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Following the declaration of a National Emergency made by His Majesty King Mswati III and announced by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini last week as well as a partial lockdown effective 27 March 2020, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs wishes to provide the following guidance:

On Sport:

  1. The Ministry appreciates the understanding and cooperation of sponsors, associations, clubs, athletes, supporters and all stakeholders in ensuring that Government measures are adhered to. Similarly, the Ministry understands & regrets the losses that have been incurred by organisations as a result of these measures.
  1. All international travel for sporting purposes remains banned until such a time that the Ministry advises otherwise.
  1. All forms of sport gathering, formal and informal (including social sport & traditional games) is suspended until the Ministry advises otherwise. This also includes sport at grassroots levels such as ‘stokvel’’ tournaments. This will be enforced in collaboration with the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development & community leaders.
  1. Bookings for the usage of the Somhlolo National Stadium are hereby suspended until further notice.
  1. Sporting associations are directed to ensure that all affiliates and clubs suspend group training sessions with immediate effect. Instead, coaches and clubs are encouraged to develop individual training programs which athletes will follow from their individual places of abode.
  1. Similarly, Gyms are encouraged to suspend gatherings that attract many people such as aerobics sessions. Gym fanatics are encouraged to follow training programs from their homes.
  1. The Ministry, through the Eswatini Sport & Recreation Council (ESRC) has also suspended Sports Association’s annual review meetings until further notice. As a result, associations which were already recognised by the Ministry will continue to enjoy that recognition until the review meetings can resume.
  1. Sporting associations are further directed to instruct their members to postpone and/or suspend meetings including AGMs until such a time that the Ministry advises otherwise. Face to face meetings of any sort are strongly discouraged and instead, these bodies are encouraged to make use of technological means to discuss issues (e.g. WhatsApp).
  1. The country was set to host the African Union Regional Sports Awards on May 24, 2020. The Ministry has since written to the organisation informing them of the new measures put in place by Government to fight COVID-19 including limiting gatherings and the ban on all non-essential travel in and out of Eswatini.
  1. Sporting and arts bodies that have offices are strongly encouraged to allow as many employees as possible to work from home until the situation subsides. The Ministry’s Public Enterprises namely: (ESRC), Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture (ENCAC), Eswatini National Youth Council (ENYC) and Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF) have started limiting the number of staff physically going to their respective offices.
  1. Similarly, as per a directive issued by the Ministry of Public Service, starting from next week, the Ministry will have half of staff working from home on a rotational basis.

On Arts & Culture:

  1. The ministry recognises & appreciates the collective efforts and endeavors from managers, artists, stables, culture institutions and practitioners in supporting Government’s call to suspend all gatherings and activities that will compromise the health of our people. The ministry stands together with all stakeholders in recognising the extreme losses incurred by the sector as a result of these measures.
  2. The ministry advises our artists, festival and events organisers, affiliates and associations to utilise this time through diversification of their art conception, designing, consumption and distribution to stay within the armpit of the global creative space and enhance accessibility and sales.
  3. Artists are discouraged from hosting and/or attending any shows with a potential to draw crowds.
  1. The Ministry has already started engaging the relevant sporting and arts and culture bodies for collaborations with sports stars, officials and artists who will also help in the spreading of correct COVID-19 messaging.

On Youth:

  1. Young people are encouraged to avoid physically travelling to the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund offices for enquiries. Instead, the youth is encouraged to make use of technological means including calling: 2404 8369 and/or contacting the office via social media (‘Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund- YERF’ on Facebook). The Fund has already suspended trainings, site visits and physical mentorship. The latter will now be conducted through technological means.
  1. With over 70% of the country’s population under the age of 35, the Ministry recognises the huge role young people have to play in the fight against COVID-19 in Eswatini. We therefore appeal to all young people to stay at home and limit any sort of travelling. The Ministry further encourages young people to be responsible citizens in the sharing and disseminating of correct and truthful information particularly via social media platforms.
  1. In conclusion, the Ministry calls upon all EmaSwati to ensure that they wash their hands with soap and running water frequently, cover mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing, stay at home and follow every other advice coming from Government and the WHO.

Hon. Harries Bulunga                                              27 March 2020

Hon. Minister of Sports, Culture & Youth Affairs

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