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By Peter Kenworthy, Africa Contact's Swaziland group
According to the Times of Swaziland, “impeccable sources from within the [Swazi] civil service” have said that The International Monetary Fund has suggested “that [the Swazi] government may eventually have to carry out 30 per cent cuts on the salaries of everyone who is on the government payroll.”
In a statement given on May 18, Joannes Mongardini, head of the mission of the International Monetary Fund that had visited Swaziland, said that “the mission continued to encourage the authorities to find means to cut the wage bill by E 240 million, as envisaged under the program. It also fully supported the government’s plan to resume its privatization program.”
The unions and civil society in Swaziland are very much opposed to these cuts, especially as they will be carried out together with the non-democratic and over-spending Swazi regime that is apparently not to have its budget or salaries cut.
Vincent Dlamini, The Secretary General of the Swazi National Association of Public Servants and Allied Workers Union was one of those to publically criticize the proposed cuts. "The IMF knows very well where the money losses in this country are. They know that corruption and misplaced spending are key areas where the country is losing money. What is the IMF doing about that? Why isn’t the IMF not telling government to stop spending so much money on defence?"
Ordinary Swazis, commenting on the article in the Times of Swaziland, were also opposed to the cuts. “We will consider the issue of pay cuts in a democratic Swaziland not in the current autocratic Swaziland,” said Simon. “Why is the IMF not taking the government on regarding the royal expenditure? Those guys are the real culprits. They must reduce their budget just like everybody else,” said Zinyane.