Category: News

Jovel’Industry Launch Artwork – An Impression by Honest Lihle Mhlanga

Nick Jackson Handover to artist Honest Mhlanga

On the 15th September, Business Eswatini partnered with the Eswatini Events Managers and Promoters Association to launch the Jovel’Industry campaign which has been on the lips of every artist since then. The event was headlined by notable entertainment icons including the patron Mthunzi ‘Shadow’ Zwane, artists Nomalungelo, Vutsamlilo, M-Nation, Dj’s CDQ, Misto-soul and comedians Gogo and Ndosh. On the sidelines, fine artist Honest Mhlanga was sketching his impression of the whole event and campaign. The resultant artwork was then auctioned by the host of the event, BE CEO – E. Nathi Dlamini who also bid on behalf of Nick Jackson who is the Managing Director of RES Corporation. Nick outbid the Minister of Health Hon. Lizzie Nkosi and eventually got the piece for E 7,000.00. Yesterday, 28th September 2021, Nick Jackson visited BE to handover the cash to Honest Mhlanga in the company of his wife Vanessa Jackson and Res Corporation Public Affairs Manager Sifiso Nyembe. The brief and cosy event was led by E. Nathi Dlamini. The below are remarks that were made by the two CEOs.    

NICK JACKSON REMARKS

The auction took place during the Jovel’Industry vaccination launch of a collaboration between Business Eswatini and the Entertainment Association. I sadly could not make it but Nathi thankfully, took it upon himself to be my proxy. I am grateful for the small bidding show that ensued thereafter. In fact, that’s how I know that some people just understand you without much effort, and Nathi is one of them. He was very generous with my money – but I appreciate it for the end it has come to meet. I love what Honest is doing and have been a great admirer of his work for a long time now. He articulated this piece and being the eventual winner of it is gratifying beyond description because it is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Entertainment Industry Suffering

The entertainment industry has been on a protracted restriction and I am very happy to have gotten the opportunity to make my contribution towards one of the artists who have felt the harsh reality of it. Indeed, it is not enough but if we could multiply these small efforts they could add up to something big and sustainable.

On another interesting note, I saw the footage of our ‘vicious’ bidding battle with the Hon. Minister of Health and I am not proud of what Nathi did on my behalf. Of course it is satisfying but it was not the intention to beat a Minster especially one of Hon. Lizzie Nkosi’s stature. I am also sad for the minister because she has done phenomenally well in providing leadership on the response to the pandemic. I am also aware that often times she has been forced to take very difficult decisions which hardly resonated with all of us equally. World over, the unprecedented pandemic has led to economic and social turmoil and we just all wish it would go away. As Eswatini and the local business community, we have not been spared but thankfully we now have effective measures in our hands to steer ourselves out of this mess. The non-pharmaceutical measures have proven effective even against the strongest on the latest variants of COVID-19. Fast-forward to late-2021, we have another measure which has also proven to be extremely effective in preventing deaths and severe illness from COVID-19: The COVID-19 Vaccine. One would hope that we may all take the vaccine as soon as possible in order to avoid falling into the expensive and dangerous claws of the virus at a time when our health systems are stretched beyond limits. Taking the jab would also ease the strain on the industries which have been under lengthy restrictions. So today, I also kindly encourage all of the patrons of the entertainment, tourism, hospitality and sports industries to do the right thing and take their jabs. If you have not been vaccinated I urge you to do so. Jovel’Industry soon!!

The handover

Today I am pleased to fulfill my obligations by happily making a payment of E 7000.00 towards what I think is an exquisite work of art’’. I do hope that over time this painting will appreciate in value; and I’m sure it certainly will, given the level of expertise and ingenuity that has gone into it. I further would like to encourage Honest to push the boundaries of artistic expression as he has done with my art piece. Honest I would like to thank you and to encourage you never to give up. You are at the twilights of your career and certainly better times lie ahead of you. Keep up with the positive attitude and resilient spirit of enterprise.

Lastly, I would like to thank Business Eswatini for always staying closer to the needs of industry. The vaccination exercise and Jovel’Industry campaign would not ordinarily be what BE is expected to drive but because of the passion for business and the economy they are going even beyond their boundaries to assist our ailing hospitality, entertainment and sports industry. Thank you very much for that. 

BE CEO

Nick Jackson: The Posterboy to Emulate

Nick Jackson did not only buy the piece at the going price but added to it a nice premium; something which was outstanding and very generous of him. This is commendable particularly because around this time all artists are suffering the brunt of the economic malaise which seems like it is not going away at a time when we all want it to go.

All CEO’s, business people and the general public at large should emulate Nick’s example and support these artists who are also young and upcoming entrepreneurs whom we hope will bud to become big businesses in future.

Business Eswatini is very passionate about young people and still advocates for that they are accorded all the support they need in order for our economy to have a resilient base upon which to build successful enterprises. It is in the power and dynamism of the youth that will also fast-track the evolution and adaptation rate to the new normal in order to ensure business continuity into the future.

As we are here supporting a youth artist, we again urge the youth of Eswatini to get vaccinated in their numbers in order to reopen the whole entertainment, hospitality and tourism industries who are also critical in the survival of the economy through improved balance of payments. Vaccinating is our biggest gift of life to our artists.

#Ngyabuya/ #Syabuya Campaign

The COVID-19 vaccine has thus far proven to be an effective measure to
control the spread and the ugly effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which has
spared no one, including the business sector. Most businesses were placed on
restrictions which led to a significant number of them being closed down and
together with decent jobs under threat. In Eswatini, the hospitality, sports and
entertainment industries have been placed on a protracted restriction leading
to heavy losses which cannot be sustained into the future. This phenomenon has
caused a lot of anguish for the players of the industry and it is very alarming.
Given the arrival of the vaccine which the above-mentioned industries have
long been advocating for, there is hope on the horizon. Government has
made the clarion call for everyone to get the jab as soon as possible in
order for the nation to reach herd immunity at record speed. Business Eswatini,
in recognition of the need to help save lives and avert further decimation of
these industries which are part of the macro-level business, has had to
intervene on the situation. She has partnered with government to expedite
the delivery of the vaccine to the private sector alongside other implementing
partners. Of late, the vaccine has been made accessible to anyone above the
ages of 18 regardless of occupation and/or social standing.

With that being said though, there seems to be a new common enemy. Vaccine
hesitancy.


There have been a lot of unfounded theories making rounds especially on the
digital platforms which have not escaped the attention of the youth in
particular. A lot have taken the bait and are hesitant to take the vaccine. The
same youth between the ages 18 – 35 years are the majority and they are
the ones who believe that they will be spared from the dangers posed by the
pandemic because their immune systems are purportedly indomitable in this
connection. This group is unfortunately also the target market for the hospitality,
sports and entertainment industry players.


Due to the foregoing all players of the industry need to come together and
promote vaccine acceptance among themselves and their fans. If the industry
waits, it loses time and opportunities to reach the collective goal of herd immunity
where all restrictions will be relaxed to allow the industry breathe again.

This is where comes in the concept – Ngyabuya/ Syabuya is a drive that seeks
to unite the industry players to speak with one voice to their fans and shift
the mindset of the youth towards vaccine acceptance in an all-encompassing
fashion. These include artists, sports personalities, media personalities, event
organizers, celebrities and/or social figures, influencers in all categories It is
believed that these, if they speak and stand together, would command a huge
influence that will deliver the call to action to the youth. If the youth make the
move, certainly the other laggards from advanced age groups will be
persuaded likewise. And with that, we will all reach our collective national
goal.


What:
Representatives from the above-named categories will be requested to be the
faces of the campaign which will be hugely populated on both traditional and
social media. They will record video clips and take photos on the vaccination
day for their use on their platforms. Artists who can provide entertainment as
the vaccination drive continues will be welcome to do so.


