An ill-timed outburst by King Mswati III’s advisor and senior member of the royal household, Prince Mahlaba is what has delayed Swaziland’s bid to secure a E2.4 billion bailout from neighbouring South Africa, the Nation Magazine in Swaziland reports.
Prince Mahlaba infuriated by the conditions attached to the loan said its acceptance would be tantamount to selling the country to South Africa. He was particularly against the one condition that would have paved way for democracy and the unbanning of political parties.
Inside sources revealed to the magazine that signing of papers for South Africa to transfer the first tranche was put on hold pending further talks between King Mswati and President Jacob Zuma. The king was already in seclusion in preparation for the sacred incwala ceremony when the proposal for fresh talks was made.
The proposal for a fresh round of talks was made to new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mtiti Fakudze, on November 22 when he led a delegation to South Africa with the intention to finalise the loan deal by signing the papers.
The loan trail has blown hot and cold since August last year while the government dragged its feet in signing the deal. With the marked improvement of revenue from SACU which contributes over 60 percent to the national budget, the kingdom may altogether abandon the loan talks.
To read the full report in the Nation magazine, click here.