5 March 2018

Swaziland: King Wants Land Back From S. Africa

Photo: © Petrus Potgieter/CC/Wikimedia Commons
A view of Pretoria.

One of the newspapers of autocratic Swaziland King Mswati III is pressing for action for the kingdom to claim large parts of South Africa, including the capital Pretoria, for the Swazi people.

The Sunday Observer said (4 March 2018) 'some Swazis' believed now was the right time to reclaim land 'lost' to South Africa during the Colonial era.

The newspaper reported the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in South Africa, 'successfully moved a motion of land expropriation without compensation, which has since sparked wide spread debate over Swaziland's pursuit of reclaiming its lost land from South Africa.

'Some Swazis believe that this is the right time for South Africa to consider giving back some parts of the country taken during colonial era.'

Swaziland has already formed a Border Determination Special Committee (BDSC) which the King wants to negotiate with South Africa over returning land occupied by people of Swazi descent.

The Observer reported, 'According to the BDSC, the old map of Swaziland showed that South Africa's administrative capital of Pretoria and larger portions of the Gauteng, Limpompo and KwaZuluNatal Provinces belong to the Swazi nation.'

The newspaper said it was unable to contact BDSC chairman Prince Guduza for comment.

In March 2017 the BDSC met with newspaper editors in Swaziland to press its case. The Observer on Saturday, another newspaper in effect owned by the King, who is sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, reported at the time that the committee, 'revealed that its mandate as directed by the King is to recover all the Swazi land lost during the colonial era, both on the east, west, south and north which goes as far as Pretoria and the Limpopo province.'

The newspaper reported the BDSC told the meeting that the presently landlocked kingdom should stretch to the Indian Ocean and include parts of modern-day Mozambique.

The BDSC was promoting what it called 'Pan-Swazism', the newspaper reported. This was 'to instil a sense of belonging to all Swazis even outside the current borders of Swaziland'.

It added, 'The Pan-Swazism is of the assertion that it is globally accepted that Swazis have King Mswati III as their king and that this is true even to Swazis that are living in the Republic of South Africa.'

Lutfo Dlamini, a member of the committee, reportedly said the Swazi King was rightly accepted as the leader of all Swazis.

Thabiso Masina, the committee's ex-officio member from the Attorney General's office, said land was lost to the Swazis as a result of concessions to the white settlers around the 1840s. He said no Swazi king had in fact signed the land away.

The Observer reported him saying the Swazis were never defeated in war to warrant for the nation to relinquish any of its land.

The BDSC said there was already a draft agreement between Swaziland and South Africa that they would solve the land dispute amicably.

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