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INSIDE: 8 Page Highlanders vs Royal AM CAF Confederation Cup clash Supplement

Eswatini Mobile’s E150m investment to improve customer experience Page 8 VAT headache looming Page 4 Friday 9- Thursday 15 September, 2022

E6

boom Inyatsi Construction Jobs in mining on the spreads to Malawi horizon M ultinational Inyatsi Construction, which recently scored an E288 million Mozambican job has won another project to build a laboratory facility in Malawi.

. . . as Taiwanese company granted Green Chert exploration licence

By Alec Lushaba This multi-million Emalangeni project was signed with the National Oil Company of Malawi. This was disclosed by Inyatsi Group’s Commercial Director Gcina Matsebula this week. As a multinational company operating in nine countries, Inyatsi Construction continues to fly Eswatini’s flag high by scoring multi-million projects across the continent in line with its vision of becoming Africa’s leading integrated business partner. The Malawi project will include the construction of a laboratory, cafeteria and change room at Mzuzu deport on the outskirts of Lilongwe the capital. Matsebula said this achievement confirms the company’s formidable reputation as a vastly trusted, experienced, competitive and professional entity in the region. In the last six months, the company has been awarded jobs in Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda and Ivory Coast creating over 1 000 jobs in Southern, Eastern and West Africa. In the Mozambique project, the company has teamed up with Trans African Concessions (TRAC) in the upgrade of the N4 MDC Section17: Tchumene Interchange to Matola, which links South Africa and

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The government seems to be on the right track in unlocking the mining sector and making it a priority area to boost the country’s economy. By Ntombi Mhlongo 3A section of the Manzini-Mbadlane Blue Highway is one of the roads that were constructed by Inyatsi Construction. The multinational company operating in 9 countries, continues to fly Eswatini’s flag high by scoring multi-million projects across the continent. Mozambique. Matsebula said the collaboration follows a successful joint bid that was won in an open tender process. The project, which is set for a 12-month period from August 2022 until July 2023, will see Inyatsi Construction’s stellar construction teams working to upgrade a stretch of the N4 highway, specifically turning a two-lane highway into a 4 lane highway. Inyatsi Construction, which celebrates 40 years of existence this year, continues to perform an unofficial but indisputable ambassadorial role on the continent as a respected Swazi-owned construction company that has been entrusted with delivering high capital projects beyond the

borders of the Kingdom. Across the continent, Inyatsi Construction has built and solidified its reputation for executing projects that have positively impacted economies and societies. He said the company’s reputation is anchored on a demonstrable track record of completing quality projects, and inclusiveness by proactively ensuring the participation of communities, social and environmental contributions as well as diversity in project experience. In the Kingdom, Inyatsi has among many projects completed the state-of-the-art Mbadlane to Manzini Blue Ocean Highway. It is currently working on the Sicunusa/ Nhlangano road to name but a few.

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The latest is that a prospecting licence for mining green chert at the Malolotja Nature Reserve has been granted by the country’s authorities. The Eswatini Financial Times has reliably established that the prospecting licence has been granted to a company known as Michael Lee Enterprises whose owners are originally from Taiwan but incorporated in the Kingdom. Exploration is a range of activities that help determine if there are minerals under the ground. If the exploration process identifies that the minerals can be commercially extracted, then mining in the future could be possible. An expert in the mining sector shared that the prospecting exercise could bring about 200 jobs for Emaswati and that in most instances, the residents of the area are considered. Continued on Page 2 2

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

2

Business News Mining

Jobs boom in mining on the horizon

3Part of the site that would be explored for Green Chert at Malolotja Nature Reserve. 2Continued from Page 1 Regarding the jobs, the expert said it usually depends on the size of the place that is being explored. According to our well-placed sources, Michael Lee Enterprises was given a year to undertake the prospecting process. This publication also has it in good authority that a private signing ceremony took place last week Tuesday and was graced by the Taiwan Ambassador to Eswatini Jeremy Liang. Confirming the latest developments was Chief Mining Engineer from the Ministry of Natural Resources Robert Biyela who said the ministry has already engaged the Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC) as it is a key stakeholder as it is the entity entrusted with managing the game reserve. “The ENTC is the main stakeholder, so we have introduced the company that was granted the license to it. When we talk of green chert, we are talking about a stone, therefore, the company granted the licence will just do the prospecting to ascertain the quantity that is available which could possibly be mined,” said Biyela. He said the prospecting exercise will allow for the government to know how big the resource is, the properties it contains and whether it is worth pursuing. ENTC Board Chairman Dr Sikhomba Gumbi also confirmed that the licensee has been introduced to the Board but was quick to say he could not comment further as there are other procedures that are yet to be followed. Efforts to obtain a comment from the Michael Lee Enterprises management were not successful as they were reportedly out of the country. We reached out to the Minerals Management Board Chairperson Prince Guduza who did not deny that the licence had been issued to the Taiwanese company. He said more details will be given in due

course. The responsibility to grant licences rests with the Minerals Management Board which is currently chaired by Prince Guduza. The responsibilities of the Board include advising His Majesty the King on the overall management of minerals, the making of grants, leases or other dispositions conferring rights or interests in respect of minerals and mineral oils in Eswatini. They also act on the advice of The King to grant, renew, amend, accept the surrender of, suspend or cancel a mineral right in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act of 2011. Notably, the management of the company was once granted the prospecting licence but the country’s authorities withdrew it following environmental concerns that were raised at the time. Green Chert is a cryptocrystalline quartz stone metamorphosed from Fuchsite. The stone was formed when the Fuchsite vein was subjected to intense pressure and dissolution from super-hot ground waters which partially dissolved the Fuchsite into a silica solution, forming large boulders. The stone is used to make jewellery and is also used by high-end buyers in the construction industry. For quite some time, the rock has been illegally mined on a massive scale by unauthorised miners popularly known as zama zamas some of whom were arrested for not possessing a licence. It has been said that the green chert rocks are in an inaccessible area that even high-powered vehicles cannot reach; however, illegal miners usually work in groups of about 30 to 40 and carry the rocks in specially made backpacks. The illegal miners are known to carry as much as 12kg at a go and this is then delivered to a usually waiting vehicle. The positive news comes at a time when

3Minerals and Mining Board Chairman Prince Guduza with a representative of the Michael Lee Enterprises. the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy recently raised a concern about the illegal mining that was taking place at the game reserve. Interestingly, around 2005, interested miners were advised to forget about exploring the green-chert mineral at Malolotja. It was argued that further exploration of the mineral would rob the country of major benefits and that the mineral available was worth more to the country where it is than if it was to be extracted. It was explained that although the mineral if mined would be quite substantial, it was not worth it for the country to do so. Unlocking the mining sector in the Kingdom of Eswatini is key as findings contained in the Central Statistics Office Annual GDP Report detail that mining and quarrying are the least contributors to the country’s GDP as they contribute only 0.2 per cent. The government has, however, shown its determination of unlocking the mining sector and this is evidenced by the granting of mining licences in recent years. In July this year, His Majesty King

Mswati III granted mineral rights to Mwelase Mining Eswatini (Pty) Ltd for Iron Ore Resources at the Ngwenya Iron Ore site. An environmental impact assessment study has detailed that the project requires a workforce of about 460 employees, and it is envisaged that Mwelase Mining has planned operations with a production capacity of 100 000 metric tonnes (MT) per month. In October 2021, the King granted Lurco Coal Eswatini a prospecting for coal resources at Mpaka Coal Mine in the Lubombo region. Mpaka Coal Mine was last operated in 1992 having been mothballed after previous investors existed in Eswatini. In 2020, Maloma Colliery Limited, an anthracite coal mine became 100 per cent Eswatini-owned after a locally incorporated company known as Mine-X Pty Ltd bought out Chancellor House Eswatini, an entity that was owned by Chancellor House Holdings based in the Republic of South Africa. Mine-X has employed over 300 emaSwati and is said to be expanding its operations which will culminate in more jobs.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

4

Business News Economy

OECD triggers a VAT headache for Eswatini consumers, government

T

he organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has retriggered an undesirable thought in South Africa’s Minister of Finance’s mind Enoch Godongwana of hiking the VAT, an imminent move that could put more strain on both South Africans and emaSwati.

By Phephile Motau and Sifiso Sibandze The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Their goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity, and wellbeing for all. A successful increase in VAT is only celebrated by the governments as it is viewed as the easiest means to boost revenue. In its 2022 economic survey of South Africa, the OECD recommended that South African authorities should raise the VAT by 2.0 per cent from 15 per cent to 17 per cent. It also recommended broadening the corporate tax base and personal taxes to support the government’s revenue. South Africa’s VAT rate is relatively low, the OECD said, meaning there was additional scope to raise revenue through this mechanism. According to the OECD, lifting the rate by two percentage points could raise VAT revenue by around one per cent of GDP. Due to the connectedness of Eswatini economy with that of South Africa and the binding trade agreements between the two economies, the Kingdom had always emulated the republic in increasing VAT. South Africa last increased its VAT rate in 2018 by 1.0 per cent from 14 per cent to 15 per cent, a move that compelled Eswatini to follow suit. The then Finance Minister told Parliament that the government was forced to effect an increase because of standing trade agreements between the two economies. Current Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg hinted in 2020 that the

3 Finance Minister Neal Rijkenberg

3 Highly experienced Eswatini Economist Dumisani Masilela

government would effect an increase if South Africa does, but that did happen. By then, South Africa was contemplating increasing the VAT from 15 per cent to 16 per cent. “We can’t be having a different VAT to South Africa due to trade agreements, so we will also be forced to align ours with theirs,” Rijkenberg was quoted by the print media to have said. Dumisani Masilela, erstwhile Commissioner General of Eswatini Revenue Service (ERS) now IMF’s AFRITAC East Office Revenue Administration Advisor said the alignment of Eswatini’s VAT to that of South Africa “is key to the collection of imported VAT in particular.” “You will recall that we have a VAT refund agreement with South Africa, which allows them to pay us VAT paid in that country. That obviates the

need for anyone importing goods to pay at the border, which would have to be the case without this agreement. Employing a different rate from South Africa would unravel this arrangement, which would begin to compromise compliance again,” Masilela said. Masilela went on to say that the VAT rates in the region range from as low as 12 per cent in Botswana to a high of 17 per cent in Mozambique. Other countries have used higher rates while others have employed multiple rates for some specific goods like electricity. “The 15 per cent is a good rate for Eswatini in my view because it sort of takes the middle path, not too high and not too low either,” he said. Another tax expert who asked that his identity not be disclosed said Eswatini would be compelled to increase the VAT

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should South Africa heeded to the OECD’s recommendations. The expert said it can be extremely difficult for the ERS to administrate imports as this could result in noncompliance which can be costly to the taxman. “Based on the fact that Eswatini imports over 80 per cent of its goods and services from South Africa, that would mean companies and individuals would have difficulty to claim their VAT paid in South Africa as that would become expensive for the ERS and that could cause intricacies when declaring at the border,” the expert said. The concern raised by the OECD, however, was that increasing the rate would hurt the poor and widen inequality. This sentiment was shared by Eswatini Consumer Forum’s Chairperson Mandla Ntshakala. He said a hike in VAT could catapult a sizeable majority of emaSwati, mostly the vulnerable groups to abject poverty and exacerbate a hunger crisis in the country. “Food prices are endlessly soaring and an increase in VAT could worsen the situation, making basic commodities unaffordable,” Ntshakala said. “To mitigate any potentially adverse distributional effects and to increase the political acceptability of a further VAT rate reform, it is preferable that any increase in the standard VAT rate is accompanied by increased transfers to low-income households and that efforts are increased to reach all low-income households,” the OECD survey reads.

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

Business News

5

Economy

Hope for Eswatini as SA govt forges on with dirty money clean-up to avoid greylisting

T

here is a glimmer of hope for the Eswatini economy that it might dodge the foreseeable economic slump that could be brought about by the greylisting of South Africa. By Sifiso Sibandze Analysts have observed that South Africa’s impending greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global antimoney laundering body would not only derail its economy but would also disrupt Eswatini’s economy, further catapulting it to a disastrous economic state. In a bid to avoid the possible catastrophic economic outcome, South Africa’s government is forging ahead with efforts to fend off greylisting, which the treasury has warned would have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the banking sector and the economy. The country’s lawmakers have to pass two separate pieces of legislation — the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill and the General Laws Amendment Bill — before February 2023, when South Africa will appear before the

Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Last October, the FATF published an evaluation of South Africa’s measures against money laundering. The evaluation found holes in the country’s policies and efforts to combat financial crimes, despite its financial system being highly vulnerable to these crimes. South Africa failed in 20 of the 40 FATF standards and in all 11 of the measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. If the country fails to demonstrate that it is committed to addressing these weaknesses, it will land on the grey list, which will see it put under increased monitoring by the FATF. As a result, regulators in some of South Africa’s main trading partners may restrict their banks from transacting with the country’s banks. South Africa was given until October 2022 to get its act together after being found wanting in all 11 of the task force’s effectiveness measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Should South Africa not tighten its systems and policies, it could be greylisted by February 2023. South Africa’s woes however could have a spillover effect on Eswatini based on the connectedness of the Eswatini economy to that of South Africa. The

3South Africa’s Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana impending threats would automatically inflict the same economic destruction on the Kingdom. Former Eswatini Revenue Service (ERS) Commissioner General, now working for the International Monetary

Fund (IMF) AFRITAC East Office as a Revenue Administration Advisor Dumisani Masilela said Eswatini could suffer the same catastrophic effects as South Africa because the two economies are integrated. Masilela, an economist by profession said it is important to note that Eswatini, South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia are linked by the Common Monetary Area, a monetary union that allows a free flow of capital among the states as their currencies are valued and exchanged at par with the South African Rand. “I would say through the integration of our economies, we would suffer more from this development. Unfortunately, we have our own anti-money laundering issues, which means we are not too far from a greylisting ourselves and the reports reflect that. That, coupled with the currency union arrangement, through the CMA, would mean that we too struggle to attract capital flows into the country,” he said. He went on to say that because Eswatini hosts a lot of South African companies, which fund themselves through the South African capital market, would find it difficult to borrow internationally for their investment because of the greylisting, we may also see our economy slowing down considerably.