When:
15 September, 2021, Time: 1000hrs

How:
Vaccination site will be set up at Business Eswatini premises where all invited
artists and personalities will get their jabs. Those that have already vaccinated
will do some dummy shots for purposes of the campaign. No one should be left
behind for any reason.

Where:
Business Eswatini premises
NB:
Business Eswatini does not commit to sponsor any shows on the day, but certainly
will consider any courtesy acts for future collaborations.

URGENT & IMPORTANT NOTICE: REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS FOR COVID-19 VACCINE TODAY.

We are excited to share some good news that Business Eswatini in alliance with SWABCHA will be rolling out a COVID-19 vaccination programme to the entire private sector of Eswatini imminently. This initiative is courtesy of the Ministry of Health and local Development Partners to whom we are very thankful. We are excited because this vaccine comes at a time when the third wave has begun to hit the country.  We are, and have been, very uncomfortable with the level of protection of our private sector employees against the virus

Since the first round of lockdowns the economy has been on a downward spiral and a large number of businesses have suffered as a consequence. The common culprit has been none other than the virus.

It is against this backdrop that we feel privileged to be part of the exercise of inoculating the private sector in all the regions of the country. We feel there is no better way to serve the people than to protect them from a deadly virus. For this reason we would like to applaud the ministry of health, SWABCHA and our development partners for making this dream come true for Business Eswatini.

We therefore require that each company register with us as soon as possible. This can be done in 4 simple steps:

  1. Download the registration form via this link: https://business-eswatini.co.sz/forms/
  2. Fill out the form (an example has been made for you)
  3. Email the form back to these emails:info@business-eswatini.co.sz and programs@swabcha.org.sz
  4. Like our Facebook Page for further updates:  https://www.facebook.com/businesseswatini

We encourage you to share this update among all business people within your reach as our aim is to ensure that all businesses keep their doors open amidst the threat of another deadly strain of the virus. We believe that the roll-out will be a huge success through cooperation from all parties involved.

For further enquiries do not hesitate to contact our office via email to: mbusos@business-eswatini.co.sz or programs@swabcha.org.sz

Business Eswatini’s Submission to the SADC Troika – 19th July 2020

Preamble:

Whereas; at the outset, on behalf of the private sector we would like to express our sympathies for the loss of life in recent days and the unnecessary destruction to innocent people’s properties and possessions.

Whereas, Business Eswatini (BE) is the apex representative body of the private sector in the Kingdom of Eswatini accounting for 90% of private sector GDP in the country;

Whereas, BE membership is the country’s largest employer in the formal sector with around 75, 000 employees; a distant second being the nation’s civil service; we accept as the private sector’s role to create the jobs which the nation needs. We also accept it as truth that for these jobs to be created, investment projects, both local and foreign, need to be promoted.

Whereas; we can assume the political unrest will serve to deter investors from investing in the country; thereby depriving the private sector of the opportunity to create more jobs which are needed by the country, especially our youth in whose bracket unemployment is disproportionately much higher. It will be sometime before investor confidence is restored.

Whereas, BE is by its nature and constitution an ‘apolitical’ institution which does not involve itself in politics whatsoever. Ours is to serve the interests of the private sector and by so doing, we believe we serve the interests of the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini and the government of the day.

Whereas, the fiscal burden of the country is by way of taxation financed by BE through the commercial activities and tax contributions of its members whose location crisscross the length and breadth of the country.

It does not escape our attention that the performance of the private sector has a direct bearing to the prosperity, or otherwise, of the country. It is the private sector  that creates the national wealth needed by this country and as BE, it has always been a privilege to be part of nation-building through our business activities.

