MBABANE:Eswatini Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini is embroiled in a diplomatic scandal after he allegedly used fraudulent and corrupt means to acquire South African citizenship as well as a “bogus Identity Book and a passport.”
A joint investigation by Sunday Independent andthisSwaziland News established that Dlamini was in possession of South African ID 6803156100068 and a South African passport that were later discovered by Home Affairs investigators to have been obtained illegally.
Dlamini,a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of MTN Eswatini, was appointed as the 8th Prime Minister by His Majesty King Mswati III in October 2018.According to Eswatini oral history Dlamini’s great-grandfather Prince Malunge, is one of the people who helped to raise King Sobuza, the father of King Mswati.
Home Affairs investigation reports seen by our journalists state that Dlamini’s South African ID and passport were “investigated and found to have been obtained illegally” before they were “blocked and deleted from the system of the department in 2019.”
Dlamini, who is an influential member of the Eswatini Royal family,this week failed to answer eight specific questions about his South African citizenship but admitted through acting government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini, that he used to be in possession of the ID and passport.
Avoiding to our specific questions, Eswatini acting government Spokesperson said: “This serves to clarify that his Excellency the Prime Minister was in possession of a valid South African Identity Document and passport which has not been in use since his return to the Kingdom in 2000. In November 2018, the Prime Minister applied for a renunciation of his South African citizenship which process was finalized last year. After finalization of the process, his Excellency no longer holds a South African Identity and passport. The process was undertaken formally through diplomatic channels.”
Butdiplomatic sources claim that after Dlamini was busted with his fraudulent documents he pleaded with senior South African government officials as well as Home Affairs bosses not to ban him fromenteringSouth Africa.
Home Affairs Spokesperson Siya Qoza this week also failed to answer specific questions about the department’s investigation into Dlamini’smatter.
”Your questions relate to information of a third party. We can\'t comment because engagements between the Department of Home Affairs and individuals are confidential.\" Qoza said.
But asenior Home Affairs official this week said: “I can confirm that our investigation established that the Prime Minister of Eswatini had a bogus South African citizenship as well as a bogus South African ID and passport.
Our joint investigation established that the matter was handled by the highest authorities in South Africa and kept under wraps to protect Dlamini.
Spokesperson of the Young Community League of South Africa (YCLSA), Dloze Matooane, said as a political organization they will make sureDlamini is banned from entering South Africa for allegedly committing this crime.
“South Africa is a democratic country and therefore it is absolutely wrong for the Department of Home Affairs to treat eSwatini Prime Minister as a special case compared to other similar cases.As much as other ordinary citizens who committed such crime were banned from entering South Africa, the same should apply to the current eSwatini Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini” he said.
Reached for comments by this publication, Zingiswa Losi, the President of the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) said as an organization, they will engage the government on the status of the matter and thereafter,they will comment.
“As COSATU we will have to get the full story and check with our government on the evidence presented then comment” said the COSATU President.
But Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) urged the South African government to ban Dlamini from entering their country for violating the law.
“South Africa is a country known for upholding the rule of law and we expect the Prime Minister to be dealt with in accordance with the law for forging the ID. The law should be applied to anyone who commits a crime regardless of status in society” said the SNAT President.
Wandile Dludlu, the Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO)saidthis should be an eye opener for the people of Swaziland that the King always appoint individuals who are not credible.
“As PUDEMO we believe this is eye opening for the people of Swaziland that the King always appoint individuals who are not credible but are portrayed as God fearing by the media. This reflects back to His Majesty that he associates himself with people who are not credible and we hope Swazis will eventually see that the future of this country is uncertain under the hands of such leaders whose integrity remain questionable”, said the PUDEMO Secretary General.
Dlamini, is married to Portia Thwala- Dlamini, a Swazi citizenand hewas ESwatini MTN CEO from 2010 until his appointment as the prime minister in 2018.
King Mswati III is a 10% shareholder at ESwatini MTN but also have full control of the 41% shares by the ESwatini Post and Telecommunication Corporations(EPTC).
Dlamini also used to work for ABSA in South Africa in the late 90s before returning to Swaziland in 2000.
Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini