Category: News

“Whats love got to do with it?”

‘ONE DAY-ONE HOUR A WEEK’ DRIVE FOR CLEANER ESWATINI

Business Eswatini CEO E. Nathi Dlamini said companies should consider dedicating at least an hour on Friday of each week to cleaning up and protecting the environment.

He made these remarks in a clean-up event help in Mbabane Corporation by Mqolo Primary School. At the same clean-up event, Mqolo Primary School pupils and the elderly from the community were gifted with love packs in recognition of Valentines. Dlamini stated that after the clean-up which was showing love for the environment in solidarity with the community, Business Eswatini was very happy to show love for the people of the area. 

The event featured the prominent figures from the business sector including

  1. NedBank – Fikile Nkosi,
  2. FNB – (to send rep) – Sikelela Tsela,
  3. EPTC – Vusi Magagula
  4. Far East – Tokky Hou,
  5. Eswatini Railways – Nixon Dlamini,
  6. SWADE – Samson Sithole,
  7. Swaziland Beverages – Mpumelelo Makhubu,
  8. Mountain Inn – Marc Ward  
  9. Titan Logistics and Vice-chair of Chinese Association – Jeff Hou
  10. Talanta.co Management Consultants – Dumi Jere
  11. Chairperson – Chinese association – Tom Hou

He encouraged all companies in Eswatini to dedicate at least 50 hours a year or a minimum of one hour a week for voluntary cleanliness work and environmental stewardship.

“This would spark a paradigm shift and a change of attitude among communities regarding waste and littering, whilst encouraging citizens to embrace a cleanliness culture through awareness, ownership, and action. Such an exercise would also provide captains of business with the opportunity to lead by example and make a positive change in the community,” Dlamini said.

“By embracing such small, yet significant steps the private sector will be contributing to a multi-level improvement in Eswatini’s general health and wellness. As Business Eswatini we will contribute to changing the deep-rooted habits around littering and cleanliness practices.”

Dlamini encouraged businesses to commit to, and deliver on actions to protect the environment through innovation in the production pipeline, product design,  packaging, and distribution, measuring and reporting activities to reduce single-use plastic litter and microplastics; and working with partners to raise the profile of this issue with their clients and customers.

Dlamini was addressing captains of business, volunteers, and residents, after leading a Valentines Day clean-up campaign organised by Yibutse Green !ction, an environmental organisation, at Corporation area, in the sprawling Msunduza township in Mbabane. The event was the second leg of Yibutse clean-up campaigns sponsored by Business Eswatini and her members including Montigny Investments, Premier Eswatini and Talanta.co Management Consultants.

More than 80 refuse bags of litter, comprising mainly of empty bottles of alcoholic beverages, single-use plastic garbage, COVID-19 waste such as facemasks, gloves, and paper were removed from the streets and deposited, at the Municipal Council of Mbabane’s waste disposal facilities. These will be recycled.

Business Eswatini Vice-president for Trade and Commerce, Fikile Nkosi who made remarks on behalf of the employer federation said that climate change is one of the most important and emerging issues that Business Eswatini is focussing on. She pointed out that Eswatini is party to the Paris agreement in which we made a commitment to remarkably reduce our carbon footprint. She also recognised Yibutse Green Action for the initiatives they have started in line with BE.

“As Business Eswatini we thank Yibutse Green action for its leadership role and consistency in its mission to achieve a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous Eswatini. We will continue to support Yibutse as it involves volunteers, residents, and other stakeholders in its green activities and clean-up campaigns across the country. This was long overdue as it inculcates a civic sense among communities,” said Nkosi.

She noted that achieving a clean Eswatini was not an overnight thing, but emphasised the importance of starting and maintaining momentum in what can be done now towards solving the garbage crisis.

Musa Ndlangamandla, the Founder and Executive Director of Yibutse Green !ction said the private sector was a critical player in the war against indiscriminate littering. He added that Business Eswatini, and the entire private sector, were intrinsically linked to the success of ongoing efforts to clean up Eswatini, particularly in ridding the country of the menace of single-use plastic waste.

“Yibutse’s pillar goal is to bring together different sectors of the community to act as one, in being good stewards of the environment and achieve a cleaner Eswatini,” Ndlangamandla said.

“It is encouraging to see the deliberate positive actions taken by Business Eswatini and its members in being part of the solution to the littering pandemic and environmental degradation that Eswatini faces.”

