Mbabane-The suspended Director of National Children Services in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Lucky Ndlovu has been acquitted of all charges by the Mbabane Magistrates Court.
Ndlovu was charged by his superiors at the DPM’s Office for human trafficking after being accused of marrying an underage woman. The court found that Ndlovu’s marriage to his young bride was an official marriage under Swazi Law and Custom. Moreover, the court found that there was no complainant in the matter and therefore questioned who exactly it was that had brought the matter before the court. This is because during the court proceedings, Ndlovu’s wife submitted that she never laid any charges or any complaint.
The court pronounced that its hands were tied from interfering in the matter as it was a lawful marriage that was undertaken between mature and consenting parties.
The magistrate also observed that there was no internal ministerial investigation that was undertaken before the matter was reported to the police in-line with the expected criminal procedures. Had the investigation been concluded it would have uncovered some of the weaknesses of the case as observed by the magistrate.
However, in earlier deliberations on the matter, and during the court process, Ndlovu had appealed to the High Court to take jurisprudence over the matter. In his appeal Ndlovu had stated that only the High Court could hear the matter because it had constitutional elements. This is because it infringed on the basic rights of Mr Ndlovu’s wife on the validity of the marriage.
This means that the magistrate courts findings are yet to be validated by the supreme court.
There are questions that continue to linger in this matter, such as who could possibly charge Ndlovu in such a manner without instituting an internal investigation within the DPM’s Ministry and take an improperly constituted charge before a court of law.
Could it be that the charges were trumped up in an attempt to defame the accused to serve the dubious interests of other individuals.
A raft of shenanigans has continued to rock the DPM’s Ministry in recent months as observed by the Parliaments Public Accounts Committee. These have led to senior management being affected either by vacancies, transfers or new appointments. The positions that are affected include those of the Principal Secretary, Under Secretary and three Directors.
Ndlovu’s matter has been continuing since 2020 when he was charged along with the Director of Social Welfare. The Director of Social Welfare was charged with the sexual harassment of a staff member. It is alleged that a female staff member was coerced into making the claims of sexual harassment against the Director.
In early 2022 an initiative was made by the Principal Secretary’s office in the Ministry of Public Service to resolve the matter of civil servants who are suspended on full pay. In a memo stamped November 22, 2021, at the Principal Secretary’s Office in the Ministry of Public Service, it is stated that a five-member committee has been established to look into the issue of civil servants in the various Ministries currently suspended on full pay. “Some of these suspensions relate to criminal acts committed by these officers outside the work environment and some relate to criminal acts that are work related.”
The memo goes on to say “the object of this assignment is to ascertain the status of these matters and to establish how these matters can be brought to finality. In particular, the committee is expected to establish whether, in respect of these officers facing criminal charges unrelated to their work, it is possible to re-instate these officers in their positions; and whether it is possible to withdraw the charges and pursue disciplinary measures in respect of those officers who committed work related criminal acts.