Cops want to kill me – Vu­vu­lane ring­leader

Sunday Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STO­RIES BY FOR­TUNE NDLANGAMANDLA

In hid­ing Vu­vu­lane farm­ers’ ring­leader Sithem­biso Shongwe has made star­tling al­le­ga­tions against po­lice, say­ing they want him dead.

Shongwe is one of the farm­ers at the fore­front of the Vu­vu­lane case, where ag­grieved farm­ers are fight­ing both tooth and nail as they want the farm to be re­turned to them af­ter they were evicted from it.

The farm­ers claim they were evicted from the farm by the Royal Eswa­tini Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion (RSSC) and Tibiyo TakaNg­wane.

How­ever, re­cently, both RSSC and Tibiyo TakaNg­wane dis­as­so­ci­ated them­selves from the al­leged evic­tions.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view on Fri­day morn­ing, Shongwe said plain clothed po­lice of­fi­cers had been to Vu­vu­lane hunt­ing for him. He stated that the first group of of­fi­cers came on De­cem­ber 24, 2018 look­ing for him.

Luck­ily, he man­aged to es­cape as an in­sider had in­formed him in time that a mes­sage had been com­mu­ni­cated that he should be killed.

Since then, Shongwe has dis­ap­peared into an un­known lo­ca­tion, which he said he would not dis­close for his safety.

How­ever, the lo­ca­tion is known to this pub­li­ca­tion. He de­cided to go into hid­ing af­ter an­other group of plain clothed po­lice of­fi­cers es­ti­mated to be around 13 came look­ing for him in the same vicin­ity, where he’s been hid­ing.

“Mem­bers of the Royal Eswa­tini Po­lice Ser­vices (REPS) in the com­pany of of­fi­cers from the Oper­a­tional Sup­port Ser­vices Unit (OSSU) once again came on Thurs­day look­ing for me.

“When they did not find me, they at­tacked some mid­dle aged men who were en­joy­ing the New Year’s vibes in one of the pop­u­lar hang­out spots,” Shongwe said.

He said he had granted the news­pa­per the in­ter­view so that the world would know that should he be killed or van­ish, the po­lice would be re­spon- sible for it. He said his only sin was to be one of the ring­leaders who were fight­ing that the farm should be re­turned to the Vu­vu­lane farm­ers.

Dur­ing the search, Shongwe pointed out that the po­lice have been raid­ing home­steads of peo­ple he was close to.

Mean­while, Chief Po­lice In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer (CPICO) Su­per­in­ten­dent Phindile Vi­lakati said po­lice have not been l ook­ing for Shongwe.

How­ever, she men­tioned that Shongwe was on the po­lice wanted list as he stands to an­swer on cases of as­sault.

She em­pha­sised that po­lice would not go out look­ing for Shongwe as the long hand of the law would even­tu­ally catch up with him. Dis­missed

Vi­lakati dis­missed Shongwe’s al­le­ga­tions that he was be­ing pur­sued by po­lice for be­ing the Vu­vu­lane farm­ers’ ring­leader.

“Why would you pur­sue some­one for be­ing a ring­leader? We want him for two as­sault cases but we haven’t been on the street to look for him,”

Vi­lakati said.

She sus­pected that the al­le­ga­tions that po­lice wanted to kill him were made up as a way to hide some­thing else.

Of note, the Vu­vu­lane is­sue has de­tailed back­ground but of late the re­ports of the farm­ers’ evic­tions have at­tracted the Pres­i­dent of the Congress of South African Trade Unions Zingiswa Losi who of­fered to in­ter­vene on be­half of the farm­ers.

On the other hand, the Royal Eswa­tini Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion (RSSC) has in­di­cated in­ter­est to ad­dress what it called the ‘one-sided story cur­rently be­ing prop­a­gated’. RSSC al­legedly wants to meet the Trade Union Congress of Swazi­land (TUCOSWA) over the is­sue.

Former work­ers of the Vu­vu­lane Ir­ri­ga­tion Farm­ers (VIF) PTY LTD claim to have not been paid their ben­e­fits 12 years later.

VIF PTY LTD liq­uida­tor Sibu­siso Motsa said the liq­ui­da­tion was un­der­way be­cause Tibiyo TakaNg­wane had agreed to write off E27 mil­lion in debts.

The teenager show­ing an in­jury on his el­bow which he fered when he was al­legedly as­saulted by the po­lice. suf-

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