By NONDUDUZO KUNENE | 2020-06-04
CLOSE to 150 people, who included Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, cabinet ministers, chiefs, organisations as well as people under Mhlambanyatsi Inkhundla showed up yesterday at the constituency for a COVID-19 sensitisation exercise.
The exercise was the last sensitisation activity in the Manzini region.
According to the COVID-19 regulations, gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited and it should not last more than two hours.
While addressing the gathering the prime minister acknowledged that the gathering was above the permitted number. The Member for Parliament of Mhlambanyatsi Inkhundla is Petros Mavimbela, who is also Speaker in the House of Assembly. “I hope we will not be arrested for being above the required number of people in a gathering,” he said.
The premier stated that in as much as the law prohibits a gathering of more than 20 people, but it has an allowance of exceeding the number when there are exercises such as the one that was conducted yesterday, which was to sensitise people under the constituency about coronavirus.
The COVID-19 sensitising exercise is spearheaded by the ministry of tinkhundla administration and development led by Minister David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala.
The prime minister applauded the ministry for living up to the King’s expectation that every Liswati in the country should be equipped and sensitised with all the information they need to know about coronavirus so that they can be able to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the virus.
Shortly after the announcement of sensitising the nation about COVID-19, the ministry engaged with all four regional administrators so that they spearhead the exercise in their regions.
“All 59 constituencies would be sensitised on COVID-19,” he said.
The prime minister said the sensitisation exercise demonstrates the strength and relevance of the Tinkhundla system of governance whose core mandate was grassroot level development.
He said government was benefitting from the efficiency of the Tinkhundla system which has a strong link with the people on the ground to ensure that COVID-19 messages are spread to more people
. “We are living through an unprecedented time in our history when a virus has taken hold of our way of life in a manner we have never known before. It goes without saying that without a consented effort to be actively involved in all efforts to contain the spread of the virus, we may be heading for more challenging times,” he said.
He stated that the National Task Force, working through many clusters, including regional teams, has covered a lot of ground educating Emaswati about the virus and easing the burden many citizens were carrying in the midst of a virus that has forced the closure of many businesses, especially small and medium sized businesses.
Using tinkhundla structures, the premier said, government has been able to spread COVID-19 information and health precautionary messages that are crucial in equipping all people at all levels on how to deal with the pandemic. He said government was confident that the sensitisation exercise has imparted adequate knowledge needed to fight the pandemic. It is not yet time to relax and slowdown in reaching more people. “We expect community representatives to embark on a door to door sensitisation exercise of their own. Community leaders have a huge role to play in ensuring compliance with the covid-19 regulations in their communities,” he said.
CRIME RATE DROPS BY 90 PER CENT IN MANZINI REGION
Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) says in the past 69 days of the partial lockdown, there has been a significant decline of crime rate.
This was said by Manzini region officer Inspector Bonginkhosi Dlamini while educating the people who attended the exercise about the COVID-19 regulations.
Dlamini said there had been a 90 per cent decline in crime rate since the lockdown.
He mentioned that there had been a serious decline in assault cases. The officer said they noticed a significant decline after the closure of bars.
He added that there was even a greater decline after the suspension of alcohol manufactures and wholesaling as a lot of bottle stores closed. Dlamini said a lot of assault incidents occurred in drinking spots in Manzini.
“We discovered that people fight a lot once they are drunk,” he said.
He commended government for the step it took towards controlling the sale of alcohol. Dlamini pleaded with legislators that going forward, there should be strict rules around the selling of alcohol as they noted it was the root of all crimes in Manzini.
The officer said they also noticed a decline in street robberies. He said the strict regulations brought by COVID-19 limited the numbers of random and dodgy people roaming the streets. This is because the rules are strict on loitering.
“Some people bebalandza tingani,” he said. He further pleaded with chiefs to work with them by forming strict COVID-19 regulations in their communities. Dlamini said the COVID-19 regulations allow Chiefs to make jurisdiction laws.
He said these laws would make residents to take extra precautions. He said this would also decrease the number of tipoti which are back by popular demand. “After the closure of bars, people resorted to make their own brew using seasonal fruits,” he said.
He added that the laws would also put a stop to the children who are found loitering and playing soccer.
ONLY FIVE PEOPLE ALLOWED IN MOURNING ROOM
The ministry of health has announced that the permitted number of people who should be in a mourning house should not exceed five.
This was revealed by Health Promotion Officer Sipho Makhubu. The officer said they had noticed that Emaswati strongly believe in mourning (kufukama) when a family member passes away.
He said he understands that the law permits a gathering of not more than 20 people, but the law is different when it comes to the number of people inside the mourning house.
“Indlu yekufukama should have a maximum of five people,” he said. He said this was because a flat cannot accommodate 20 people as it is impossible to keep social distancing.
The officer further said Emaswati should stop washing corpses but let the funeral parlours do that as they know how to follow safety measures. He said this did not apply to COVID-19 corpse only. He said research indicates that a corpse is usually highly reactive, so it has a potential of spreading infectious viruses.
He urged Emaswati to be extra careful and take their health serious as the country can only win the battle against COVID-19 only if people follow all the safety measures. “People can protect themselves up to 40 per cent, the environment contributes 20 per cent, government 10 per cent while the other 30 per cent is from the genetically build-up of a person,” he said.
Makhubu strongly spoke against the famous elbow greeting. He said people should refrain from elbow greeting as the inner side of the elbow is used for coughing and sneezing thus the elbow can have germs that may cause viruses such as COVID-19.
This is because the virus can stay in surfaces for up to nine hours. The officer added that people should learn to sun-dry their face masks after washing them.
Govt supports all COVID-19 initiatives
Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini says government will continue to support all initiatives aimed at combating coronavirus and is committed to engaging all stakeholders from time to time.
The prime minister was speaking during the COVID-19 sensitising exercise at Mhlambanyatsi Inkhundla.
He said government recognised the contribution of its development partners who had donated masks, sanitisers and other necessary utilities that have been distributed in the different tinkhundla over the past weeks.
He added that government also acknowledged the partnership forged with Montigny relating to the provision of accommodation for employees posted at the newly built inkhundla structure. The ministry of tinkhundla administration and development reached an agreement with Montigny to acquire the old inkhundla structure for their use in exchange of building staff houses for the workers.
He said ensuring that staff was accommodated closer to the inkhundla would help in enhancing the effective decentralisation of government services. “Our communities, though adversely affected by this virus, have embraced this exercise and are working hand in hand with government and non-governmental agencies to help the country contain the spread,” he said. He also applauded the Manzini Regional COVID 19 Task Team under the leadership of Chief Gija for their facilitation skills.
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