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

6

Business News Agriculture

Focusing on sugar and fruit production cause food insecurity FAO

E

swatini’s focus on commercial production of sugar cane and fruit for export or on smallholder farming of maize and livestock leads to the high incidence of malnutrition and countrywide food security challenges. By Phephile Motau This is according to the country’s food systems profile compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the European Union. Smallholder crop volumes and yields are said to be low and of poor nutritional value. The lack of crop diversity is a further challenge to producing sufficient nutritious food and as a result, Eswatini shoulders the triple burden of malnutrition, pervasive undernutrition micronutrient deficiency, and high rates of anaemia, even as being overweight and obese is on the increase due to changing lifestyles and consumption habits. In 2019, more than 20 percent of the population of Eswatini experienced severe acute food insecurity. This figure rose to almost 30 percent in 2020. One of the key drivers of malnutrition and food security challenges is said to be the country’s vulnerability to extreme weather events and other shocks. Eswatini faces weather shocks and

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3Citrus fruits disasters, which primarily affect the agricultural sector through seasonal flooding and drought. The country experiences violent storms, epidemic diseases, and forest fires, which can take large tolls. Persistent drought, in particular, is exacerbating the challenges of food insecurity Since 2020, the economic shocks of COVID-19 and responses to the pandemic have also had a major impact on livelihoods. Related prevention measures reduced incomes for approximately 37 percent of households; 26.9 percent reported loss of employment, which further eroded their ability to purchase food and farm inputs, resulting in high acute food insecurity (29.5 percent of the population). Another driver, according to the

profile, is limited investments in SNL land. It was argued that approximately 70 per cent of the population involved in agriculture are smallholder farmers. These farmers contribute only 11 per cent of total agricultural output, with a low average maize yield of 1.1 tonnes/ha. “One of the reasons for low productivity in SNL is low investment opportunities, as farmers cannot use the land as collateral to acquire credit. The large majority (89 per cent) of the farmers have small land parcels with unsecured tenure. They indicate that this insecurity has held back investment in farm infrastructure and undervalued their land as an asset,” the profile states. SNL smallholders, who mainly depend on rainfed subsistence agriculture and/ or livestock herding, cannot access improved inputs (such as improved seeds or fertilizers) or invest in irrigation equipment, which is a significant contributing factor to food insecurity in Eswatini The third driver is inadequate infrastructure. According to the profile, Eswatini has well-developed main tarmac road links to South Africa and Mozambique, (via Namaacha), which ease the transport of exports, especially to the seaport in Mozambique. Poor roads in rural areas, however, continue to impede services in these areas Poor infrastructure also makes it difficult to access markets and services, such as agriculture, education, health, technology, and communication, and contributes to higher prices and postharvest losses (pests and diseases), and food and nutrient losses. Poor infrastructure in rural areas also limits the availability of a variety

of nutritious food produced elsewhere, resulting in food consumption remaining dominated by maize. Another driver is said to be the high poverty and unemployment rates which limit the capacity of the population to afford diverse, nutritious food and to access adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, contributing to food security and nutrition challenges. The profile states that according to the World Bank, the lack of adequate job opportunities is one of the leading developmental challenges facing Eswatini, and a major contributor to the substantial proportion of the population living below the national poverty line. Another driver is increasing urbanization and changing family structure which has had a notable impact on consumption habits in recent years. The tendency among urban consumers to shy away from traditional, nutritious, and varied foods to more highly processed convenience foods, high in sugar and fat, has implications for public health and the transformation of food systems. Changes in family structure, including women working, have also contributed to changes in dietary patterns by reducing the time available to produce nutritious, varied, but labour-intensive meals from scratch. The profile states that better food security and nutrition remains a priority in improving the lives of many segments of the Eswatini population. This is particularly urgent among rural households on customary land that lack access to resources and development, and for unemployed and marginalized communities in urban peripheries. “From a policy perspective, multisectoral cooperation among various governmental institutions is required to improve and strengthen the food security and nutrition situation in Eswatini and it should be accompanied by effective implementation to ensure delivery,” the report states. It was argued that there should be support for a strategic and policy focus and strengthen institutions (including budgets), investments in diversification and sustainable agricultural production practices and technologies, to support rural communities – especially those on customary land – to improve their food security and nutrition situation, combined with concerted multisectoral efforts and investments to address issues related to land tenure, health, and infrastructure, among others. The profile also states that value chain development and diversifying agricultural production have the potential to increase the availability, affordability, and accessibility of diverse and nutritious food. “As a major contribution to the agricultural sector, it can help improve food security and nutrition. This is also a prime rationale for the country’s strategy to increase economic growth in an equitable manner and diversify smallholder agriculture, increase incomes and resilience,” the profile states.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

Business News

7

Transport

Rail Link project remains a pipedream

T

en years after its initiation, Eswatini Railways and Transnet are yet to solicit bids for the funding and development (construction) of the Eswatini Rail Link Project. By Phephile Motau

was signed to cement the relationship at business and technical levels between Eswatini Railways and TFR, followed by an Inter-rail Memorandum of Agreement in 2015 for the project feasibility study. The approved study recommended that a proposed Davel – Lothair – Sidvokodvo (or alternative junction) link presented the best alternative route from the coalfields to the east coast deep water port of Richards Bay. The RFP states that a service provider is required to explore various options available to ensure the bankability of the programme, provide funding and execute the project. According to the document issued on August 29, the service provider they are seeking must address some financial and commercial requirements including identifying the most optimal funding structure and preparing a funding model. The main deliverables of this assignment were summarised as updating the business case of the ESRL programme, updating the financial model, project structuring, financial analysis, and risk analysis. They also include funding options to ensure bankability, advising and securing funding for the programme, completing the Geotechnical Investigations and Engineering Designs, executing, and

3Eswatini Railway and Transnet still looking for funding for the Rail Link project constructing the ESRL project, compiling and assisting the project team in preparing for and presenting to the various governance committees within Eswatini Railways and TFR. The service provider must also be able to assist with the capital raising process based on a 100 per cent off-balance sheet funded solution; provide tax and accounting opinions on the proposed structure and prepare a risk register and mitigation

strategies. They must also aggregate the most optimal funding sources inclusive of risk packages to negate political and commercial Risk, Prepare the Programme Information Memorandum (PIM) for market sounding purposes and assist the ESRL Project in updating the business case and any other such documents as required to satisfy all internal approvals.

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The Request for Proposal [RFP] for the provision of the services was issued on August 29. The Eswatini and South African Governments initiated a project of mutual interest in 2012, that would deliver significant socio-economic benefits to Eswatini, South Africa, and the SADC region. The lack of action on the project a decade later has raised some questions in many corridors, including in Parliament where members of parliament recently requested the Minister of Public Works and Transport to initiate a meeting between the Board of Directors of Eswatini Railways and members of the portfolio committee. The initiative was cemented by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Eswatini and South Africa on August 2, 2012. On November 22, 2014, an Inter-rail A Memorandum of Understanding

. . . as Eswatini Railway and Transnet still looking for funding

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Construction Associates would like to wish the entire Swazi Nation a Happy Independence Day.

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

8

Business News Telecoms

Eswatini Mobile’s E150m investment to improve customer experience

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he country’s fast-growing mobile data network provider, Eswatini Mobile has budgeted about E150 million to improve customer experience and improve its competitive edge in the market.

communication services affordable. The company’s prepaid and postpaid packages offer minutes to both on-net and off-net numbers. With the on-net packages, the company boasts of unlimited calls to Eswatini Mobile numbers. Meanwhile, the CEO recently disclosed that Eswatini Mobile made a profit for the first time in the last Financial Year. This was disclosed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeff Penberton when relaying the company’s successes. Besides the profit, the CEO also stated that the company now boasts over 300 000 active network subscribers. “Thank you, red team, for the good work. We are thankful that the Covid-19 pandemic which came with restrictions affecting all business entities is no longer that serious,” he said as he detailed some of the challenges the company faced. Besides the pandemic, the CEO said the war in Ukraine which has driven up prices of basic commodities and other essential items in the country and around the world also affected the company’s operations.

By Ntombi Mhlongo To enhance its competitive edge, Eswatini Mobile has budgeted a whooping E150 million to set up new base stations countrywide. The Eswatini-owned mobile operator is desirous to ensure that its customers get fast, reliable, and improved network services. Eswatini Mobile recently celebrated five years of existence and one of the promises it made was that it would continue to provide Eswatini with first-world services. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeff Penberton revealed that in the past financial year, Eswatini Mobile invested E100 million on network coverage expansion, and increased network capacity something which has improved user experience. “We are making every effort to cover all the different parts of the country,” he said. Explaining the exercise, the CEO said they will deploy fifty new 2G, 3G, 4G base stations, and three 5G base stations and network optimization. He mentioned that the company is putting all the effort into engaging and encouraging all communities that have network challenges to highlight that so that they can improve and attend to them. “The engagements are done through our Experience Centres, and sales agents,” the CEO said. On another note, Penberton divulged that Eswatini Mobile had invested over E800 million so far to deliver affordable voice and data mobile communication services to citizens of Eswatini. He highlighted that the products that

3Eswatini Mobile CEO Jeff Penbetorn they offer are designed in such a way that everybody has access to data. “From as little as E10 you get 1GB data free. We have also improved our e-Mali service and it is now involved with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office in the disbursement of elderly grants and it offers zero-rated withdrawal charges for the elderly,” he stated. The entry of Eswatini Mobile into the Eswatini telecommunications market has

been a blessing in disguise for the country. Its entry into the telecom industry in the kingdom accelerated the deployment of 4G (Broadband/fast internet) services, making first-world living experiences possible for a significant proportion of the population. The population included people in various sectors of work, social interactions, and entertainment. The company has made voice and data

From as little as E10 you get 1GB data free. We have also improved our e-Mali service and it is now involved with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office in the disbursement of elderly grants and it offers zero-rated withdrawal charges for the elderly.

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Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News

9

Energy

SA’s plan for new power company an advantage for Eswatini but . . .

F

or stakeholders in the energy sector, the plan by South Africa to set up a new stateowned power company could be an advantage for the Kingdom of Eswatini. By Ntombi Mhlongo Their view is that with the power purchasing agreement (PPA) between the two countries coming to an end in 2025, the agreement could be renewed on more favourable terms. Last week, the neighbouring country announced that it will forge ahead with the plan to convert three coal-fired plants into gas-burning generators to ease its energy crisis. South Africa’s state power utility, Eskom, generates most of the neighbouring country’s electricity and has subjected the country to rolling blackouts since 2008 reportedly because its old and poorly maintained facilities can’t keep pace with demand.

The Kingdom of Eswatini’s power supplier, the Eswatini Electricity Company and Eskom have a business relationship that spans more than 50 years which is bound by a bilateral agreement. The bilateral agreement between the two parties works in such a way that it is reviewed from time to time. Currently, the two parties are engaged in bilateral discussions to renew the agreement. However, there have been concerns that with Eskom facing challenges in terms of power supply, there could be changes in the agreement which might see Eswatini receiving less power than the around 80 per cent it currently imports. One of the stakeholders who spoke to the Eswatini Financial Times said the plans by South Africa could help Eswatini in that if the burden on Eskom is reduced, the entity will continue to have the capability to supply Eswatini. “However, even if there is an advantage, it does not mean that Eswatini must then rest and not push its own efforts to become self-sufficient in energy. Eswatini

3 Eswatini’s power supplier, the Eswatini Electricity Company and Eskom have a business relationship that spans more than 50 yearsa group picture needs to continue with its own plans to find alternative energy sourcing,” the stakeholder said. Another stakeholder said South Africa’s plan should encourage Eswatini to forge ahead with its own plans as well. “There could be two advantages, one to benefit and the other to learn. If we learn from what South Africa is planning you may find that in 20 years’ time we will be importing less than 30 per cent from Eskom,” he mentioned. Following the growing fears of disconnection by Eskom, the Ministry of Natural Resources was asked by Parliamentarians to provide a report on what the government is doing to make Eswatini self-sufficient in energy. The Parliamentarians wanted to know

the strategies that the government has put in place as far as alternative energy sourcing in the country is concerned. In its responses, the ministry explained that it has worked with all key stakeholders to develop a short-term Generation Expansion Plan which it is implementing through the Eswatini Energy Regulation Authority (ESERA). According to the Short-Term Generation Expansion Plan, the ministry said it expects about 70MW of solar and 40MW of biomass. The ministry said it is also in discussion within biomass suppliers for potential addition to the capacity which will be produced as a second tranche and that this will contribute to the baseload requirements for the country.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

10 Business News Economy

Taxpayers to bleed E2.4 million for strengthening public procurement

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ith the government spending billions of Emalangeni each year on public procurement, its systems remain inefficient. By Phephile Motau To fix this, the government has approached the African Development Bank (AfDB), seeking technical assistance for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the national procurement system which shall identify the strengths and weaknesses of the public procurement system and provide recommendations that may form the basis of procurement reforms in the country. The assignment is scheduled to commence in September 2022, and there will be three missions to the country that would be undertaken by the lead consultant. According to the AfDB, the assignment will be completed after the submission of the final assessment report not later than August 2024. The estimated total project cost is about E2.47 million and the Bank will provide E2.32 million that will be funded under the Middle-Income Country Technical Assistance Fund. The public procurement authority (Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (ESPPRA) will contribute about E422 000 to finance expenses related to the staffing, workshops, and training activities. The country’s public procurement regulatory institutions, the ESPPRA and the Government Tender Board lack sufficient staff and do not have adequate information technology tools to facilitate their operations. It is stated in the appraisal that compliance with procurement reporting formats by procuring entities, as well as the accuracy of the information, is questionable. According to the Ministry of Finance Expenditure Estimates, Eswatini spent E20 billion in 2018/19 which was 32 per cent of GDP, E21.7 billion in 2019/20 which was 33.5 per cent of GDP and E22.6 billion in 2020/21 which was 34 per cent of

3 Government has approached the African Development Bank (AfDB), seeking technical assistance for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the national procurement system GDP. “The government spends a significant amount of public funds on public procurement, therefore there should be an efficient public procurement system that will ensure that public money is well spent,” the appraisal states. The objective of the project is the assessment of the Public Procurement System of Eswatini based on the Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS)Version of September 2018. This is aimed at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the existing public procurement systems, inform the strategic planning process for future reform and system development; establish a baseline for monitoring progress; and ensure the objectivity, credibility, and quality of the assessment process and the assessment report. The overarching development objective of the project is to support the development of a transparent, effective, and accountable public procurement system by strengthening the capacity of the institution in charge of public procurement – the ESPPRA. The appraisal report shows that the

project will provide targeted technical assistance and knowledge management support to the ESPPRA to deliver its mandate of ensuring efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable public procurement systems and practices at all levels and undertake selected analytical work to inform legal and institutional reforms and capacity building of procurement professionals. “The purpose is to assess the institutional, organizational, and human resources capacity in public procurement and inform future reforms and capacity building interventions. The provision of technical assistance and advisory services will contribute to addressing some of the weaknesses identified in the Country Fiduciary Risk,” the report states. It was revealed that the assessment would be done using the OECD Methodology for the assessment of procurement systems and provides the basis for dialogue and continuation of the ongoing procurement reforms in the country. The MAPS assessment would identify the gaps in the existing country’s procurement system by applying assessment criteria expressed in qualitative and quantitative

terms. The assessment will lay the foundation for strengthening the public procurement system in Eswatini. The report states that public procurement in Eswatini poses a significant risk of failure to achieve value for money and efficiency due to a lack of full compliance with the procurement law and the use of incomplete bidding documents. The technical assistance strives to address these and other risks. It was stated that the 2020 e-Government Procurement (e-GP) Strategy highlighted weaknesses in public procurement in the country including unethical market prices; weak internal controls and fraud and corruption. “Further challenges faced in public procurement include lack of professionalization. Procurement is not presently seen as a professional function in Eswatini. There are no job descriptions related to procurement roles and responsibilities and no requirements that those working in procurement should have in terms of procurement education or training,” the report states. It was further revealed that procurement data was not readily available at the Government Tender Board, Ministry of Finance , or ESPPRA, thus making monitoring and regulation problematic. The appraisal further argues that the private sector had low confidence in the transparency and integrity of the current public procurement system. Staff capacity, procurement planning, and contract management remain weak and unrelated to sector strategic plans, annual work plans, and budgets. Main constraints of Eswatini’s Public Procurement System • Gaps in the Public Procurement Act of 2011 and loopholes in the Public Procurement Regulations • Current unavailability of SBDs delays procurement proceedings • Lack of financial resources and inadequate staffing within the ESPPRA • Limited internal control within the procuring entities • Weaknesses in procurement operations and market practices • of a procurement manual to be used by procuring entities and other stakeholders • Lack of adoption of the e-GP System.

Council’s 25% drop in rates collection could hamstring service delivery The Municipal Council of Mbabane could find itself facing a cash flow challenge in the short term and eventually struggling to provide essential services as it has seen a huge decline in rates (property tax) collection in the past financial year. By Ntombi Mhlongo The fall in property tax collection has a direct negative impact on the council’s capability to provide quality service to ratepayers. According to the Council’s Annual Performance Report for the financial year 2021/2022 reflects that the municipality collected E11.9 million in rates while in the previous year the collections stood at E15.9 million. This means that the property tax collection dropped by 25.1 per cent when compared to the previous financial year.

3 Mbabane Municipal Council Chief Executive Officer Gideon Mhlongo It should be noted that as a means of encouraging ratepayers to pay their property taxes, the municipality introduced a programme known as the ‘Pay Your Rates and Win Competition’

whereby a total of 2 315 properties were entered for the draw compared to 3 055 in the 2020/2021 financial year. Full compliance in the payment of rates will help the entity to achieve the goals of its Smart City Framework which it developed as a means of ensuring that the country’s capital city is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda by making the city more efficient, sustainable, and liveable. Chief Executive Officer Gideon Mhlongo explained in the report that the Smart City Framework concept emphasizes the capability of a city to monitor and integrate the functionality of all its infrastructure such as roads and communication as well as its services such as maintenance and waste collection, thus optimizing the use of its resources. Despite not meeting its target in terms of collecting rates, the municipality recorded positive results

in its programme known as the Urban Development Project Phase 1 Plot Sales. The programme’s objective is to collect plot sale proceeds from plot beneficiaries who were allocated plots in the Urban Development Project (UDP) Phase 1 communities of Nkwalini Zone 2, Nkwalini Zone 4 and Mahwalala Zone 6. The annual report states that various strategies were used to encourage plot beneficiaries to make plot payments during the annual year. In terms of figures, the report reflects that a total amount of E1 889 000 was collected during the financial year, against a target of E2 000 000.00, indicating that 94 per cent of the target was reached. Meanwhile, the report also contains details of activities undertaken by the council to improve infrastructure in the capital city. Among the activities was pothole patching, something which residents and ratepayers always raise a concern about.

