Coat of arms of Swaziland.svg



The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a health threat world over with over 50 million people infected. While this scourge persists to be a menace to humanity, we are comforted by the fact that through concerted efforts from all Emaswati and various stakeholders, we are on a positive path of bringing this disease under control in the Kingdom.

This has been achieved through the deliberate efforts of Emaswati to wear face masks consistently in public spaces, practice of social distancing, keep their hands clean, avoid crowds as well as the cooperation of many sectors in complying with laid down regulations and protocols. As of today, we only have 159 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, while the statistics are promising, the very unpredictable nature of this virus means we cannot for one moment rest on our successes.

Lessons derived from around the world indicate that many countries that once believed were past the worst phase of the COVID-19 pandemic are now grappling with new outbreaks and reverting to more stringent lockdown measures.  We have no option but to learn from these lessons and be more vigilant in all we do, and at all times, to keep safe and save lives and livelihoods.

Disregard of regulations

Unfortunately, Government has noted with serious concern of the behavior of a few individuals across multiple sectors who, over the past weeks, have continued to show complete disregard of COVID-19 regulations. While many Emaswati continue to observe these regulations, we have noted various breaches happening in the transport sector, in sport, in gatherings and in entertainment activities.

Some citizens still refuse to wear face masks when in public or using public transport; others still continue to engage in banned sporting activity including informal football, while others do not adhere to the laid down protocols governing the hosting of gatherings, particularly entertainment activities.

These reckless actions go against the clear & straightforward protocols that Government and the various sectors agreed upon in this ongoing phased re-opening of the economy.

Government takes this moment to remind all citizens, business owners, public transport operators, religious establishments, leisure sites, arts stakeholders and sporting associations that we are still within this COVID-19 battle and such deliberate disregard of the laid down protocols puts the entire country at risk of instigating a spike in infections. It is for this reason that Government is taking a stern disciplinary action against certain establishments for non-compliance to the COVID-19 regulations.

Government will not allow reckless entities or individuals to reverse these immense national gains we have made over a very trying period in our history as nation. We will not hesitate to ban and bring to the law any individual or entity that fails to follow the laid down regulations thus putting the entire country at risk.

Working together with law enforcement agencies, we will upscale surveillance across the country to ensure that COVID-19 regulations are adhered to and that those who breach them are brought to book. We will continue to monitor many other public establishments to ensure compliance.

Alcohol consumption

Government has further noted a disturbing trend following the lifting of the ban in the sale of alcohol, where some Emaswati have visibly reverted to alcohol consumption patterns that are in violation of the COVID-19 regulations. Health evidence indicates that alcohol consumption is a serious driver of the spread of COVID-19.

I take this opportunity to caution outlets selling liquor to strictly adhere to the stipulated regulations that were presented by government to control reckless consumption of alcohol. The regulations prohibit consumption of alcohol in crowded areas, bars or any gathering but only allows it for home consumption and in hotels when food is served. Once again, Government will not hesitate to close establishments that are violating these alcohol regulations.

MSME Support                               

We are happy to note that various sectors of our economy have demonstrated innovation and persistence to ensure that economic activities are sustained amid of the threats of the pandemic.

Government’s efforts to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector are ongoing. A few months ago, Government announced the introduction of a E45 Million MSME Revolving Fund, which seeks to provide financial relief to businesses affected by COVID-19. Even though the implementation of this Fund has taken a bit longer than initially anticipated, I am pleased to announce that it is now near finalisation as its Regulations are now in Parliament.

As another measure to cushion small and medium enterprises, particularly informal traders, Government is also pleased to announce the provision of a E650 subsidy on COVID-19 tests for informal cross border traders. This means cross-border traders will pay a minimal fee of E200 for the test, provided they are included in the list for weekly travel to be submitted to Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade by cross border trade associations.

The agreement reached with cross border trade associations is that only 200 traders will travel per week on a regional rotation. Government has observed that a key feature of informal cross-border trade is that most traders are women, and for these women such trade is often their main or even only source of income. The costs associated with acquiring a COVID-19 test certificate have, therefore, proven to be prohibitive in cross border trade hence the introduction of the subsidy programme.

Relief Fund

Government is also continuing with compensatory relief to workers who suffered loss of earnings as a result of being laid off due to the devastating effects of COVID-19.

A total of 21 368 employees have now been paid from the Relief Fund to date. It must be noted that a majority of the employees who were laid off have since been recalled back to work pursuant to the cautious and gradual opening of economic activity and relaxation of the partial lockdown restrictions. However, those employees who are still on layoff continue to benefit from this Fund. A total sum of E12 794 600 – 00 has since been paid from the Fund.

We encourage all employers who laid off their employees without pay to approach the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the necessary assistance so that every deserving employee can benefit from this Fund.

Adherence to regulations

May I urge every one of us to take full responsibility in this COVID-19 fight. Most importantly, we should be our brother’s keeper as the Mgcini Campaign we launched a few weeks back calls of us. This means that we should practice exemplary health behavior and inspire those around us to do the same in order to beat COVID-19.

In line with the message of this Campaign, I call upon all citizens to police each other at home, in communities and in public spaces. Let us call each other to order, remind those who do not wear face masks to do so and stop those who continue to play informal football, particularly in the rural areas.

As we head into the busy festive season, we should do so in the knowledge that this is a festive season like no other. Indeed, a killer still lurks among us and any mistake from our side will be punished severely by this deadly, uncompromising enemy.

As a way of managing COVID-19 infections, risk adjusted measures will be applied at any given time when there is evidence of an aggressive surge in infections, particularly those that may be driven by those negligently ignoring the COVID-19 precautions.

It is for that reason that we should not tire of following the laid down protocols consistently;

  1. Wear a face mask consistently and correctly. Avoid touching the front of the mask but use the straps to put it on, adjust or remove it.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
  3. Observe social distancing protocols of one to two metres at all times.
  4. Avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation and crowded places, including close-contact settings such as close-range conversations.

May I once again pass my sincere gratitude for the compassionate and collaborative care applied by all frontline workers in this fight with an uncompromising enemy. We have in us the capability to overcome any adversity that threatens our nation if we remain united and determined to save lives and save livelihoods.

Thank you.

Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini



11 NOVEMBER 2020

OffCanvas Menu