Only one week after King Mswati III of Swaziland publicly declared his support for higher education in his kingdom, it is reported that his Government has not paid monies it promised one of the newest universities and it cannot pay salaries.
King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and hand-picks the Swazi Government, said in his speech at the opening of parliament that his kingdom now had a ‘huge challenge to develop more institutions of higher learning for our youth in the country that will be affordable to parents and of high quality’.
He added, ‘Therefore, government should upgrade our colleges into universities as this is in line with our decentralisation policy.’
However, the reality in his kingdom is proving to be rather different. Media in Swaziland have reported the Swaziland Christian University at Mahwalala, which specialises in health-based programmes, has had to delay paying its staff wages and salaries.
The Observer on Saturday newspaper reported (28 February 2015), ‘This was disclosed by the university’s bursar Lusekwane Dlamini through an internal memorandum which was issued on Wednesday.’
The newspaper reported the memo said, ‘This memo serves to inform you that salaries for this month will be delayed due to the current financial situation faced by the university.’
The newspaper added, ‘According to highly placed sources, the school administration is accusing government of failing to render their salaries. They are alleging that government promised to give them E27 million [US$2.7 million] which was not met.’
It reported Minister of Education and Training Dr Phineas Magagula saying there was no money at the moment. He said the Government had paid the university E3m at the beginning of the year.
Last Month (February 2015), it was reported that armed police raided the university’s campus after students boycotted classes. There were protesting about a shortage of lecturers and inadequate teaching facilities.
It was also reported that 25 female students from the university had been raped in the past year. Students blamed the university for not providing them with secure accommodation.