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News

11

Investment

More woes for former Sharemax investors T

he Eswatini companies and individuals who invested their pensions and terminal benefits worth over E23 million have been dealt another blow.

By Ntombi Mhlongo This is because the company, known as Nova Property Group, which had been formed as a rescue scheme and owns all the properties that used to belong to investors in the various Sharemax property companies has been reported not to have the capacity or intent to repay the former investors. The latest developments are contained in an Inspector Report compiled by an entity known as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Previously known as CIPRO, the CIPC is a body that governs all registered entities in South Africa i.e. closed corporations, public companies, private companies, external companies, and incorporated companies in terms of the Companies Act. The report, which has been made available on Moneyweb, stated that reasonable doubt exists about the board’s intention and capacity to fully implement what is called the Scheme of Arrangements. The report includes a detailed analysis of the extent of the board’s failure to repay investors and the deterioration of the company’s financial position. It found Nova only repaid E176.7 million worth of debentures over the prescribed 10-year period, representing “a meagre 12.12 per cent” of the total sum of cash Nova received from its customers, borrowings, and the sale of properties. It also highlights that only 30 per cent of the E590.2 million proceeds it received from the sale of properties before 28 February last year was returned to

debenture holders. The report also states investors would have been better off had Sharemax been liquidated in 2012. In 2013, it emerged that Eswatini companies, co-operative societies, and individuals had invested their pensions and terminal benefits worth over E23 million with Sharemax which at the time was collapsing. When the news of the collapse broke out, it was reported that 34 000 investors, including Emaswati, faced losing half of the E4.4 billion they invested in Sharemax schemes. It was reported that emaSwati invested between E200 000 and E300 000 each which were monies from their terminal benefits and pensions after being retrenched by various companies and parastatals. At the time, Sharemax Investments (Pty) Limited was a real estate property investment company that engaged in renting, operating and managing commercial properties for shops and offices. It was incorporated in 1998 and is based in Pretoria, South Africa. However, it then ceased to exist after it was liquidated. Victims of the Sharemax investment scheme include among others Hlalawati Cooperative, Credit Society, Swaziland Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (SUFIAW) and Swaziland Investment Consortium, and those who belonged to a scheme of former employees of the Eswatini Posts and Telecommunications (EPTC). Signs that the local investors were doomed started showing in November 2013, when they were informed by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) that Sharemax Swaziland was not registered in the country.

3 Nova Property Group has been reported to not have the capacity or intent to repay the former investors. This was during a meeting held at the University of Eswatini and attended by around 200 investors. Initially, the investors had been promised that their investments would mature in five years, but they only could reclaim their investments in two years. The interests varied from nine to 12 per cent per annum and could increase when there was a boom in the market. Hopes for the local investors were revived when it was announced that Nova Property Group had been formed as a rescue scheme and it owns all the properties that used to belong to investors in the various Sharemax property companies. Interviewed by the Eswatini Financial Times, Chairperson of the Sharemax Eswatini Investors, Benjamin Nsibande said the latest developments were disappointing as they had hoped that the Nova Property Group would help them. He said in January this year, he and other members travelled to Pretoria to meet the Nova Property Group where they

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It was reported that emaSwati invested between E200 000 and E300 000 each which were monies from their terminal benefits and pensions were assured that their issue was being addressed. “It is disappointing that of late we have not been attending any meetings or receiving any feedback including minutes of meetings held. The report you are talking about gives the impression that our hope of getting back our monies remain just a pipedream,” he said.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

12

Business News Retail

Tiger Brands recalls Purity baby powder products on traces of asbestos South Africa's biggest food producer Tiger Brands is recalling its Purity Essentials baby powder products as a precautionary measure after traces of asbestos were detected in test samples, it said on Wednesday. By Staff Writer

3Shoprite plans to acquire retail supermarket stores and retail liquor stores

Spar joins Pick n Pay in objecting to proposed merger of Shoprite and Massmart

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he Competition Tribunal of South Africa heard on Tuesday, on the second day of the hearing, submissions from Spar and the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (SACCAWU), among others, relating to the proposed merger of Shoprite Supermarkets acquiring certain stores from Massmart Holdings. By Staff Writer According to Business Report, Shoprite plans to acquire 56 retail supermarket stores and 43 retail liquor stores operated under the brand names Rhino Cash & Carry, Rhino Liquors, Cambridge Food, and Cambridge Food Liquor, 10 wholesale (Cash & Carry) stores, two wholesale liquor stores; and Massfresh, with two entities – a meat-processing plant facility and Fruitspot, comprising three processing facilities in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Business Report reported that the target businesses are active in the retail and wholesale trade of grocery, liquor and associated items and are wholly owned and controlled by Massmart. Massmart, in turn, is controlled by Walmart. In its submission, Spar said: “The independent Spar retailers who will be most affected by Shoprite acquisition of the targeted stores have explained that if the merger is approved, they will likely suffer an impact on the turnover, have

to retrain staff to cut costs and that they will face a real threat to the significant personal investments that they've made in those stores.” The retailer said the merger would produce serious negative consequences for competition and there would also be employment losses if the merger was approved. “Despite this realisation, and despite the commission indicating in its own report that it recognised the need to address the competition with appropriate remedies, we learned from it yesterday that it has not managed to do so,” it said. Meanwhile, SACCAWU said there was a potential for job losses. “On the basis that the merger is approved, within a few months an employer can then issue Section 189 notices for retrenchment. We are saying the wording should be that there shouldn’t be retrenchment for at least a period of three years,” Business Report quoted the union to have said. SACCAWU said it did not understand why, when the targeted stores had been merged, Spar and Pick n Pay would be affected negatively. “We need the Tribunal to look into that,” it said. Shoprite, Africa’s biggest retailer, announced that it was acquiring Massmart’s wholesale and retail chains for R1.4 billion (US$92 million), beating rival Pick n Pay to the deal, and bolstering its leading position in the discount retail market. Earlier on, Shoprite Chief Executive Officer Pieter Engelbrecht said that the group wanted to combine organic and

acquisitive growth as part of the focus on its low-price leadership position. “The rationale for this transaction is not just premised on the fact that, as a result of our operational expertise, we believe we can profitably run these operations; it also gives us immediate access to opportunities that were on our medium-term to-do list. We are well positioned to integrate and grow these businesses, and as a result, Shoprite can ensure the sustainability of employment of the staff within these businesses,” Engelbrecht said.

Tiger Brands said the test samples were from a batch of pharmaceutical-grade talc powder used as raw material in the production of finished powder products. This batch did not meet the company's strict quality and safety standards, it said. Products forming part of the recall include the 100g, 200g and 400g pack sizes of Purity Essentials Baby Powder. Purity Essentials baby cornstarch powder or any other baby care products under the Purity brand are not affected by the recall, it added. "In the best interest of consumers and as a precautionary measure, the company made the decision to initiate a product recall of the affected products after consultation with the National Consumer Commission," the company said. According to South Africa’s online publication, Engineering News, Tiger Brands' shares fell the most in more than two years after the recall. The stock slumped as much as 10 per cent in Johannesburg, the most since May 2020, extending a loss for the year to 16 per cent. Customers are urged to return powder already purchased to their nearest supermarket, Tiger Brands said.

The independent Spar retailers who will be most affected by Shoprite acquisition of the targeted stores have explained that if the merger is approved, they will likely suffer an impact on the turnover . . . 3Purity Baby Powder

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

Business News

13

Economy

Discount rate hike Eswatini Inf projected for September

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. . . new homeowners must brace themselves Updated July 2022

A

nother interest rate hike looms for emaSwati and it is expected to put more strain on those who are still repaying their Forecasts housing and car loans.notes

remain elevated due to the persistent high input costs,” the bank said. Now, with inflation climbing and projected to continue soaring, the Central Bank will tighten its monetary policy very gradually to avoid an unmooring of The Bank has revised upwards itsandshort-to-medium term inflation damaging its credibility. By Sifiso Sibandze Economists describe inflation asThe the forecasts reflecting persistent inflationary pressures. result too much quarter money chasing a few actual average inflation for theof second of 2022 The nextcame announcement by reflecting the Central stronger goods. Over the last several months,The this out high upward pressures. Bank of Eswatini’s (CBE) Monetary Policy has occurred amid a surge in demand and Bank's assement of the overall risks to the inflation Consultative Committee (MPCC) will supply chain disruptions worsened by outlook23continue to show Russia’s that they skewed to the be on September and some seasoned invasionare of Ukraine. upside thus suggesting an upward trend in theCentral inflation economists who spoke to Eswatini To combat inflation, the Bank Financialforecasts Times on condition of anonymity raised its policy rate in May and also in July. for forecast period. are of the view that the rates could increase This is the rate they charge commercial by as much as 0.5 per cent. The economists banks for loans or pay commercial banks Inflation is forecasted to remain elevated due to: said they were basing their predictions for deposits. Commercial banks pass a expected further increase in South Africa’s and on the projected increase of the South portion of these rates to theirdomestic customers fuel prices to the extended Russia-Ukraine war which African Reserve Bank’sdue Monetary Policy by increasing the prime rate. Increasing Committee (MPC). ThetoMPC is expectedglobal the prime increases costs of continues suppress BrentrateCrude Oilthe supplies. to increase its repo by 0.5 per or borrowing which as subsequently Also therate supply ofcent other inputs such fertilizerreduces and more. Based on the link of the Eswatini the purchasing power of businesses and wheat have been put under pressure due to the war. As a Economy to that of South Africa, the consumers. For example, it becomes more result,decides food toprices are oralsoexpensive expected to remain MPCC usually hike rates to borrow money forelevated a house or due to the persistent high input costs. Moreover, higher to leave them unchanged depending on a car. what theinflation MPC decides its monetary Ultimately, interest rate hikes act to inabout South Africa which mainlythetransmit via import policy. of finished goods is expected slow spending and encourage saving. This to influence domestic For Instance, the South African Reserve motivates companies to increase prices at inflation to the upside. These risks are, however, Bank’s MPC hiked the repo rate by 75 basis a slower rate, or lower prices, to stimulate by the expected points tocounteracted 5.5 per cent on Thursday in July demand. stronger Rand and the dissipating effects of COVID-19 as measures to recover and Eswatini bank followed suit, increasing Moreover, higher inflation in South from pandemic continue to is be in place, its discount rate bythe 50 basis points from 4.5 Africa which mainlyput transmitted via the per cent especially to 5.0 per centin the short-term. import of finished goods is expected to If the Central Bank increases the influence domestic inflation to the upside. discount rate by another 50 basis points, “These risks are, however, counteracted As a result, the annual average inflation forecast for the prime lending rate is going to climb by the expected stronger Rand and 2022 revisedtold upEswatini to 4.38the perdissipating cent, from per cent to 9.0 per cent. is Economists effects4.10 of COVID-19 as in May 2022. The third to quarter 2022 is also Financialforecasted Times that new homeowners measures recover of from the pandemic who purchased theup properties be put in place, in revised to 4.92while perthe centcontinue (fromto4.35 per cent)especially and the interest rates were low may struggle. the short-term.” fourth quarter of 2022 to 4.98 per cent (from 4.48 per The Central Bank has warned over As a result, the annual average inflation cent). a ‘second round’ threat to inflation in forecast for 2022 is revised up to 4.38 per Eswatini which automatically signals cent, from the 4.10 per cent forecast in frequent increases in borrowing costs. May 2022. The third quarter of 2022 is also The projected runaway inflation has revised up to 4.92 per cent (from 4.35 per been fully attributed by the CBE to the cent) and the fourth quarter of 2022 to uncertainty of the Russia-Ukraine war 4.98 per cent (from 4.48 per cent). which has ramifications for commodity prices and economic growth. In the term, inflation for 2023 is forecasted to be The Bank has medium revised upwards its shortto-medium term forecasts reflecting higher than previously expected and the forecast for 2024 persistent inflationary pressures. TheIn bank is marginally higher. this period, the Rand is expected has observed that actual average inflation to remain weaker, exerting upward pressure on inflation. for the second quarter of 2022 came out Increases in domestic administered prices pose as an high reflecting stronger upward pressures. risk. However, while Brent oil prices are revised up “Theupside bank’s assessment of the overall risks tofor the 2023 inflationexerting outlook continues to inflationary pressures, a slower increase show that skewed to the upside in they 2024are is expected, somewhat cushioning against the thus suggesting an upward trend in the inflationary pressures. Therefore, inflation for 2023 is inflation forecasts for the forecast period. forecasted 4.38 per cent (from 4.02 per cent) and 2024 Inflation is forecasted at to remain elevated per further cent (from due to:at the4.20 expected increase4.17 in per cent). South Africa’s and domestic fuel prices due to the extended Russia-Ukraine war which continues to suppress global Brent Crude Oil supplies. Also, the supply of other inputs such as fertilizer and wheat has been put under pressure due to the war. As a result, food prices are also expected to

2022 INFLATION FORECASTS (% y/y) DATE

May

July

Quarter 1 Average Quarter 2 Average Quarter 3 Average Quarter 4 Average Annual Average

3.44 4.13 4.35 4.48 4.10

3.44 4.17 4.92 4.98 4.38

3.

2023 INFLATION FORECASTS (% y/y) DATE

May

July

Quarter 1 Average 4.11 4.85 Quarter 2 Average 3.93 4.76 Quarter 3 Average 3.97 4.33 Quarter 4 Average 4.08 4.13 Annual Average 4.02 4.52 SHORT-MEDIUM TERM INFLATION FORECASTS (% y/y) 3Inflation forecasts for 2022 to 2024 (Source: Central Bank of Eswatini DATE

May

July

2022

4.10

4.38

2023

4.02

4.52

2024

4.17

4.21

PERFECTLY PRECAST

Q1

FAN CHART FOR THE INFLATION PR

The bank’s assessment of the overall risks to the inflation outlook continues to show that they are skewed to the upside thus suggesting an upward trend in the inflation forecasts for the forecast period . . .

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

14 Business News Trade

Through TAP, entrepreneurs are enabled to gain knowledge and forge businesses relationship ensuring maximum benefits

3 Industry leaders who attended the recent Trade Activation Programme launch posing for a group picture

Eswatini provided with the biggest AfCFTA opportunity

General Practitioner in Mbabane

I

f well implemented, the Trade Activation Programme (TAP) is set to become a perfect platform for the Kingdom of Eswatini to tap into the opportunities that are presented by the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA). The TAP has been made possible by a collaboration between the Eswatini

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Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA) and The Village Foundation, a South African organisation which focuses on entrepreneurial development. The TAP at its core aims to achieve the coming together of African entrepreneurs across the continent to promote and encourage intra-Africa trade through leveraging the AfCFTA. The programme is designed to cover an array of integral business areas that provide the tools that will empower entrepreneurs to become active trade participants in the global market. During the launch at the Happy Valley, the TAP invited the country’s entrepreneurs to participate – earning an internationally accredited certificate, an opportunity to interact with the AfCFTA agreement policymakers, be part of the solution by collaborating with various strategic partners, key stakeholders, and fellow entrepreneurs to promote trade on the continent. “Through TAP, entrepreneurs are enabled to gain knowledge and forge businesses relationship ensuring maximum benefits. The purpose is to promote intra-African trade and grow the African entrepreneurial network across continental borders through the

implementation of the AfCFTA,” it was mentioned at the launch. The Village Foundation will annually host 2 500 entrepreneurs from all over Africa to participate in the TAP. The organisation said having Emaswati being part of the 2 500 entrepreneurs will put the Kingdom of Eswatini on the map. To ensure that Africa’s entrepreneurs are equipped for the implementation of the AfCFTA, through TAP, the programme is run and executed in partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat. The Village Foundation works with various continental agencies and trade ministries across Africa that promote entrepreneurship and trade. 2. Entrepreneurs meet and connect with other entrepreneurs from across the continent to learn and collaborate so that trade can be promoted among each other. Speaking at the launch, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo said he believed that the partnership with The Village Foundation will significantly enhance the government’s efforts to improve the competitiveness of the MSME sector to tap into local, regional, and international markets. “This partnership comes at an opportune time when the economy is recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am certain that the extensive knowledge and expertise that The Village Foundation brings is what is needed for our enterprises to build back better and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA,” Khumalo said.

