All Asian people have been banned from entering Swaziland after the kingdom’s Parliament suspended issuing entry permits.
A committee has been formed to look at ‘loopholes’ in the immigration system, according to a report in the Swazi Observer newspaper.
The Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported Parliament instructed Home Affairs Minister Princess Tsandzile ‘to ensure that no Asian entered the country’.
It reported, ‘This was after MP [Marwick] Khumalo moved a successful motion calling for the election of a powerful 10-member committee to look into the loopholes of the country’s immigration system causing the influx of illegal immigrants, the majority being of Asian origin.’
The newspaper reported the committee would also investigate ‘the residential status’ of Asians already living in the kingdom.
Khumalo who made the motion was reported saying that most Asians in Swaziland, ‘were trafficked into the country by their fellow countrymen who kept them as slaves to work in their shops and factories in return for a meal’.
Commerce Minister Gideon Dlamini tried unsuccessfully to make an amendment on the motion. He was reported saying that Asians, ‘were a mix of both criminals and genuine investors and those who came into the country with good intent should not suffer for the sins of others’.
Lobamba MP Michael Masilela reportedly said small towns like Buhleni, Pigg’s Peak and Siteki had already ‘been taken over by the Asians’.
Home Affairs Minister Princess Tsandzile said she welcomed the motion.
The committee is expected to bring a report within 30 days.
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