Whereas, SACU receipts constitute almost half of the country’s national total revenues, which revenues come from regional trade and commercial transactions conducted almost exclusively by Business Eswatini. This being the case, therefore, any disturbances that disrupt trade and commerce in general, and in particular our supply chain as a net importer of goods, will invariably affect the revenues of the kingdom. The recent disturbances in our supply chain routes mean that commercial trade was severely compromised, if not driven to a complete halt in some instances; which by extension means that national revenues desperately needed by the country to tackle urgent national matters like COVID-19, will take a heavy knock particularly at a time when it can ill-afford.

Whereas, the fixed assets in the form of buildings, plant and equipment, commercial vehicles and other means of commerce are invariably owned and operated by Business Eswatini membership across the country. As such, their destruction through arson attacks and rampant looting means that Business Eswatini membership were the biggest losers in the recent riots. Most of these businesses which were destroyed were uninsured as the perceived risk of this unfortunate occurrence was extremely low given the long history of political stability of the country. It is not presumptuous to think that some of them have no chance at resuscitation at all.

The losses suffered by the private sector are currently being assessed and early indications suggest that the losses could run in the lower billions of Emalangeni when one factors in stock looted, damage to factory buildings and other critical business infrastructure; disruptions in trade and foregone revenues that would otherwise have been achieved. All of these losses are being calculated as we speak and an accurate figure will be known in due course.

Whereas, the political mayhem happens against the backdrop COVID-19 which had singularly caused considerable damage both to the economy and the lives of emaSwati. A considerable amount of joblessness in the market has worsened and new investment projects to replace the lost jobs have been slow in coming. In the absence of a decent social payment to keep jobless people going, means that the level of discontent has been escalating.

Therefore; we as Business Eswatini had called, and have continued to do so to this day, on all parties concerned to engage in some form of dialogue in the days preceding what would eventually become a calamitous event in the life of Business Eswatini.      

The private sector will require financial assistance to rebuild the businesses destroyed during the events; this in turn will save the jobs which many emaSwati desperately need.

Chronological record of Unrest events

Until the unfortunate recent developments, Eswatini had been undisputedly known as the beacon of peace and tranquility with a colorful and all-inclusive culture. The beautiful sights of the mountainous Kingdom coupled with conducive climatic conditions are unmatched. In fact, these factors combined arguably make the Eswatini a stable and a very good place for investment.

The country experienced a very rare wave of protests in the beginning of July 2021 which quickly escalated into ugly and deadly riots. The fracas led to rampant looting and indiscriminate destruction of business establishments most of which were deliberately torched. While we are told that the long arm of the law will eventually deal with the perpetrators, it will still not make up for the damage already done on the ground; neither will it alleviate the huge cost burden to be carried by innocent business people. The business community finds itself in the ‘middle of a creek without a paddle’.

Highlight of Events:

27 June – Announcement of “Kungahlwa Kwenile”, in this context it metaphorically means ‘we inflict the most damage once it is dark’: this campaign resulted in the looting and burning down of infrastructure, which included business establishments. This was announced to start on the 29th June 2021.

28 June – Protestors forcibly make their way into shops, loot them of goods and burn down in separate areas of Matsapha and its surroundings.    

29 June – Looting and torching down of shops and some factories continues sporadically across the whole country even spreading to rural areas. Initially, they had targeted at specific structures but later spread to other business community including small general dealers in remote villages.

Major towns characterized by scenes of violence, increased looting of shops, traffic jams and unofficial traffic roadblocks by civilians on all the roads of the country with civilians demanding “toll fees”.

Cargo in transit looted from trucks and then set on fire resulting in more businesses losses.

Security forces deployed within the cities resulting to scenes of commotion as city center is cleared, further leading to major upsets and disturbances to businesses. All businesses close down indefinitely.

Internet blackout leading to increased difficulties in transacting business.

Burning and looting continues through the night within Matsapha, the industrial hub and other towns, further exacerbating an already volatile and unstable situation. 

