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MBABANE – Random countrywide raids, 24 hour roadblocks could be a norm in the near future.

This may well be the new normal should the aspirations of the new Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prince Simelane come to fruition. Presenting an idea on how to curb corruption and crime in the country, the minister proposed embarking on random raids countrywide, through a joint venture by the country’s security forces. He also envisaged that mounting roadblocks in various strategic areas around the country day and night would go a long way towards cleaning the country’s streets and ridding it of crime. The minister advocated for sweeping operations meant to ensure peace and stability and a crime free country.  He said this would have a positive contribution towards removing the now abundant illegal firearms from the hands of criminals.

The minister revealed that such security tactics have been adopted by other countries, including some in the SADC region, yielding measurable success in reducing crime levels. He used Lesotho as an example, where he stated that the national army took over security duties from the police and conducted patrols and roadblock checks. He clarified that, this however, was doable through collaborative work by all security forces in a joint venture. However in order to achieve his dream for the country, the minister echoed his submission during the parliamentarians courtesy call to His Majesty King Mswati III at Mandvulo Grand Hall, where he proposed the increase in number of security force personnel. This was where members of the 12th Parliament introduced themselves to the King and made their presentation on how they believed the country could move forward and fulfill His Majesty’s vision to end corruption, address the poverty crisis and unemployment, as well as economic growth.

increase of security forces

While making his submissions the minister pleaded with His Majesty and government to consider increasing the number of security forces personnel to provide a fence or shield around the country, to maintain peace and order. Adding, the minister said this was essential because no investor would be interested in investing in an unstable country where businesses, government structures, equipment and tinkhundla centres were burnt down and vandalised at any given time. The minister suggested that the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) should be increased to 15 000, Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) to 12 000, His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) to 10 000. The minister also suggested increasing the Eswatini National Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services (ENFRES)  personnel, which he also pleaded that they should be recognised as security forces to 5 000.

During an interview with the Times Sunday, Minister Prince Simelane asserted that his current ministry was also an important fence or shield for the country, as it was mandated to enforce the law through prosecuting cases working together with the other law enforcement agencies. He assured that during his tenure in office, he would do the best he could to ensure justice prevailed and was fair to all. He further pointed out that increasing the number of security forces personnel alone, would not be practical, as there was also a need to ensure that they were provided with all the working tools and equipment they required. “For this to be a success, government has to ensure that the security forces are well-equipped, unlike in previous situations where there was a shortage of vehicles and fuel for police officers resulting in them being unable to promptly attend to calls,” said the minister. Simelane has urged the Correctional Services which falls under his portfolio to engage the REPS and UEDF to embark on periodic random sweeping exercises, where they would conduct raids across all four regions in the country and be proactive in preventing crime.

Monthly raids

He suggested that these raids should be conducted once a month and should not be isolated to urban or peri-urban areas, but countrywide in all four regions including townships and rural areas. “Currently, crime is on the rise in the country and there are a lot of illegal firearms circulating and being used to commit heinous crimes as well as drug smuggling. I believe that such raids would be important in sweeping the country and curbing crime,” he said. The minister further called for 24-hour patrols across the country and the mounting of roadblocks even at night no matter the weather conditions to ensure safety and peace in the country while reducing crime. “If we can manage to do this as a country, it will go a long way in ensuring service delivery and allowing emaSwati to rest easy while knowing they and their assets are protected,” he said. The minister also proposed that all tinkhundla centres across the country should be guarded day and night as well as all schools and government structures such as ministerial buildings, court houses as part of what he themed efficient service delivery.

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