Thokozani Mshengu scored in injury-time for the crucial win after Ayanda Dlamini had cancelled out David Mathebula’s opener.
The hosts missed a number of chances to take the lead as Ayanda Dlamini fired his shot over in the 12th minute, while Mbele saw his shot from a tight angle blocked by a good save from Greg Etafia.
Then in the 31st minute Philani Cele showed how dangerous he can be when pushing forward when he fired just wide after collecting a loose ball just outside the box.
Swallows’ first shot at goal came in the 35th minute when Felix Obada set the ball up for Giorgi Nergadze, but unlike in the MTN8 Final on Saturday, his shot went well over the target.
Then a minute later the Dube Birds punished the hosts for a lapse in concentration at the back as Mathebula placed his low shot past Philani Zikalala from the edge of the area.
Ayanda Dlamini sent his header straight to Etafia in the 51st minute, before Kagiso Senamela fired just wide a minute later.
Then Swallows were gifted a chance in the 56th minute when a mistake from Cele allowed Siyabonga Nomvete a clear sight of goal, but the veteran striker saw his strike parried away.
In the 65th minute Mbele fired his shot just wide of the post, before Marc van Heerden forced Etafia to punch his free-kick to safety.
However, Van Heerden tested Etafia from a more direct angle in the 74th and this time the experienced goalkeeper was unable to keep the ball in his gloves, allowing Dlamini to bury his follow-up shot.
And just when it looked like the two sides would have to settle for a share of the spoils, Usuthu grabbed their first win of the season when Mshengu beat Etafia with a left-footed curler.