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I have seen the appointing authority dismissing ministers and principal secretaries for failure to execute their duties properly.

There were casualties under the administration of Prince Mbilini, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini and Absalom Themba Dlamini. I don’t want to mention their names. The Municipal Council of Mbabane says government owns the traffic lights at Mangwaneni intersection. I am talking about Mangwaneni in Mbabane.  I have since realised that there are disturbing pockets of complacency at Cabinet. Politicians should not shift the blame to the controlling officer or head of a government department. The secretary to Cabinet who supervises the principal secretaries is an ex-officio member of Cabinet. He records minutes for Cabinet meetings.

Principal secretaries are the controlling officers. They received letters from the minister of finance authorising them to manage the budget. In case a minister is not happy with the performance of the PS as a controlling officer or the head of a government department, he can initiate disciplinary action against them through the secretary to Cabinet and Civil Service Commission.


I still don’t understand why government hasn’t fixed those traffic lights at Mangwaneni. They have been dysfunctional for over a year now. Who should be fired for neglect of duties? Cabinet ministers and PSs travel on the Malagwane road on a daily basis. This is the route they take when they travel to Parliament to ask for budget approvals. The unfortunate failure to fix the traffic lights exposes emaSwati to accidents. Tourists are also exposed to danger. For over a year, there is nothing like ‘stop at red and go on green’ at the intersection. It has been a chaotic situation.  It’s a pity that the Mangwaneni-Mountain View International Hotel intersection is one of the danger zones in the city. It marks the descent point for Malagwane hill.
It is danger because of the increased amount of information being presented to the driver such as the stop signs, multiple lanes, and opposing traffic.

For that matter, Malagwane is not just an ordinary hill. We all know what it has done to our brothers and sisters. At some point, it was considered one of the most deadly stretches of the road in the country, measured by the number of people who died there. I call upon Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, the Minister of Public Works and Transport and the PS, Thulani Mkhaliphi to come to the party. This can’t be right. If government or ministers fail to address a simple matter such as fixing traffic lights, it means that we have to be content with the potholes on public roads around the country. We all know that traffic signals exist to control the flow of traffic in one way or another. The extended purpose, then, is to increase safety, manage traffic and travel times, and provide direction for drivers.

There is nothing or nobody giving direction for drivers and pedestrians at Mangwaneni intersection. Children cross the road at their own risk.
ELTEC states that most traffic lights at major intersections share a common set of purposes. They maintain a safe flow of traffic, all for the sake of keeping people in their own lane.  ELTEC, the world class provider of engineered traffic systems, also states that another purpose is to keep pedestrians and vehicles safe.  I have to emphasise that it is the responsibility of the government to keep people and property safe.

When it comes to intersections, crosswalks, school zones, and other places where there’s a good deal of both vehicular and foot traffic, traffic signals help communicate potential risk areas for both drivers and pedestrians.  Traffic signals also play a role in limiting the amount and intensity of accidents that do happen.What basically frustrates me the most is that, the dysfunctional traffic lights are not far from Cabinet offices where national decisions are implemented.

Now, I understand why I am seeing potholes on public roads, especially the Mbabane-Mhlambanyatsi road. Just before reaching Hilltop, not far from Cabinet, motorists are forced to negotiate tyre-damaging potholes.  That road is frequented by heavy duty trucks, including the speeding waste management vehicles from the Municipal Council of Mbabane. The Hilltop-Mahwalala road is a total mess.  To avoid disappointment, I shouldn’t expect government to improve the feeder roads. That’s my farfetched dream. If roads in the proximity of Cabinet are in a terrible condition, it suffices that those in the rural areas are impassable. I should learn the art of driving on muddy roads.

We need a Cabinet that understands the political economy of roads. In general elections and appointments, roads produce heroes and villains. Roads made Prince Mbilini famous. As a minister of transport, the late prince was a darling for the nation. In fact, he was considered the best performing minister in the Obed Mfanyana Dlamini administration. He did not want to be only informed of dangerous potholes and terrible roads; he wanted to see for himself how bad those roads were.

The nation was happy when the King elevated him to the position of prime minister in 1993.  Of course, he was replaced by Barnabas in 1996, but his good performance as a transport minister would never be forgotten. He understood the political economy of roads. Joseph Wales and Leni Wild say roads create connectivity, which allows for easier access to external goods and labour markets as well as greater social contact with other settlements, both of which contribute to national integration.


To illustrate the need to prioritise roads, His Majesty the King said roads remained a critical element in the productivity of the economy. He commanded government to continue strengthening the rehabilitation programme of existing roads infrastructure. He ordered government to construct new ones to connect towns and cities as well as provide an unhindered movement of goods and services. Ingwenyama announced that a Roads Authority would be established to ensure that the country’s newly improved roads network was well taken care of and maintained for the benefit of future generations. 

His Majesty commended the impressive developments in the road networks, such as the Manzini intersection and the Moneni- Mbadlane Highway, which, he said, were at par with some of the roads in first world countries. He said the country needed to see more of such roads meeting such standards, particularly the industrial area of Matsapha where there was traffic congestion during peak hours. He said this frustration needed to be addressed urgently as it compromised the ease of doing business. He also commanded his government to give more attention to improving feeder roads in the communities.

The Monarch said improving feeder roads in the communities would attract investment and development in these areas. He actually pointed to the fact that he had witnessed immense contribution that the probase road project has had in improving the road network in the rural areas. “Government shall give more attention to improving the feeder roads in our communities so as to attract investment and development in these areas,” the Head of State said. “Whilst there are some challenges in some areas, these need to be addressed urgently and government will expand the probase network across the country.” When he officially opened the 4th Session of the 11th Parliament last year, the King acknowledged the importance of roads, mentioning that the transport infrastructure and services remained the key driver of economic and community development.

In his budget speech in February 2023, Neal Rijkenberg, the Minister of Finance said the year 2022 brought about the delivery of improved road infrastructure, particularly along the major trunk route in the country. He mentioned the freeway from Ngwenya border through the capital city, down to the industrial town and the hub of the country all the way to the King Mswati III International Airport. He said the massive investment in this infrastructure would improve the country’s road travel experience for many years to come. Notwithstanding this great milestone, he said there remained two major challenges in this space, and these were a comprehensive maintenance programme and the improvement of feeder roads. The nation was then pleased to learn that a sum of E514 million was set aside for roads rehabilitation, maintenance and feeder roads upgrades.
Since the money is available, fixing the traffic lights is part of road rehabilitation. This should have been done a long time ago.

The Mission Statement for the Roads Department under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is to provide, maintain and improve a safe reliable and environmental sustainable road network that will stimulate sociology-economic development, job creation and reduced road user costs. Its vision is to become the most essential government department, strategically responding to national challenges of the road network in the kingdom and be viewed as such by all stakeholders. Its policies and goals are to study, analyse, design, upgrade, construct and maintain the national road network. In terms of the Constitution, the Cabinet is “collectively” responsible to Parliament for any advice given to the King by or under its general authority and for all things done by or under the authority of any minister in the execution of the office of minister.

It formulates and implements the policy of the government in line with any national development strategy or plan. Even though Chief Ndlaluhlaza should be the initiator, the ministers are collectively responsible for road maintenance. Fix the traffic lights or else one of you should be shown the exit door. Never take the nation for granted. We expect service delivery from the tax-collecting government. We are not going to celebrate mediocrity anymore.