Trade unions are gearing up to advance their fight against the Swaziland regime and the greed of the politicians who voted themselves payoffs and perks worth millions of US dollars.
Protestors want the Finance Circular No 1 2010 that authorised the payments scrapped.
Swaziland, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is broke and the government is struggling to pay its bills, including wages of public servants. Seven in 10 of the 1 million population live in abject poverty, earning less than US$2 per day.
It is extremely difficult to get current figures on the pay scales of Swaziland’s politicians, but in April 2011 the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported salaries as follows:
The PM’s basic salary is E635 296 per year and his allowances amount to E275 648.
The deputy prime minister is paid a E581 772 per year and his allowances stand at E254 524 per year.
Cabinet ministers are paid a basic salary of E508 237 per year while their allowances stand at E562 534 per year.
To refresh memories, here is a digest of what the politicians voted for themselves in Circular No 1.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
As well as these allowances that are already in force, There are plans to offer payoffs worth E60 million (US$7.55 million) when the present parliament ends next year (2013).
Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, will personally get E1.6 million; his deputy, Themba Masuku, who already claims to be a millionaire, is expected to receive E1.4 million. Each cabinet minister will receive E1.2 million, while Senate President, Gelane Zwane and Speaker, Prince Guduza stand to pocket E1.1 million each. The four regional administrators will also take home E1.1 million each. The deputy senate president and speaker will each get E495 000. Each of Swaziland’s MPs will get E435 000.
STRIKE AGAINST SWAZI FAT CATS