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News

15

Finance

Creating mutual value through partnerships:

INSTACASH’s E300 000 changes Emaswati’s lives

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arely a year since getting her Go-Live authorisation from the regulator, the country’s newest Fintech company, INSTACASH is making a sensational impact in the financial services sector through its numerous and strategic partnerships across key sectors, mainly green environment, arts, sports, youth, and women empowerment. By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko

The Eswatini Financial Times tracks some of the notable sponsorships that INSTACASH has availed to several entities and beneficiaries, in a bid to appreciate the startup fintech’s contribution to the socioeconomy of Eswatini.

INSTACASH in sports

The biggest sponsorship in monetary terms unveiled by INSTACASH so far is that of E130 000 which was made to the Hhohho Regional Football Association (HRFA) towards the hosting of the inaugural INSTACASH Hhohho FA Cup. Under this tournament, all 13 leagues affiliated with the HRFA will play a one-day tournament each sponsored to the value of E10,000.00. The one-day tournaments will be played by four clubs that register the greatest number of INSTACASH users by the given cut-off dates in each league. Each club will second one unemployed youth to register INSTACASH users after undergoing mandatory training, and that young person will be paid E5 for every user they get to register. The INSTACASH Managing Director Mandla Nxumalo said in addition to developing sport at the grassroots level, INSTACASH was desirous of solving unemployment problems among the youth; hence the strategy of using the teams’ own representatives as recruitment

3 A whopping E130 000 donation was made to the Hhohho Regional Football Association (HRFA) towards the hosting of the inaugural INSTACASH Hhohho FA Cup foot-soldiers to earn an income from the same. Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Peter ‘Samora’ Simelane and the Hhohho Regional Football Association (HRFA) Chairman Nigel Shongwe expressed gratitude to INSTACASH for what they termed a timely sponsorship. They said the sponsorship was going to go a long way in developing football at a regional level. INSTACASH, according to INSTACASH Commercial Manager Bongani Dube, is expected to launch similar partnerships with the remaining three regions as well in the near future. The INSTACASH sponsorship to the HRFA comes hot on the heels of an E30 000 sponsorship to the Eswatini National Netball Association (ENNA) towards the running of the inaugural INSTACASH Netball tournament. This sponsorship was unveiled on August 30, 2022, at the Happy

Valley Resort & Casino by INSTACASH Managing Director Mandla Nxumalo, who explained that they had identified sports as one of the pillars of their corporate social responsibility programs. Nxumalo said they identified netball as one of the key vehicles they could leverage given that the sport had organised structures. He mentioned that the company was currently in a concerted customer recruitment drive and said sponsoring netball would ensure a mutual benefit between INSTACASH and ENNA. CEO of the Eswatini Sports and Recreation Council Darius Dlomo lauded the partnership between INSTACASH and ENNA; stating that it ensured the wellness and fitness of the youth in the country. ENNA President Ntombi Masango revealed that the INSTACASH Netball Cup will be played for by ten teams namely Raiders; Manzini Ladies; H.M. Correctional

Services; EUDF; Manzini Rep; Vixens; Hhohho rep; Shiselweni Rep; Lubombo Rep; and the Royal Eswatini Police Services. The tournament is expected to kick off in September and will be played over two months. In January 2022, INSTACASH sponsored a one-day tournament at Etjendlovu, under the Lawuba community, in Methula Inkhundla in Shiselweni with E10,000. The sponsorship was for prize money for both the men’s and ladies’ soccer teams. Meanwhile, in late February 2022, INSTACASH sponsored a basketball player from the Dunkylaine Basketball Academy with E5,000 for his trip to Poland, where he went to pursue studies and professional basketball. Dunkylaine director Mzwakhe Phiri lauded INSTACASH for the sponsorship and said it will go a long way in developing local basketball players into professional players.

. . . INSTACASH dabbles in the arts INSTACASH in green environment In late August 2022, INSTACASH announced a staggering E70 000 sponsorship to organisers of the Joyous Celebration JOY 26 Live in Eswatini show that was held at the Mavuso Trade Centre on August 27, 2022.

The sponsorship was in the form of purchasing 200 general tickets which were given away to 200 lucky INSTACASH customers. These customers had entered a competition, and they expressed great delight at winning the tickets. A representative of the organisers, Thulani Mthethwa, expressed his company’s gratitude to INSTACASH for what he described as a ‘colossal partnership.’ In May 2022, INSTACASH donated E15 000

to the Illa Penboydaily Foundation and New Life Entertainment towards the hosting of the first-ever Makoti Festival. The festival was held at the Malkerns Country Club and was headlined by South African artists Zahara and Umzukulu, as well as Eswatini artists DJ Cup, Mvelo, Cleopatra Methula, The Silent Writer, and Banele Dlamini, among others. Through her sponsorship, INSTACASH gave away 100 tickets to her lucky customers to attend the event, much to their delight. In July 2022, INSTACASH sponsored the first Donate Bread Festival with E10,000; which was in the form of 50 tickets purchased and given away to lucky INSTACASH customers. The festival aimed at raising 10 000 school shoes for the underprivileged, and it was organised by the Illa Penboydaily Foundation.

Matters of a green environment are at the core of INSTACASH’s CSI strategy. Managing Director Mandla Nxumalo says protecting the environment speaks to reversing the impact of climate change; and said INSTACASH was partnering with community-based anti-pollution initiatives. In this regard, INSTACASH has donated over E30,000 to Yibutse Green Initiative and has participated in various clean-up campaigns in Mbabane, Lobamba, and Manzini. During the World Environment Day commemorations held at the Millennium Park in Manzini, INSTACASH donated E5,000 to Yibutse volunteers; most of whom are now INSTACASH

customers. Dube said INSTACASH will continue to partner with more social causes, as the organization makes its footprint through growing her agency network and customer base in the country. He urged emaSwati to register as customers to enjoy the convenience provided by the INSTACASH mobile wallet. INSTACASH services include sending and receiving money; buying airtime; buying electricity; paying bills; and paying goods and services. INSTACASH services are accessed through the USSD *365#, or via the INSTACASH app currently available on Google Playstore. Businesspeople who wish to become vending agents for INSTACASH may visit the INSTACASH service centre at the Swazi Plaza in Mbabane or may call 24047251 to set up appointments.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

16 Business News Advertorial

Nqobile Magagula Corporate Affairs Manager

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EswatiniPost delivers your car licence disk anywhere or collect it at any Post Office

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delivered to the nearest or preferred post office or location – hassle-free. With no administration charge and a collection fee of just E12 for collection of your license disc at your nearest post office, this service is the cheapest one around. EswatiniPosts can further deliver your car licence disc at any destination of your choice, either your business premises or your home. The minimum delivery charge is E50 within 5km radius of any Post Office. Your car licence disc can be delivered to you within a few hours. Why queue for your licence disc? Your car licence disc will be waiting for you and you do not have to que to collect it at your nearest or preferred EswatiniPost Office. EswatiniPosts has made collecting your car licence disc convenient and easy. You can collect your licence disc at your nearest Post Office within 24 hours of paying or we can deliver it at your doorstep. EswatiPosts will have your licence disc waiting for you within 24 hours at your preferred Post Office if you prefer collecting it yourself at the counter. You can collect or we can deliver for individual car owners and fleets. Having your car licence disc delivered at your doorstep or collecting it over the counter at your preferred Post Office is possible if you renew your car licence disc through MTN Momo. Car licence disc collection made easy and convenient with 38 Post Office outlets around the country. No more queuing, you find your car licence disc waiting for you or you choose when you want it delivered to you. All you need to do is follow five easy steps starting with *468# to access all Government services. Customer Support: For Customer Support during business hours email: [email protected] You can also call us on 800 2001 to receive assistance quickly.

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Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News

17

Opinion

The Rise in Cybercrime: Part 1

Rubicon Africa Media Group (Eswatini) Managing Editor Alec Lushaba (+268) 79 046 271 [email protected]

Editor Sifiso Sibandze (+268) 79 200 732 [email protected]

Deputy Editor Bongiwe Zwane - Maseko (+268) 79 449 522 [email protected]

3The nature of work and how businesses operate have constantly evolved, and so has the scale of cyber threats.

News Editor Phephile Motau

Dumi Jere

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e are living in exciting times. So many new digital technologies are driving transformative change. Economic paradigms are shifting. The new technologies are reshaping product and factor markets and profoundly altering business and work. The latest advances in artificial intelligence and related innovations are expanding the frontiers of the digital revolution. Indeed, digital transformation is accelerating in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly, the future is arriving faster than expected. The nature of work and how businesses operate have constantly evolved, and so has the scale of cyber threats. In fact, according to an Interpol report, South Africa had 230 million threats detected in 2021, highlighting a dark side to this rapid digital transformation. Malicious actors have more avenues for attacking businesses through brute force or human error. A report released last month by Kaspersky Lab, a global Russian multinational cybersecurity and antivirus provider, has shed more light on the rise of cybercrimes. The analysis stated that attacks related to data loss threats (phishing and scams/social engineering) increased significantly in Africa in Q2 2022 compared to the previous quarter. Kaspersky says its security solutions detected 10,722,886 phishing attacks in Africa in Q2. The report noted that this type of threat affected Kenyan users the most. During

the period, there were 5,098,534 phishing attacks detected in three months, a growth of 438 percent compared to the previous quarter. It was followed by South Africa (4,578,216 detections and an increase of 144 percent) and Nigeria (1,046,136 detections and 174 percent increase). However, the leading countries mentioned do not mean attacks did not happen in other countries either. One of the critical attacks mentioned in the report was social engineering or sometimes called “human hacking” scams. This scam involves luring unwary users to a site and tricking them into entering personal information. The requested information can occasionally include financial credentials such as bank account passwords, payment card details, or login details for social media accounts. In the wrong hands, this opens doors to various malicious operations, such as stolen money or corporate networks being compromised. An additional method mentioned in the report was phishing. It stressed that phishing was a robust attack method because it is done on a large scale. It noted that by sending massive waves of emails under the name of legitimate institutions or promoting fake pages, malicious users increased their chances of success in their hunt for innocent people’s credentials. With phishing, phishers deploy a variety of tricks to bypass email blocking and lure as many users as possible to their fraudulent sites, usually using HTML attachments with partially or fully obfuscated code. The HTML files allow attackers to use scripts, complicate malicious content to make it harder to detect, and send phishing pages as attachments instead of links. With the festive season coming soon, suppose people will want to travel. So naturally, scammers will try to lure travelers looking for exciting places to go, cheap places to stay, and reasonably priced flights. Unfortunately, this means there will be intensified scamming activities,

with numerous phishing pages distributed under the guise of airline and booking services. According to the report, the number of attempts to open phishing pages related to booking and airline services in the first half of 2022 was 4,311 in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) region. There is a great need to protect oneself from phishing and scams. One such way would be to carefully look at the address bar before entering any sensitive information, such as login details and passwords. Likewise, if something is wrong with the URL (i.e., spelling, it doesn’t look like the original, or it uses some special symbols instead of letters), it would be advisable not to enter anything on the site. When in doubt, users can check the site’s certificate by clicking on the lock icon to the left of the URL. Additionally, a good idea is to visit the business’s official website if a user sees a giveaway offered in email or on social media by a travel company or an airline to confirm the giveaway exists. In part 1 of this cybercrime article, we have focused more on cybercrimes targeted at individual users. Cyber attackers continue to evolve malicious attacks that are becoming difficult to differentiate from real emails and authentic communication. The innovative and increasing use of the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable devices, and smart cities have also presented considerable opportunities to cyber criminals. Therefore, it has become imperative to balance the use of the insecure Internet in our daily lives with new-age devices if we are to securely communicate with others and realize the benefits of these technologies without being exploited by phishing attacks. Next week’s article will form part 2 and shall focus on cybercrimes targeted at businesses and the government. • Dumi Jere is the Managing Partner at Talanta. co, a management consultancy that partners with leaders in business and government to achieve meaningful, sustainable transformation.

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Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

18 Business News Ecvironment

E935m new funding to help Africa adapt to climate change announced

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ew funding, totalling E935 million (US$55 million), to help African countries to adapt to the effects of climate change, was announced by four West European countries at the Africa Adaptation Summit on Tuesday.

By Staff Writer The summit, being held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, was organised by the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) and was attended by leading figures in governments, businesses and the United Nations. In order of the size of their contributions, the donor countries concerned were the UK, allocating E391 million (US$23 million), Norway, assigning E255 million (US$15 million), France, with E170 million (US$10 million), and Denmark, with E119 million (US$7 million). The GCA expected that this State funding would allow it to mobilise a total of up to E85 billion (U$5 billion) to fund climate adaptation projects across the continent. The summit was held two months before the next United Nations (UN) Climate Change conference, COP27, which will be hosted by Egypt at Sharm el-Sheikh. The African Development Bank has launched

3 Africa was regarded as the continent most vulnerable to climate change the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP), which seeks to mobilise US$25-billion in financing to greatly expand climate change adaptation programmes across the continent. “You have to adapt or die,” asserted African Union Chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall at the summit. “We

do not have the choice. Our time to act is coming to an end. Africa must prioritise adaptation. Africa needs to invest massively in adaptation and resilience. As Chairperson of the African Union, I urge Africa’s development partners to fully fund the AAAP and make it an exemplary model of what is possible when we collaborate.”

Devastating effects of wildfires on economy Over 19 people died uncontrolled veld fires while about 740 were impacted by the fires in ways.

due to in 2019, directly different

By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko This is according to a study on ‘Understanding The Causes, SocioEconomic and Environmental Impacts of 2019 Veld Fires in the kingdom of Eswatini.’ The study found that out of these 740 people, 13 were injured, with 10 needing to be hospitalised. Of the 19 that died, only 9 bodies while the rest were burnt to ashes. “Members of the households which were affected reported to have experienced different effects from fumes and smoke, especially those with respiratory and visual health conditions. It was also gathered that children, the elderly, and people with disabilities live in fear following the recurrent fire incidences due to their high vulnerability to fire hazards. Some of those spoken to also registered their concern that damaged crops and food losses expose them to hunger while the damaged houses lead to exposure to harsh weather conditions that threaten their health,” the Study reads. It also highlights that several plant and animal species were lost to fire in the burnt areas. In addition to the loss of plant and animal species, community members also noted that fire resulted in increased soil

3 Nature and game reserves also reported a loss of conserved plants and animals due to wild fires erosion and land degradation following the loss of vegetal cover. “Nature and game reserves also reported a loss of conserved plants and animals. The study recorded, for instance, the loss of 10 wildebeests, 4 zebras, 6 nyalas, and 10 impalas to fire at the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary,” the Study found. The Study further found that fires affect both institutions and communities in Eswatini, and both face challenges in managing fires. Most communities reported the late response of the National Fire and Emergency Services (NFES) as a major challenge while the lack of resources and lack of National Fire Emergency Services resources and personnel were other notable challenges. “The study found that the NFES operates

with about 450 firefighters across seven fire stations and two satellite stations, providing fire emergency and rescue services to the approximately 1.1 million population in the country. The institution operates a 24-hour on/48-hour off shift system with between 8 to 10 firefighters per shift in each station. Each station provides a backup to its neighbouring station in case of an overwhelming event for the nearest station. It was reported that the institution does not have nor use any technology for fire detection and early warning systems, systems critical for proactive, timely, and efficient response to save lives, property, and the environment. Instead, the NFES relies on telephonic alerts in the event of fire outbreaks. The study also gathered that the NFES is

“If we want Africa to thrive, we must adapt to climate change,” affirmed Ghanaian President and Climate Vulnerable (countries) Forum Chair Nana Akufo-Addo. “Africa must close the adaptation financing gap. We cannot wait. I look forward to the swift implementation of the AAAP. The fate of our continent and the planet depends on it.” Africa was regarded as the continent most vulnerable to climate change. Nine of the ten countries assessed as being most vulnerable to the effects of climate change were in Africa. Food expenses already consumed 75 per cent of the income of the poorest people across the continent, while more than 20 per cent of Africans were already ‘food insecure’. Africa was already under pressure from multiple economic and health, as well as climate, crises. “Africa is unstoppable. But Africa is ground zero for global climate breakdown,” highlighted GCA CEO Professor Patrick Verkooijen. “Nobody benefits if Africa fails to tackle it. Climate fallout in Africa cannot be contained so adaptation action can and must scale at breakneck speed across the continent. The world has to double down on adaptation at the UN climate summit in Egypt just weeks away. We need an adaptation delivery breakthrough for Africa at COP27. That means adaptation finance visibly flowing in Africa.” limited on the firefighting equipment and has one firefighting vehicle appropriate for tall buildings and one vehicle appropriate for tackling extreme fires, which is kept at the NFES headquarters,” the Study states. The study also gathered that veld fires have become a frequent and most devastating phenomenon in the different ecosystems of the Kingdom of Eswatini. The results of the study point to several anthropogenic causes of fires in Eswatini, which are either deliberate (e.g. fires for waste management, vegetation control, creation of firebreaks, harvesting of wild honey) or accidental (e.g. burning candles, and collision of electric cables), and a few natural (e.g. lightning-induced). “Waste handling is a process that requires skill, particularly when large quantities of waste are to be burnt. Uncontrolled burning of waste in backyard pits, dumpsites, and illegal waste sites in the country is common and leads to 2.1 per cent of the reported fires that damaged the environment and caused health problems to animals and humans in 2019. Open burning is still a very common management technique in the rural areas of the country where there is no formal waste management system in place, and in some urban areas where waste is disposed of in dumpsites. Such fires pose a great environmental, health, and economic risk to the environment and can, in most cases, become ‘viral’. Arson and conflicts are also responsible for some fire outbreaks in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Although not a very common phenomenon in the country, this occasionally occurs due to various issues that include labour disputes,” the Study reads.