“More and more businesses see the value of responsive corporate citizenship and the role they must play as an enabling stakeholder in environmental stewardship which should be vigorously encouraged and even incentivised by government.”

He added: “Yibutse knows that government cannot fight and win this battle against indiscriminate littering alone. That is why we encourage shared responsibilities and a multi-stakeholder setting in caring for the environment through proper waste management efforts.”

Ndlangamandla said whilst building the best waste management systems takes resources, right planning, and execution, the biggest challenge is addressing public apathy, the lack of motivation and discipline to individually participate in reducing and properly disposing of waste.

“Yibutse, with support from our sponsors and donors, is working to close that gap. We must continue to work together for a cleaner, safer and prosperous Eswatini,” Ndlangamandla said.

“We want to ensure that private enterprises, public entities, municipalities, civil society and communities support government programmes and are fully engaged and included.”

Tiyamike Maziya, a leading local artist and businessman thanked Yibutse for its green activities and providing an opportunity for communities to clean up their surroundings.

“We are encouraged by the efforts to replicate such activities across the country. Working together we can restore the beauty, health, and prosperity of our communities,” Maziya said.

A Brand new year 2022

2nd January 2022

Welcome to 2022 which is a brand new year, fresh from the box. It comes with no warrantees or guarantees because it is perfect the way it is; neither does it come with an owner’s manual because none is needed as we ought to know better already. What we need to accept is that it is a perfect year in every respect, only to be made more beautiful, or horrendous – God forbid – by the things we decide to do from here onwards. This means that how everything eventually pans out and whatever happens along the way will not be because of the year per se but the actors in it.

2021 has certainly been a tough year for all of us, due in part to what others decided to do to us and, perhaps to a large degree, to what we decided to do to ourselves. For starters, through no fault of our own we have been on the receiving end of many crises especially given the stubborn pandemic prowling in our midst.  The social skirmishes that unraveled in the second half of the year drove the last nail even deeper into the proverbial coffin.  The endless restrictions that ensued on both businesses and individuals only served to make life even more agonizing. It is with this in mind that we are happy to let 2021 disappear into oblivion as we eagerly await to start afresh in 2022.  

Victory

Business Eswatini, as the apex advocacy body for the business community in Eswatini, is desirous to see our people make the choice to start the new year with renewed vigor and resolve in our collective endeavour to especially pivot the trajectory of our ailing economy and realign our political spectrum. What we decide to do as a country will and can determine whether we have a glowing report by the end of 2022, or we end up strutting off the stage in shame as a failed state. The choice is ours to make and it’s a no brainer.  But knowing the ingenuity and fortitude of EmaSwati it wouldn’t be presumptuous of one to think that EmaSwati will choose victory over our circumstances. They will choose humility over our personal interests and the boundless egos that feed them, because the situation we are facing right now demands that sort of servant leadership. Ours is a watershed moment in which brinkmanship has no place anymore.

Wisdom

We remain hopeful nonetheless that our commitment will see us turn the tide as a nation, as many institutions are on knife’s edge as we speak. Investor confidence has been shattered to smithereens and it’s anybody’s wild guess when it will ever be restored. Meanwhile, joblessness is skyrocketing faster than new jobs can be created at a time when our unemployed youth are woefully disillusioned. We have an untenable situation in our hands which will demand uncommon wisdom and foresight. It is therefore unsurprising that Business Eswatini has now been given the mandate by the business community to be amenable to any proposed national meetings in which the future direction of our country’s economy will be discussed.  

Politics

The business environment does not operate in a vacuum or outside the political environment which conceptualizes the policies and laws that determine the rhythm of the nation’s economy. This means the business community can ignore the obtaining political ramifications to its own peril as patently demonstrated by recent events. It is a function of politics, duly embodied in our government, to ensure that the country has a conducive environment in which to thrive and create the jobs demanded by the people. The global index on the ease of doing business in this country has been damning, and for successive years too, for reasons which are not too hard to find. Some of our economic policies seem to thrive on political expediency and short-termism as opposed to creating a stable and durable environment that will create confidence for both local and export-oriented foreign direct investors.  

It cannot be left unsaid that the revenues to sustain the country are steadily dwindling while the needs of the citizenry are ever increasing. We therefore urgently need investors – big and genuine investors – in order for the country to create the national wealth desperately needed to fund our fiscus. EIPA has their work cut out for them and we can only commiserate with them because it is not too easy to sell a location that has too many question marks attached to it. 

