Mbabane: After almost a week of unrest and uncertainty, accompanied by violent protests all over the country damaging property and businesses costing over E3 billion, the acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has urged emaSwati to return to work and rebuild the economy, but warned that the curfew was still in force.
Masuku was speaking on Monday afternoon at the Cabinet offices where he was addressing the nation regarding the current situation.
Masuku urged emaSwati to open unaffected businesses and start rebuilding the economy. “We encourage all emaSwati to continue driving our economy by returning to work and opening all businesses that were unaffected.”
He said the opening of businesses should be done with full compliance with COVID-19 regulations emphasizing that the curfew remains in force. “Offices close at 3:30 pm and no movement of people from 6:00 pm until 5:00 am.”
In the past weeks in Eswatini has experienced events of violence, arson, and looting on an unprecedented scale which led to the destruction of property and loss of life.
Masuku said the unacceptable damage to Government and private property perpetrated by looters was worth billions of Emalangeni, causing a major setback to the country’s socio-economic growth and stability.
He said the current estimate reveals that the cost of damage stands at about E3 billion, with 5 000 jobs lost and counting. Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were also not spared by these looters, as approximately 1 000 small businesses were affected.
The acting prime minister said, despite the setback, the government is pleased to note that the situation on the ground has stabilized over the past few days, as security forces have resolutely ensured the maintenance of peace and order across the four regions of the country.
He said security forces will continue to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of the public, businesses, and other property.
Masuku also highlighted that as the government they were happy to receive the SADC Troika organ who was on a fact-finding mission on the current situation in the country. He said the SADC fact-finding mission will continue in due course as we share the common regional objective of ensuring sustainable peace and stability in our region. Masuku pleaded with the nation to stay calm and patient while the process was ongoing.