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Thursday, 17 November 2011


Did the Swaziland Government lie to us when it said this week it had secured loans to enable it to pay public service salaries this month?

Doubts are beginning to emerge that the government has not received the loans and might not get the money to pay salaries on time. Also, unspecified ‘conditions’ have been attached to the loan.

Khabonina Mabuza, the Swazi Ministry of Finance Principal Secretary, said government had not yet secured any loans, according to a report in the Swazi Observer newspaper.

The newspaper reported today (17 November 2011), ‘A source also confirmed this, saying the money to pay civil servants was not yet available, but hopefully government would conclude talks with the various institutions it has approached for assistance in the next day or two.

‘The source said the loan previously announced by government to have been secured had not yet been found. The source said what government had for now was only a commitment but the loan has not yet come through as it comes with conditions attached. This means that if government fails to secure the loan in the next two days, civil servants’ salaries would be delayed as initially announced to line ministries last week.’

The newspaper quotes Mabuza saying, ‘We haven’t got any loan but we’re trying to get one. It’s a worry if government cannot finance its wage bill. It’s really worrying because time is sort of running out for us.’

Mabuza’s comments flatly contradict those of Majozi Sithole, the Swaziland Finance Minister, who told the Times of Swaziland that government now had enough money from the loans to pay public service salaries for the next four months. If this is true, the loans could be worth at least E1.4 billion.

The Observer reports a source saying, ‘If government secures the finance, it will only be short term loans of three to six months, which means the problem it currently faces will just be postponed and not solved.’

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