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Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo’s decision to close Solanis is purely political, influenced by business interests.

Thursday, 17th June, 2021

It is becoming a norm in this country to manipulate the law to suppress businesses owned by  indigenous Swazis, the ultimate intention is to push every ordinary citizen into poverty in favour of the politically connected, rich and powerful.

Perhaps, let me first condemn what Chester Nxumalo allegedly did by assaulting a woman, whom it is alleged, was his girlfriend, the law must take its course without disregarding the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

What triggered me to write this article is the decision by Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo who took advantage of the fact that people are calling for the boycott of Solanis these days to shut down the company.

It is important to clarify that in terms of the Companies Act, Solanis is a business and or a legal persona whose legal rights should not be undermined by the conduct of its Directors

Solanis never assaulted anyone, the suspect here is Chester Nxumalo who is supposed to be behind bars for committing a crime, the business is just a crime scene and it amounts to injustice to boycott an innocent business for a crime committed by a Director who was acting in his personal capacity.

However, should any evidence in a form of a company resolution directing Chester Nxumalo to assault and abuse women emerge, then Solanis would automatically become an accomplice.

One wonders what is preventing the police from arresting Chester when they were many eye witnesses who can testify against the suspect, the incompetence and or corruption within the police service is slowly causing disorder in this country where businesspeople with money can just abuse women with impunity.

What Chester Nxumalo allegedly did to the woman was uncalled for, we have the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence(SODV) Act that should deal with such perpetrators but we should not destroy businesses for a crime that was committed by individuals in their personal capacity.

Now, here is Minister Mancoba Khumalo with business links in the liquor industry, manipulating the COVID-19 regulations to close a company owned by Swazis, he is taking advantage of the “boycott Solanis” campaign to advance his business interests.

This tendency of waking up in the morning to shut down companies owned by Swazis is an indication that we have people in this country whose intention is to see the ordinary people struggling, that the Nation have some unresolved issues with the Solanis Director does not mean political vultures like Mancoba must then take advantage to destroy the company.

Solanis is a company and if it violated COVID-19 regulations, police were supposed to be deployed to enforce the regulations, closing that company whether  temporarily or permanently was uncalled  for at the time when some Swazis are jobless.

As mentioned, I don’t condone what Chester did but in any case, as a country we must always impose corrective not destructive measures to citizens to make them better leaders of tomorrow particularly where the offender could be dealt with in a court of law.

Mancoba Khumalo resigned from a well-paying job overseas and the captured media claimed he did so for the love of the country but if we can present his bank statements, it can be clear to everyone that Khumalo is sustaining his lavish lifestyle through corruption and or abuse of power.He is linked to many businesses in this country and sometimes takes political decisions to advance his business interests, the Prevention of Corruption Act describes this as conflict of interest.

How can a whole Cabinet Minister whose portfolio should be seen promoting the establishment of businesses went as far as shutting down a business?  Was it a genuine decision or influenced by business allies who are competing with Solanis?

It should be noted that violating COVID-19 regulations is a serious offense that might result to loss of life but we must guard against such political vultures who are eager to manipulate these regulations to advance their business interests, the number of the fun lovers at Solanis was far below the participants of the Incwala ceremony. 

In conclusion, it is important to emphasize that Solanis never assaulted a woman but Chester Nxumalo, in his personal capacity allegedly committed the crime, police must do their job without any political influence or the consideration of Nxumalo's pocket.

As a result, we should be pushing a compaign calling for the arrest of Chester not to boycott Solanis, this is a business with employees who never permitted their employer to abuse women. 

Furthermore, Government must impose a fine to Solanis for the alleged breach of COVID-19 regulations not to shut down the company. Montigny Investment, a company owned by Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg and with links to the King was operating during the previous lockdown and despite numerous complaints from employees that their colleagues were testing positive to COVID-19, it was never closed but continued with its operations.

Women rights organizations must continue calling for the arrest of Chester if indeed he committed the crime but targeting a business that did not commit the crime undermines the basic principles of fairness.

Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo’s decision to close Solanis is purely political, influenced by business interests.
Solanis