Despite denials from the Swaziland Government it is now been admitted that King Mswati III has asked South Africa for money to bail out his bankrupt kingdom.
Bloomberg financial news agency reports today (22 June 2011) that South Africa’s National Treasury is ‘dealing with’ a request for help from Swaziland. Swaziland may not have money to pay its public servants.
It quotes Jerry Matjila, the director-general of South Africa’s international relations department, saying a request has been made and it is being considered.
Matjila told a group of lawyers in Cape Town that South Africa risked an inflow of immigrants from Swaziland if the Swazi Government’s financial crisis is not resolved.
He told them, ‘The question is how much we can help. We want a stable continent. We start with our neighbors.’
It was widely reported earlier this month (June 2011) that King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, had sought a meeting with Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, to personally ask for a loan for his kingdom of E10 billion (about US$1 billion).
It was reported that Zuma demanded that King Mswati allow political parties in his kingdom and that he personally kept out of politics. The king refused to accept these conditions and the meeting did not take place.
The Swaziland Government later denied that any approach had been made by Swaziland to South Africa for financial assistance. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, was forced to make a humiliating public apology to the king after it published a report that had previously appeared in the Southern Africa Report giving details of the required loan.
Matjila’s comments today seem to show that that the Swaziland Government and the king’s denials were lies.
Swaziland is expecting a decision any day now on an application for a loan of US$100 million it has made to the African Development Bank.
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‘OBSERVER’ BOWS DOWN TO SWAZI KING