Swazi observer


By STARSKY MKHONTA | 22-04-2024

Shocked by the rising number of cases of rape, murder and gender-based violence, Maseyisini MP, Nokuthula Dlamini, has added her voice to the growing calls for the return of the non-bailable law.

On a weekend in which a woman was arrested for allegedly stabbing and killing her boyfriend, Dlamini said Parliament was working on cases of gender-based violence, strengthening criminal laws and strengthening legal and policy frameworks so that perpetrators can easily escape .

The lawmaker said rising cases of GBV, rape and femicide were making the country appear lawless and women and children were living in fear.

According to Dlamini, she was among the many lawmakers and other Emaswati who advocated classifying cases such as GBV, rape and murder, among others, among non-bailable crimes.

The lawmaker’s call for non-bailable crimes comes after senators earlier this year also called for a law, in addition to the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Act (SODV), that would make GBV, murder and rape other non-bailable crimes.

The Non-Bailable Offense Order came into effect in 1993 and listed murder, rape, robbery, violation of the Public Order Act, the Arms and Ammunition Act, the Game Act and the Pharmacy Act under the list of non-bailable offences.

However, it was repealed in 1994 through the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

According to Dlamini, to ensure that the country remains known as peaceful and crime-free, strengthening the current criminal system by returning the non-bailable law and passing strict laws remains the only and preferred route.

“The 12th Parliament is busy exploring how some laws can be given teeth so that offenders regret committing some of these heinous crimes that have dominated our society. What is happening in the country is unacceptable and we do not need to give the impression that we are a country without law,” the lawmaker said.

She said tackling GBV is one of the priority areas for parliamentarians and they are trying to strengthen the law so that criminals know what makes banana yellow.

“The laws must be strict and specifically designed to tackle some of these crimes that make us look like a lawless nation.

We are working to prevent bail from being granted to those who commit some of these heinous crimes.

We want to see the screws tightened in cases of rape, murder and some of the serious crimes. These should become non-bailable offenses and this should happen quickly,” Dlamini added.

She said the penalties and laws should serve as a deterrent to potential offenders and make them think twice before committing a crime under the scheme of non-bailable offences.

“Whether you’re a woman or a man, it shouldn’t matter. When someone is involved in some of these heinous crimes, we want to ensure that the law takes its course by not granting bail and imposing stiff penalties on the convicts,” the lawmaker said to loud applause.

Dlamini was among the lawmakers who came to support their colleague, Shiselweni I MP Shawnette Henwood, at the inkhundla council thanksgiving ceremony in Emchisweni Umphakatsi on Saturday.

Other MPs who attended the ceremony were Sabelo Ndlangamandla of Matsanjeni South, Bhekithemba Gonyovu Bhembe of Shiselweni II, Nomalungelo Simelane of Siphofaneni and Ntando Mkhonta of Zombodze Emuva.

Dlamini said the people of Shiselweni I deserved praise for making the right decision in electing a woman following calls from various sectors including the country’s authorities for more women in parliament.

“I joined and would like to thank you for heeding Ingwenyama’s call that women should be given a chance as they are not well represented in Parliament in terms of numbers. You came together and spoke with one voice, which led to Henwood becoming your MP,” Dlamini said.

She also encouraged the Shiselweni I community to make the same decision in the 2028 elections, noting that issues affecting women were not fully addressed due to poor representation in Parliament.

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