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Silolo spills the beans

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image Thandaza Silolo.

MBABANE -Political activist Thandaza Silolo in his confession disclosed how he went about with the bombings and how he was trained and further ill- treated by fellow ‘comrades’.


He also divulged how he had a misunderstanding with fellow comrades especially Lucky Lukhele who is the spokesperson for the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN). Silolo who was on Wednesday sentenced to 65 years imprisonment by High Court Judge Nku-luleko Hlophe for 11 counts made the confession before Mbabane Magistrate Phatha-phatha Mdluli after he surrendered himself to the police. He will however serve 20 years jail time as some of his sentence was ordered to run concurrently.

He said  after the bombings at the Magistrates Court, more particular at the Manzini Magistrates court he was allegedly taken by a motor vehicle by ‘comrades’ Bheki Dlamini and Musa Ngubeni and dropped at a certain house where he hid from the police in Matsapha.

He stated that at night the two men allegedly came back in another vehicle but were then in the company of Themba Mabuza and Roy Steenkamp. Silolo who is a member of the proscribed Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) said they took him to a place he did not recall well. He said the place was, however, somewhere in the Lubombo region and the house belonged to one Penuel Mali-nga. He said he was kept there while awaiting to hear if the police were still looking for him. “On the following morning Bheki Dlamini took me to the informal crossing manned by soldiers. I requested to cross and I was searched and allowed to cross over into South Africa. Upon crossing over to South Africa I then took transport to Joha-nnesburg and there I was met by a member of PUDEMO, Vusi Shongwe who took me to his house where I stayed with his family for a week,” he alleged.


He alleged that after a week they were joined by another man, Themba Shiba who was also fleeing from Swaziland and Vusi then took them to a three- bedroom house which he rented for them at Botha Ville in the Orange Free State.  According to Silolo they stayed there for a week and they were allegedly later joined by another ‘comrade’ Pius Vilakati who had fled Swaziland earlier, but had stayed somewhere else. “So the five of us stayed there and I was the commandant of the house, we did physical exercises, read books on politics, but our political activities (umzabalazo wetfu) in SWAYOCO and PUDEMO was very limited because we were too far,” he said He said during their stay they had tensions of staying away from home, shortage of food, living under strict rules and laws hence some of them decided they were not happy in the house.

Silolo disclosed that Pius allegedly was the first to leave and he was taken to Pretoria to his brother who stayed at a Catholic Training School. After Pius had left he decided not to stay there and left to stay at COSATU house, where there were South Africa Communist Party and Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) offices.

 

‘I recorded song insulting royalty’

MBABANE – Thandaza Silolo recorded a song insulting royalty and Their majesties during his stay in South Africa.


He said after recording the song he distributed it using Bluetooth and internet and it was on compact discs (CD). “I also wrote a pamphlet which also insulted royalty and Their Majesties. These have been distributed as far as the United States of Ame-rica,” he said. Silolo said his departure from Johannesburg was caused mainly by the bad blood between him and other comrades.

He disclosed that he then decided to come back to Swaziland through Swazi Consular Sigayoyo Magongo and another colleague who then arranged to have him back with a temporary passport after his had expired.

 

... hot potato in PUDEMO’s pockets

 

MBABANE - Members of the proscribed entities were uncomfortable with Thandaza Silolo coming back to Swaziland as he had too much information that could land them in trouble.


He alleged that in 2012 he had intended to see the President of the proscribed People’s Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Mario Masuku but before that he called Wandile Dludlu asking for his (Masuku) number.

He alleged that Dludlu told him that he was not comfortable with him coming back as he had too much information which would cause them many hardships.  Silolo alleged that Dludlu suggested that he must go back to the Republic of South Africa. “The president (Masuku) also suggested that I should go back, so I was then taken and accommodated at a house in Piet Retief where I stayed with a Lekuleni family from Nelspruit,” he alleged.


He said he stayed there until April 14 when he decided to hand himself over to the Swazi police. The Lekuleni family according to Silolo was a church going family and they attended the Alliance Church of South Africa. The family then introduced Silolo to the church and he said he then got revived. He further disclosed that he ended up being allowed by the pastor to conduct some sermons.


“I was then tasked with being a Sunday school teacher and preaching in other church services. 

 

‘... we went for days without food in SA’

MBABANE – Convicted Thandaza Silolo said du-ring his stay in South Afri-ca he and other comra-des would sometimes go for days without food.


He said during their stay in Free State they shared a house and the frustration continued as there was no food.
“We then asked to be released to be under the Spokesperson of the SSN in Johannesburg, Lucky Lukhele and Vusi Shongwe agreed. We stayed at Yorkville a walking distance. We were then mainly busy with political activities regarding Swaziland,” he said.


He further disclosed that he stayed there until 2012 when he decided to leave Johannesburg mainly because he was not on good terms with Lukhele and the other comrades.
Before he left Silolo said they had planned to carry out an operation at the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Lutfo Dlamini’s homestead in the northern Hhohho.


He alleged that  during the planning it was him Dube, Vilakazi and  others who were inside Swaziland who would assist them in arranging material.

 

Activists set up ‘base’ at Catholic priest’s house during bombings 

MBABANE - The bombing of Minister Lutfo’s house was allegedly planned by me-mbers of the proscribed entities who reside in South Africa.


He also disclosed that after bombing the minister’s house and the Mgungundlovu Royal Kraal they spent a night at a house of a Catholic Priest at Luve.


Thandaza Silolo who surrendered himself to the police said before he left South Africa they had planned the bombing of Minister Lutfo Dlamini’s house.
For the bombing at the minister’s house he was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
 fence
He said with other members of the proscribed entities they went through the fence to Swaziland.
“We had asked Sipho Dube to arrange transport with Majahonkhe Dlamini, Msebenzi (Tebza) and Mthekhisi Dlamini. Tezba was to organise transport to Luve. We organised an empty 20 litre container and empty beer bottles to be used for making the petrol bombs,” he said.


He stated Tebza took them to Luve to a Catholic Priest’s house where they waited until nightfall so they would then start the job.


He said Mthelisi Dlamini then took him, Pius Vilakati and Sipho Dube to Matsamo where they would get petrol.  Silolo said when they got to the filling station at Matsamo they found that it was already closed.  He said they then went to Pigg’s Peak where they bought petrol and food.


“Just as we were doing our work we were disturbed by a truck and we ran away, Then we went to the chief’s home (Maduma) at Mgungundlovu and we prepared our petrol bombs and I burned down two grass houses (ronda-vels) with fire,” he confessed.


He said they had also brought with them sprays which they used to write on the boards situated at the roadside. Silolo said on the boards they wrote graffiti like Viva PUDEMO, Viva SWA-YOCO, phansi ngeTinkhundla and Viva 12th because they were promoting April 12 in the Swaziland Solidarity Network offices. 


burn


“We then proceeded to the homestead of Minister Lutfo where we threw bombs, through the open windows of the houses and also tried to set light some tractors at the yard, but they did not burn.


“We also wrote graffiti. When we had finished we went back to sleep at the Catholic priest house,” he said. He said the following day at about 4pm Tebza came to transport them back to the fence through which they skipped to South Africa.

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