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Sunday, 5 December 2010

PM ‘STOLE FROM POOR’ IN LAND SCAM

The Swaziland Prime Minister, his deputy, four members of the Swazi Royal Family and at least nine cabinet ministers (past and present) are today (5 December 2010) exposed as law breakers who exploited poor people of the kingdom in the multi-million emalengeni land scam.


Barnabas Dlamini, who was illegally-appointed prime minister, had claimed that he was entitled by law to buy the government land at a 50 percent discount on its true value. The others bought land at discounts of between 30 prcent and 50 percent.


Lindiwe Dlamini, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, claimed the deals were all legitimate and that she had the legal power to allow the Prime Minister, the Royals and her other cronies to have the land, even though it was never advertised for sale.


Now, they have been exposed for their greed and dishonesty – because the law states that discounts on the land are only available to poor people.


The Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, today reports that the land deals are controlled by the Crown Lands Disposal Regulations of 2003 and Schedule 4 and 5 of the Regulations state that high earners should buy the land at commercial value and pay the full price.


It is also stated in the law that the applicant’s ‘purchasing power’ should be traceable.


The Times Sunday says, ‘In this regard, the people who bought the government land fell under the middle and high income group.’ And no one who got the land cheaply (which the newspaper says includes the ministers, lawyers and managers of the Mbabane City Council, where the land is situated) fall under the low income group.


The newspaper says, ‘The approval of the sale and 50 percent discount by Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, implies that cabinet ministers live from hand to mouth – they live below the poverty line.’


The Times Sunday says that Lindiwe Dlamini was legally obliged to get advice on the land sales from the Crown Lands Disposal Committee, which she did not do.


The law also says that if there were more people interested in buying the land than there were plots available, a raffle-type draw should be held to determine who gets the land.


Barnabas Dlamini is under increasing pressure to explain his actions over the land deal. He and the others stand accused of greed and cronyism. They have in effect stolen the land from the poor of Swaziland.


Barnabas Dlamini says he will speak on the matter on 15 December 2010 at a regular monthly meeting he holds with editors.

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