30 September 2011
SSN CONDEMNS LATEST EVICTIONS
Late last year the Swaziland Solidarity Network published a statement condemning the demolition of homes by the Swazi government under royal order. This demolition happened in an area just outside the outskirts of Manzini, a place called ka Shali.
The victims of these demolitions and evictions took the matter to the Swazi High court, where the presiding judge ruled in their favour and stopped the demolitions. The royal authorities had accused these families of not having followed the right procedures when obtaining the land. This claim, however, was proven invalid in court.
Despite that judgement, the reign of royal intimidation and extrajudicial evictions is continuing. It has been reliably gathered that royal authorities have ordered the demolition of homes in Moneni, Mahlabatsini, kaKhoza, Msunduza, Vuvulane and Siphofaneni. The owners of those homes have been given until December this year to vacate the land otherwise they will be forcefully removed.
The blueprint for these latest evictions is the ka Shali scandal. The royal authorities are claiming that these people did not follow the appropriate procedures when acquiring the land. Independently gathered evidence from the chiefs’ kraals in all the areas suggests that the royal authorities are lying once again.
Evidently, the royal household wishes to usurp as much Swazi Nation Land as possible. This is evident in the latest assertion by the ever controversial prince, Mahlaba, who has declared that Mahlabatsini belongs to the king. Interestingly, this is what was said about the area in KaShali as well.
It is outrageous to declare that Swazi Nation Land is the private property of the king. It is in fact a serious crime against humanity. The history behind most Swazi Nation Land is that it was once taken from the Swazi people by colonial settlers.
The late king, Sobhuza, then established a trust fund for buying back the land that had been stole from the Swazi people. This fund was established using cattle and money taken from the Swazi people themselves.
Access to land is therefore more than just a birth-right for every Swazi. Swazis are actually owed money for having bought land which was theirs in the first place. It is therefore despicable of any authority to take advantage of poor Swazis by forcefully removing them from their land for whatever reason.
We urge all Swazis to unite and stop these inhumane evictions once and for all. It does not do the nation any good to go stop people from being evicted in one area, only for another group of people to be evicted the following year.
All Swazis who are settled on Swazi Nation Land must unconditionally remain there. It is criminal to evict a people who have been repeatedly disenfranchised for so long. All organisations in the country should unite and protest against this ungodly and illegal act.
Issued By the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]