Swaziland: Police in Swaziland Walk to Crime Scenes Because Govt Can't Afford to Buy Cars

Some police officers in Swaziland / eSwatini are forced to walk to crime scenes because the government has not paid for cars.

A police spokesperson said the shortage of cars and other equipment was because of the kingdom's continuing economic crisis.

A police post was opened at Ngudzeni about a year ago but it still does not have a vehicle, the Times of Swaziland reported. It said, 'Officers stationed at the police post are forced to either walk to crime scenes or to wait for a day or so in order to get the lone vehicle that was allocated to the nearby Dumako Police Post.'

The Times reported a source, 'made the example of a recent murder incident where the area's community police were asked to keep watch over a corpse for the whole night because the police had no vehicle to attend to the crime scene.'

It added, 'Even the suspect in the gruesome murder was conveyed to the police post by a local motorist, using his own vehicle.'

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati told the newspaper the police force faced challenges, 'which she attributed to government's obtaining economic crisis'.

Ngudzeni is not the only area in Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as an absolute monarch, where police are without vehicles. In August 2018 it was reported police in the Siteki area were forced to walk or hitch-hike to crime and accident scenes because the government had not paid for fuel or vehicle repairs. Traffic officers used their personal vehicles to mount road blocks.

In May 2018 it was reported that Swaziland was so short of resources that police were unable to secure voter registration centres in the runup to national elections and do their routine work at the same time. Police officers were said to have been left stranded at registration centres in the evenings because there were no vehicles available to take them home.

Police were unable to respond when a five-year-old was abducted and raped because they were on election duty, according to the Swazi Observer at the time. It said a toddler was with her mother at Mahlalini, an area in the outskirts of Nhlangano, when a man grabbed her and disappeared into a thicket where he raped her.

Swaziland is broke and seven in ten of Swaziland's estimated 1.3 million population live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. King Mswati has 13 palaces, two private jets and fleets of top-of-the-range BMW and Mercedes cars.

The King wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit beaded with diamonds weighing 6 kg, at his 50th birthday party in April 2018. Days earlier he took delivery of his second private jet, a A340 Airbus, that after VIP upgrades reportedly cost US$30 million. He received E15 million (US$1.2 million) in cheques, a gold dining room suite and a gold lounge suite among his birthday gifts.

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