Senator Thulie Dladla, the Minister of Foreign Affairs had a reputation as a former ‘no-nonsense’ Chairperson of the Public Accounts Commitee(PAC), however, her decision to lie in Parliament regarding the deployment of soldiers at retired Magistrate Mandla Mkhaliphi’s Farm made me to start questioning her integrity.
After this Swaziland News reported the matter, Hosea MP Mduduzi 'Bacede' Mabuza raised it in Parliament, demanding answers from the Foreign Affairs Minister who is in charge of military affairs in Parliament, the Minister said the army was deployed to protect mineral resources, her sentiments suggests that we are now living in a military State.
Before delving much on this article, let me bring to the attention of the Foreign Affairs Minister that as an investigative journalist, I have a special day every week where I receive briefings from influential people regarding the affairs of the country from almost all sectors of the country, this include Parliament, the Judiciary, the police and the army among others.
I am well-informed about issues of the army including the innocent soldiers who were sent to Russia for training and later dumped without allowances while other politically connected members of the military including Minister Thulie Dladla's son received preferential treatment. In this regard, we expect the Minister to act responsibly when responding about issues involving the army because her hostility might trigger more investigations, the army is now under siege and in the midst of a power struggle.
It is important for the Minister to understand that when we report about human rights violation issues, we do so to enable the King and government to take action and resolve the issues not to justify injustice, the soldiers must be removed from Mandla Mkhaliphi’s Farm as a matter of urgency.
Even though sometimes I receive critical information about the army, I always report in a manner that does not threaten national security but if the army is now used as a weapon to grab people’s properties, then we need to expose that, this country does not belong to Prince Sicalo and he must know that whatever crimes he commit, he might find himself in the International Criminal Court(ICC).
That Prince Sicalo was trained by the late Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi means nothing to some of us, we cannot allow him to use the army to grab people’s properties just because he is the Head of the Military, must account account for his conduct.
I spoke to Prince Sicalo on Tuesday evening and he did not deny deploying the soldiers in the private Farm, instead he accused Mandla Mkhaliphi of mining without a license, however, I had a serious problem that a Prince can use the army on issues of licenses that could have been handled by the police in a matter where he had direct interests by virtue of being a former shareholder at Mkhaliphi’s company NDI(PTY) LTD.
But then, despite this mess, Prince Sicalo demonstrated some qualities of being a leader by facing his problems and responded to this publication instead of being evasive, journalists are not enemies but our role is to demand accountability of public power.
This is a very serious matter because we have innocent people who died of depression in this country after royalty forcefully grabbed their businesses and properties, government has been inviting international investors to invest in this country where a Prince or royalty and can just seize their properties with impunity.
Foreign Affairs Minister Thulie Dladla, like Sthofeni Ginindza is an agent of royal looting, her links with African Alliance where billions belonging to the King and Indlovukazi are invested completes the whole story. The Minister must know that some citizens worked hard to accumulate wealth under this oppressive political environment, we don't expect the military to be used to grab their properties.
The Minister and Prince Sicalo must remove the soldiers at the Farm instead of justifying injustice, we are citizens of this country and we don’t want the army to be used to bully us, soldiers must protect the country not to fight business battles.
Prince Sicalo must know that we are living in a global community governed by international laws, we cannot allow a situation where a Prince can just wake-up in the morning and seize private properties.
As mentioned, it doesn’t matter at all that Prince Sicalo was trained by Gaddafi, this is country that should uphold international laws and respect human rights including people’s properties, any person who abuses the power of the military must know he or she might end-up facing criminal charges with the ICC.
It’s a huge joke for the Foreign Affairs Minister who serves in a Government that is desperate to attract international investors to justify the deployment of soldiers in a private Farm, one wonders if she understands the damage caused by this on Foreign Direct Investments(FDI).
In conclusion, let me advise Prince Sicalo to use his powers as Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defense responsibly, this is a country with citizens whose rights should be respected.
Foreign Affairs Minister Thulie Dladla