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Lewis Furniture Eswatini allegedly exposing female workers to rape by sending them to meet customers inside their houses amid scarcity buyers,married woman came back crying.

Sunday, 7th July, 2024

MBABANE:Philisiwe Dlamini,a Manager at Lewis Furniture Eswatini is allegedly exposing female workers including married woman to rape by sending them to meet potential customers within their homes.

It is alleged that,the furniture company has a ‘policy’ directing workers to meet potential customers within their homes or houses and with something to eat or drink while they negotiate business.

But in the process and while negotiating the business inside the sitting rooms or houses of the potential customers,some workers told this Swaziland News that,the company “is literally exposing them to rape.

As a result, this week,one of the married female employees allegedly came back crying and opened a rape case with the police after visiting a potential customer who works at Plascon-Manzini.

The name of the alleged victim and perpetrator cannot be revealed for ethical reasons.

Reached for comments on Sunday evening,Philisiwe Dlamini,a Manager at Lewis Manzini Branch said, responses on this matter must be sought from those above her.

“I think the one who leaked this information must comment and give the whole story with regards to what really happened.It’s hard for me to comment but my superiors must comment”, said the Lewis Manzini Branch Manager when speaking to editor Zweli Martin Dlamini who was demanding answers about the matter.

But the Manager did not specify who must respond on behalf of the company and clarify the allegations.

Senior Superintendent Phindile Vilakati,the Police Spokesperson declined to comment about the matter.

On another note,the workers told this publication that due to the scarcity of customers as most citizens are financially broke in eSwatini, the furniture company “is putting pressure” on them to meet a target.

“We are really frustrated and ill-treated here such that even if it’s not rape,if you can meet a customer in his house and that customer makes a promise to buy but on condition that you sleep with him,you can do that under pressure.After the rape of the married woman this week, her husband demanded answers and even blamed her saying she was lying, demanding to know why she didn’t scream if it was rape. So we are really frustrated, the company is putting pressure on us yet most emaSwati are financially struggling,there’s no busiesss anymore in eSwatini”, said one of the employees.

Reached for comments on Sunday evening,Phila Mtsetfwa,the Secretary General(SG) of the Swaziland Commercial and Allied Workers Union(SCAWU) promised to engage Lewis furniture so he can fully understand the matter before sharing a comment.

The SCAWU Secretary General said as a union,they were only aware that,it was male employees who visit homes but only for purposes of repossessing furnitures due to unpaid installments.

“In this matter,we would have to first engage the company to fully understand what is happening before sharing a comment.We are only aware that,the female employees visit potential customers in offices not their homes and if this is happening now within the company and if there’s a policy to that effect, will definitely engage and report back to you our findings”, said the SCAWU Secretary General.

Responding to this Swaziland News on Sunday evening, Nonhlanhla Dlamini,the Executive Director of the Eswatini Action Group Against Abuse(SWAGAA) said, apart from the fact that, most emaSwati are financially broke as money “is not circulating” in the country, the establishment of local cheap and affordable furniture manufacturers decreased sales for furniture shops like Lewis.

Dlamini then urged the furniture company to reduce the target for employees and then invest in marketing.

“Firstly the company must understand that,most emaSwati are financially broke,money is not circulating in the country.But apart from that,we now have local furniture manufacturers,the quality might not be the same but they are affordable with no higher purchase.Secondly, the company must consider reducing the targets for employees taking into account the fact that, potential customers are financially broke and then invest in marketing.It’s dangerous and risky to visit people within their homes because even if that rape could happen,the person might have a defense saying it was the victim who visited him inside his house and successfully deny or defend the rape allegations.Nami nje ngeke sengvume umuntfu ete lakami noma ngingeke ngimente lutfo kodvwa, it’s not right to visit people within their homes.The company must understand that times have changed and there’s no money anymore in the country, people are financially broke”,said the SWAGAA Director.

Lewis Furniture Eswatini allegedly exposing female workers to rape by sending them to meet customers inside their houses amid scarcity buyers,married woman came back crying.
Lewis entrance in Mbabane.