The Minister of Industry and Commerce Manqoba Khumalo this week released a
statement reacting to rumours that the government intends to reserve certain
categories of businesses for Swazi nationals.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people may have lost their
livelihoods as many were forced to close businesses for a month in May due to
COVID-19 regulations. Nationals affected are expected to be finding it harder to
Minister Khumalo in a statement on the Government Twitter page alluded to
“malicious and damaging reports” circulating on social media purporting that
government is introducing a new law against foreign owned business in the
Kingdom. The statement does not identify the sources of the reports.
“These reports allege that effective 1 st October 2020, government would not renew
licences to FDIs and all businesses will be 100% reserved for emaSwati.”
“Government wishes to state that no such law exists, neither is there any move in
parliament or elsewhere to introduce such a piece of legislation.”
“While it is true that certain businesses are reserved for emaSwati in terms of the
‘Reservation of certain of Certain Trades and Businesses for Swazi Citizens
Regulations, 2017, it is equally true that Eswatini encourages foreign direct
investment hence our extensive investment drive across the globe. No law has been
passed since then to suggest otherwise.” The full statement is at
Meanwhile, in Botswana the government took immediate steps to reserve
businesses and certain industries for exclusive access to its citizens as soon as the
threat of COVID-19 as an economic disaster became clear in March. Under the
Trade Act the following businesses will be reserved for Botswana citizens only. The
new law cuts across all sectors in the small and medium enterprises sector including
the import of Dubais, water bottling, bakeries, meat processing and other agri-
business. to water bottling to the manufacture of materials for the construction
industry. The full story is below.
Similar sentiments are strong in South Africa, where nationals are looking up to the
government and businesses to put South Africans first. Minister of Finance Tito
Mboweni urged companies to employ South Africans first before foreigners as a new
way of life after COVID-19 to curb high unemployment rate.
#PutSouthAfricansFirst is the order of the day on social media with daily trends popping up on Twitter and Facebook. South African citizens hopes the government
to emulate the move by Botswana to reserve most parts of the economy to locals.