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MONTIGNY: FESBC IS A TERRORIST GROUP

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MANZINI – The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Montigny Investments, Andrew Le Roux, has alleged that the Federation of Eswatini Business Community (FESBC) is a terrorist group.

Le Roux came out to strongly condemn FESBC, subsequent to questions arising from a letter dated December 11, 2023, which was addressed to Eswatini Competition Commission (ESCC) CEO Muzi Dlamini, seeking that the latter urgently conduct an investigation into the forestry industry anti-competitiveness, allegedly posed by Montigny to the local forest business.

Leading to the letter on December 11, another dated November 30, 2023, also addressed to Dlamini, made insinuations against Inyatsi Group Holdings (Pty) Ltd, which is now a subject of litigation. Meanwhile, Le Roux said the allegation of the entity being a terrorist group was based on the fact that it was FESBC that purportedly went around Eswatini during the recent political unrest, putting red stickers on their members’ business premises, so that looters and rioters would not touch them. The CEO said instead, other businesses in Eswatini were torched and looted; especially those belonging to multinational corporations or those believed to be associated with royalty.  

Destruction

He said this led to the loss of hundreds of millions of Emalangeni in damage, loss of life and the collapse of investor confidence in Eswatini. urthermore, Le Roux alleged that FESBC was a founding member and signatory of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), which allegedly promoted, endorsed and perpetuated unlawful and terrorist acts across the kingdom. “This, in collusion with proscribed terrorist organisations, such as PUDEMO, which in itself is unlawful in terms of our terrorism legislation. If terrorism is to be defined as ‘the unlawful use of threats to intimidate or coerce a civilian population with the goal of furthering political, social, or ideological objectives’, then FESBC clearly meets that definition,” Le Roux alleged.  

The businessman alleged that their (FESBC) unlawful and intimidatory actions over the past four months were clearly unlawful, as the entity purportedly knowingly abused processes, misrepresented themselves and issued threats to private businesses in Eswatini, with the clear goal of furthering ideological and political objectives. He stated that Business Eswatini (BE) reached out to the leadership of FESBC in an attempt to bilaterally resolve this matter, but the invitation was declined. 

Instead, Le Roux supposed that FESBC’s allegedly unlawful strategy to attack legitimate businesses intensified. “It is very unfortunate that entities, registered with our own government, who purport to represent the private sector, small-scale businesses and emaSwati, are using their platform to risk jobs and discourage much needed foreign direct investment,” he claimed in the statement. Furthermore, Le Roux alleged that there was no private entity in Eswatini that had done more for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) than BE.  

Blankets

The CEO said during COVID-19, BE distributed tens of thousands of blankets, hundreds of thousands of face masks, and was instrumental in delivering the first sanitisers in association with its members. He said BE alone vaccinated 80 000 emaSwati, worked with government to keep borders, trade and businesses open and participated actively with the Disaster Management Task Team.  

During the unrest, Le Roux said BE worked tirelessly to ensure that diesel was delivered, communities were kept safe and lives were saved.  He said BE members contributed to the Malaria Fund, Reconstruction Fund and equipping The Luke Commission to assist hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of help.   Furthermore, Le Roux said in the last five years, BE had launched Vukani Bomake, joined and supported Eswatini Business Health, facilitated the State Business Relations Forum and launched many training seminars to assist businesspeople, men and women, across the nation.

He said BE members represented more than 80 per cent of the jobs in the private sector and more than 80 per cent of the formal private sector’s gross domestic product (GDP) contribution. Le Roux questioned the credibility of FESBC and some of the people in its leadership and further called upon government to seriously reconsider their registration as a compliant employer organisation in Eswatini.

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