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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

LEGAL THREAT TO FINANCE MINISTER

Swaziland MPs are threatening to take the Minister of Finance to court because he cut their salaries by 10 percent in a bid to control public spending.

They say they were the only group to have the cut and it was done without their permission.

The Swazi Government had hoped to cut all public service salaries by 10 percent to save E240 million from the annual budget, but it failed to do this. Public service unions threatened civil unrest if the cuts went ahead. Only an estimated E6 million per year – mostly from salaries of parliamentarians – has been saved so far by wage cuts.

Earlier this week news leaked out that King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, had not taken a cut in income himself, even though he had been urging his subjects to make sacrifices.

Yesterday (28 February 2012), during a portfolio committee budget performance debate, MPs demanded that Majozi Sithole, the Finance Minister, reinstate their pay and give them back money that had been deducted in recent months. They said the policy of salary cuts had failed and they did not see why they should be the only ones to suffer.

MPs claim that Sithole had no legal right to cut their salaries and if he did not reinstate the money they would challenge him in court.

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