MBABANE:Mduduzi ‘Magawugawu’ Simelane, the Siphofaneni Member of Parliament (MP) said the provisions of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA)promotes injustice against dagga farmers and defeats the presumption of innocence until proven guilty principle.
Speaking in Parliament during the debate that resulted to the suspension of the law that was subsequently reinstated by Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, the MP said it terms of the criminal procedure, the onus to prove any-wrong doing should not be on the accused but the accuser, but unlike all criminal cases, POCA allows the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP) to grab properties and the owner is highly expected to prove how those properties were acquired.
“The DPP enjoys powers to approach the court and get an order against any suspect and subsequently grab the properties without notifying the owner. Maybe, this could be justified by saying they are avoiding a situation whereby the suspect can rush to hide the properties but it’s too much unfair for Liswati who go to bed not knowing that the following morning, people will arrive and grab everything including the bed” he said.
The MP further questioned why government assumed that dagga dealers have no other alternative source of income, but their lives revolves only through the dagga farming.
“If the person owns three (3) quantums bese kutfolaka libhakede noma ligogo lalensangu lakhaya kodvwa nasekutsatfwa, kutsatfwa tonkhe letintfo(meaning: and then dagga is found within the home, does that mean all her properties were accumulated through dagga?” the MP wondered.
Simelane said eMaswati by their nature are not involved in politics but they are focusing in improving their own lives even though they are struggling. He said if government continue to grab their properties, then people will start calling for the system of governance to be changed.
“We are living in difficult times where government is struggling to take care of the people, the youth is struggling with unemployment, a bigger population from the northern Hhohho is surviving with this dagga. I am sending a word of advice to government, they must make sure they don’t start a civil war in this country. This POCA is not doing anything to bring to justice the people who stole money for the road construction” said the MP.
Siphofaneni MP Mduduzi Simelane