LOBAMBA: King Mswati, an absolute Monarch is slowly taking over the powers of the judiciary by presiding over civil and criminal cases through his traditional structures.
The King has established the now powerful traditional body, the Ludzidzini Council whose Chairman is Chief Mdlaka Gamedze that presides over civil and criminal cases on his behalf, it also handles appeals against decisions of the highest courts in the land.
Reached for comments by this Swaziland News, Chief Mdlaka Gamedze, the Chairman of the Ludzidzini Council said the King’s Ludzidzini Council normally preside over appeals lodged by citizens who were not happy with decisions either by the courts or any institution in the country. He was responding to questions about a specific civil case of Senator Cleopas Dlamini and his ex-wife Cynthia Simelane where the Ludzidzini Council ruled that they must share 50-50 of their properties after the court issued a final decree of divorce.
“Everyone is free to appeal to the King if he or she is not happy with the ruling of the courts or any institution in the country, this is a Council that preside over cases on behalf of the King, even the courts are the King's Councils.” said the Ludzidzini Council Chairman.
On Saturday, the Times of eSwatini reported that Thoko Shongwe took the Central Bank of ESwatini to the Ludzidzini Council for alleged unfair dismissal and won the case. It has been reported that Shongwe was employed by the Bank for 12 years and she approached the Council after the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission(CMAC) issued a certificate of unresolved dispute in the matter.
As a result, the Central Bank Management had appear before a traditional council on a matter governed by provisions of the Industrial Relations Act that stipulates that after the issuing of the certificate of unresolved dispute by CMAC, any party may approach the Industrial Court for legal redress.
Speaking to this publication on the subject matter, Sibusiso Nhlabatsi, a human rights lawyer said as more people continue to lose confidence in courts, the Ludzidzini Council might find itself with more cases. However, he said the latest developments where citizens opted to seek justice in the traditional structures even on labour matters governed by the Industrial Relations Act will cause serious problems by rendering the courts non-functional.
“What is happening at Ludzidzini means there is an urgent need to address what is happening in our judiciary, it is a sign that people have lost confidence in the administration of justice in the country and they are seeking justice somewhere else. But in the long run, this will be problematic because people will abandon going to court completely and go to Ludzidzini” said the human rights lawyer.
On another note, Chief Mdlaka Gamedze, the Chairman of the Ludzidzini Council told this publication that people were free to appeal to the King through the Council on any matter.
It has been disclosed that for the part years King Mswati has been presiding over criminal cases of suspects who allegedly stole his cattle and imposed heavy fines on their parents by grabbing all cattle in their possession. After the verdict, the King normally use one Macaleni Dlamini as his Sheriff to collect the cattle even from innocent community members who might be related to the accused to pay the fine.