7 July 2011
Swaziland will have to ask for help: Minister
Pretoria - South Africa will only interfere in Swaziland's socio-economic challenges when they approach the country for help, says International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
However, noting the latest developments in Swaziland, Nkoana-Mashabane said they have urged all the relevant parties in the Kingdom to begin a political dialogue with a view to speedily and peacefully resolve all the challenges facing the country.
The developments in Swaziland have generated international interests and attention, with some calling on South Africa to actively try to address the political situation in that country.
The minister said Pretoria is committed to good neighbourliness and non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs.
"Swaziland has not approached South Africa for any support in lieu of these challenges. The South African Government would consider any request for support in the interest of peace and development in the region."
Nkoana-Mashabane also confirmed that no decision has been made yet on the request from the Swaziland government to borrow money.
"The South African Government is in possession of a request for financial assistance by the Swaziland Government. The request is under consideration," she told the media.
Media reports have been speculating that South Africa has granted the cash strapped Swaziland R10 billion in financial assistance.
Swaziland is Africa's last absolute monarchy, its royals ranked among the world's wealthiest royals by Forbes magazine. The country has high levels of poverty and HIV infections.
The government in that country is running out of money to pay salaries for 35 000 civil servants.
Teachers and other civil servants have refused salary cuts recommended by the International Monetary Fund and have embarked on a series of protests, calling on the government to resign.
Given the current economic crisis, Nkoana-Mashabane said it is unlikely that the country will recover unless there is sufficient funding from an external donor.
"The government will also have to improve its governance and fiscal management system. A strengthened foreign direct investment portfolio would also help to mitigate the financial crisis," she said.