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News 19 Tourism

Farmers Market adds its name to the list of tourism boosters D espite being held for the first time, the Eswatini Farmers Market proved to be one of the events that would make it to the list of occasions that have the potential of boosting the country’s tourism sector. By Ntombi Mhlongo The event was held in collaboration with the El World Music Experience, an idea of South African award-winning artist SunEL Musician. Held at the Malkerns Country Club last Saturday, the event did not only attract over 3 000 people but also hosted over 30 businesses which had stalls from which they sold food and fashion items. Among the attendees were tourists who had come to the country to witness events like the Umhlanga Reed Dance ceremony. During the day, the stalls were a hive of activity as the attendees made sure that they shopped around while awaiting their favourite artists to entertain them on stage. Worth noting is that the event took place on a day when there were other big events in the country, including the Swazi Rally which was held at the Riders Ranch, Sidvokodvo. Cebile Matsenjwa, a woman who had a stall selling hotdogs and burgers said she was impressed with the attendance as she managed to have many customers buying her food. “Earlier on I was a bit worried because only a few people were coming to buy from my stall, but after lunch, people started coming in numbers. At night it was even

3 Revellers having a good time during the musical part of the Eswatini Farmers Market at Malkerns Country Club better because the place was now full “we invited businesses to book the stalls other events taking place is a sign that the which resulted in a business boom for us. which were available.” people loved the whole idea”. In all honesty, since the event was being “As event organisers, we must host More than anything, Dlamini said hosted for the first, so I was just taking festivals that will boost the economy, that hosting the event would not have been a chance. I am glad that I did not make a is why we always invite people to book possible without the support of various loss,” she said. stalls and sell their products. Even though companies. Farmers Market Event Organiser some were sceptical when we sold the He said they had to visit several Mbekezeli ‘DJ Culolami’ Dlamini said: “I idea, we are glad that the eventually agreed companies, explain the concept, and forge must say it was a bit challenging, but I had and were not disappointed,” he said. partnerships. a team that I was working with. We were When asked about the future of the “Eswatini Mobile loved the concept able to draw up a proper plan and mine event, he revealed that he has already and agreed to partner with us. Happy was to then use the experience that I have. agreed with his partners that it will now be Valley Resort was also impressed with the We tried our level best to make sure that it registered as a festival and hosted annually. concept. We also had Destiny Music. This was well organised,” said Dlamini. “We will host it annually as a way of helped us a lot in putting together the He mentioned that he planned to host as welcoming the spring season. The fact that event. It was our first time hosting an open many MSMEs as possible, and that is why it became a success when there were many space event, and we learnt a lot,” he said.

Business boom for vendors on Umhlanga main day “Akufani nekuhlala ekhaya.” This was said by women who were selling traditional regalia and other items at the Umhlanga Reed Dance Ceremony main day at Ludzidzini on September 5.

some snacks inside the premises said she regretted not baking more and filling at least two buckets because the young maidens had bought them all, which made her happy. “I normally sell at a market at Lobamba and often, I’ll go back home with some of the fat cakes which would really upset me. Today I sold a whole bucket at one go, something I wouldn’t have done if I stayed at home, I’m glad I decided to come here,” she said. In response to the amount of sales made, none of the women was willing to share but insisted that they made a killing and hoped the ceremony would return much bigger next year.

By Bahle Gama About 10 stalls were mounted by women from around Lobamba and the outskirts who were selling emahiya, emagcebesha, and other traditional gear that could also be used as décor in the house. Tourists were seen visiting the different stalls and buying some of the items. Inside the driveway to the main arena, more women who were selling ice blocks, snacks, and fat cakes were also found lining the side of the road calling on the maidens to come and buy from the fence, to which many responded. Strikingly, towards the entrance of the royal residence, a marquee was mounted on the right and three hotels were serving food to people who were interested in dining from a buffet. When interviewed, the vendors said the sales they made at the event were much better compared to when they sell at their vending markets. In unison, they said: “it was much better than

3 A vendor selling traditional regalia to one of the attendees of the Umhlanga Reed Dance Ceremony staying at home.” Gogo Mkhweli said she was grateful for the return of the Reed Dance Ceremony because the money she made was beyond her imagination as she was just taking a chance. “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic many of us had lost hope of generating income from this business, however, when we got the news that the event would be returning, we decided to take a chance and it was worth it. Those who decided to stay at home and not come will regret it,” she said. Samukelisiwe

Shongwe echoed Gogo Mkhweli and added that with the stock she had purchased, over half of it had been bought and she would return home with more cash than enough. “When considering the prevailing environment, one would’ve just assumed that people’s attendance and tourists would be very low, but I’m surprised and glad that I took this risk. It could have been worse but now I have enough for my children as schools will be opening soon,” she said. Tanele, who was selling fat cakes and

I normally sell at a market at Lobamba and often, I’ll go back home with some of the fat cakes which would really upset me. Today I sold a whole bucket at one go . . .

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

20 Business News Tourism

Umhlanga week wrap Accommodation facilities get much needed boost

3His Majesty King Mswati III with former Botswana President Ian Khama and former Ghana Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay accompanied by other dignitaries at the Reed dance ceremony

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ome of Eswatini’s leading accommodation facilities have hailed the past long weekend as a crucial lifeline to their coffers. By Bongiwe Zwane- Maseko The Umhlanga ceremony, Bikers Rally, Soccer Legends Football Match, Farmers Market, and Imvelo MTB Bike Race all took place this past weekend, drawing thousands of local and international tourists. Some leading establishments including Sibebe Resorts, Mantenga Cultural Village, and Silverstone Lodge are among those who reported that they were fully booked. Sibebe Resorts Brand and Communications Officer Larry Mhlanga said the establishment was excited to welcome local and international tourists and was fully booked. “We had a very busy weekend as we accommodated bikers, tourists, and emaSwati from all walks of life. The highlight for us was hosting the former President of Botswana His Excellency Ian Khama, who came through for a day visit and toured our facility, including the cultural village. We were honoured by his presence and that of all our other guests. Every guest is special to us,” he said. Mhlanga added that they look forward to busy weekends as they not only boost Sibebe economically but also spell good

3Fancy footwork — Imbali dancing up a storm at the Reed Dance ceremony news for other industries such as fuel stations, eateries, handicraft traders, bottle stores, and many more. “The spillover effects benefit the entire economy, which is great. We now have our

eyes set on the next big event which will be held on the weekend on 23-25 September. This year we have partnered with Sibebe Survivor Challenge to add value to their offering so the focus will not just be on

hiking only but on an entire experience, including team-building exercises, leisurely lounging, and a fun-filled cultural experience at our cultural village,” he said 2Continued on Page 21

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News

21

Tourism

Biker attendance decreases, income generated same as 2019 – Pavia

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wazi Bikers Rally Director Carlos Pavia says he believes the income generated by the country from this year’s Bikers Rally is the same as when the event was last hosted in 2019 before the pandemic, where between E30 million to E40 million was generated. By Bahle Gama The yearly event made a return this year post suspension due to Covid 19. It was hosted at its usual spot, the Riders Ranch at Sidvokodvo from September 2 to 4, making it one of the biggest events in the country after the Umhlanga Reed Dance Ceremony which had begun on August 30 to September 5. This biking event attracts bikers from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Mozambique who cram the entire site for a weekend of fun. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts congregate and have a fun-filled weekend with biker friends and make new long-lasting biking relationships. Pavia stated that in the last event, between 8 000 and 10 000 bikers attended the Rally. However, this was not the case this year as the numbers were ranging at slightly above 5 000. Despite that, due to the hike in prices for commodities and all other sectors, the income remained the same. “The Covid 19 restrictions that are still at play in Eswatini, which we found to have been one of the reasons most of the bikers did not come to the rally,” he said. He further stated that the government needed to be decided about Covid and further recommended that people be given rapid tests at the border at the very least, as this will boost the country’s tourism sector as well. “South Africa has eased all regulations and we as a country are still undecided. Mind you, most of the bikers are usually from that country and this year we had very few of them. So, a final decision must be taken on the regulations that are still pending in Eswatini, especially if we are

3Swazi Bikers Rally attracts bikers from neighbouring countries saying we want to improve the economical state and boost our respective sectors,” he said. In response to how many occupants were at the camping sites, Pavia stated that most of the bikers had booked into hotels and lodges instead of camping, resulting in the sites being half empty. “We have a way of making calculations with the Ministry of Commerce, and with these bikers having booked into the different hotels in the country, dined, and bought wares, likely, we are still at E30 million to E40 million even this year,” he said. He further stated that he hoped the numbers would return to their normal state and even more next year when the event is hosted adding that “we also hope the country’s economy will be boosted double what was this year, around this time.” Pavia added that more detailed and precise information in terms of figures will be released to the public once it has been put together by the rightful stakeholders. Meanwhile, the Umhlanga Ceremony was also graced by tourists from different countries, including the United States of America, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana,

3Ready to ride — Bikers in a jovial mood at the Bikers Rally and the United Kingdom to name a few. This is one of Africa’s most popular and colourful cultural events. Businesses that had stalls set up at the reed dance reported

that they were happy with their sales. The Farmers Market, which took place at the Malkerns Country Club last Saturday attracted about 3 000 fun-lovers.

Accommodation facilities get much needed boost

3A section of local and international guests watching proceedings at the reed dance

2Continued from Page 20 The director of a lodge in Mbabane said that even though her facility was not fully booked, it was busier than usual which was gratifying enough. She said they received many last-minute bookings from bikers who had travelled from Durban. “We had a group of 12 bikers coming through on Friday evening and leaving on Sunday and they had no prior bookings. I think many people were reluctant to make bookings due to the uncertainty about their safety. Social media was also abuzz that something might go wrong but we are grateful that the weekend was peaceful and tourists were able to enjoy themselves,” she said. The chairperson of the Hospitality

and Tourism Association of Eswatini (HOTEAS) Marcus Ward said the number of tourists who came through was comparable to the Bushfire weekend numbers. “Eswatini was busy. I believe it was a combination of the different activities that were taking place, including the Soccer Legends events, Swazi Rally, Imvelo Bike Race, and the Reed Dance. The weather was good all weekend which also got people out of their homes,” he said. Ward said he was not in a position to share numbers yet since these were still being collected. The Eswatini Tourism Authority was also still compiling the number of tourists at the time of going to print.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

22 Business News Vehicle Finance

“EPTC’s vehicle licence disc collection, distribution service making life easy”

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ince its launch about two months ago, Eswatini’s motorists have keenly taken up the Mobile Payment Platform for Motor Vehicle Licence Disc Collection and Distribution Service.

By Bongiwe Zwane- Maseko So far, about 400 motorists have used this service, which they have hailed as efficient and time-saving. Besides getting a reprieve from the long queues that are associated with licence renewal at the revenue offices, motorists also get value for money as they do not need to travel far anymore but can collect their licence discs from the nearest post office. Eswatini Post and Telecommunications Corporation (EPTC) Managing Director Thembumkhululi Khumalo said the corporation was happy with the uptake of this service and was now focusing on direct and social media marketing to reach more consumers. “The service is fully operational and functioning as designed. Given the uptake over the last two months, we have no doubt that this is a service Emaswati needs, and we will continue to focus on direct marketing to reach consumers in all corners of the kingdom. The service was designed to make their lives better and it is doing exactly that,” he said. Khumalo added that they will also be focusing on corporate companies that have fleet vehicles and assisting them to make their lives easier too. “We have a special package for corporates which requires us to do all the work for them. Once engaged, we will give them quality services which include delivering the vehicle licences to their offices using our efficient courier service,” he said. Khumalo encouraged emaSwati to take the short route and avoid leaving their homes in the wee hours of the morning in order to join the long queues at the revenue offices. Motorists’ burdens have been lifted through the launch of the Mobile Payment Platform for Motor Vehicle Licence Disc Collection and Distribution Service. This innovation is a partnership between the Road Transportation Directorate in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Eswatini Post and Telecommunications (EPTC), Postal Division; and is an extension of the Government Mobile Payment Platform *468# in pursuit of the Government’s service delivery mandate. The innovation was officially launched about two months ago by the Minister of Public Works and Transport Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, who was represented by Minister Neal Rijkenberg. This followed the Ministry launching a partnership with MTN-Eswatini last October to implement the cashless

3 Eswatini Post and Telecommunications Corporation Managing Director Thembumkhululi Khumalo payment system for Motor Vehicle Licence the Eswatini Government in June 2022 Renewals, bringing this service to every and we are ready for this challenge of motorist’s cellular phone. bringing government services to the EPTC, through its Postal Division, has people. Through the preservation of our Post Offices strategically located in all distribution network, particularly in rural the regions, towns, and business areas areas, communities throughout Eswatini closer to where EmaSwati reside or does will continue to benefit from our presence business. in their towns. The turn-around time for the collection “Very shortly, digitising the logistics will of the MVL Disc at the Post office is 24hrs, leapfrog the order and delivery of Licence on completion of the mobile payment disks. This will remove the need for the transaction and receipt of the confirmation physical collection of printed License Text Message (SMS). disks. A click on a Post Office computer will The good news is that EmaSwati result in a local printing of a License disk can choose whether to walk into the to the convenience of the vehicle owner Government Revenue Service Centres and the environment,” said Khumalo. to collect their Mo Khumalo said EPTC’s The MD expressed his appreciation to unrivalled distribution network of 38 the Eswatini Government through the post offices distributed countrywide gives Ministry of Public Works and Transport for the corporation a unique competitive trusting Eswatini Post to efficiently deliver advantage. this important service to the public. “Our future expansion of this business model is focused on the efficient provision of last-mile services, which will include the door-to-door delivery of license discs,” he said. He said the government was fortunate to have the capacity to leverage the existing network of post offices, adding that this collaboration demonstrates the inherent capacity within the government’s ecosystem demonstrated by the collaboration between the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology. “The contract to deliver motor vehicle license disks was awarded to EPTC by

We have a special package for corporates which requires us to do all the work for them. Once engaged, we will give them quality services . . .

