MBABANE: Sibusiso Nhlabatsi, a human rights lawyer said the courts should protect powerless citizens from the continuous demolitions and unlawful evictions in the Swazi Nation Land (SNL).
Speaking to this publication on Tuesday in the midst of demolitions at Mangwaneni in Mbabane, the human rights lawyer said the law remains clear that no citizen should be evicted the land without any compensation. He said most citizens who were subsequently evicted from their land had followed all the necessary processes of Kukhonta(acquiring land) in terms of the Swazi Law and Custom, but they later became victims of a power-struggle between the country’s traditional and political forces.
“Once these citizens settle in the land after following the necessary procedure in terms of the Swazi Law and Custom they are then evicted, the perpetrators normally claim that land is either a farm or an extension of a town. It is very important for the courts not to rush and issue orders that warrants such evictions merely on the basis of ‘who owns the land’ without conducting an enquiry on how those evicted settled in that particular land. The courts should protect the right to human dignity and other fundamental rights that are normally violated in the midst of such evictions. There’s a huge problem in this country regarding the rightful authorities of Mangwaneni, not only in Mbabane but within all the towns as we know that Mangwaneni is not only in Mbabane. It is still not clear whether Mangwaneni is a Swazi Nation Land (SNL) based in town or it is under the Town Councils” he said.
When asked to clearly specify the rights that are normally violated when the citizens are evicted, the lawyer cited human dignity and the right to own property among others.
“This violates the right to human dignity, to own a property, the Constitution is very clear that victims should be compensated. Furthermore, such situations are degrading to the victims and this also affects the rights of children and the whole family. It is in this regard that the courts should protect the citizens with the Constitution” said the human rights lawyer.
A home being demolished