Friday, May 7, 2010


The following is a report from the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, stating that Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, has announced an ‘independent’ inquiry into the death in jail of democracy activist Sipho Jele.

The Times reports that the ‘independent’ inquiry will be made by a task team made up of members of the Swaziland police and the Swaziland correctional services.


PM institutes inquest into Sipho Jele’s death

7 May 2010

MBABANE - Government has instituted an independent inquest into the circumstances surrounding Sipho Stephen Jele’s death.

This comes hardly a day after the news of the suspected suicide of awaiting trial member of the banned PUDEMO his death broke.

PUDEMO is the People United Democratic Movement, which was classified as a banned terrorist entity, Jele was found hanging dead on Tuesday morning after he was arrested on May Day for wearing a PUDEMO T-shirt.

The Prime Minister (PM) Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini has stated that government is not going to turn a blind eye to the death of 35 year old Sipho Stephen Jele.

Jele was reportedly found hanging from the rafters of a toilet at the Sidvwashini Correctional facility. This has prompted government to investigate the cause of death, which was initially believed to be a suicide.

Dlamini said, “His Majesty’s Government has received a report on the unfortunate demise of an awaiting trial inmate on Tuesday May 4, 2010, who was lawfully committed on remand and under the custody of His Majesty’s Correctional Services at the Mbabane Correctional Institution, Sidwashini.”

The PM went further to announce, in a press statement, that a team has been assigned to investigate Jele’s death.

He said a Task team has been from the Royal Swaziland Police Service, with the assistance of authorities from the Correctional Services, would investigate circumstances surrounding the death of Jele. Dlamini further said that government was not taking the issue lightly.

“I wish to state that His Majesty’s Government is taking the matter seriously since this involves the death of a person who was in lawful custody,” he said in the statement also sending condolences to the deceased’s family and friends. The PM said he hoped the report of the inquest would consequently help bring the matter to rest.

Principal magistrate appointed coroner

MBABANE - Principal Magistrate Nondumiso Simelane has been appointed coroner of the inquest into the death of Sipho Stephen Jele.

Jele died while in custody at the Sidvwashini Correctional Services.

A coroner formally ascertains circumstances surrounding the death of a person.

Simelane’s appointment was made by the Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday.

Her appointment is in terms of The Inquiry Act of 1954.

The statement of her appointment is with effect from May 6 2010.

‘The jurisdiction of the Coroner shall extend over all the Regions of Swaziland and the Coroner, so appointed herein, may hold and shall preside over each inquest in respect of the following matter or person of Sifiso Sthephen Jele,’ reads part of the Special Appointment of Coroner Notice, 2010.

At the conclusion of an inquest she is expected to give her opinion on the cause of death, and will subsequently submit it to the office of Attorney General or the Crown Counsel.

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