Saturday, March 26, 2011


Swaziland’s Members of Parliament (MPs) have refused to follow cabinet ministers and take a 10 percent cut in salary.

The cut would have saved about E6 million per year to help get Swaziland out of its economic mess. The Government expects all public servants to take a 10 percent cut.

According to the Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, today (26 March 2011), MPs told a special cabinet committee formed to discuss the proposal that the amount saved was a far cry from the E80 million per month that Majozi Sithole, the Minister of Finance, said was lost by government through corruption.

The MPs’ decision to hold on to their pay did not impress Vincent Dlamini, Secretary General of the National Public Services Workers Union (NAPSAWU), who told the Swazi News they weren’t worth their salaries and were earning money they did not deserve.

Meanwhile, ordinary Swazi people are less than impressed with the Swazi cabinet’s announcement that ministers would take a 10 percent pay cut. Cabinet ministers have a wide range of perks, including massive severance payouts to look forward to when the present parliament ends in 2013. These are not affected by the cut.

The perks were set out in an official document called the Finance Circular No. 1 of 2010. Here are some of its main provisions:

Constituency allowance:
The prime minister and his deputy despite not having a known constituency, are paid 12.5% of their basic salary as constituency allowance.
Others who are paid at the same rate are ministers, presiding officers, MPs, Senators, Regional Administrators (RAs).

Entertainment allowance:
Prime minister, his deputy, ministers, RAs’, presiding officers, MPs including Senators and Tindvuna TetiNkhundla are paid entertainment allowance at a scale of 7.5% of their basic pay.

Housing benefit:
Prime minister, his deputy, minister, presiding officers and RAs are entitled to a housing loan of up to E1.5 million at a maximum of 8% interest for up to 10 years to be arranged by government. MPs and the rest are entitled to a E650 000 loan at a maximum of 8% interest payable over five years.

Tax reimbursement:
The intention of this allowance is to assist cabinet members with the payment of tax on their benefits. These allowances are paid to compensate for legitimate expenditure in the nature of their duties. The prime minister and his team get a 10% reimbursement of basic pay annually. No other politician enjoys this benefit other than themselves.

The circular gives the prime minister and his deputy the privilege of having their water, electricity and municipal rates paid for by government for official residence and one private home ministers and RAs only enjoy water, electricity and municipal rates paid for by government. Presiding officers and deputy presiding officers only get an allowance of 5% of their basic pay in turn.

The prime minister and deputy prime minister are provided with official vehicles. They are also to receive an annual capital allowance of E120 000 to enable them purchase equivalent vehicles for their private use. The capital allowance shall be equal to that of cabinet ministers. On leaving office or dissolution, whichever comes first, they will get a cash payment equivalent to the value of their benchmark vehicles less the capital allowance over the period. Further the PM is entitled to a requisition of government truck up to 12 times a year for the transportation of bulk goods within Swaziland. Meanwhile ministers are paid E120 000 annually as capital allowance and a further E74 063 as maintenance allowance.

Funeral assistance:
PM is covered for E80 000 whilst given E30 000 as assistance allowance in case of his spouse’s demise
DPM funeral costs are covered for E70 00 and would get E20 000 assistance for spouse
Minister is covered for E60 000 and E12 000 funeral assistance for spouse
Presiding officers are covered for E40 000 and no mention for spouse
Deputy minister, RA, deputy presiding officer are covered for E30 000
MPs are covered for E20 000.

Benefits for ex-PM and their spouses:
Ex-PM who is not under formal employment gets E10 000 monthly
Ex-PM spouse whose husbands died gets E5 000 monthly
Ex-PM would get E80 000 funeral assistance and their spouses covered at E30 000.

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