The Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] has been receiving information on illegal mining operations in Swaziland for quite some time now. The okolwako diamond mine, for example, is reportedly being covertly mined by the king and his relatives. This is why the recent report by the Business Report on the illegal mining operations of the king’s American friend, Jacob the Jewellerrdquo Arabo only confirm what has so far been a well told rumor.
The Business Report published a very detailed article exposing the rot going on in Swaziland. This includes cases of Arabo’s associates who have been arrested after being found in possession of gold nuggets, and then later being released without trial. The fact that an unregistered company can operate a fully-fledged mine in the country without the knowledge of its citizens and get away with it indicates that these criminals have a royal blessing, or are simply in bed with the king.
While it is true that under the king’s codified decree, otherwise known as the country’s constitution, the king holds all the country’s mineral in trust, this clandestine mining operation is still unconstitutional, illegal and represents new low for the king and his government. Given his penchant for proclaiming himself the country’s solicitor for direct foreign investment, it is strange that Mswati has not allowed this company to function normally as a registered company which employs Swazis.
With the current set-up, the biggest losers are the ordinary Swazis who have been left out of legitimate employment opportunities and will never see the revenue generated by this mine as it is not taxed. This shows extreme greed on the part of Mswati and he should be ashamed of himself. We condemn this embarrassing criminal act and call upon the ministry of mineral resources to investigate the alleged mining operations at the okolwako diamond mine as well.
Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]
Lucky Lukhele- spokesperson
082 469 1421
072 502 4141
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions