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King Mswati violates basic human rights, Senior Advocate Myron Dewrance tells South African High Court.

Thursday, 16th December, 2021

MPUMALANGA: Senior Advocate Myron Dewrance told the Mpumalanga High Court that King Mswati was violating basic human rights in eSwatini and urged Judge Brian Mashile to understand the context of Prince Sicalo’s court application.

The Senior Counsel was defending editor Zweli Martin Dlamini and this Swaziland News in a matter where Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defense and Security Prince Sicalo was seeking to interdict this publication against publishing what he described as private information about him.

This comes after this publication exposed how the Prince allegedly crossed the border to meet other State security agents with an alleged intention of smuggling guns to be used in the ongoing shooting and killing of civilians.

“The basic respect for human rights is absent in eSwatini My Lord and this we say, is the golden threat through this application. You have to understand the context in which the current situation is playing out in eSwatini. The current situation is, you have a regime which does not respect it’s citizens' rights, does not respect basic human rights”, said the Senior Advocate when submitting before the court.

Advocate Dewrance then cited the 1973 Decree that banned political parties in eSwatini and the 2005 Constitution that elevated Mswati to an untouchable status.

The Senior Advocate further challenged the applicant to prove where the publication of the article occurred, in Eswatini or South Africa for purposes of determining whether the laws of eSwatini or South Africa apply. 

But Advocate Van Deen Heever who was representing Prince Sicalo said Swaziland News was a registered company in South Africa and the respondents did not dispute that in the affidavit.

On another note Advocate Kerusha Pillay who was part of the editor’s legal team together with Senior Advocate Myron Dewrance submitted that for the court to interdict the respondents and further order the removal of the articles, it must first make findings if indeed the articles were defamatory.

“In the present circumstances, in the answering affidavit, the respondents have taken this court through the defenses and have not merely made a bald statement that the publication of the articles are reasonable neither it is the respondents case that the articles published were based on facts which are true and are in the public interest. Instead, the respondents have properly laid the basis of the defenses which they intend raising. As Mr Dewrance pointed out it can only be decided in action proceedings, it would be premature for Your Lordship with the greatest respect, to make that determination now. We cannot test the version of the respondents under oath, that need to be tested under cross examination to determine whether it is true and correct or not. And in order to grant the relief in part A of the Notice of Motion, there has to be a conclusive determination that there has been defamation and that cannot be done. The main case that we rely on in this regard as Mr Dewerance has pointed out is the matter of Tau vs Mashaba, a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal”, said Advocate Kerusha Pillay who was also representing the editor and this publication.

Judge Brian Mashile, by agreement of both parties then ruled that the matter be reffered to mediation and that the mediation should be concluded by 31 January 2022.

King Mswati violates basic human rights, Senior Advocate Myron Dewrance tells South African High Court.
Senior Advocate Myron Dewyance who is representing the Swaziland News.