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Thursday, 15 March 2012

FINANCE MINISTER FACES ARREST

Swaziland’s Finance Minister Majozi Sithole faces arrest for implementing a 10 percent salary cut on senators in the kingdom without their permission.

A warrant for his arrest has been obtained by Swazi Senate President Gelane Zwane. She told the senate she had the warrant for some time but would wait for the permission of King Mswati III before implementing it.

According to local media in Swaziland, she told the senate on Wednesday (14 March 2012), ‘I had even prepared that he would first be arrested and taken to the holding cells here and then be taken to the Lobamba Police Station.’

She said the warrant was still effective and would have been implemented, but some senators begged her to obtain permission from the King first, the Times of Swaziland reported.

Senators are angry that Sithole made arrangements for their salaries to be cut by 10 percent as part of a government drive to reduce the amount it spends on public servants’ salaries. Government wanted to cut all public service salaries in a bid to save the economy of the kingdom from destruction, but failed to do this after protests from trade unions in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

Sithole did however arrange for cuts to be made in salaries of MPs and senators.

Senate President Zwane said Sithole had defied a direct order from the senators not to deduct 10 per cent from their salaries.

Media reports later said Sithole had gone to hospital claiming he was feeling ill.

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