Mbabane: Land grab!
They are occupying land. Whether they believe, they are above the law, is the million-dollar question they are failing to respond to.
Without the permission of the Kings Office or Tibiyo TakaNgwane, there are some people of Mafucula in north eastern of Eswatini who are illegally clearing Nkalashane Farm (Farm 860), which belongs to His Majesty King Mswati III, with the intention to construct their homesteads and do farming.
Independent News has it in good authority that there is an ongoing grabbing of land at the farm belonging to the monarch.
A visit to the farm by a team from this publication is what confirmed the true act of the alleged illegal acquisition of the land at the aforesaid farm, about two weeks ago.
The adage, seeing is believing rang true to a team from this publication who saw for themselves that the farm trees at the farm were being cut down in clearance for the construction of homesteads and perhaps farming and it was obvious that the cleared portions belonged to individuals.
The farm that the residents are reported to be grabbing at is near the foot and mouth quarantine site where livestock is quarantined in case there is an outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in the country.
The residents are said to be taking over the land because they believe it belongs to them as the government through Tibiyo TakaNgwane took the land from them and it is high time they take their land back. It is said that the people are dividing the land as they please without any guidance and everyone takes a portion of land that they want.
One of the residents that the reporters found at the farm clearing the land Musa Nkhambule* said as residents they are extending their territories as most of the area they are currently occupying is used for sugarcane farming and they want more space to do other things like building and farming other crops. Nkhambule said the land belongs to them not the King nor the government as they were evicted from Mdzimba when the land was being opened up for farming sugarcane.
Nkhambule told this publication that they do not believe that government real cares about that land as nothing is being done in terms of usage of the land and it is no longer maintained as fencing is no longer maintained and that was seen by this publication. Nkhambule said they believe that the only farm that belongs to the King is the farm at Maphiveni where there are herds of cattle belonging to the King being kept.
When this publication visited the homestead of Mafucula Indvuna Mfanwendlela Maseko, he could not be found as he was reported to be at Shewula but then the reporters resolved to call him on cellphone. Maseko told this publication that he is aware that there are people who are clearing land in the Farm but he was not consulted on the matter, in fact he was left behind and the residents who are grabbing the land from the King’s farm did not seek permission from him nor from anyone else. He said as the community elders they have not permitted such an act as the land belongs to the King.
Tibiyo TakaNgwane’s Director Dr Absalom Themba Dlamini condemned the action of the residents, mentioning that what the residents are doing is illegal. Dlamini made his appeal to the residents through a press statement to shun from such action labelling the residents as unscrupulous individuals, reminding them that that the land in question is held by Ingwenyama in trust for Emaswati, and therefore no one is entitled to such land outside the dictates and processes of the law.
Dlamini said In December 2018, Tibiyo TakaNgwane issued a statement that clarified all issues relating to Farm 860. The statement further invited all farmers who have the desire to utilise the land to comply with the rules governing such land.
Another thorn in the flesh from some of the residents that this publication spoke to was that of a successor of the late chief of the area Mbandzamane Sifundza. The residents are having concerns on why there is still no one taking over the position as a successor for the late chief as it has been over two years now but there is still no chief for the area. Responding to that matter Indvuna Maseko declined to comment saying that matter is still with the Sifundza family as they are the one who will choose someone to take over the throne of the late chief.