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MBABANE – A female has been identified by police as the mastermind of robberies targeting businessmen around Mbabane and Ezulwini.

A wanted person’s notice for Nonhlanhla Nontsikelelo Manana was released by the police yesterday, citing Ngonini in Ezulwini as her place of origin. The notice, which was confirmed by the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), indicates that Manana is wanted for a string of armed robberies.
Sources close to the matter indicated that she is suspected to be the ringleader of a syndicate that has targeted businesspeople along the Mbabane/Ezulwini corridor. She is believed to be working with South African nationals in robbing unsuspecting businesspeople and their families of their valuables and money in cash. It was revealed that her modus operandi included organising the South African nationals after scanning her targets and following them for days. She would allegedly spend time, even weeks, studying her targets before robbing them in the comfort of their homes.


The sources said it is suspected that in most of her robberies, she colluded with the maids who willingly or unsuspectingly gave her information on her targets. She would allegedly call the South African nationals and some local members of the syndicate and unpack the attack plan. They would then pounce on their targets when no one would be suspecting. The sources further revealed that Manana was identified after her South African crew, in an attempt to evade arrest from South African Police Service (SAPS), left a bag with some of the spoils from their robbery sprees in Ezulwini and Mbabane.

“The SAPS were looking for the SA robbers and during the chase, the robbers left a bag that had clues linking them to the local robberies. A cellphone number was found and she was identified as the owner,” said the source. She is suspected to have fled to one of the neighbouring countries on Monday. Anyone who might have information that could lead to her arrest is requested to contact the nearest police station.


It was also revealed that she is linked to recent robberies committed around Goje and Mantenga townships in Ezulwini. The wanted person’s notice comes a few weeks after high profile businesspeople, including a bank manager and their families, were robbed of their assets amounting to over E5 million at the beginning of the month. She is suspected to have been involved in the recent robberies, which include the bank manager’s home, where they robbed and tortured the occupants before walking away with cash, jewellery and other goods amounting to about E177 300. It was revealed that the female mastermind studied the banker’s home for weeks before unleashing the syndicate. They allegedly asked for money, but were not pleased with the amount they found in the house and demanded bank cards and their PIN codes.

It is alleged that two of the men then demanded the keys to a vehicle that was parked within the homestead and used it to drive to an ATM so that they could withdraw more money. They allegedly took the bank manger along with them to the ATM, where they withdrew E1 800 and returned to the house. It was previously reported that a similar incident happened around Pine Valley, where the alleged robbers operated in a similar manner of ambushing a family at their home during evening hours. They allegedly forced the man, who they had targeted, to go to the bank with them and withdraw some money from his account. It was gathered that the robbers targeted expensive electronic gadgets as well as cash from their victims.

REPS Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed that the police were looking for Manana over a string of armed robberies. She said anyone who might have information should contact Hhohho Regional Crime Branch Officer (RCBO) J. Mdlopha, the investigating officer Sicelo Tsabedze or the Lukhozi Department. Alternatively, people with information can contact their nearest police station or call 999. Yesterday, our sister publication, the Times of Eswatini, reported that a 28-year-old paramedic had been arrested in connection with a series of robberies committed at gunpoint along the Ezulwini and Mbabane corridor.


The health practitioner, who is believed to be a member of the same syndicate, which has been robbing unsuspecting businesspeople and their families of their valuable items and money in cash, was arrested while at his homestead around Mbabane. It is alleged that the paramedic, who was based at Malagwane, was found in possession of 40 Euros stolen from one of the robbed businesspeople, a gun and 10 live rounds of ammunition. The arrest allegedly came after police officers received information that he was linked to a gun that was suspected to have been used in the commission of the offences. 

It was also gathered that the health practitioner had fired a shot while at a popular hangout spot and shisanyama in Mbabane, before he disappeared with the gun. Eswatini continues to experience armed robberies, where people are robbed of their properties at gunpoint. The armed robberies were more prevalent on motorists since the beginning of the unrest before it extended to businesspeople. It should be noted that the robberies were committed at a time when the REPS had called upon people to surrender illegal firearms.