Saturday, July 16, 2011


The Sowetan newspaper from South Africa was held by police at the Swaziland border yesterday (15 July 2011) and copies were confiscated, because it carried an article critical of Michael Ramodibedi, the Swazi Chief Justice.

Copies of the newspaper that is usually freely available to buy in Swaziland were taken at the Ngwenya Border Post.

The Sowetan included an article reporting that the Law Society of Swaziland wanted the chief justice to be dismissed immediately for his mishandling of the judiciary in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

It also carried a report that the Times of Swaziland, the only independent newspaper in the kingdom, had received a High Court order to stop it publishing its own story about the Ramodibedi dispute.

The Swazi News, a companion newspaper to the Times, reports today that according to one of the distributors of the Sowetan, police officers forcefully confiscated copies of the newspaper which were going to various news-stands in the country.

Sources told the Swazi News that as early of 7am a considerable number of police officers had already been deployed at the border to ‘block’ two South African newspapers, the Mail and Guardian and the Sowetan.

The Sowetan was a bit delayed and arrived much later than the usual time. It is not reported what happened to the Mail and Guardian.

When the paper finally arrived in the vehicle for media couriers, the police on the Swazi side of the border confiscated it and took the copies to the police headquarters in Mbabane.

The police, it is reported, said they were acting on a court order.

Sources say the police confiscated the Sowetan newspaper and ‘detained’ the paper at the police headquarters for more than two hours.

They later handed it back to the distributors after finishing their ‘investigations’ after 10am, The Swazi News reports.

See also



No comments: