimised for wearing their traditional regalia and attending cultural events. The princess said that was not the democracy they would appreciate.

Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini echoed the other MPs’ submission, stating that the allocation of budgets for the dialogue might be unnecessary, as what mattered was the willingness to commit to the dialogue. In response to the MPs’ submissions, the PM said government remained a firm believer in dialogue and peaceful means of resolving disagreements.

He said as evident by the allocation of the budget, government was proving to be committed to the national dialogue.
Prior to the MPs’ submissions, the premier presented a preamble of his office’s annual performance report.
He started off by congratulating Their Majesties and Parliament for the successful opening of the 5th and last session of the 11th Parliament on Friday, February 17, 2023. He noted that Parliament executed its core function of representing the interests of emaSwati, passing laws and monitoring the actions of government.

He said portfolio committees were able to consider and debate on quarterly reports, as well as hold the Executive accountable through the various Parliament committees. The PM said Parliament continued to pass Bills and subordinate legislation. He pointed out that the 18 pending Bills would have to be given priority in the remaining period of the 11th Parliament. He said the process was aligned to international and regional principles, commitments and standards. The PM also highlighted that Parliament received a budget of E120 517 223. Released budget to date is E114 304 678.00. He said the actual expenditure as at February 2023 amounted to E107 536 705.00.

“The unused funds as at February, 2023 will be used for payment of pending accounts of service providers and staff salaries for the month of March 2023,” he said. On private and Cabinet office issues, the PM noted that 25 Cabinet meetings were held and 130 policy documents were debated and approved. He said 22 Cabinet Sub-Committee of Public Enterprises meetings (SCOPE) and eight Executive Leadership Forums were successfully held. He further mentioned that Cabinet facilitated the negotiation and award of three per cent CoLA and one per cent once-off payment to civil servants backdated to April 1, 2022.

He continued to state that the Government Press Office, coordinated government public communication to ensure that government spoke in one voice and interacted with local and international media and other stakeholders on government programmes, projects and general policy direction. He said the Government Press Office also worked on defending the country in international fora.The PM added that the Private and Cabinet Office received a budget allocation of E76 183 261 for 2022/2023 and E58 389 698 was released as at December 30, 2022. The PM went on to speak about REPS as it fell under his office.


He said the operational environment was challenging due to higher than normal safety and security threats, marked by various acts of violence, arson attacks, cold-blooded killings of members of the public and police officers in the line of duty.  The head of government said despite the challenges, the REPS managed to carry out its mandate of providing security to the nation through vigorous crime prevention initiatives, detection interventions, as well as traffic policing.

He stated that to enhance the operational and administrative frameworks, government has made provision for the recruitment of novice Police officers. He also highlighted that government implemented a four per cent salary adjustment to address the long outstanding issue of Phase II of the restructuring of pay scales exercise. He also noted that the volume of crime stood at 41 013, compared to 44 058 cases recorded in the parallel period last year, reflecting a 7.0 per cent decrease.

He  said the detection rate stood at 34.7 per cent with a total of 14 242 suspects arrested for various crimes including murder, attempted murder, car theft, house breaking and theft as well as gender-based violence (GBV). There were major breakthroughs on terrorism inclined cases, where suspects were arrested. The PM said government was extremely concerned by the permeating culture of violence in the country and the apparent disrespect for the value of human life, which was seen by the rate at which murder cases were reported.

He said rape and other GBV violence cases were another serious concern for government and as a nation there was need to come up with tangible solutions to end this scourge. The premier also condemned the increasing incidents of mob killings. He said taking the law into your own hands was not only uncivilised but a serious criminal offence.

“We must put a stop to this errant practice, which has the propensity of sowing seeds of continuing violence,” he said. He also highlighted that the REPS collected a total amount of E9 318 015 as at January 31, 2023; as a sub-revenue collector for government. He said the REPS was allocated a sum of E59 million for various projects which include construction of Buhleni Police Station, equipment for State security and the rehabilitation of police buildings and fencing.

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