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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 14:49 GMT
'Pee inspectors' roam Swazi town
By Bhekie Matsebula in Mbabane

The city council at Swaziland's eastern town of Siteki, has set up a posse of "pee inspectors" to roam the streets and fine anyone found urinating in public.

The initiative, unveiled during the Christmas season when drunkards roam the streets has outraged residents.


We've built scores of toilets but men still insist on just whipping it out and just urinating on our pavements

Thulane Mkhaliphi, town clerk

Pedestrians said that although public toilets are cheap to use, they are usually too filthy to use.

The town council has appointed 10 roaming public health inspectors to impose on-the-spot fines and anyone who cannot or will not pay, is charged with public indecency causing malicious damage to property.

Cost to business

Siteki town clerk, Thulane Mkhaliphi, says the "pee inspectors" are meant to make the streets safe for what he described as "decent folk" and rid Siteki of the lavatorial stench that hangs over many Swazi town centres.

At the government's office complex in the town, the toilets are just as dirty as those in the market place, which also serves as a bus rank.


I'm having great fun. I catch about 30 people a day and double that at weekends or pay day

Dumisane Dlamini, pee inspector

But Mr Mkhaliphi insists: "We've built scores of public toilets, but men still insist on just whipping it out and urinating on our pavements - even in the centre of town. The place is beginning to smell like a urinal, and it's costing us business."

"It's so bad at weekends and at the end of the month when all these layabouts blow their money at taverns that decent folk don't come to town at all," he added.

Clocking up

Dumisane Dlamini, one of the new "pee inspectors", dismissed complaints about the peeing ban as "sour grapes" and described the initiative as a "breath of fresh air".

"I'm having great fun", he said. "I catch about 30 people a day on average and sometimes double that at weekends or payday. That's a fair amount of money for the council."

The new health inspectors are also authorised to fine pedestrians for jay-walking and hitch-hiking in the city centre or breaking any other by-laws.

The town clerk has promised that the toilet crisis would be solved as soon as there is sufficient water in the town.

'Sangomas'

Currently the town gets water from a river about 230km away at Simunye, a sugarcane-growing plantation company utilising the Black Umbuluzi River that links Swaziland and Mozambique.

The Siteki initiative follows a similar one in the capital, Mbabane, where city fathers recently threatened to hire "sangomas" or witchdoctors to bewitch human faeces - a common sight on the city's pavements.

The authorities there have warned that the sangoma's spells would cause the culprits' backsides to swell so police and neighbours could identify them.

Using "muti" or magic charms is strongly believed in Swaziland to act as a check on anti-social behaviour.

See also:

04 Dec 01 | Africa
Profile: Troubled King Mswati
28 Sep 01 | Africa
Swazi king takes eighth wife
17 Sep 01 | Africa
Swazi King sex ban
25 Jul 01 | Africa
Swazi king bows to pressure
25 Jun 01 | Africa
Anger at Swazi media decree
06 Nov 00 | Africa
Swazis protest at king's rule
31 Aug 00 | Africa
No new bride for Swazi king
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Swaziland
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