“To minimize unnecessary movement and ensure the safety and security of emaSwati and residents”, Government, with immediate effect, introduced a curfew between 6:00pm and 05:00am. To enable workers to get home safely, all businesses were required to be closed by 3:30pm; with essential workers being required to produce a permit when travelling at night. This in effect exacerbated the economic malaise already suffered.

30 June – The country’s major cities transformed into ghost towns overnight with many business structures destroyed beyond recognition.

State of panic and uncertainty dominates the country as speculation on developments becomes the order of the day. Businesses remain closed for fear of intrusion and destruction by protestors.

Reports of security forces cracking down on perpetrators appear on various online platforms coupled with a loud outcry against alleged violence used in the process leading to more panic everywhere.

Several organizations representing different stakeholders issue statements calling for restraint of force on the side of government and inviting international community to intervene.

International community including the ANC, the UN, and the US Embassy, Business Eswatini among others call for a peaceful dialogue to resolve the divisive issues. Business Eswatini continues to call for a dialogue even today. 

1 July – More petitions and statements calling for calm flood the country – directed at government and protestors.

Reports of civilians killed during the violent altercations between security forces and protestors increase and are broadcasted on online medium platforms and international news media. No one claims responsibility for the murders which becomes another issue of concern prompting more scrutiny and calls for an inclusive dialogue to restore peace and calm in the country.

3 July – Princess Sikhanyiso, the minister of ICT, makes the first public statement ostensibly refuting claims that the alleged killings were perpetrated by local security forces and instead apportioning blame to foreign insurgents.

Several Govt. ministers come out in support of the statement (Commerce, Finance incl.)

Different reports on numbers of civilians killed and varying reports on how they happened and reasons.

4 July – TROIKA Ministerial delegation steps in the country on a fact-finding mission and makes consultations with government, then return.

5 July – APM makes statement encouraging people to return to work – giving assurances of safety and calm.  

Reports of shootings keep pouring in and pressure is mounted by business community and international community as they call for dialogue.

6 July – Minister of Commerce (CIT) makes statement on an interview narrating the circumstance that led to the unrest – a version consistent with the utterances of the Princess Sikhanyiso, the Minister of ICT.

7 July – UN Resident Coordinator calls for restoration of human rights.

9 July – Border blockades by EFF on the SA side causing further frustrations on logistics of fuel, food items and other goods through the border. This stifles normal business operations further.

Businesses continue to operate under the curfew with some modicum of normalcy even though the state of uncertainty persists due to continued reports of violence.

12 July – Minister CIT consults with private sector on damage caused by the unrest.

13 July – Announcement of the return of TROIKA announced.

Announcement of SIBAYA called by HMK to coincide with TROIKA.

BY BUSINESS ESWATINI:

PRESIDENT – ANDREW LE ROUX    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – E. NATHI DLAMINI

Commemorating the Colleagues Lost to Covid-19: A Year in the Life of BE Under Covid-19

Saturday 14th March 2020 was the day on which the first case of corona virus was confirmed in Eswatini. In the afternoon of that Saturday the whole staff of Business Eswatini was recalled to work. The first placards ever to be printed and distributed country-wide were printed on that very Saturday and distributed by BE staff to locations such as Msunduza, Matsapha, Mahhala and KaKhoza throughout the night of Saturday. By the following week, we had reached every part of the country with the assistance of our members.

Indisputably, Business Eswatini were the first responders to the virus and to this day we have not lifted our foot off the paddle in terms of providing the necessary assistance to those who need it. It has been a privilege to serve our members and the nation under the premium banner of BE and, being classified as an essential service provider, we never got to shut down the office to work from home.

This week marks a year’s anniversary of the virus since it arrived on our shores. As we look back, we are thankful for having survived the scourge. Amazingly, despite the many meetings we hold here at Business Eswatini we have not recorded even one case of infection. And for that we are most grateful indeed. Some think it is because we are, and have been, obsessed with observing the prevention protocols; and others claim it is because we have enjoyed grace. Both statements are not incorrect as far as we are concerned.

