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MBABANE – His Majesty’s Correctional Services has imposed a six-month visitation and communication ban on convicted former Member of Parliament (MP) Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza.   

The curtailing of these rights comes after the former legislator was found guilty of having repeatedly flouted the Correctional Services Regulations, which prohibit the possession of articles such as cellphones and unlawful communication. According to the facility, at least on four different occasions, Mabuza has faced internal disciplinary hearings, which compelled it to curtail not only physical visitation, but also his telephonic communication.


The suspension of these rights was disclosed by the authorities of the institution, in its papers where it is robustly opposing the application filed by Mabuza’s children and his wives.
In their application, the wives and children of the former MP want the court to direct the commissioner general of His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) to allow them access and communication to Mabuza.  They claimed that they had been denied access to him without any lawful cause or justification, hence the need for the court to intervene. According to Mabuza’s children and wives, while their access to the former had always been unreasonably restricted, they were at the very least, been receiving calls from him whenever that was permitted by the institution, but they had not received same for a long period.   

In his answering affidavit, Officer in-Charge of Matsapha Correctional facility, Jabulani Kunene, said he had been in charge of Mabuza since he was incarcerated thereat. He informed the court that on September 12, 2023, the applicants’ father (Mabuza) was found in possession of contraband in the form of a cellphone, which was a prohibited article for offenders within the Correctional facility. He averred that Section 87 of the Act provided that it is an offence to convey or supply a prohibited article.  Kunene further highlighted that Regulation 59 makes it an offence to use or be in possession of a prohibited article “Possession of contraband is not permitted within the facility and as such, the applicants’ father was subjected to a disciplinary hearing, found guilty of contravention of this trite rule and subsequently subjected to a suspension of privileges, including visitation for a period of six months,” submitted Kunene.   


He pointed out that the rationale for taking such a drastic step was that Mabuza had, up to that point, been a repeat offender, with two prior disciplinary hearings. Kunene submitted that the six-month period covered the date of October 6, 2023.  It was further his submission that Regulation 59 classified communicating with a person in contravention of the law as a minor disciplinary offence.  He went on to state that the aforementioned regulation categorised disobeying a lawful order of a Correctional officer also as a minor offence. “Regulation 60, however, classifies repeating a minor Correctional centre offence after having been punished twice for it as a major offence,” contended Kunene.

He informed the court that Mabuza found himself in this final category and the institution could not be expected not to maintain a good order and discipline within the Correctional centre. It was his contention that Mabuza’s visitation rights were restricted and/or suspended in accordance with the law.  He further denied the assertion by his (Mabuza) children that the limitation of the incarcerated person’s rights to visitation had been done unreasonably. “The restrictions imposed on the applicants’ father have been due to his repeated failure and/or refusal to adhere to good order and discipline required by the legal framework regulating the running of the Correctional facility,” he argued. He acknowledged that there were rights held by families of persons kept in custody to gain reasonable access and communication with their relatives held in custody.


Kunene, however, pointed out that it was equally recognised that there was a corresponding duty placed upon the person held in custody to conduct himself in accordance with the law, so as to ensure that his family members were not precluded from enjoying this right. Kunene mentioned that the reciprocal nature of the relationship between the Correctional facility and the person held in custody was such that if the rules and regulations on conduct were adhered to, neither the person held in custody, nor his family went through a limitation on visitation and communication rights. The former legislator is currently detained at the Matsapha Maximum Prison with his co-accused, former Ngwempisi MP Mthandeni Dube. Mabuza was recently found guilty of terrorism and murder, among other charges, together with his co-accused, and they are still to make their submissions on why they feel the court should not impose a stiff sentence.  They are expected to make submissions on sentence in March this year. The matter, where Mabuza’s children want to be granted access to him, is still pending in court. Appearing for the applicants is senior lawyer Ben J Simelane, while for the Correctional facility are lawyers from the chamber of the attorney general (AG).

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