Banks slammed for not reporting matters to FIC South Africa’s banks have been criticized for going beyond their legal requirements by suspending the accounts of those suspected of using them for illegal activities without first reporting the matter to the country’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). Gardee Godrich Attorneys brought this up yesterday during a parliamentary session held by a Select Committee on Finance to investigate rules governing the closure of bank accounts. Gardee Godrich Attorneys, which is representing thousands of people in an ongoing class-action litigation against the banks at the Equality Court, has requested that the National Treasury, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, and the Prudential Authority respond to concerns made by the committee. The law firm had written to the committee to raise the problem of discrimination allegedly perpetrated by the banks against people whose banking accounts were closed. In its presentation, the law firm highlighted that the banks have a duty under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, Act 38 of 2001 (FICA) to report “reasonable suspicion or knowledge that a financial product or service is being used for illegal purposes to FIC. “After reporting to the FIC, the bank has got no legal obligation to freeze, let alone terminate a banking facility,” it said. Speaking on behalf of Gardee Godrich Attorneys, Advocate Tiny Seboko said the banks cutting ties with customers regarded to be “high risk” was “an unintended and undesirable consequence of the implementation of the anti-money laundering laws, regulations and standards”. Talking about the implications of being unbanked, she said: “Living becomes difficult because for you to even apply for rental, as is the case with one of our clients, you are unable to prove your creditworthiness.” The law firm said the fines imposed under these anti-money laundering laws, regulations and standards should have encouraged banks to comply with their legal obligations in terms of FICA, its regulations and the global standards.

3 Advocate Tiny Seboko

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Business News 23 Profile

Boosting employees’ professional confidence through image pickup

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o help professionals thrive and have confidence while executing their duties, former corporate employee, and ScreamBeauty Founder Xolile Shiba has taken the initiative to give image consultancy services to companies and individuals. By Bahle Gama Shiba is a 35-year-old image consultant and beauty coach from Nginamadvolo, Pigg’s Peak. She is a former marketing consultant at Eswatini Post and Telecommunications Corporation (EPTC) and further worked for almost 10 years as a vehicle sales executive at Toyota who decided to become her employer through beauty consultancy. ScreamBeauty is a brand she came up with in 2018 because of being passionate about fashion, beauty, and image as she believes that it speaks louder than words and the beauty industry is a powerful force in giving people a sense of belonging and making them feel good and heard. Earlier this year, she quit her corporate job after she decided to get into her business on a full-time basis. “I have been selling clothes for as long as I remember and making people look and feel good about themselves has been my greatest passion. My love for fashion, unique style, and makeup artistry got deeper and stronger over the years and made me decide to come up with a brand that could make me give a voice to those who did not have one,” she said. She stated that part of the work done through the image consultancy business includes creating a platform that aims to tackle mental health in society and the world at large. “I aim at tackling a positive and healthy structure in the corporate industry too where I spent most my life in, as the work environment can be highly toxic and cause negative unhealthy traits on employees if the organisational culture is poor,” she said. ScreamBeauty comes in and holds workshops that boost the employees’ confidence through image pickup and emotional status as she believes a happy presentable employee is a productive and enthusiastic one. In response to the market niche, Shiba said her main focus was women mostly even though she intends on spreading the love to men as well because she connected well with a person that needed a better image and wanted to look and feel good. “I easily communicate well with such clients as I know I have made a positive and lasting effect in someone’s life, and I believe image represents one well wherever they are in life. The response over the years has been both positive and negative as every business has its ups and downs,” she said. She mentioned that her passion for makeup artistry had been an added advantage as most women further seek to enhance their beauty through makeup

3ScreamBeauty Founder Xolile Shiba has a passion for makeup artistry and she offered tutorials that included a skincare routine, which has been positively received. In terms of funding, Shiba said her business was not funded as she started the business from her pocket, salary, and earnings from pushing the clothing business from her car boot. “I have never secured any funding. I just took a risk with the money I had, made so many business mistakes, and been in tough financial problems as opening a business and hiring staff needs a stable financial source. That taught me a lot about business and the errors to avoid. I do, however, seek sponsors for my business as I want to grow the business into a valuable business that grows into other businesses and spreads worldwide,” said Shiba. Her five-year plan entails opening a beauty school that will reach out to every young individual who wants to start a career in the beauty industry and help them to stand on their two feet and be well represented. “I aim to open beauty studios where I bring in beauticians to work together and create an empire that will benefit all. I aim to have reached so many countries in Africa by giving the girl and the boy child career guidance in knowing who they are and motivating them in soft skills and always having a plan B in life. I aim to change the game in the beauty industry and give a voice to those who seek representation through image and makeover art,” she said. She further encouraged everyone in business not to fear taking risks and follow their deepest and wildest desires and dive in, with or without representation. When she started her business, she had the passion and drive which continues to push

her to date “Always go into the business you love and have the heart for it as people normally copy business, which is okay, but they do it because maybe they have financial backup

not that they have the skill for it and passion for it. Lastly, be open to change and move from your comfort zone, take a leap of faith and risk everything to be the best version of yourself,” she added.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

24 Business News Feature

From teacher to perfume maker . . . after her teaching contract was not renewed, she began selling perfumes to make a living

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any will remember the trend that took the nation by storm after teachers were advised to venture into entrepreneurship, preferably agriculture-related during the Covid-19 lockdown. By Bahle Gama A number of them wore their graduation gowns and took to the fields and gardens carrying tools and posted those pictures on different social media platforms. Sithembile Zwane a former Business Education teacher, on the other hand, decided to explore her entrepreneurial skills and upon tapping into business development she decided not to look back. This was after her

teaching contract was not renewed at the end of the school calendar in 2020. Zwane who is a qualified accountant turned educator, a business coach and a thought leader from Luyengo decided to explore the perfume-making business after having had encounters with customers when she was selling her stock of the same product. Having noted that it is one of the most sought-after businesses, she decided to take advantage by conducting training on how to make the product from scratch. In an interview, Zwane stated that having noted that most Emaswati were embracing the side hustle trend during Covid-19 to improve their economic well-being, and mostly choosing to sell perfumes, she decided to put her skills to work. She started her business in June 2021 and began providing services for the formulation of homecare and personal care products like detergents, cosmetics, and of course, perfumes. “My main passion is in perfumes and training other people comes from my experience of dealing with perfumes as I interacted with my clients suggesting suitable perfumes for them based on their personalities,” she said. From then, Zwane noticed that a lot of people did not know much about perfumes and giving the best service in choosing one, which birthed the pieces of training adding that “even those who work at cosmetic stores don’t have much knowledge and fail to suggest the proper product for customers, so if figured with this skill many would be able to help themselves and others.” She stated that in 2020 when she started selling perfumes to earn a living she got 1 Sithembile Zwane, perfume maker and business coach

Houses and property to the value of millions were reduced to ashes over the long weekend, keeping the National Fire and Emergency Services departments throughout the kingdom on their toes. By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko Although the extent of the damage is yet to be quantified, it is estimated at millions as buildings, and valuable property was seriously damaged. Electrical faults seemed to be the cause of the fires in many instances, while arson was suspected to be the cause in a couple of cases. “On Friday night, a fire broke out in Manzini, where ‘Bend and Pick’ vendors store their property, whose value is yet to be ascertained. Firefighters spent almost two days trying to put out the raging fire, which affected goods belonging to over 400 vendors. With the help of firefighters from different fire stations, the fire was eventually extinguished but it was a

3Mixing the ingredients to produce a fragrance more fascinated as she read about the products and the descriptions in the notes. Whilst conducting research, she came across an online school of cosmetic sciences based in the United Kingdom which offered free courses on skincare formulation, hair care, perfumes, and other products which she enrolled and enhanced her knowledge. “As a result, I formulated my hair, lip, perfume, and detergent products,” she said. Having noted the demand in skills for formulation she decided to create a group with women where they would share their experiences which also resulted in the demand for her pieces of training. At first, she began by using her spare time to give the training and when most of her time was high on demand, she decided to monetise and make a living of it. “The other reason is that I realised that some people are offering these courses without giving people real value,” she said.

In response to what her vision is on the entrepreneurial path she has embarked on, Zwane said she hopes to see more locally produced products in shops as she plans on bringing raw materials from South Africa or China and selling them locally, teaching formulators to produce up to standard products which will be acceptable in large retail shops. “I want to provide all products and packaging materials that are currently unavailable locally and the training centre will be expanded to offer training daily instead of weekly as is the current state,” she said. Zwane continued that she also plans on completing her Diploma in Cosmetic Science which will enable her to offer training on skin care products. Furthermore, a cooperative will be formed with women from her formulations group to pursue contracts with large retailers to hold their stock of locally manufactured products.

Terrible long weekend for fire department . . . as property worth millions is reduced to ashes gruelling exercise,” said the department’s communications officer Mandla Dlamini. He added that another fire erupted at a shopping complex in Big Bend, where buildings were razed to the ground. He said in this case, an electric fault was suspected although investigations are still ongoing to ascertain the exact cause of the fire. “At Murray Camp in Manzini we attended to another serious case, where a one-bedroom house was gutted down as a result of an electric fault. At Mafutseni, firefighters were also called to the scene where a rondavel was razed to the ground. The cause of the fire in this instance is not yet known. We also attended to a case at New Village in Matsapha, where an electric fault is suspected to have caused the fire. One flat was seriously burnt,” said Dlamini. He added that firefighters were constantly on their toes the entire

weekend and appealed to members of the public to exercise caution in and outside their homes. “In the last week of August, we dealt with five fire cases in Mbabane. Four of these were due to electric faults while one was due to thunderstorms which occurred very briefly. We would like to appeal to Emaswati to use qualified electricians for all electric-related issues in their homes and not attempt to do their own repairs as this might prove to be very dangerous,” he said. Dlamini said electrical problems are one of the leading causes of death and injury. He said few people are aware of how dangerous electrical wiring can be if damaged or installed incorrectly. “While many people complain about the rising cost of electricity, it is a crucial utility. However, it’s important to educate yourself

on electricity safety to avoid unnecessary injury. Faulty electrical wiring can cause a fire. The most significant danger of faulty electric wiring is a fire breaking out. When electrical wires are loose, frayed, cracked, or overheated, they are unable to conduct electricity properly. This all too often leads to a fire breaking out. The scariest part of having faulty electrical wiring is that a fire can break out at any time. “Faulty electrical wiring can cause a short circuit. A short circuit is when too much current flows through the electrical wiring and causes the electricity to stop working altogether. This can cause both blackouts and fires. When electric wiring isn’t properly installed or is exposed, it can be deemed faulty. This faulty wiring can cause electrocution if someone comes in contact with it. Electrocution can range from minor to lethal,” he said.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

Business News 25 Feature

Following fashion trends 3Following fashion trends can be costly, but can be worth it if it makes you feel good

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ashion trends come and go. One day it’s fashionable to be clean-shaven and the next day growing a beard is fashionable. By Bongiwe Zwane- Maseko The same goes for cars, interior décor, fashion, and a whole lot more. Today, with the help of South African-based local fashion designer Ceebo M, we look at the advantages and disadvantages of following the latest fashion trends. Pros • Can make you more popular - One advantage of following fashion trends is that it can make you more popular. In fact, for many people in our society, fashion is quite important to express themselves and just look good. Therefore, if you are currently unpopular in school or also as a grownup, chances are that you could improve your looks and therefore also your level of popularity by following the latest fashion trends. • Your peers may envy you - In general, if you follow the latest fashion trends, chances are that also your friends will envy you due to that. In fact, many people would love to look good and learn how to dress. However, many people simply don’t know how to do that. Thus, you can become a real trendsetter among your peers, which may further improve your overall reputation since your friends will likely want to be like you. • Can be fun -another benefit of following fashion trends is that it can also be quite a lot of fun. In fact, many people love shopping and like to try various styles. Thus, if you are one of those shopping victims, chances are that you will also love to follow the latest shopping trends since it will make your hobby even more interesting. • Can give you a challenge - Fashion trends rapidly change over time. In fact, what had been popular in the past will likely no longer be popular in the near future and therefore, it can also be regarded as a challenge to follow the latest fashion trends. Hence, if you are a person who loves to develop and adapt to different styles, following the latest shopping trends may also help you in this regard. • Can make you more confident - You may also become much more confident

by following fashion trends. In fact, fashion is a big part of our society and if you don’t know how to dress and how to present yourself, you may not have the same chances in life compared to someone who knows how to present himself or herself in the best possible manner. In fact, if you dress in line with the latest trends, chances are that you will become much more confident since people will treat you with more respect and your overall level of acceptance in our society may increase as well. • People may get a sense of identity - Many people also feel quite lost in life. This is often because the world is changing so rapidly and people can’t process all the new information around them. However, fashion can give those people a sense of identity which can help to overcome self-doubt or identity issues. In fact, shopping can also be a great way to mitigate your stress level and reload your batteries for stressful tasks yet to come in the future. • Can help you dress like your idols - Many people also want to dress like their idols. In fact, celebrities often set the latest fashion trends and especially young people want to look and feel like their idols. Consequently, by following the latest fashion trends, you can not only look good, but you may also be better able to identify with your idols. • There are plenty of fashion communities out there - Fashion is not only a thing that you do for yourself. In fact, fashion is quite important for billions of people on our planet and if you follow the latest fashion trends, chances are that you will also be able to join a fashion community where you can share your latest fashion ideas and can further improve your look by benefiting from the style tips of other members of the fashion community. • You can make many new friends - In fact, fashion is a topic that connects people from everywhere. When you go shopping on a regular basis, you will automatically speak to many salesmen and can connect with those people in the long run. Moreover, when you go shopping with your friends, you

will naturally meet new people in stores and can therefore expand your circle of friends over time. Thus, shopping can also be a great way to socialize. • Following fashion trends may improve your job opportunities - Looking good can help you in various parts of life. In fact, if you follow the latest fashion trends, you will be more likely to find a good job. Additionally, you may even be able to make a full-time income by blogging or starting a YouTube channel around fashion topics. In fact, there are many fashion bloggers out there who make a six-figure income from their passion and if you are a person who is willing to work really hard, this might be a serious alternative career path for you. • Can make shopping easier - Following current fashion trends can also make your shopping trip much easier. In fact, if you already know what’s trendy and what’s not, chances are that you will have quite an easy time dressing in line with those trends without having to ask a salesperson who might not know anything about fashion at all. Cons • Following fashion trends can be costly - Aside from the many advantages of following fashion trends, there are also some issues related to this concept. In fact, one problem with following fashion trends is that it can simply be quite costly. If you want to follow the latest fashion trends, you will always buy new stuff since your old clothes will become outdated pretty soon. In turn, you will have to spend plenty of money on your clothes and you have to evaluate for yourself

whether fashion is worth it for you to spend so much money or not. • You will have to buy new clothes quite often - If you want to follow the latest fashion trends, you will also have to spend plenty of time on your fashion. In fact, since trends change so fast, you will always have to adjust your style and this can feel like real work over time. • Bad for our environment - Another disadvantage of following fashion trends is that it can be quite harmful to our environment. In fact, every material item that must be produced implies serious pollution and often also contributes to global warming. Moreover, excessive consumption also leads to significant resource depletion. Since following fashion trends also implies buying many clothes that are only used for a rather short period of time, it can contribute to all those environmental issues. If you want to protect our planet, following the latest fashion trends may also not be the way to go for you. • Your happiness should not depend on your style - In general, to stay happy in the long run, your level of happiness should not depend too much on your appearance. In fact, our beauty will fade over time and if you base your happiness solely on your visual appearance, chances are that you will have a quite hard time once you lose your looks. • May lead to shallow values in our society - In general, fashion trends may lead to rather shallow social values. If people just care about their visual appearance and don’t care too much about inner values anymore, chances are that this may lead to a state where people become quite self-centred and may lose empathy for each other. • Time could be better spent on other hobbies- Opponents of fashion trends also often claim that the time people spend on fashion could be much better spent on other things. In fact, shopping does not provide too much value for our society in general and people may want to use their time for more important things instead, for example volunteering for social welfare projects. • Following fashion trends can make you look weird - While many fashion trends can make you look better; some fashion trends are just weird. In fact, if you look at the past and have a look at how people dressed in former decades, you will soon realize that not every fashion trend leads to good looks. Hence, you should keep some sense of critical thinking regarding fashion trends in order to decide whether those fashion trends really make you look better or not. • May lead to financial trouble - Another issue with following fashion trends is that you may also get into financial trouble. In fact, many people are in debt right now since they don’t know how to spend their money in a useful manner and since they buy too many clothes. • Following fashion trends can lead to anorexia - Especially young people are often at great risk to suffer from anorexia when they follow the latest fashion trends. In fact, most fashion trends are meant for women who are quite skinny. If you want to follow your idols, you may also have to lose plenty of weight, which can lead to serious anorexia and other health concerns in the long run.

