24 June 2011
No bail-out for corrupt Swazi regime
Only a democratic government must be assisted to rebuild the economy
The Congress of South African Trade Unions notes that the Swaziland government has forwarded a request to the South African government for a loan regarding the economic crisis facing the country.
Following days of speculation about this matter, an official confirmation was released by DIRCO yesterday. It said, “The South African Government is in receipt of a loan request from the Swaziland Government. In this regard, the South African Government is considering the request”.
We are however worried that considering the request without a clear, transparent process and assurance that the consideration is linked to clear conditions for democracy, accountability and transparency in Swaziland, we are bound to be liable for perpetuating and even rescuing an ailing dictatorship.
It is the ruling Swazi regime that plunged the whole country into the mess it is facing. This is not a natural disaster but one made in Lobamba by a few royal elites who have milked the country dry from years of extravagance, corruption, parasitism and poor management.
Therefore, these same culprits cannot be entrusted with managing the loan meant to rescue the country from the perpetual crisis it is currently facing. They must be made to take responsibility and answer to the Swazi people for their crimes, instead of being bailed out. Failure to do so will result in the unintended consequence of bolstering the confidence of those responsible for looting the people’s coffers with impunity.
Any consideration of a bail out must be linked to the demand for a new and democratic government as well articulated by the people of Swaziland themselves in their various organisations and forums.
For instance, PUDEMO as early as 1992, released a document entitled, “Way forward towards a constituent assembly through a negotiated settlement”, which clearly outlines the fundamental steps and processes required for a democratic and speedy, yet all-inclusive mechanism towards a new, legitimate and democratic Swaziland. Only be such a popular and broadly encompassing process would guarantee that the money and national resources in general are used to rebuild the country from the current ashes.
We also call on the Ministers gathered in Namibia this week discussing the issue of SACU, to seriously develop and strengthen the mechanisms for peer accountability, review of the formula and strengthening of checks and balances in the sharing process, management of the pool and its disbursement for developmental purposes.
This will ensure we do not have the calamities we have just experienced in Swaziland as a result of lack of clear oversight and early warning systems, relating to the behaviour of member states and the consequent suffering of the people.