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MBABANE - The passport number, which appeared in the investigative piece, was shared with the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Sandile Mazibuko, and he is yet to verify the identity of the passport holder.

However, he asserted that the ministry had been experiencing a network slowdown hence they could not run down the information on the system to verify the information. He said the situation was so dire yesterday that some people had to be turned back as the ministry’s technicians were working tirelessly to restore the network. “We understand the sensitivity of the situation, but currently we are experiencing some problems with the network and the system is down. We will continue to work on restoring the system and will then verify the information concerning the allegations of the passport acquired by a foreign fugitive in Eswatini,” he said.  Prior to that, this publication had engaged the ministry’s Spokesperson, Mlandvo Dlamini, who shared that they usually did not disclose information about their clients, because it was confidential.  

However, he said due to the sensitivity of the matter, they were ready to assist with any relevant information. At the time, Dlamini requested the passport number but later shared that the officer responsible for verifying the information was currently not in the office, but at an official meeting. He said they had engaged the officer on the urgency of the matter and he would give feedback on any developments. However, there was no feedback at the time of going to print yesterday. The issue of foreigners, particularly Asian nationals getting Eswatini citizenship, is nothing new as this publication reported back in 2012 that the Ministry of Home Affairs had embarked on a drive to weed out immigrants from Asian countries, who acquired Eswatini citizenship under unclear circumstances. Minister at the time, Chief Gcokoma, said they had identified over 1 000 such nationals, who were granted citizenship by the defunct Citizenship Board. The Board was at the time led by Zonke Khumalo, the late and former Minister of Justice. Chief Gcokoma said most of the citizenship was granted during the tenure of the Board that was suspended in 2010.


If found invalid, their citizenship was nullified and holders were deported. He said most of the documents were released based on allegedly false information. Preliminary investigations of the ministry revealed that some of the Asians forged documents and paid money to some officials at various levels when they successfully went through the application process. This case has many similarities to that of Thabo Bester in South Africa, who was jailed and sentenced to life for luring women through Facebook, promising them modelling jobs only for him to rape and murder them.  He faked his death in prison with the help of his girlfriend Dr Nandipha Magudumana and he escaped. A few months later, it was uncovered that he was alive and he learned that police were on him, he escaped to Tanzania where he was busted and found with several fake passports.