MBABANE: Sizwe Maziya, the former Times of Swaziland reporter who now works as a police officer within the Intelligence Unit allegedly manipulated his media connections to trace and betray investigative journalist Eugene Dube who sustained injuries in the midst of raiding and brutal police detention.
Dube was allegedly attacked by a battalion of police officers armed with guns on Thursday at his home in Nhlangano in the Southern parts of eSwatini, he was accused of writing critical articles about King Mswati.
An independent investigation by this Swaziland News suggests that Maziya started working as a police spy while he was a journalist for the Times, tracing the whereabouts of political activists who are critical of the King and his government. He was subsequently recruited to join the police service together with other scribes after the Executive Command concluded that he was doing a commendable job.
Reached for comments, Eugene Dube, the editor of the Swati Newsweek confirmed that Maziya has been tracing him for the past week, asking his whereabouts before the raiding and subsequent brutal detention by the police.
“For the past week he has been calling me pretending to be appreciating my stories when in fact he was on a mission to trace my location. When he calls, he normally pretends as if he is still working as journalist and talk about articles. At some point, he asked me to assist in revealing the whereabouts of Musa Ndlangamandla, he is actually targeting independent journalists”said the Swati Newsweek editor.
Dube then warned members of the public and political activists who might have known Maziya as a journalist to be careful, saying he was one of the most dangerous police officers who traces even ordinary citizens to be secretly murdered for their political affiliation.
William Dlamini, the National Commissioner of Police told the media during a press conference last week that the police will deal with independent journalists who are writing critical articles about the King. He warned that police will never be soft to these journalists wondering if they were prepared to spend their youth honoring summons to the police.
“Are they prepared to spend their youth honoring summons to the police stations? Police officers usually don’t call you to the police station to enjoy laughter” said the National Commissioner as quoted by the Times Sunday.
This is the first time the National Commissioner openly declared war against independent journalists as previously, the law enforcement agency has been using the State media and the Times to imply that these scribes are merely summoned to assist the police with certain information.
It has been disclosed that Maziya’s assignment to trace Dube formed part of a special investigation whose objective is to attack and silence journalists who are critical of the absolute Mornach.
Speaking to this publication Warnder Mkhonza, the Secretary General of the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) said he was aware that former journalist Sizwe Maziya was now working for the Police Intelligence Unit as a spy.
“He once tried to send me a friend request, but I ignored him after learning that he was now an Intelligence Officer not a journalist” said the ATUSWA boss.
Reached for comments, Sizwe Maziya, the former Times journalist denied the allegations saying he was not aware of the matter.
“I am not aware of what you are talking about” he said when responding to our questions.
But an independent investigation by this Swaziland News further uncovered that Maziya was based at Mankayane Police Station and his role among others include collecting data of independent journalists and political activists, this is later forwarded to the Police Headquarters in Mbabane through the regional structures of the law enforcement agency.
It has been disclosed that this information is subsequently shared with the Serious Crime Unit headed by Deputy Commissioner Sam Mthembu who was quickly promoted within the police ranks after playing a crucial role in the alleged killing of Sipho Jele, the then member of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO).
Phindile Valakati, the Police Spokesperson had not responded to our questions at the time of compiling this report.
But Lucky Lukhele, the Spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network(SSN) said there are many journalists who work for the Intelligence Unit within the media industry.
“We can confirm that some journalists found themselves working for the regime and it is true that they are spies in every sector of the society. Their role includes countering in favour of the regime” said the SSN Spokesperson.
Reached for comments, Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) condemned the conduct of the former journalist saying it was inhumane and amounts to betrayal.
“But we need to understand that he is not the only one, we do have others who are still practicing as journalists but work for Tinkhundla. This include boBingo whose role is to ridicule political activists who are calling for democratic reforms. We want to remind them that Tinkhundla has a permanent objective, they use and later dump you. These people are actually enemies of the citizens” said the SNAT President.
Police spy and ex-Times journalist Sizwe Maziya