The incident in which officials from the office of the deputy sheriff publicly threatened our personnel with violence and drew the unfortunate attention of the local media is regrettable and could have been avoided.
The war of words between our personnel and the officials outside the house we had been renting for several years in Mantenga Township was a result of circumstances which included the unfair and discriminatory treatment we had received at the hands of the deputy sheriff on more than one occasion. This were words said by Tshepo Mokgoatjana on the 08th March 2019 when briefing our Media.
On a previous instance, which is currently before the eSwatini Supreme Court, the deputy sheriff without any court order or write of execution attached our furniture, household appliances and expensive alcoholic beverages from the house unsupervised.
Most of our expensive furniture was damaged while the pricey alcoholic beverages worth thousands of rands and other valuables were stolen under the pretext that they were being taken to a storage area. Most of the valuable items were deliberately not noted in the inventory.
We were subsequently evicted by the same deputy sheriff without properly serving the papers on us. Hence, the matter is sub judice in the eSwatini Supreme Court.
As per court order in January, Tswelokgotso Health (Pty) Ltd had to pay R22 080 on or before 1 February 2019 to gain access to the house for a month, with the purpose of compiling an inventory of assets which were ostensibly in the dwelling.
However, the agent RIVI (Pty) Ltd only gave Tswelokgotso the key to the house during the last week of February. Hence our personnel demanded to see the writ of execution or eviction order from the deputy sheriff when they were threatened with violence.
Tswelokgotso and its personnel respect and uphold the traditions, laws and customs of our host country – eSwatini. However, we also believe that trade openness and the efficiency of government regulation are among the most influential factors globally on the value of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows that a country receives.
Foreign investors, such as Tswelokgotso, look to a number of macro-factors when considering FDI. Some of the key variables include safety and security, property rights, investment freedom, rule of law and investor protection.
During a recent visit to eSwatini, where South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held talks with His Majesty King Mswati III on a range of bilateral issues, Ramaphosa said: “Now is the time for economic development. Our two countries are focusing on growing our economies and creating jobs for young people.”
Tshepo Mokgoatjana, general manager of Tswelokgotso Trading Enterprise, a South African registered company that owns Tswelokgotso Health in eSwatini, said they had wanted to settle the matter amicably with the landlord whom they had already paid E1, 338 960 (E1, 34 million) for rent in the past five years.
“It is unfortunate that they decided to take the legal route for recourse but now fail to play by the rules of the esteemed courts,” he said.
Mokgoatjana also expressed concern that officials from the deputy sheriff’s office have on more than one occasion treated them as people who do not have rights. “Human rights apply to foreigners as well. We do not take this matter lightly. If there is a culture of abusing foreigners, it will have to end,” he stated.
Mokgoatjana reiterated the company’s previous commitment and assurance to Tswelokgotso Health’s more than 30 employees that they have the interest of the economy of eSwatini at heart.
“We are very proud of what we have started in eSwatini and have confidence in eSwatini’s judicial system,” said Mokgoatjana.