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Saturday, 23 October 2010

SWAZI PM: ‘CIVIL UNREST IF JOBS CUT’

Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, says he fears ‘civil unrest’ if he doesn’t give civil servants pay rises this year or tries to cut the number of jobs in the government sector.


This puts him on a collision course with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is demanding the Swazi Government cuts public sector jobs to tackle a financial crisis in the kingdom.


Dlamini said members of the IMF didn’t know what they were talking about because they were ‘technocrats’ and not ‘politicians’.


He told a meeting of Swazi editors, ‘There will be social upheaval if we were to reduce civil servants’ salaries.’


Dlamini contradicted himself at the meeting by also saying that his government had produced a Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap for the IMF that included cuts of 7,000 jobs in the government sector. There are thought to be about 35,000 people on the government payroll in Swaziland.


He can’t have it both ways: either there are cuts and social unrest or no cuts and no upheaval.


He claimed the fact that civil servants had agreed a pay increase this year of 4.5 percent showed they were willing to ‘cooperate’ with the government in its present financial meltdown, but failed to explain how increasing government expenditure at a time it was meant to be reduced helped balance the budget.


Dlamini also said he deserved the pay-off he would receive when the present parliament ends in 2013.


‘Politicians are humans too and have needs. For instance, which media houses can hire a minister after his term of office? They are unemployable and it takes years for them to get a job. It is even worse for a former prime minister,’ the Times of Swaziland reported him saying.

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