JOHANNESBURG - Police officers in Swaziland, or eSwatini as it was recently renamed, are forced to walk or hitchhike to crime and accident scenes because the government has not paid for fuel or vehicle repairs, according to Swazi media reports.

The Swazi Observer reported on Thursday that criminals in some parts of the kingdom “are having a field day, especially in Siteki, as police at the biggest police station in the region have no motor vehicles to attend to reported crime scenes on time”.

“Traffic officers are said to be currently using their personal vehicles to mount roadblocks,” added the Observer.

The police vehicles have been taken off the road due to a shortage of transport and fuel, exacerbated by the financial crisis presently gripping the government.

Currently, there are only two vehicles available to police at Siteki which are being used by the general patrol, crime investigation department (CID) and the traffic department.

In July 2018 it was reported that the police, fire and other emergency services in Swaziland were set to grind to a halt because of a fuel shortage for vehicles after the government failed to pay suppliers,

“Swaziland is broke and as of June 30 owed a total of 12.9 billion, the equivalent of 20.8% of the kingdom’s GDP. Of that nearly €3 billion is owed to suppliers of goods and services," reported Richard Rooney from the Swazimedia.blogspot.

”On August 1 the Swazi government announced it had frozen all job hiring, promotions and creation of new posts because it was broke,” he added.

African News Agency (ANA)