Just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls on the Swaziland Government to implement pay cuts for politicians and public servants comes news that Swazi senators are fighting tooth and nail against the decision.
The Swazi Government decided the pay cuts would be a good way to reduce public spending to try to save the kingdom’s economy that is near bankrupt.
It decided that all politicians and all public servants should face 10 percent cuts. Cabinet and MPs have already – albeit with some bad feeling - agreed on their own cuts.
But senators were reportedly ‘outraged’ at suggestions that they have their pay cut.
The Times of Swaziland reports today (19 May 2011), senators instead called for the withdrawal of Circular No 1 of 2010 that gives massive payoffs to all politicians, including senators, when the present parliament comes to an end in 2013.
‘In a debate in which tempers flared, senators said the removal of the contentious circular could be one of the things that could resuscitate government coffers and save the country from absolute collapse,’ the Times reported.
‘The incensed senators, in a debate that lasted close to three hours, expressed their outrage in Cabinet’s “resolution” to cut their salaries when they thought negotiations were ongoing,’ the Times, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reports.
Senators denied that they refused to take salary cuts. Instead they said they wanted the matter to be deliberated further as they did not understand how government arrived at the conclusion that the cuts should be 10 per cent and how this would help the economy.
The Times said senators accused Cabinet of trying to sell them out and setting them against the kingdom as if they do not understand the current crisis.
Senator Thuli Msane said Cabinet must consider public opinion.
‘If Circular No.1 is benefitting us a lot it must be removed,’ Msane said, ‘we have to serve the nation instead of enriching ourselves. Remove it.’
‘IMF WANTS 700 JOB CUTS’
SWAZI SENATE FIGHTS OWN PAY CUT