It is for this reason that this coming Friday, 19th March, starting from 9.30am we shall hit the Pause Button for an hour to light up candle in remembrance of those that have succumbed to the pandemic. We also ask you to join us at the same time to light up a candle in your business premises to remember your employees who may have also succumbed to the pandemic. Please pause on Friday if only for 5 minutes to light up your candles, then please send us your pictures so that we can make a collage of memorabilia out of them at BE.  As you participate in this program, let us all do so with the attitude of gratitude for the lives that have been spared including yours and mine.

However, let us not be unmindful that a third wave has been mooted which will demand extreme vigilance on our part.

We are pleased to announce that the Honourable Minister of Health will join us in person here at Emafini to commemorate the morning with the business sector. The Business Women of Eswatini will avail of the opportunity to recognize the minister’s fortitude during these tumultuous months of the pandemic. The minister will also light up a candle in remembrance of the medical personnel and front-liners that have succumbed to the virus. This event will be broadcast live on digital platforms from which we encourage you to join us live. Join us using our link @ https://www.facebook.com/businesseswatini/

Again, we humbly appeal to the whole private sector across the land: from Hhhohho down to Shiselweni; and from Manzini to Lubombo; to pause in silence for 5 minutes on Friday 9.30 am.

SRA TARIFF CLASSIFICATION AND ONLINE TARIFF TRAINING

The SRA, in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, will be conducting a series of one-day online training sessions for Clearing and Forwarding Agents, and In-house Declarants on the eCustoms Tariff for Eswatini Portal and covering an overview of the Harmonized System and General Rules of Interpretation.
The training will also focus on some aspects of HS2022 and will provide an opportunity for participants to work through practical tariff classifications.
Training sessions will be held between 16 March and 16 April 2021. Note that all training will be conducted remotely via virtual conferencing to comply with COVID-19 safety measures.
REGISTER NOW!!!
Register here for your training session by clicking here: https://forms.gle/3yHD8XN3v1NwHDMx8

Business Eswatini’s Reaction to Budget Speech 2021 by Hon. Minister of Finance

Business Eswatini would like to acknowledge the speech by the Hon. Minister of Finance. We must say that the minister was his ‘typical self’ which means he was not unpredictable in his approach. We would like to thank him for that because as a business community we hate surprises. 

 The speech was well-articulated and also well-aligned to the challenges of this moment. We are aware of the difficulty of having to allocate limited resources to a wide array of needs. Not only that, but also the obtaining economic environment is extremely unpredictable as well as volatile which makes allocating resources a very challenging task indeed, if not downright nightmarish. Of particular importance, it does not escape our attention that the Hon Minister made every attempt to cater for and accommodate all the sentiments and guidance as pronounced by His Majesty the king in his recent speech from the throne. 

Taxation not the Solution 

On many occasions in our engagements with government we have been lamenting the deteriorating productivity of the business sector due to many reasons over and above the Covid-19 pandemic which had changed its form from a health crisis to a global economic crisis. One of the challenges faced by the business sector has been government’s inclination to exclusively rely on tax revenue in order to steer the economy out of danger. On many occasions this has proven to be self-defeating.

It is for this reason that Business Eswatini is thankful for what now seems to be the convergence of minds on these critical matters. We need to steer clear of major tax escalation in favour of rejuvenating the economy in all its aspects. It would have been foolhardy and ill-advised had Government fallen for the temptation to increase taxes against a backdrop of a fledgling economy. For their restraint, we wish to express our sincere thanks as a business community.

 That being said, we would like to reiterate the importance of fiscal prudence on the part of government as His Majesty directed recently. We would like to echo his sentiments in this regard. We believe that this is the right prescription that will see us through the road to economic recovery and success.

