Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Now, it’s official: Swaziland is on the brink of financial collapse.

I’ve been warning for some time that the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch is living beyond its means.

With 70 percent of the one million population earning less than one US dollar a day and receipts from the Southern African Customs Union about to be cut to ribbons, there is next to no money coming into the government in Swaziland.

But the Swazi Government continues to give its members and ordinary MPs vast wage increases while at the same increasing money it pays to civil servants.

Now the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned enough is enough.

It met with the Swazi Finance Committee last week and said the government must stop its reckless expenditure. The salary bill for civil servants now stands at 54 percent of the kingdom’s budget.

Finance Committee chairman MP Marwick Khumalo last Friday told the Swazi Parliament, ‘We met with the IMF team on Wednesday and it must be said that they were not happy with Swaziland and a red flag was raised. The team said Swaziland was on the brink of collapsing because money was being wasted on paying government personnel and those in leadership positions.’

The IMF, according to Khumalo, warned of tough times ahead as the kingdom was also faced with dwindling SACU receipts and therefore could not afford to continue spending money on salaries for personnel.

As the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper reports today (1 December 2009), this is not the first time that the IMF has sent such a warning to Swaziland as it previously advised the country to cut down on its number of government employees.

This advice has not been heeded, however, as the Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, Barnabas Dlamini, when taking up office, promised there would be no civil service retrenchments. Dlamini instead promised that all vacant government posts would be filled and this includes temporary teachers whom government has since engaged on a full time basis.

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