Monday, September 12, 2011


Mail and Guardian, South Africa

9 September 2011


Bilateral talks about loan come to grinding halt

South African jitters about accountability for the R2.4-billion bailout are growing, but King Mswati III and other traditionalists are claiming that they reject its political-reform conditions.

South Africa announced on August 3 that it would lend the money to its cash-strapped neighbour, but more than a month later, nothing has been released and Swaziland is said to be tapping other sources, including the Kuwaiti and Qatari monarchies, for support.

This week the South African treasury said Swaziland had not yet signed the memorandum of understanding on the loan and no money would be transferred until the paperwork was complete.

Among the traditionalists who are agitating against the loan is Prince Mahlaba, a senior member of Liqoqo, Mswati's advisory council, who told the Times of Swaziland this week that the country's political system, the Tinkhundla, was not for sale.

"We won't die even if we don't get the money. We shall survive because of God. God gave us Tinkhundla and we won't trade it for R2.4-billion," Mahlaba said.

He was quoted as saying that democracy was "nonsense" and that "Tinkhundla and the monarchy should be praised for preserving peace".

Mandla Hlatshwayo, a founding member of the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations and former royal adviser, said this week that Mswati and the traditionalists were "having second thoughts about how prepared he is to be subjected to conditions of democracy and the unbanning of political parties. That's the source of this constipation."

"We know they are looking around for alternative sources of money.

"The prime minister has just been to Qatar. We understand there have been discussions with Saudia Arabia and Kuwait as well, and now talks are starting with Equatorial Guinea."

To read the full Mail and Guardian report, click here.

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