The accommodative monetary policy stance adopted by the Central Bank of Eswatini and the cooperation we have seen between all stakeholders to ease pressure on the system has also been laudable.  Business Eswatini would like to thank the Central Bank governor who kept borrowing costs at the absolute minimum.

We welcome the long-overdue establishment of the revenue appeals tribunal which will go a long way towards the resolution of the many cases pending in our justice system. Parties who have suffered damages will finally get recompense and we are looking forward with excitement to the prospects. 

Expenditure

It is also remarkable that for the very first time in decades Government has been able to make inroads into chronic expenditure issues like the CTA and the Phalala Fund. We would like to heap accolades on gov’t for this achievement. Credit is owed for their perseverance and commitment to protecting the tax payers’ hard-earned money. Similarly, the overhaul of the wage bill has proven to be elusive for many years now, hence we welcome His Majesty’s and Government’s stance on “doing more with less”, and look forward to what shape and form this commitment will take over the years.

As representatives for the private sector, we commend Government for their commitment to the clearance and management of arrears.  These efforts have not gone unnoticed and will surely go a long way towards aiding the private sector and boosting confidence in Government in the short term, while enhancing efficiencies in our systems which will ensure the good health of our economy in the long term.

Outlook

Our nation is treading on harsh and uncharted waters with a fiscal crisis that has been decades in the making, a pandemic and an economic crisis to boot. It is clear that there are no silver bullets and shortcuts to working our way out of this situation. While the budget speech gave us cause for hope it is clear that there is still a lot of hard work to be done ahead.

We sincerely appreciate that Government’s tone has shifted remarkably and that the private sector is seen more and more as an essential partner in the nation-building process. Private Enterprises are the creators of employment and national wealth without which the country cannot succeed.

The BE Team is yet to closely study the budget estimates in detail to determine the extent to which Government has been able to, quite literally, put their money where their mouth is.  However, for our part, as the private sector, we reaffirm our commitment to our continued partnership with government as we economically heal and revive our nation together.

E. Nathi Dlamini

Business Eswatini CEO

Speech From the Throne: Arguably, the Most Difficult Speech His Majesty had had to Make yet

The speech from the throne left almost nothing unsaid and touched on every pertinent and topical issue under the sun. For that, we congratulate His Majesty for the speech’s unequivocal content and for his eloquence in delivering it so artistically.

One has to assume that it was not an easy speech to give, especially at a time when this country was being pummeled by unprecedented challenges – left, right and centre. But somehow, His Majesty pulled it off and as Business Eswatini we say “Bayethe Wena Waphakathi!!”.

We were particularly touched when he took his time to commiserate with the business community which he recognized as having borne the brunt of the deleterious effects of COVID-19. He specifically mentioned that he was painfully aware some businesses had had to shut down under the sheer weight of the various lockdowns and that jobs had been lost in the process. He said that those businesses that remained opened, were struggling if not hanging by the thread. In the same vein he stressed the need for prioritizing the implementation of projects in order to resuscitate the economy as well as fiscal discipline all round.

To us as a business community, these words have emboldened us if only to know that His Majesty feels our excruciating pain. He has now laid down the gauntlet to government to give real meaning to the speech from the throne. And as Business Eswatini we are not tone-deaf to the development needs and goals of the country. As such, we pledge our renewed commitment to government and our development partners to assist in whatever manner desirable, as we have always done in the past. Eswatini is a country we proudly call home as a business sector and its prosperity is in all our best interest.

The challenges that lie ahead are as daunting as they are varied but we were particularly pleased to hear His Majesty say that though insurmountable these challenges may be, “we still have each other.” Indeed, we have each other.

On a different note, it was warm and endearing to hear His Majesty recount, in a very personal way, his experiences with COVID-19 and his road to recovery. In the same clip he extolled the virtues of the Taiwanese antibacterial drip which he decided to proudly swear by it long after his recovery. While we wait for the actual vaccine, whose arrival is still elusive as ever, government should have the drip available as a stop-gap measure just as His Majesty instructed.

