Eswatini: Businesses run by foreigners on ENL will be closed if…

Published: 31/Jul/2023
Source: Times of Swaziland

By  Thokozani Mamba

JABULA – With immediate effect, businesses operated by foreign nationals on Eswatini National Land (ENL) will be closed if that foreigner has no legitimate citizenship certificate granted by the Citizenship Board.

Home Affairs Minister Princess Lindiwe has issued a directive to the ministry’s compliance team to conduct inspections on foreign operated businesses in rural and urban areas to ascertain if they still complied with the requirements as stipulated by law governing their operations in the country. According to the ministry’s Communications Officer, Mlandvo Dlamini, the team would be undertaking the compliance inspections on a weekly basis from Monday to Thursday. The latest development has been necessitated by the rise in foreign operated businesses situated in communities across the country, both rural and urban areas. Even though figures of emaSwati to be affected by this exercise could not be ascertained, it was established that hundreds of them would be left jobless if the businesses are eventually shut down.

During a visit to some areas of businesses operated by foreign nationals, in particular the small businesses, some of the entities were operated by Somalis and Asian nationals, most of whom did not have the required permits to operate an establishment on ENL. Worth mentioning is that some of the foreigners operating these businesses, like groceries and supermarkets, further claimed that they were running their establishments in a legitimate manner in compliance with the country’s statutes, while others alleged that they had been granted citizenship certificates together with their family members by the Citizenship Board. Section 45 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini No.001 of 2005 stipulates that one acquires a citizenship certificate when born outside the Kingdom of Eswatini by registration through an application to the Citizenship Board, and further satisfy the Board after interviews and presentation of the required documentation.

On another note, Section 49 of the Constitution also talks about the deprivation of citizenship whereupon that person who acquired the citizenship through registration has been declared by a court to have procured it fraudulently, misrepresentation or concealment of material facts. One Asian national, who operates Lukhula Supermarket at Lukhula community under KaLanga Umphakatsi, who called himself Javid, questioned this reporter’s authority of enquiring about his awareness of the law that forbid foreigners from operating businesses on ENL.
“I’ve got nothing to do with the media but I comply with the country’s laws of doing business. I cannot share my personal information with the media,” he said, when asked if he had a citizenship certificate that allowed him to operate a business in rural areas.

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Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Eswatini