Andrew Le-Roux, the Montigny Investments Chief Executive Officer(CEO) is entitled to his own opinion in the ongoing battle between the Federation of Eswatini Business Community(FESBC) and capitalists but,the problem arose when an misinformed opinion is manipulated and regarded as facts or evidence.
In journalism or media, editors enjoy more independence when writing opinion articles but apart from the fact that,an opinion is not easily challengeable in court, the basic principle suggests that,opinion articles must be fair and be influenced by facts or evidence.
Firstly,let agree with Montigny or Andrew Le-Roux that some emaSwati are benefiting from the forestry business,my grandfather Prince Mgungu died owning forests worth over R2million,indeed through other informal businesses dealing with Montigny,he was earning a living by selling timber to South Africa.
With that money, my grandfather was able to buy fertilizer for subsistence farming and feed the family.
As the Dlamini family,we were indirectly benefitting from the forests owned by my grandfather but the businesspeople who were sourcing the timber from us,later came back to negotiate the prices saying the timber was now sold to South Africa via Montingy Investments and Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg’s company was paying less.
This means I am fully aware of what Mavela Sigwane from FESBC was mentioning in the letter to the Eswatini Competition Commission(ECC), labelling FESBC a terrorist organization entity and insulting Sigwane will not wash away the economic hardships currently faced by emaSwati.
What happened thereafter, Montigny owner Neal Rijikernberg’s agents were going around iMiphakatsi across the country trying to influence the transfer of forests owned by emaSwati on Swazi Nation Land(SNL) to the Royal Kraals(iMiphakatsi)for the benefit of BoBandlancane,Chiefs and the influential capitalists, that was the beginning of trouble and the battle against capitalists.
We had to fight vigorously with my grandfather to protect the forests belonging to our family,luckily, the forests are situated in a place where King’s Liphovela that gave birth to our family was buried.
At some point,I had to personally deal with the fake Indvuna of LaMgabhi eTiyeni the late Alfred Maseko because the capitalists were approaching uMphakatsi,seeking to buy or grab the forests belonging to my grandfather.
One editor now Hhukwini Member of Parliament(MP) Alec Lushaba(Sikhonti at LaMgabhi) who was also siding with the uMphakatsi conmen was also dealt with decisively.
It was a serious battle unfortunately those who were reading it on newspapers never understood that,it was a battle against capitalists and uMphakatsi conmen seeking to grab what rightfully belong to our family.
This means such issues raised by FESBC, if not handled properly, are likely to manifest into physical confrontation with capitalists and we don’t want that to happen in this country, let us learn to dialogue and address issues before they explode.
Perhaps,we can say in our case the capitalists failed because upon conducting a research,they discovered that,my grandfather was linked to the royal family but,what about the powerless who are not connected to anyone in this country?.
I’m not interested in what businessman Mavela Sigwane from FESBC did, whether he is an alleged fraudster or not but,Tum DuPont and his FESBC team are raising genuine concerns here that must be addressed through a dialogue not to label local businesspeople as terrorists for demanding equal distribution of wealth and national resources.
I am sharing this because I was very close to my grandfather at some point, he took his gun and asked me to accompany him as he patrols his forests because he said, there were people from uMphakatsi who wanted to grab his forests,he wanted to shoot them.
I am told that Neal Rijikernberg and King Mswati later grabbed and registered some of the farms on Swazi Nation Land(SNL), in some areas under Silulu Holdings, the intention was to grab ownership of the land from indigenous emaSwati.
But let me once again state categorically that, the King does not own the land in this country, he is holding it in trust for emaSwati and Chiefs are servants of the King overseeing the land on behalf of the King and by extension, us as emaSwati, this must be clear and well-understood by all capitalists.
Well,let me advise Andrew Le-Roux to refrain from adding fuel in this matter of an economic struggle by labeling emaSwati under FESBC as terrorists, one day he might skip this country through informal crossing running away from emaSwati because, the truth is, emaSwati are made to be poor and hungry and the anger is escalating.
Personally, I like Andrew Le-Roux as a hardworking capitalist,we appreciate that Montigny created jobs for emaSwati and some of us, including my grandfather as mentioned, was benefiting by selling timber to South Africa.
But emaSwati are now complaining that Montigny is grabbing everything and they are hungry, if raising a genuine complaint in this country is terrorism then, we will have a problem.
The solution here is to address the problem not to label individuals as terrorists.
As a journalist,I cannot promote the persecution of foreign investors because for a country to develop, Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) is key and/or fundamental.
But having said that,FDIs must complement Domestic Investments(DIs)for the benefit of all citizens.
Montigny CEO Andrew Le-Roux must be careful, the concerns raised by FESBC are likely to trigger a political unrest if not addressed, these are local businesspeople who also pay salaries to their employees like Montigny.
It should be noted that, in a country where about 70% of the population lives below the poverty line, when businesspeople cry citing economic capture,we must not scrutinize the complaint in isolation but in the context of job loses and the escalation of poverty levels in the country particularly because, FESBC members pay salaries to their employees who then feed their families and relatives.
Therefore, if they are crying,this means there’s no business,everything is being grabbed by royal connected entities that include Inyatsi Group Holdings and Montigny Investments amongst others and we have a valid reason to listen to them and relevant institutions like the Competition Commission and Government must find a solution.
In conclusion and in light of the aforementioned, it is therefore important to emphasize that, these issues are not only about businessmen Mavela Sigwane and Tum DuPont, Montigny CEO Andrew Le-Roux and Inyatsi Group Holdings must stop personalizing a matter of vital public interest.
Montigny CEO Andrew Le-Roux.