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

26 Business News Profile

A day in the life of a basketball player

3Practice makes perfect

“I Jordan.

f you do the work, you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.” – Michael

3 Taking time to mentor the young ones A TYPICAL DAY IN HIS LIFE LOOKS LIKE THIS TIME  5 a.m. 5.30 - 6.30 a.m. 7 a.m. 7.30 a.m.

By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko This is a quote that basketball player, coach, and lover of all things basketball Mandisa Zwane subscribes to. He says he fell in love with the game in 2004 and like true love, it keeps growing daily. Zwane is a basketball coach at Usutu Forest High School and a full-time basketball player, which often means juggling many balls at the same time. “I fell in love with basketball around 2004 when I was still in high school. I started watching basketball on TV and fell in love with the Boston Celtics, a team that was part of the NBA. I just loved the way the players carried themselves and showed agility on the court, but it wasn’t until I was exposed to playing that I truly understood what it entailed,” he says. Around 2007/8, Zwane joined Mbabane Raptors, which was a very youthful team. He says he was exposed to a lot of talent and his love for the sport was further affirmed. “2010 was the year things got serious for me. When I first joined the Raptors, I was not sure what playing the game entailed but luckily for me I am a very athletic person, so I adapted quickly. I may not be the most naturally gifted person, but I put in the

necessary work. I am a very hard worker and that worked in my favour. We used to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I used Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to work on perfecting my skill by training hard on and off the court, alone or with other players,” he says. He played for Mbabane Raptors until 2018 and then joined Mbabane Jazz, where he played for a season. “I was then recruited by the Foxes, a basketball team in Harare, Zimbabwe. It was a very exciting time for me. The coach approached me after he saw me playing in a tournament in Lesotho. He was very impressed with my skills and wanted me to join his team, which I saw as a great opportunity to build my profile. The experience was great, and it was an honour to be recognised by a team outside the country. It was difficult at first as can be expected but the team was very hospitable, and I settled well into the team. We worked

9 a.m.

CHORE Get up, have morning prayers, do some meditation Go jogging, doing exercises such as stretches, sit-ups, squats, etc Take a shower Research on basketball to keep myself updated on the latest news and trends Eat breakfast

10 a.m.

Leave the house for my coaching job at Mhlambanyatsi

12 – 2 p.m.

Do some exercises and practice sessions at the court at my workplace, depending on availability Coaching work with juniors and seniors at the school, depending on the day of the week Get home, rest a bit, and then hit the basketball court Watch NBA games, make notes Bed-time

2 – 4 p.m. 5 p.m. 8 p.m. 11 p.m.

very hard, and it was a very talented, youthful team so I blended in well and put in many long hours of work. We won the national championships so I can safely say I am a champion in Zimbabwe! I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to play outside the country and learn from the best in the region,” Zwane says. Zwane recently returned home and is transitioning to the UNESWA Alumni Basketball team, which is closer to where he lives. Between working as a basketball coach and playing the sport, he has very

little time for anything else. “I have made a lot of friends within the field along the way, and I value those relationships very much. From fellow players to coaches, I have gained invaluable skills and learnt lifelong lessons. My motto is ‘Dream Big, Work Hard, Stay Humble and Work Consistently.’ I also serve in the basketball association and believe mine is a calling that I need to adhere to because it makes me happy and completes me. I have no regrets about choosing this path,” he says.

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Entertainment 27 International

Faith Nketsi says nothing will change her love for her husband Life changed dramatically for Faith Nketsi in the past year as she not only became a wife but also a mommy, and while she is l letting it all sink in, one thing she is certain of is that she is ready to take on this chapter of her life.

3John Boyega

John Boyega claims James Bond will never be played by a person of colour

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ohn Boyega claims there will never be a black James Bond, despite previous calls for Idris Elba to take the role following Daniel Craig’s departure. The iconic character is currently in limbo following Craig’s decision to hang up his tuxedo after his fifth consecutive appearance as Bond in 2021 blockbuster No Time To Die. But despite calls for London born Elba who has since ruled himself out - to become the seventh 007, fellow actor Boyega, 30, claims producer Barbara Broccoli will never cast a person of colour for the role. When asked if her would ever consider playing Bond, he told the Happy Confused Sad podcast: ‘I’m sorry but I’m black – I don’t know how. When you’re black, I don’t know how that goes. ‘You as a white man grew up in a society as a white man and that’s normal. That’s normal to you. Even the mention of a black Bond is like “Oh, okay”. ‘I don’t necessarily believe that but if that’s what they’re doing then that is very surprising to me. As an actor, you kind of just stay out of that conversation. But if it’s for you then maybe. But if not then you just enjoy it in a movie theatre like everyone else.’ To date Bond has been played by six different actors, all white, across 25 films over a 60 year period - with Sir Sean Connery originally cast in 1962 classic Dr. No. Since then George Lazenby, Sir Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and more recently Daniel Craig have all taken the role, with varying degrees of

success. However recent blockbuster No Time To Die, Craig’s last film as Bond, saw black actress Lashana Lynch play a female 007, albeit fleetingly. Boyega – who made his name on the West End stage - recently claimed he felt like ‘the. elephant in the room’ after being subjected to racist backlash for his portrayal of Finn in the Disney Star Wars trilogy. The British actor played the hero in three films from 2015 to 2019, but went onto reveal he doesn’t think he’ll be playing the character again. Speaking with John Fugelsang on his Sirius XM radio show, Boyega admitted that when he was trolled it ‘wasn’t a conversation he could being up’ at Disney, but he feels this has changed after they spoke out in support of Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram. Host Fugelsang brought up Moses Ingram, who played Inquisitor Reva in the Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi earlier this year, and was herself subject to racist attacks from trolls online - prompting Disney to defend her across social media. ‘That’s how it goes, man. That’s how it goes, but that’s the peace that I felt,’ Boyega said. ‘Moses Ingram being protected makes me feel protected. Do you understand what I’m saying? ‘It makes me feel like, okay, cool. I am not the elephant in the room because when I started it, wasn’t really a conversation you could bring up. ‘You know how they went through it. It was kind of like, let’s just be silent. It wasn’t a conversation you could bring up.’ — Daily Mail

The reality TV star and former twerk queen had tongues wagging on social media when word got out in April that she had a mahlabiso ceremony ( joining her two families/a celebration of marriage) after accepting businessman Nzuzo Njilo’s hand in marriage. Despite allegations of her husband owing nearly R1m and being in debt, Faith said she’s determined to stick beside her “forever” man and drown out the noise. “Whether allegations or things are said, I still love him the exact same way I used to love him and that’s by maintaining our privacy. When such things come out it doesn’t really bother me because at the end of the day, I know what’s going on in my household and I know how things are kept in my household,” she told TshisaLIVE. When showcasing her mahlabiso ceremony in the fourth season of her reality show Have Faith on MTV Base, Faith mentioned she knew not everyone would be happy to see them take their relationship to this level, but what mattered to her most was their parents giving them their blessing. “What I love about our relationship is no-one ever knows what’s going on and I think that’s why people like speculating and talking about it or throwing rumours around. It’s because they really want to know what’s going on.” After spending a lot of time with her partner during the lockdown, the couple have been inseparable and Faith says she’s certain she wants to

spend the rest of her life with Nzuzo. “We couldn’t spend time apart.” Nearly three weeks ago, the couple welcomed their first bundle of joy, Sky Njilo, and are enjoying parenting together. “She’s still very young, keeping us up at night. It’s definitely new to both of us.” Faith said she’s finding balance in her new life but she’s definitely “enjoying motherhood and being a new wife”, and wants to plan her future and whether that could include being a club hostess. “It’s always been about me so now that there’s a whole entire human I have brought into this world my perspective has obviously changed. “I never ever want to say I’m not going to do something again. I don’t want to put myself in a box.” 4Faith Nketsi

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

28 Sport International

Tuchel’s relationship with Chelsea players soured before sacking

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homas Tuchel’s Chelsea reign fell apart after his relationships with players deteriorated, frustration over transfer business and not fitting in with the new ownership’s project. The German has been sacked just three months after the Todd Boehlyled consortium formally completed the takeover of Chelsea. The Blues suffered an abysmal 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League group-stages last night in his 100th match in charge, which has seen the Blues take action. It was, however, not to do so much with results and more the fact of deteriorating relationships with star players at Stamford Bridge. Tuchel also made it clear that he did not enjoy the extra responsibility he was given in the transfer window after Boehly handed him more power and a greater say on Chelsea’s business. Not only that, Boehly’s interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo provided an early difference of opinion, with the American reluctant to simply take “no” for an answer from Tuchel, who, according to the Telegraph, seemed exasperated at having to explain his reasons for not wanting the Portuguese superstar. Crucially, the owners want a coach they can invest in for the future and who they believe is prepared to make an equal commitment. The first 100 days with Tuchel did not offer enough encouragement that he would relish their style or help create the

culture they want to breed. The boss recently also reiterated his disappointment that former technical and performance advisor Petr Cech left Stamford Bridge following the takeover. After the summer rebuild and a poor start to the new season, which sees Chelsea sitting sixth in the Premier League, it has been claimed that Tuchel’s relationship with a number of Chelsea’s squad has deteriorated. His team selections have caused surprise and, at times, frustration among players who felt they have been unfairly left out or played out of position. That appeared to be evident in Zagreb. The boss has been bringing players back into from the cold before dropping them again regularly, including wantaway stars Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic. Ziyech started the defeat to Southampton, despite the fact he had been trying to negotiate a move out of Chelsea, with Pulisic taking his place in the following game against West Ham United. Ziyech did not look like a man trying to do his head coach any favours when he was thrown on at half-time in Zagreb. It appears to have been a deeper routed issue as the performances have got worse over time and in his last 50 games they have conceded 53 goals, a sign of the breakdown defensively which is hampering their trophy prospects. Therefore Tuchel’s legacy has drastically collapsed since he arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2021 to replace Frank Lampard, he hit the ground running by winning the Champions League in six months.

Last season Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals, only to lose to Liverpool on both occasions. They also finished third in the Premier League. In a bid to bridge the gap to champions Manchester City and Liverpool, Chelsea’s new ownership invested heavily in the summer, a record spend in one window for a Premier League club at more than £260million. Wesley Fofana arrived from Leicester, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came in from Barcelona, while Raheem Sterling was the marquee first signing from Manchester City. The German made it clear that he did not enjoy having a say on the club’s transfer business But Chelsea have made a stuttering start ahead of Saturday’s match against Fulham having already lost three times this season, all away from home at Southampton, Leeds and on Tuesday in Zagreb. The 49-year-old’s departure will no doubt put pressure on Boehly, given his popularity among the Blues supporters following the 2021 Champions League success. Tuchel also gained a lot of respect when he became the club’s spokesperson when restrictions were placed on the club, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on former owner Roman Abramovich. — Daily Mail

3Thomas Tuchel

Bailly accuses Man Utd of ‘favouring English stars’ ERIC BAILLY has sensationally accused Manchester United of “favouring English stars” who “took their place for granted.”

And he has urged the Red Devils to be more like rivals Chelsea by being unbiased towards their homegrown and academy players. Speaking to The Times, Bailly hit out at an alleged fostering of English talent at Old Trafford. The Ivorian, 28, made no secret of his displeasure at being benched by recent managers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. Bailly was left fuming last year when an unfit Harry Maguire was picked over him in United’s 4-2 defeat to Leicester. And he publicly questioned Rangnick’s selection of the Three Lions centre-back by liking a social media post calling for him to be in United’s starting XI. Like Maguire, other regulars such as Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have come under fire for their

3Eric Bailly United performances recently. And Bailly reckons the Red Devils must stop playing favourites if they are to progress back up the league table following a sharp decline. However, the now-Marseille loanee reckons new United boss Erik ten Hag is

on the right track after he axed several English starters. And Bailly holds no grudges against the Dutch tactician, who wanted to keep him at Old Trafford this season. Bailly said: “The club should avoid favouring English players and give everyone a chance. “The club should encourage competition in the dressing room. I always felt like the English players were favoured. “That’s not the case at Chelsea or other big Premier League clubs. Some take it for granted they’re going to start and that weakens the team. “Fortunately, Ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that. “I met Ten Hag at the end of last season when he went to sign his contract. “I was packing my bags because my intention was to leave, but he told me that he wanted me to stay, because he was going to give everyone minutes. “I agreed to tour with United and he kept his word, but I don’t want to play once

in a while. I want to play every week and feel important. “I’ve had good times and won titles. I played important matches and I was voted man of the match in some. “I think that when I was given my chance, I was up to it. I just lacked consistency, because I think I deserved more minutes.” However, ex-Liverpool star Jamie Carragher lashed out at Bailly’s claim. The former defender tweeted: “Absolute nonsense, Eric Bailly has been injured consistently and poor when he has played. “That’s why they keep buying players to replace him! Harry Maguire is a better player.” Erik ten Hag insisted nationality is irrelevant when it comes to his team selection process at Manchester United. “I have nothing to say about that because it was last season, I wasn’t in charge, so I don’t know the situation,” Ten Hag said. When asked if nationality would have a bearing on his team selection, he replied: “Not for me.”— The Sun

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Sports 29 Soccer

EFA needs to rescue Eswatini football – SA’s Doctor Khumalo ... Former Bafana Bafana midfielder says it is disappointing that not even one LiSwati plying his trade in SA or anywhere in the world



Look, the Football Association here in Eswatini has to seriously find a solution to the declining standard of football here.

3 Eswatini Cycling Association President Sifiso ‘Zwide’ Nxumalo

About 30 registrations so far for Inyatsi Nkonyeni cycling

By Lwazi Dlamini ‘‘It can’t be that not one player is playing in South Africa’s premier league or anywhere in the world. Eswatini used to have as many as five players in South Africa. Something is not right,” This was a missive from former Bafana Bafana midfielder, Doctor ‘16V’ Khumalo who was in the country over the past weekend to feature in the African Legends XI versus Eswatini Legends XI match organised by the African Tourism Board (ATB) and the United African Communities in Eswatini (UACE). Eswatini Legends won the game 4-2 on Saturday at Mavuso Sports Centre. Khumalo told the Eswatini Financial Times that he is concerned when a country blessed with such talent as Eswatini is not progressing. “The EFA has to sit down with all the stakeholders and diagnose the problem and then find a solution because this is not good for football in Eswatini. The country has a lot of talent as we have seen some good players coming from Eswatini in the past. Scara Thindwa, Chaklas, Cool Cat, Spoko, and Yuki are some of the players who have done well in South Africa. I am sure there are still many who can make it in South Africa if given a chance but it’s not happening. This worries me,” Khumalo said. He applauded the African Tourism Board for organising the first game between African Legends and their Eswatini counterparts. “This is a good initiative and I have no

About 30 cyclists have registered for the Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2G MTC Classic seventh annual cycling event to be held on September 17. By Bahle Gama

3 South African soccer legend Doctor Khumalo doubt it will grow even bigger and better next year. We truly enjoyed ourselves in Eswatini and the love shown by Emaswati is beautiful and I always enjoy myself here,” the former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder said. Legendary Ghanaian striker Gyan Asamoah, who attended the Reed Dance Ceremony and presented a replica gift to His Majesty King Mswati III described Eswatini as a paradise. “This is a lovely place, my brother. I am so happy to be here, and attending the Reed Dance has been the highlight of my visit. I love the Eswatini culture, and I really feel at home,” Asamoah told the Eswatini Financial Times.

The cycling event was last held in August 2019 and will be making its return post the Covid-19 turbulence that impacted all sporting activities. According to Inyatsi Marketing Manager Ncobile Dlamini, registration is still open and will close on September 14, adding that interested companies who would love to sponsor the event were also welcome. She, however, did not disclose which companies were currently on board with the sponsorship of the event and stated that “more information will be disclosed once registration has been closed”. “Those who are interested and would need more information on the sponsorship can forward their queries to the Inyatsi Marketing Manager,” she said. The Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2G MTB Classic is a mountain cycling event that has reportedly attracted international cyclists, where riders enjoy riding through the game reserve, cutting through the indigenous veld with a high chance of encountering a variety of animal species and birdlife. This year’s race categories and fees include E50 for 10km, E100 for 20km, E150 for 35km, and E250 for 65km.

