As part of the planning towards a public seminar on the political economy of Swaziland, the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) has produced this ‘work in progress’ paper on the Swazi economy.
SDC says the paper is an overview, and not a full obituary, of how the Swazi economy has collapsed. It seeks to trace the evolution and elements of the collapse and further exposes the Swazi regime’s attempts at maintaining a secret shroud around the current economic situation in Swaziland. . It also begins to explore possible alternatives.
Swazi economy virtually collapsed: A chronology of a deepening crisis
The Swazi economy is currently in the depths of a deep-seated structural crisis, negatively impacting workers, communities, and the poor more broadly. The current crisis explains the Tinkhundla regime’s desperate attempts to effect massive structural changes that seek to reconfigure the Swazi economy, paradoxically still in line with the narrow interests of the royal minority that is at the heart of the collapse in the first place.
At the time of Swaziland’s independence in 1968, the royal minority inherited a highly skewed colonial economy. The edges of the skewed nature of the economy were further sharpened through a royal ‘bourgeoisification’ process, with the establishment of a ‘royal fund’ through the vehicles of Tibiyo and Tisuka TakaNgwane. To date, royalties from mining as well as land held by the monarchy for the Swazi nation (utilised by the major sugar and forestry estates), accrue to the royal family through these institutions, and not to the state, lesser still to the people. This system is designed to ensure that the parasitic royal family maintains their huge, highly unproductive and unfettered share from government in the form of the Swazi National Treasury (SNT), an entity separate from central treasury. According to the Swazi Royal Emoluments and Civil List Act (enshrined in the Constitution of 2005), Parliament should legislate a limit to the money going to royal institutions. Inexplicably, this stipulation has been ignored over the decades, handing the royal family 5% of the annual budget to dispense with as they please.
To read the full article which runs for more than 4,000 words, click here.