“Bayethe Wena Waphakati!!”

E. Nathi Dlamini

Business Eswatini

BUSINESS ESWATINI TAKES THE LEGAL ROUTE FOR REDRESS

Dear Esteemed Members;

Business Eswatini and the CEO have in the past few days borne the brunt of a misinformation campaign peddled by actors whose intentions remain obscure to the board of Business Eswatini, suffice it to say the CEO, in particular, is disappointed if not extremely livid about the campaign against us. So much so that he has now retained the services of a top lawyer with a brief to expeditiously push the matter to the court for urgent redress. This is not an overreaction on his part as his good name and reputational equity has been cruelly decimated by people he hardly knows let alone ever met.

We have always tried to keep you abreast of developments within the business ecosystem and we do so knowing full well that at times our communication will end up in the public domain. Nonetheless, these updates, as you know, are always primarily targeted at you – the membership of Business Eswatini. However, this information often spills over into the public domain as has happened with our letter of two weeks ago in which we addressed the issue of electricity tariffs while recognizing the unsung heroes of the private sector who get paid for hours actually worked. The mainstream press reported on the matter in keeping with good journalistic ethics as they did point that the letter had actually been written to the members of Business Eswatini

As the apex business representative body in Eswatini, to which most of the reputable corporate brands of the land belong, our ethos and ethical standards ought to be maintained at the highest levels. One of our most prized assets as Business Eswatini is our unadulterated national image which is effectively our stock in trade as an advocacy outfit. We have worked hard for this image to have it impugned and mercilessly decimated without cause.

The letter in question which was sent to members and subsequently published in our newspapers was subjected to intense public scrutiny which is something that was not unexpected. Due to the nature of the subject though, the letter attracted the attention of a curious public resulting in varying opinions being expressed. Some of the opinions pushed back on our point of view, in particular on the matter where we had welcomed the reduction of the electricity hike for domestic users from the original proposal of 10% down to 3%. For some unbeknown reason, our view did not sit well with the public. While people are entitled to their opinion, as Business Eswatini we still feel a 3% hike is much better than 10%.

Be that as it may though, the seed of doubt had been initially planted by an obscure individual who goes by the name of Zweli Martin Dlamini on social media platforms in which he had viciously cast aspersions on the person of the CEO and went on a malformation tirade which, clearly, sought to demean and cause injury to his stature and professional standing. While at it, he decimated the good name of Business Eswatini.  He cleverly spun the contents of our letter to falsely claim that the CEO had launched a campaign for a political office.

Soon after him, he was joined by an equally obscure organization by the name of Ngwane National Liberation Congress which had the unusual audacity to craft an open letter to the most respected authority of the land stating unfounded derogatory allegations which exist only in the figment of the imagination of the organization. This organization has been separately cited in our court case and they have to answer for their insults.

If left unchecked, these people and those who sponsor them will erode and reverse the gains that have been made by the entire private sector, particularly on nation-building, because our reputation, as alluded to earlier, is our stock in trade. Our level of effectiveness is essentially gauged by the level to which we uphold and protect the sanctity and values of our organization. We simply cannot, and will not, leave this to fate.   

This malicious attack on the Business Eswatini brand and on the person of the CEO especially was totally uncalled for and he, as a result, has suffered irreparable harm which only the justice system can restore. The CEO has already stated that his calling is not in politics. He desires for this season only to ply his trade at Business Eswatini as his way of serving the nation.  He is also of the opinion that he is extremely unqualified to be a politician that if he were to become one, and God forbid, he would be an abysmal failure and an embarrassment to his peers. He has zero ambitions for a role in the political sphere as it has been alleged without basis. We, therefore, find it very hard to ‘let things slide’ because the damage is just too huge to accept.

Thank you for staying tuned. Have a great weekend ahead.  

  Kind Regards;

Business Eswatini