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Foreign Affairs Ministry: Thousands of banned eSwatini workers to lose jobs in SA

Wednesday, 27th May, 2020

MBABANE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has released a statement on 26thMay 2020 giving an update on the travel restrictions imposed by the Republic of South Africa which could see thousands of Emaswati losing their jobs.

The high unemployment rate in the country resulted in thousands of Emaswati going to neighbouring South Africa to look for jobs, however, the scourge of COVID-19 forced some of Emaswati to come back home when the lockdown commenced. 

“The Ministry on 21stMay 2020 received feedback from the Intergovernmental and Provincial Protocol Department under DIRCO which reads thus..\' The current directives do not allow for foreign workers to return to South Africa. This also applies to foreign students unless they are final year medical students” reads part of the statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and International Cooperation.

This means Emaswati who work in South Africa, especially those working in the mining sector are stuck in the country and can lose their jobs as South African boarders are closed until February 2021 according to the 5-level approach.

When this publication reached Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Wandile Dludlu for comment he expressed concerns that other African leaders are using the COVID-19 situation to push xenophobic agendas. 

“PUDEMO is gravely concerned with this narrow nationalist trends,it looks like some African governments have seized the COVID-19 predicament to xenophobically exclude other Africans from the life of national economies and educational facilities. To ease the lockdown but still lockout legal migrant workers is definitely becoming unreasonable and begins to smell like deliberate exclusion” he said.

Lucky Lukhele, the Spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said the country should consider establishing job opportunities and hire these workers who might lose jobs because of the lockdown.

“We have coal, diamond, gold and iron ore which would assist the nation in terms of job opportunities. Emaswati would find no need to migrate to other countries if the aforementioned natural resources were put to good use. The government must self-introspect and identify the reasons that chase investors. They need to work on the shareholding offered to investors. Again, the education of Eswatini is becoming increasingly irrelevant, hence thousands of young Emaswati go to South Africa for their studies” said the SSN Spokesperson.

Foreign Affairs Ministry: Thousands of banned eSwatini workers to lose jobs in SA
Foreign Affairs Minister Thulie Dladla