SA: 15yr boy arrested over Swaziland fires

By Guyson Nanagayi – Komatipoort -African Eye- Authorities in Swaziland are holding  a 15-year-old boy from Mpumalanga  in connection with fires that damaged 159ha of sugarcane in Swaziland.

The boy, from Mananga village next to the Swaziland border, was arrested on Tuesday morning in Swaziland on charges of malicious damageto property.

The fires started last Wednesday, when 42ha were burnt. On Saturday, another 95ha was set alight, and another 22ha on Monday.

“We found the boy, who said he was one of the people who came to Swaziland to steal sugarcane,” said Sergeant Bhekane Shiba of the Swazi police’s Tjaneni branch.

“We suspect that they burnt the sugarcane so they could carry it from the fields. But the Royal Swazi Sugar Corporation has lost R419 000 because not all the sugarcane was ready for harvesting and now some of it will rot. The corporation will also have to hire extra labourers and work overtime to harvest and process the cane that can be salvaged,” said Shiba.

“With the help of the Mbuzini police in South Africa, we’re going to arrest 10 more suspects after we’ve received a warrant.”

Mbuzini police spokesperson Selby Simelane said the Swazi police would get all the help necessary from their South African counterparts.

“We are going to help them because we expect them to help us in dealing with criminals from their country,” said Simelane.

The suspect has been returned to Mananga and will be formerly deported to Swaziland to be prosecuted there.

Shiba said South Africans were crossing from Mananga illegally into Swaziland to steal sugarcane