SODV Act does not stop men from proposing love- Futhi Lushaba

16 April 2024

Futhi Lushaba is a Principal Crown Counsel in charge of the Sexual Offences Unit under the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. In our latest civil servants’ blog, she talks about misconceptions surrounding the SODV Act as well as the challenges of dealing with violent crimes.

Government Communications (GC): “When did you join the Civil Service?”

Futhi Lushaba (FL): “I joined the Civil Service in May 2008.”

GC: “What is your current job now and what does it entail?”

FL: “Currently I am a Principal Crown Counsel in the Director of Public Prosecutions. I am a Prosecutor heading the Sexual Offences Unit. This Unit is responsible for the prosecution of sexual and domestic violence cases and human trafficking cases. The Unit is also responsible for cases involving children who are in contact (victims or witnesses) or in conflict with the law (child offenders).”

GC: “Before this role, what other positions did you occupy in the Service?”

FL: “Before being a Principal Crown Counsel I was a Crown Prosecutor and was stationed at Manzini Magistrates Court. I was then promoted to the position of Crown Counsel- that was after I had been admitted as an Attorney of the High Court.  I was first based at Mbabane Magistrates Court and then moved to the Headquarters of the Sexual Offences Unit. I was then promoted to Senior Crown Counsel where I also became a Site Coordinator of the first One Stop Centre in the country, which was a pilot project situated at the Mbabane Magistrates Court premises.”

GC: “So far, what would you say the biggest highlight/achievement of your Civil Service journey has been?”

FL: “My biggest highlight has been being part of a Core Team which pioneered the establishment of the One Stop Centre concept in Eswatini. One Stop Centres are multi-sectoral or multi-disciplinary facilities which provide comprehensive services under one roof. They are based in three hospitals in the country. I have also been involved in developing an Integrated Sexual Offences Manual for stakeholders in the criminal justice system.”

GC: “There are many interpretations of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act of 2018 and its implementation. What are some of the biggest misconceptions you have heard about this particular law and what would your responses be to them?”

FL: “There are lot of misconceptions about this law. However, I would like to highlight just a few which greatly impact the implementation of this law. Most people still believe that the law only protects females, which is not true. This has led to males not coming up to report abuse which they have suffered because they believe that it protects females. Another misconception is that the law prevents men from proposing love to girls, especially the issue of unlawful stalking. That is not true, as well.”

GC: “How can both men and women ensure that, in particular, around issues covered by the SODV Act, they act within the law in interactions with each other?”

FL: “It is important to respect yourself as a person first. Respect yourself to the extent that you do not tolerate something which makes you feel uncomfortable or a situation which makes you feel uncomfortable. Secondly, respect others. Do to others what you would want others to do to you. It is simple as that. Respect and love yourself and respect others.”

GC: “What measures are in place to educate emaSwati about new laws passed in the country?”

FL: “Offices responsible for the laws have programmes in place and they engage partners to educate emaSwati about new laws. When the SODV Act was enacted, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister roped in stakeholders involved in the law and we went about educating people in companies and in communities about the Act.”

GC: “What benefits have been derived by the country by having the SODV Act in place?”

FL:     “a)      Common Law was very old and some acts of abuse were not criminalised.

  1. b) Sentences in common law were very low. As much as sentencing is a discretion for the court, the SODV guides Judicial Officers on sentences to be imposed in each offence.
  2. c) The Act does not discriminate. In common law, some offences were committed against females only and some for males only. The SODV talks about a person and is not gender specific.
  3. d) The Act has also introduced new offences like stalking, sexual harassment and indecent treatment of children.
  4. e) Domestic violence is now an offence.”

GC: “What do you love the most about working in Government?”

FL: “Working for Government is good. There is job security. Even though there are some challenges but at least you know that if you deliver you will get paid at the end of the month and it is not easy to lose your job.”

GC: “What do you love the most about your job and profession?”

FL: “What I like the most about my profession is that it is a noble one hence we are called learned friends. I also like to assist people. Those who have been aggrieved must get justice for the harm or loss suffered. Those who have done wrong or perpetrators must pay for what they have done. That is what I believe in.”

GC: “What would you say are some of the challenges that come with your job?”

FL: “The job is sometimes traumatic. It comes with a lot of trauma especially when dealing with cases of murder, rape, attempted murder and others which have a domestic violence element. You must be emotionally intelligent to be able to overcome emotions. The job requires dedication and focus. A lot of reading is also involved.”

GC: “What lessons have you learnt working for Government?”

FL: “In Government, first, I have learnt to serve. I have also learnt to respect structures in place in every Ministry. I have also learnt to be loyal.”

GC: “What advice would you have for someone who wants to work for Government?”

FL: “Firstly, I would advise one to apply early for whatever post they wish to apply for. Also, be patient because Government hiring takes time and a lot of processes are involved. I would also advise them to be prepared to serve. In Government, as you work you serve. Do not relax, but upgrade yourself within the system as there are many opportunities to do so.”

GC: “What are your aspirations for the future in Government?

FL: “I would like to be a Judge one day in the Specialised courts as mentioned in the SODV Act.  I would also like to work in any field in Government.”


Follow Government on social media:

Facebook: Eswatini Government

X (Twitter): @EswatiniGovern1

Instagram: @eswatini_government

LinkedIn: Eswatini Government

OffCanvas Menu