Friday, March 25, 2011


As King Mswati III of Swaziland takes a 23 percent INCREASE for himself and his royal family, the cabinet ministers he appointed have been forced to take a 10 percent pay CUT.

News of the ministers’ salary reduction was announced by Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, in a statement published in local media today (25 March 2011).

But, the increase for King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has never been revealed to his subjects by politicians by the local media.

Dlamini was forced against his wishes and those of his cabinet colleagues to accept the pay cut because Swaziland is on the verge of economic meltdown. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it would not support Swaziland’s application for a loan so it could pay its bills, unless a raft of financial measures were taken, including the pay cut. Pay will also be frozen for three years.

The PM, who is currently paid a basic salary of E52 941.42 monthly (US$7,000), will have his pay reduced by E5 294.14 to E47 647.28. By contrast, seven in ten of King Mswati’s subjects earn less than US$2 a day. The average teachers salary is E7,000 a month.

Dlamini said he wanted MPs and public servants, including nurses and teachers, to also take a 10 percent pay cut. ‘There clearly needs to be an appropriate level of sacrifice within the civil service and Parliament to reduce the payroll cost to a manageable level,’ the PM said in his statement.

He made no call for King Mswati to also make his ‘sacrifice’. And, the king has made no offer to reduce the amount of money he takes from his subjects to fund his lavish lifestyle that includes at least 13 palaces.

The prime minister’s ‘sacrifice’ is hollow. He has not agreed to give up the E1.6 million payoff he will receive in 2013 as a gratuity when the present parliament ends. His deputy Themba Masuku will get E1.4 million and in total politicians will get more than E60 million between them in severance pay from the taxpayer.

Nor, is King Mswati short of a dollar. In 2009, Forbes estimated he had a personal fortune worth US$200 million.

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