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NATCOM’s burial date announced, to be accorded a State Funeral

The late National Commissioner of Police William Tsitsibala Dlamini.

By Bahle Gama

The late National Commissioner of Police (NATCOM) William ‘Tsitsibala’ Dlamini will be accorded a state funeral. This according to Acting Prime Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze is an order by His Majesty King Mswati III.

In a statement, Chief Mgwagwa announced that the late NATCOM will be laid to rest this coming weekend.
The NATCOM reportedly collapsed and died at the OR Tambo International Airport on the morning of October 7. He was from Angola where he had attended an INTERPOL meeting and was in SA to connect to Eswatini.

First responders who attended to the NATCOM when he collapsed at OR Tambo International Airport reportedly offered medical assistance including CPR for nearly an hour without success. This is according to a statement issued by the Airports Company SA (ACSA) which disclosed that when Dlamini was declared deceased on the day, adding that all the relevant authorities were notified and arrived immediately at the scene of the incident.

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ACSA disclaimed that it did not have details of the late NATCOM’s medical condition and therefore unable to comment on the matter further. A memorial service in NATCOM’s honour will be held at Free Evangelical Assemblies at Ngwane Park on Saturday, October 14. He will be laid to rest at his home at Mahlangatsha the following day on Sunday after a night vigil.

“The funeral service begins at 4 a.m.,” stated the APM. Condolences have continued to pour into the late NATCOM’s family and friends, Their Majesties as well as the nation as a whole. The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) has also been hosting prayer services in the respective regional offices in honor of the NATCOM.

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On another note, the South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner General Fannie Masemola issued a statement notifying the nation that an inquest docket had been registered to determine the cause of Dlamini’s death.

“The commissioner collapsed and died at the Airport. Both the family and the delegation that accompanied the late commissioner on his official trip have received psychosocial services from psychologists attached to the SAPS employee health and wellness unit,” Masemola said.

Masemola described Dlamini as a soft-spoken and committed senior police officer who was dedicated to enhancing cooperation to counter transnational organized crime in the region.
“Our sincerest condolences to the Royal Eswatini Police Service and the family of the late commissioner. Commissioner Dlamini was humble and dedicated to the cause of serving,” said Masemola.

According to the Government Spokesperson Alpheaous Nxumalo, a state funeral is accorded to a person (s) of certain significance especially one who has made contributions to the national development.

He said it is a ceremony that is bound by certain protocols which are not determined by the family as would be the case during a memorial service. “Here you find that the entire programme is drawn by the State in terms of what will happen from the beginning to the end. It is not only also a ceremony but a way for the State to say or show how respectable the deceased is/was in the country,” he said.

Nxumalo clarified that being accorded a state funeral does not mean that friends and family do not attend, however, there is a protocol that is observed, from parking vehicle or arrival is directed by the State and not family.

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“Basically, a state funeral is accorded to a person who has earned a certain degree of respect and their contribution to that country,” he said. He said that in other countries, for a prominent figure, for example like the PM, the nation bids farewell to the corpse as part of the state funeral process.

However, in Eswatini, such practices are not done as part of a state funeral. Some of the dignitaries who have received state funerals in the past include the late Prime Ministers Barnabas Dlamini, and Mandvulo Dlamini as well as late DPMs Albert Shabangu, Author Khoza, and Sishayi Nxumalo amongst others.

“The ministers who passed on shortly after the late PM Mandvulo during the Covid-19 pandemic were also accorded state funerals,” Nxumalo said.

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