Swaziland People Face Forced Eviction From Homes in Middle of Coronavirus Pandemic

More than 100 people in Swaziland (eSwatini) face forced eviction from their homes with nowhere to go in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Amnesty International reported.

In Madonsa town more than 100 people have been living under the threat of forced eviction for years, to make way for the eSwatini National Provident Fund, a national pension fund administrator. Residents are anxious and have nowhere to go after they were served with a legal notice by the Fund to vacate their homes by 5 March 2021.

In a statement Amnesty said, ‘Forced evictions drive people into poverty and destroy livelihoods.’ It added the Swazi Government ‘utterly disregard their human rights in the pursuit of patronage and commercial interests’.

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, said Swaziland had a grim history of not observing due process when evicting people, including failing to consult communities or offering alternative places of accommodation when carrying out evictions.

Mwananyanda said it was ‘especially appalling’ that the government was attempting to make people homeless during a pandemic.

In a 2018 report, Amnesty International revealed that many Swazis were vulnerable to forced evictions because they lacked security of tenure, due to the kingdom’s ‘deeply flawed land governance system’.

Most of the kingdom’s land is Swazi Nation Land, held in ‘trust’ by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as an absolute monarch. The remainder of the land is Title-Deed Land, owned by private entities or the government.