It bears repeating, however, that without an enabling policy framework and a predictable political environment, it will be nearly impossible to attract and retain foreign direct investment projects in the country.

Spending

Until we get that right, we need to spend the national purse wisely and cautiously in the meantime, by cutting our coat according to our cloth. Plausible attempts to do this are already underway but the country needs to do more, and do so expeditiously. Gone should be the days of unwarranted spending because the level of accountability demanded by every tax payer will intensify in 2022. The demand for service delivery on the one hand and accountability on the other means the country will have no choice but to run a tight ship going forward. And this will be doable with the cooperation of all people concerned. One can only pray that the need to go into hard and painful structural adjustments can be circumvented, at least for now.  

We have on many occasions decried the habit of investing in national projects whose rate of return is vague and hope this will no longer be the case in 2022. We cannot afford to invest in more fancy hotels when there are no tourists in sight.

Climate Change

The issue of climate cannot be ignored any longer. It’s a pressing matter. We need to reduce our carbon footprint like yesterday.

Recently, we have made the call to the business sector to start looking at adapting their production facilities to be environmentally friendly. Climate change is real and if we continue to ignore its deleterious effects on our daily lives and livelihoods, we will pay dearly in future. Reducing our carbon emissions will help prevent climate disasters which would otherwise negatively affect businesses.

 Being climate-conscious has become an integral part of doing business across the globe as consumers and clients begin to lean towards businesses that care about the environment.  It should therefore not necessarily be perceived as restrictive agenda, but one that brings with it many business opportunities.

Renewable power generation will be an area we will have to pursue vigorously this year in our quest for green energy in the country.  With the power deficit we have locally, there is a plethora of opportunities we can exploit in consultation and partnership with the local incumbents. Wholesale reliance on imports has its own strategic weaknesses especially in ever-changing geopolitical landscape in SADC.

As we turn the page to a new year, we are also inviting other stakeholders to put their best foot forward so we can collectively restore our economy and begin to grow it without leaving anyone behind.

2022. Here we come.

Business Eswatini unveiled another cottage

Today (14 November 2021) Business Eswatini unveiled a cottage factory funded by United Nations from which the People Living with Disabilities at Lobamba Inkhundla will carry out their textile-based business. They have just been onboarded by Business Women Eswatini onto the Vukani Bomake Project and have already started supplying Lorjaf Pick’n’Pay with reusable fabric shopper bags.

In a jovial event, Vukani BoMake together with People Living with Disabilities, showered BWE and BE with early Christmas presents. What a spectacular event to witness the unempowered empowering the empowered. We take our hats off to UN Eswatini , Pick n Pay, Sportz House, Far East Textiles and Vukani BoMake Project.

#TheHomeofBusiness#BusinessWomenEswatini#VukaniBoMakeProject

We Need your Mandate to get Involved

Our core mandate

You will no doubt be aware that in the past two years our mandate of advocacy has evolved organically in our quest to respond appropriately to the emerging challenges and socio-economic developments in the country. This evolution has not changed our core values as an organization but only ensured that we remain ideally poised to provide the needed services to the private sector as enshrined in our core mandate. As such, we have been able to achieve relevance even in the changing fortunes of time for which we are most grateful to you for your tireless support.

Changes in the business environment….

I’m sure you will also agree that the wider environment in which the private sector operates is fast-changing and it is our considered opinion that it would be unwise to assume that our operations will be impervious to these changes. This being the case, therefore, we feel it would be devoid of wisdom and good judgment on our part to ignore these developments especially at this time. We say this without equivocation because the private sector, being represented by BE; as well as our workers as represented by their various labour unions, are critical stakeholders in the socio-economical dimension of this country. It goes without saying that without the business formations and the workers who tirelessly ply their labour and craft in these businesses, the economy can only grind to a halt.

It bears reiteration, however, that underpinning our organization’s core mandate is economic development and job-creation in our desperate bid to deliver the opportunities desperately needed by the country’s workforce, especially our vibrant youth whose unemployment bracket demonstrates an alarming figure.

Stating this in blatant language as we hereby do is not meant to diminish, or even relegate, the critical importance of your organization’s duty to meet your own shareholders’ expectations of a fair return on investment.  Much to the contrary though, it is simply meant to vitalize the view that our responsibility as a private sector extends beyond the boundaries of our business compounds.

Cottage industries for economically disenfranchised villages

In recent months we have embarked on planting cottage factories around the country in order to empower especially women and the youth under our business expansion program.

