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Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, has said he and his government had ‘no inkling’ that the kingdom would have its revenues from the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) cut, until just before it happened.

He told the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, this was why he went ahead with awarding himself, cabinet ministers, former prime ministers and members of parliament huge pay and benefit rises this year, worth about E60 million.

In short, he thought the money was there to pay for it all. He claimed it was right to go ahead because the increases were ‘based on the recommendations of a consultants’ report, drafted in early 2009 when the necessary funds were allocated for that purpose’.

You have to admire the brass neck of the man, if he thinks we will fall for that one. The Swaziland Government was warned for years that it was spending too much on public service salaries and that its policy of spending recklessly would result in disaster.

In 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported, ‘When the rest of sub-Saharan Africa was growing over the last decade, the economy of the Kingdom of Swaziland stagnated.’

Also in 2008, I reported that it was widely predicted in the international community that SACU revenues that amounted to about 70 percent of the Swazi Government’s total income would fall from 2010.

And that’s what happened: they fell from E6 billion (about $US875 million) in 2009 to E1.9 billion in 2010.

So once again we must conclude that Dlamini and his government are either telling bare-faced lies or they are so inept they don’t understand what is going on around them – the truth is the economy couldn’t afford his benefits package.

And once it was clear to one and all that the money wasn’t available to meet the cost, Dlamini didn’t order the increases to be cancelled – he went ahead ensuring that while most of the Swazi population (70 percent of whom earn less than one US dollar a day) got even poorer, he and his cronies would get considerably richer.

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