Percy Simelane, the Swaziland Government spokesperson, denied that parastatals, such as the Swaziland Electricity Company, were approached for money to pay this month’s public servants’ salaries.
And, he also denied that government had to pay ‘exorbitant’ interest rates on loans it secured yesterday (15 November 2011) from domestic banks, financial institutions and private companies in Swaziland.
He told the BBC that ‘it will be easy’ for Swaziland to repay the loans.
Simelane was speaking to the BBC World Service after he announced that public servants would be paid on time this month (November 2011) and that a memo from Fikisiwe Mabila, the Acting Accountant General, announcing that payments would be delayed has been withdrawn.
But, despite close questioning from the BBC, Simelane refused to say how much interest the government would have to pay on the loans, claiming it was a matter ‘between the borrower and the government that sought the money’.
He also flatly denied that the Swazi Government had taken any money from parastatals in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. He said there was ‘no truth’ in the claim that the government had approached parastatals.
He also said that Swaziland had secured a loan from South Africa (for R2.4 billion) and this money was coming to the kingdom. ‘It isn’t that we weren’t given the loan ... the loan was given to Swaziland, the only thing that is remaining now is finding the right papers so that the loan could be accessed by Swaziland.’
He didn’t say that the major stumbling block was South Africa’s insistence that Swaziland move towards democracy before the money is released.
Yesterday, it was reported that Majozi Sithole, the Swaziland Finance Minister, had conceded that Swaziland would accept the condition so it could get the loan.
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