Dlamini further stated that only those racing for 65 km would be given gear. “Those cycling for 10, 20, and 35 km will have to provide their own gear,” she said. In the last interview, Eswatini Cycling Association President Sifiso ‘Zwide’ Nxumalo expressed his delight over the return of the event and further thanked Inyatsi for the continued investment in cycling as one of the longest-running relationships between sports and the private sector. “The race itself presents, not just a competition but an opportunity for cyclists to have an intimate experience of a part of the Eswatini landscape. The purpose of the event is to promote the growth of cycling in Eswatini,” he said.

The race itself presents, not just a competition but an opportunity for cyclists to have an intimate experience of a part of the Eswatini landscape

Chelsea stars train under Anthony Barry after brutal sacking of Tuchel Chelsea’s stars trained for the first time since Thomas Tuchel’s reign as manager was abruptly ended by Todd Boehly on Wednesday. The German’s tenure came to an end early on Wednesday morning following the Blues’ abysmal 1-0 defeat to Dynamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Tuesday night and players trained on without the German at the helm. Boehly’s decision was made before Chelsea’s embarrassing defeat in Croatia but it was still far from business as usual for the American, who was driven into the training ground for crunch talks with the playing staff Tuchel has left behind. Chelsea are paying £15m to get rid of

Tuchel - £13m to him, £2m to his backroom staff and Brighton have given permission for Graham Potter to enter talks about taking the job, while Mauricio Pochettino is also high on the list of potential replacements for the German. Boehly - who made the decision on the 100th day into his reign since replacing Roman Abramovich - was pictured driving into the club’s training base earlier in the day. Players were pictured arriving to the club’s complex before Chelsea later shared images of them out on the training pitch following Boehly’s meeting with them. hiago Silva, Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Co had to set to work and try to concentrate on football despite the chaos and uncertainty swirling around.

3 Jorginho and Co could be playing under Graham Potter soon after he was given permission to speak to Chelsea

Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022 Eswatini Financial Times

30 Sports Soccer

Where did it all go wrong? • Eswatini has no international player worth the tag yet in the past we had as many as six • Visiting South African soccer legend Doctor ‘16V’ Khumalo throws gauntlet to EFA on issue • It’s time we stop cutting corners, put in place proper development programmes

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y dearest readers…………. “Lwazi, what really happened to Eswatini football?” Where has it all gone wrong?” That’s a question posed not by an Average Joe but the legendary South African football icon Doctor ‘16V’ Khumalo to Yours Truly after the African Legends XI/Eswatini Legends XI clash at Mavuso Sports Centre on Saturday. U-Mtungwa might not be the first one and probably not the last to pose such a question but it did really strike a chord with me because, for a person of his stature, this is truly concerning. The former Kaizer Chiefs talented midfielder did not even need to elaborate but as he did later in the night when we replaced our bloodstream with the finest Scottish nectar, he expressed disappointment that not one player from Eswatini has kept the legacy left by the likes of Absalom ‘Scara’ Thindwa, William ‘Cool Cat’ Shongwe, Abel ‘Chaklas’ Shongwe, Pele Mncina, Mlamuli ‘Sputla’ Zwane, Sibusiso ‘Spoko’ Dlamini, Dennis ‘Yuki’ Masina, Siza ‘King Pele’ Dlamini, Mfanzile ‘Fash’ Dlamini, John ‘Shisa Junior’ Mdluli, Mfanafuthi ‘Taribo’ Bhembe, Felix ‘Fela’ Badenhorst, Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze, Njabulo ‘D4D’ Ndlovu, who have all plied their trade in Mzansi. As things stand, we have only one player plying his trade in the second-tier league of Mzansi, the Motsepe Championship in Justice Figureido who is with Cape Town All Stars and not one in the DStv premiership. This reflects just how far behind our football is and how we have retrogressed over the years. At one time, when Sihlangu Semnikati converged for an international game, we had about seven foreign-based stars joining in camp. Dennis ‘Yuki’ Masina (Supersport United), John Mdluli (Hapoel Jerusalem), Maxwell ‘King Dunga’ Zikalala (Hapoel Jerusalem), Mfanzile ‘Fash’ Dlamini (Tembisa Classics), Sibusiso ‘Spoko’ Dlamini (Kaizer Chiefs), Siza ‘King Pele’ Dlamini (Jomo Cosmos), Mpumelelo ‘Flamingo’ Gamedze (Bidvest Wits) and they were all in the starting line-up. Then we were kings. Now we are paupers. At a quick glance of our national team Sihlangu starting line-up, you see a plethora of security forces team players who have no ambition of taking their football any further. After all, they are guaranteed jobs and are playing just for fun. It has been reflected in our powder-puff performances on the international stage where we are softer-than-a-marshmallow. Where did it all go wrong? Where did the wheels come off? Development, Development, Develop-

3 Legendary South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Doctor Khumalo (right) during the Eswatini versus African Legends match Mavuso Sports Centre ment, Development! We abandoned all our development programmes and cut corners, invested in muti other than developing players and now we are here, trudging in a forest yet inexplicable we can’t see the trees! The majority of the seven players who used to join our national team from their foreign teams were a product of the Umtsentse Development Programme. Since that programme was sacrificed on the altar of football political expediency, we have not had a structured programme of a similar nature. The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has over the years staged monthly or even one-day youth soccer bonanza under the pretext that its development. It has yielded no results because clearly it is not coordinated and it has no data or anything of that sort. We previously had a sponsor, Build-It who sponsored Under-13s but again, everything has fizzled out like morning dew in the face of the sun as all this was not properly coordinated. Staging monthly youth tournaments is not a development. These are events. We need a proper national devel-

opment programme that will be run professionally by the EFA. The core mandate of the EFA is to develop football in this country. FIFA, the world governing football body, is pouring millions of dollars for the simple reason that we need to develop football and give every little child of LiSwati to be a football player. FIFA is channelling E26 million to the EFA in a year yet any development programme activities are being carried out by individuals (for example, the Mashibobo Soccer Academy) and for some time, by the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE), who, if things were normal, should not be having initiatives. The EFA has deserted its chief mandate and left it to the whims of individuals and the PLE. This is wrong and they need to be call-out on this sheer dereliction of duty. Instead, we have an EFA that has turned into a feedlot, content with attending football functions or one-day events disguised as development. Like I said in this Stateof-the-Nation-Sports-Address (SONSA) last week, the FIFA grants are essential for development yet we all know the EFA long ceded that part which is their core business of existence and it is an indictment on their part that the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) is the one trying to cut the corners by formulating some youth competitions. Where are the EFA Development programmes/ structures? There is a lot wrong with many things 3Abel ‘Chaklas’ Shongwe is one of the players who managed to make it big in the tough South African league

and levels about our football yet our national football association has the temerity to spend over E8.5 million in claims and allowances in one year. How I wish we could have a breakdown of that E8.5 million cent-by-cents on where it went to. The sport is not growing. We are struggling for sponsorships. There are no development programmes worth the tag; no vision, no razzamatazz yet some people are having the time of their lives on claims and allowances in the feeding trough without a care in the world. We have been surpassed by almost countries in the COSAFA region. Madagascar, Botswana, and Namibia have all made appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations. Comoros, one of the poorest countries on the continent, has also qualified for AFCON having joined as a member of CAF only in 2003. Cape Verde, with a population of just 569 113 as of 6 September 2022, qualified for AFCON too, in 2015. Yet here we are, after 54 years of Independence, we have not qualified for AFCON, never mind the World Cup and we have not even played a COSAFA Cup final at all levels. Right now, we have not one international player worth the tag. The silk-suited souls at Sigwaca House should be ashamed of themselves. Our football needs a serious revolution even more than the country itself. We need a football indaba to address these fundamental matters which have made us potentially good but perennial bloopers on the international stage. We need to find solutions – quickly. We cannot keep doing one and the same thing and hoping for better results. Albert Einstein has a word for it – INSANITY. For instance, we really cannot expect Sitsebe Samhlekazi to suddenly be world-beaters when the national league is so badly run and when there are no regional leagues for women’s football and when they assembly for such tournaments as COSAFA Women’s Championships only three weeks before the tournament. That’s why they will be cannon fodder for the rest of the COSAFA opponents who come well prepared for tournaments like this one currently being held in Port Elizabeth. Sitsebe’s winless streak in the COSAFA tournament is a reflection of the standard of our football administration. We are cutting corners and trying our best to fit square pegs in round holes. True to the words of that Commander-In-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema’s famous quote, which best describes our football situation in this country. “For a sense of lack of imagination. They are in for it but they are tired xem. They don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. They have left everything in God’s hands. They are not in control,” That’s our situation in a nutshell. How sad! Until next week, Thatha! (Send your comments to: [email protected] or [email protected]

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Sports

31

Soccer

Multi-million Nsingizini Hotspurs village coming • • •

Ambitious Premier League rookies Nsingizini Hotspurs has long-term plans to build a Village and offices Nsingizini Hotspurs FC President Derrick Shiba says government must intervene to encourage sponsors to support football Companies supporting football must enjoy tax rebates and they should be annual subventions to teams

A

mbitious Shiselwenibased Premier League side, Nsingizini Hotspurs are eager to change the Eswatini football landscape.

3 A Nsingizini Hotspurs player in action

By Lwazi Dlamini After acquiring the status of Vovovo FC for an undisclosed amount of money two months ago, Nsingizini Hotspurs President Derrick Shiba, in an exclusive interview with Eswatini Financial Times, outlined big long-term plans which include building a Village, offices and a stadium soon. “It is our vision as a club to run football professionally and enhance the growth of talent for our players. We have projects both long-term and short-term for the club. This includes the construction of a club village and offices. Improved training facilities and construction of a local stadium,” Shiba said. He said the shortterm plans, to be covered over a two to three-year period, include, in the first year, acclimatising and maintaining the status of the club in the premier league. “Then in the second year, we are looking for domestic glory like winning one trophy and qualifying for CAF participation and being part of the top four teams in the league,” he added. Shiba said in the third year they plan to go for broke, clinching the ultimate prize which is the MTN league and also participating in the CAF Champions League. Quizzed on how he acquired the status of Vovovo FC, Shiba said they reached an agreement with the Vovovo Board of Directors to take over as the current management of the team was not able to run the day-to-day activities of the club. “As an ambitious team, we were happy to take over after a good season. It has always been our wish to improve football. So when the opportunity to

to synchronise that requirement with the current competitions e.g; 1st division, super league and Zonal league. In the current setup, an under-19 who pays for the senior team is taken to be double registered if he is then allowed to play for a lower division team under the same club structure. The provision of basic infrastructure for football clubs; Training equipment and facilities is critical for football development and this must be improved. 3 Nsingizini Hotspurs players celebrating a goal acquire Vovovo came, we took it with both Hotspurs, our approach is to contribute hands because seeing Vovovo disintegrate to the development of football in the would be counterproductive in terms of region. We thank all the stakeholders who football development,” Shiba added. Shiba have supported us even under difficult explained that the ‘Nsingizini Project’ is conditions,” he said. He stressed that in a huge investment where unmeasurable the long-term plans to build a club Village time and energy have been put together by they would like to see their players live the club’s leaders. “We note under certain professional standards. “However, we are currently very satisfied that it is an with the facilities we are currently using. accelerated We are talking to potential sponsors for project the long-term accommodation,” he noted. however Shiba believes Swazi football is general we like improving however, there is room for what improvement in the following areas; we are He highlights the areas as follows: doing. As Nsingizini

Developmental structures We need a system as to how every premier league club can be able to run its development most economically. The current way is not practical for our environment. A team will never be able to run under 15 and 19 teams. The geographical location of the clubs has a huge transport surcharge. We need 3 Nsingizini Hotspurs President Derrick Shiba

Club Administration We need to build capacity in managing our teams. Currently, our club structures are not systemised to be able to carry the workload requirement for running the team. You find that most of the teams club administrators are doing multiple roles. A club coach is also a general manager of the club and he is also part of the medical team, so there is no accountability. Funding To standardise systems or to allow clubs to meet minimum requirements to be in the premier league and NFD, there is a glaring funding requirement if as a country we want our football to grow. Without funding, it is impossible to grow the standard. The only way is for Governments to intervene. By Enabling companies to fund clubs in a way of granting tax rebates for any company which has been involved in sponsorships on sports Legislated Annual Subventions to the teams, enabling the teams to achieve club licensing status and cover some running costs.

Ex-Sundowns ‘Spider’ at Nsingizini Hotspurs Former Denver Sundowns midfielder, Mancoba ‘Spider’ Maseko is one of the experienced players who turned up for ambitious premier league rookies, Nsingizini Hotspurs during the Shiselweni Soccer Bonanza staged at King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium last weekend.

Maseko even scored for the Shiselwenibased outfit in the 2-1 win over Manzini Wanderers on Sunday. Nsingizini President Derrick Shiba confirmed that they are looking at signing experienced players in readiness of the new season. “We are still looking at bringing some new players and giving others a chance to prove themselves. Our

coach is here as you can see and by the time the league starts, we will be ready. Our ambition is to maintain the premier league status in the first season and maybe win one knockout tournament,” Shiba said. Meanwhile Manzini Wanderers also paraded a number of new players including former Mbabane Swallows left full back Vukile Khumalo. Others are centre-back Etwe, anchorman Menzi Mamba from Mbabane Highlanders, Manzini Sea Birds midfielder, Thabo Langa, former Moneni Pirates captain Menzi ‘Magawugawu’ Simelane, George Jwankie from Mhlume Peacemakers and former Mbabane Highlanders errant midfielder Sibonginkhosi ‘Gudas’ Dlamini, who made a good impression during the friendly match with Nsingizini Hotspurs.

3 Action from the Shiselweni Soccer Bonanza at King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium last weekend

Soccer

Eswatini Financial Times Friday 9 - Thursday 15 September, 2022

Tuchel’s relationship with Chelsea players soured before sacking

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AHEAD OF SUNDAY’S CAF CONFEDERATION CLASH . . .

Somhlolo artificial pitch worries Mam’khize!

• Royal AM boss Shauwn Mkhize says her team is not used to artificial turf • She says her team will fight and appeals to Emaswati to fill up Somhlolo • Chief Ally says playing at Somhlolo is an added advantage for ‘Black Bull’

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lamboyant South Africa’s Royal AM owner, Shauwn ‘Mam’khize’ Mkhize is worried sick about her team’s CAF Confederation Cup clash against Mbabane Highlanders at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday. By Lwazi Dlamini Her worry is the newly installed FIFAapproved artificial pitch at Somhlolo National Stadium which was part of the Phase 2 Rehabilitation Project which costs E15 million. Mkhize told Eswatini Financial Times this week that her team is not used to playing on an artificial pitch and as a result, the clash against Highlanders may prove to be a tough nut to crack. “It’s going to be a difficult match as we playing with a strong team that was

number two on their log last season and we are not used to playing on the artificial pitch but we will fight,” Mkhize said. She then appealed to Emaswati to come in their numbers to support the game “as football is supposed to be fun and bring people together,” Mkhize said Highlanders should not read much to the 0-1 loss Royal AM suffered in the KZN derby on Tuesday. “As for the loss, we must take it and move on. Derby games are not easy and we need to go back to the drawing board and fix our mistakes. We will lose some games and we can’t win them all. We will be ready for Sunday’s game,” she said. Highlanders Managing Director Chief Ally Kgomongwe said his team is delighted to play at Somhlolo National Stadium artificial pitch as they are used to it. “It’s a home advantage for us. I know how she feels because I have experienced such when I was running Garankuwa

3Royal AM boss Shauwn Mkhize United. That’s why I took Highlanders to the Giant Stadium in Soshanguve so that they can acclimatize to the artificial pitch. Remember when Swallows beat Platinum Stars? Platinum Stars struggled with the artificial pitch and I am happy we are playing Royal AM at Somhlolo rather than Mbombela Stadium because then Mam’khize would have been comfortable in Mbombela. Let them come to Somhlolo and we are ready for them,” Kgomongwe said. Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Communications Officer Sibongiseni Zondi confirmed to Eswatini Financial Times that the newly-installed

artificial pitch at Somhlolo National Stadium has been approved by FIFA. “It was part of Phase 2 of the Rehabilitation project of the stadium and it is FIFA-approved. The Phase 2 rehabilitation costs E15 million,” Zondi said briefly. South Africa’s Royal AM is expected to arrive in the country tonight in readiness for the eagerly-awaited CAF Confederation Cup clash against Highlanders at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff is at 3:00 pm. The entrance fee is E50. (Read the eight-page supplement pullout of the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round clash inside)

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