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KILLED WARDER’S BULLETPROOF VEST FOUND AT ‘GAWUZELA’S HOME - COPS

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MBABANE - Some exhibits, including a bulletproof vest belonging to the warder who was shot at Sidvokodvo, were allegedly found at the homestead of former Siphofaneni Member Parliament (MP) Mduduzi ‘Gawuzela’ Simelane.

The homestead is situated at Phuzumoya, where he resided with his wife, Nomalungelo LaZwide Simelane, the current Siphofaneni MP. According to the prosecution and the Crown, ‘Gawuzela’ is a fugitive from the law. The allegation about the discovery of the exhibit from ‘Gawuzela’s homestead is contained in the summary of evidence against his son Zweli Simelane, Economic Freedom Fighters Swaziland member Siphosethu Malinga and Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) member Mxolisi Simelane.

Charges

The trio is facing six charges, which include allegedly contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act, robbery and arson.  They among other offences are accused of planning to attack Cabinet ministers, MPs and senators and the burning of Sihle Dlamini’s parental home at Mhlabubovu. Dlamini occupies three key public positions; Estate Manager at the King’s Office, Interpreter for His Majesty King Mswati III and a pastor at Jesus Calls Worship Centre (JCWC). It is alleged that during investigations, the accused person led the police to ‘Gawuzela’s homestead and in an old stationary motor vehicle, he allegedly pointed a bag containing a bulletproof vest inscribed HMCS, which was reportedly worn by warder, Mbongiseni Mthayi Dlamini, when he was killed, a gun casing and two cellphones connected to robberies. HMCS is an acronym for His Majesty’s Correctional Services.

Cellphones

The police stated that they seized the three cellphones from the accused persons for further investigations. In the composite summary of evidence, the Crown submitted that on November 4, 2022, the late Mthayi, who was a member of HMCS based at Sidvokodvo Railway Village, was killed. The prosecution informed the court that when it all happened, Mthayi had knocked off from work at Ludzidzini Royal Residence and was walking to his house in full HMCS uniform. “The accused persons, who were acting in common purpose with other accused persons already arrested, namely; Ncamiso  Mfanawenkhosi Mabuyakhulu and Philani Ndumiso Sihlongonyane, accosted, pointed a firearm and abducted  Mthayi,” reads part of the summary of evidence.    According to the prosecution, Mthayi was taken to Lwandle, where he was forced to make utterances to the effect that: “Viva Mthandeni viva, viva Bacede viva, viva ‘Gawuzela’ viva, masotja ma warder yekelani lokushaya  lamaSwati sifuna inkhululeko nyalo mine ngifikelwe yi triple S lekusikhali sesive semaSwati, siyafa lana amandla!”

Video

As per the indictment presented by the Crown yesterday, a video of Mthayi making these utterances was recorded and released to Swaziland Democratic News that very same night. The court was informed that the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) conducted investigations which led them to Lwandle, where Mthayi’s lifeless body was discovered with a gunshot wound. It was further narrated to the court that on December 22, 2022, the accused persons allegedly arrived at Enhlulweni at the homestead of Sihle Dlamini, where they introduced themselves as police officers from Mankayane Police Station. As per the summary of evidence, the accused persons allegedly directed the occupants to open and vacate the houses. It is said by the manner in which the accused persons were talking; the occupants discovered that they were not police officers. The Crown submitted that when the accused persons accosted Sihle’s family, they were carrying guns. “They made utterances to the effect that they wanted Sihle as he is arrogant since they burnt his house previously and he rebuilt it, yet they were fixing the country. The accused persons proceeded to burn the two houses and robbed the occupants a Nokia cellphone.  The accused persons informed these witnesses that during the month of March there will be freedom in the country,” submitted the prosecution.

Fired

In another charge, it is alleged that on September 19, 2022, the accused persons arrived at Majingose Supermarket, where they found the owner of the shop and customers.  According to the prosecution, the trio fired shots and demanded money from the owner of the shop. It is alleged that they took E2 000, a Samsung J4 cellphone, STK touch screen cellphone and other cellphones from the customers who were in the supermarket. They reportedly fled the scene by foot. On March 8, 2023, the court was informed that, members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) were patrolling along the Ngwenya Borderline. The prosecution submitted that accused No1. (Siphosethu Malinga) appeared around 11pm after having illegally crossed the borderline through an informal crossing. “The members of the UEDF intercepted him and searched a bag he was carrying. In the bag, the UEDF members found him in possession of 24 blank cartridges and an army camouflage uniform. He was taken to the army base at Ngwenya and the matter was reported to the police and he was handed over to them,” submitted the Crown.

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