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By Anna Villumsen
The Swaziland Mass Democratic Movement, a coalition of pro-democracy organizations, has sent a public appeal to the South African government asking them to thoroughly consider the request for a bailout from the Swazi government. The South African government received the request for a R10 billion emergency bailout on the 24th of June and have now granted a R1.2 billion loan to Swaziland, according to Lucky Lukhele the spokesperson Swaziland Solidarity Network. Formally the South African government does not admit to have granted the loan but angry representatives from the top level of ANC and other political parties have told Swaziland Solidarity Network that the decission has been made.
Swaziland is on the verge of a financial breakdown. After refusals from IMF and the African Development Bank the Swazi government is desperately searching for funds. Currently they cannot pay the salaries and pensions of civil servants and the education- and health sectors are also suffering from the economic meltdown. Meanwhile, the government continue to make large investments in military hardware and the security apparatus, Swaziland Mass Democratic Movement writes.
The Regime is Responsible for the crisis
Swaziland Mass Democratic Movement, requested that South Africa supports the people in Swaziland rather than the elite of the country who is responsible for the economic problems. They wrote in their appeal to South Africa that,
“The financial meltdown in our country is not simply due to lack of financial resources but largely an outcome of a total breakdown in good governance, public accountability and responsible governance spanning over many years, coupled with the absence of direct participation of the people in the affairs of the country”
It is clear that the system of governance does not benefit the people of Swaziland who continue to suffer under a regime that banns political parties and tortures and kills political activists. The country, which is almost a middle income country, does not cater for the majority of the 1.4 million people of whom 26.3% have HIV/AIDS and 69% live for less than 1 dollar a day.
No hope for the people
For those who think that the Swazi government should take responsibility for the problems they have created themselves and give way to a democratic system of government, the South African bailout is a disappointment.
As long as the government gets help from outside to secure its lavish spending and irresponsible behavior, the people of Swaziland is left with little hope for change.