Limkokwing, the controversial private university due to open in Swaziland on Monday (23 May 2011), is in the kingdom illegally.
Wilson Ntshangase, Minister of Education and Training, has confirmed that this is true, but added (in effect), ‘who cares?’
In Swaziland an act of parliament needs to be passed to set up a university and this has not happened for Limkokwing, nor is there any intention that it will be done.
Ntshangase, told the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, that there was an agreement between the university and government that would enable it to operate in the kingdom even without the necessary law.
The newspaper reports the minister added that it was important for people who wanted to challenge the legality of the university to consider the fact that it was introduced in the kingdom to help Swazi children.
‘Are these people calling for the closure of the university suggesting the students should study out of the country or what? This university would help the Swazis as well because once we have an educated nation the country’s economy would improve,’ he said.
Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that the government has ignored the law, it is still committed to paying Limkokwing E16 million (US$2.1 million) a year of Swazi people’s money for scholarships.
Maxwell Dlamini, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, confirmed to the newspaper that the government would support 800 students a year at the university.
Where exactly the money will come from remains unclear. Limkokwing had intended opening on 8 April 2011, but was unable to do so because money promised by the government had not been paid.
Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed that the Swaziland Government had been unable to stick to its plan to reduce public spending and raise taxes to get the kingdom out of its economic meltdown. The IMF called for more public funding cuts to be made immediately. It is not clear if these cuts would include the money intended for Limkokwing.
Limkokwing has a long history of controversy surrounding the quality of the courses it teaches in its campuses in Lesotho and Botswana. The Botswana Government decided to reduce the number of scholarships it gave the university when it was faced with its own financial problems.
LIMKOKWING IS BAD FOR SWAZILAND