Vukani Bomake projects has been the vehicle exploited for our business model of expansion. We continue to pursue these programs so that no one in the country, especially in remote villages, is economically ostracized as to be left without a stake in the larger national economy.

In tandem with the business-planting programs for disenfranchised Emaswati we are also dabbling in poverty alleviation programs as we have begun distributing food parcels to desperate communities around the country on behalf of the private sector. The cost of doing this has been extremely prohibitive just like our vaccination exercise. However, we remain resolute and undeterred. These are very difficult economic times for many families and communities around the country and it would be immoral of us to decide to look the other way at this time.

Peace and stability key to economic transformation

Furthermore, and over and above the aforementioned, it has to be mentioned that the principles of peace and stability; the rule of law; independence of organs of state; accountability and transparency, as well as equity and benevolence, have always been, and continue to be, the ideals for which we stand as Business Eswatini. For better or worse, we have dutifully abided by these ideals for decades and have exemplified them in every assignment we have pursued together. A recent example is the major investment the membership of BE made at the dawn of this pandemic and the millions of Emalangeni we are now spending as a partner in the rollout of the national vaccination initiative. It is this sort of compassion that best describes who we are and what we stand for as Business Eswatini.

Request for an expanded mandate by BE Secretariat

It is against this backdrop that the secretariat, duly authorized to approach you today, seeks your mandate to get involved in the national conversation that is about to be convened in the country. As a critical stakeholder we feel that we cannot afford not to get involved in a national dialogue. Alternatively, as captioned above, we seek to hold your watching brief at the very least. Arguably, our request is premised on the view that this national conversation and its outcomes will have ramifications for the private sector’s economic agenda as well as our programs of empowering urban and rural communities in need.

Please indicate your approval through our normal channels of engagement.

We thank you in advance for your commitment and support

Business Eswatini Management   

Business Eswatini Engagements with ESERA on Licencing of Petroleum

Following your concerns raised on the License Fees which were recently introduced by the energy regulator (ESERA) we would like to report back to you on the multiple engagements we have held. Notably, we raised the escalating cost of doing business and the negative impacts of regulation which at most times seem to be arbitrary and serve to disrupt normal business operations among a myriad of other issues. We are happy to note that most of the concerns were heard by the regulator such as to make specific positive consideration in this regard.

In one positive outcome of the engagements, commercial petroleum clients who wish to source directly from the wholesaler were granted a dispensation to pay a single license fees which covers multiple branches under them (ONE application fee for various sites). Members are required to attach a list of all sites they have on their application to qualify for this.

Another positive outcome was that commercial petroleum customers who do not consume big quantities but are still within this regulatory domain may apply for annual permits which are clustered according to usage rate. A schedule of these quantities and applicable levies is available below (PDF Document).

We are aware of the disruption any new system brings to your operations especially that which requires further injection of financial resources at a time when the economy can ill-afford anymore burden. We still hold the view and advocate for the position that all artificial barriers should be removed and instead we need the support to restore and uphold vibrancy of the business sector and by extension, the whole economy. The regulator has welcomed an invitation to further engagements on the subject in order to ensure that the common objective is met: a vibrant industry enabling the safe and harmonious consumption of petroleum products. For your reactions to this update please kindly send them through to Thandeka Dlamini @ thandekad@business-eswatini.co.sz .

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Breaking New Ground in Devolving the Economy

Through the membership of Business Eswatini (BE), and under the tutelage of Business Women Eswatini (BWE), we’ve broken new ground in devolving the economy to every nook and cranny of every neglected village in the kingdom of Eswatini.  Never in our wildest dreams have we ever thought the private sector would be the embodiment of hope to the hopeless; and the help needed to the helpless.  We therefore stand in awe as we marvel at, and witness with our very own eyes, the women and youth previously ostracised and economically disenfranchised being empowered; and their lives transformed right before our very own eyes.

Some have said Business Eswatini through BWE is doing the work of God in desperate times when God can only appear to the masses in the form of bread. But for Business Eswatini members, they believe it’s good business to ensure that no one is left behind.  And what a privilege and honour for US (BE), personally, to be part of this story which is being written for all to enjoy. To Business Eswatini members, we say THANK YOU on behalf of our youth and the women of this country. This is only the beginning of the storyline with more chapters yet to be written. Together, we are changing the complexion of our economic landscape.

#BusinessEwatini #BusinessWomenEswatini #VukaniBoMake #VukaniYouth

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