Swaziland asks SA for bailout

Swaziland asks SA for bailout

2011-06-23 14:11

Cape Town - Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, has asked South Africa for a bailout to remedy a fiscal crisis that has sparked rare political protests, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

Swazi dissident groups have reported that King Mswati III was looking for a R10bn loan from Pretoria, although deputy South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told Reuters this figure was probably too high.

"I'm not sure where the R10bn figure comes from and I don't foresee assistance amounting to that much," he told Reuters. "It is too early to put a figure to it until such time as the review and the assessment of Swaziland’s problems are done."

The sums of money are a drop in the ocean for South Africa, far and away the continent’s biggest economy, but, in a curiously African echo of the eurozone debt crisis, Pretoria fears it may be simply the first of a series of bailouts.

Like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it will also baulk at lending anything to Swaziland, a landlocked nation of 1.4 million people, until the government takes the carving knife to what is Africa’s most bloated bureaucracy.

The IMF said last month the country was near financial collapse, with a budget deficit of 14.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) - similar to Greece -  and an economy stuck in the doldrums. Swaziland’s public wage bill amounts to 18% of GDP, more than any other country in Africa.

The IMF said the government could dig up $87m in cuts "swiftly" to improve the health of its finances, but described the commitment to reform as "mixed", rendering immediate budgetary assistance impossible.

South African aid is also complicated by the loathing felt towards Mswati’s notoriously inept and unaccountable regime - cabinet posts are administered on the whim of the king - by the ANC’s union allies.

The country’s fiscal troubles stem from a sharp decline in revenues from the regional Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), which has historically accounted for two-thirds of the government’s budget.

The drop-off is equivalent to 11% of Swazi output, but the IMF also said the government had exacerbated its problems through profligate state spending.

So far, the government has managed to keep its head above water by eating into central bank reserves and running up $180m in domestic arrears.


  • Sisie - 2011-06-23 14:32

    Swaziland is not a subsidiary of SA, nor is it a province of SA. Like Zimbabwe these people think that the cheque book is for their benefit. They got their countries into the mess that it is let them reap the benefits of their follies. If SA lends money or bailout to ANY country in Africa the chances of that money being paid back is NIL.

  • za101 - 2011-06-23 14:45

    the king of swaziland has over a dozen wives and continues to add to his fleet of luxury cars

  • semaj - 2011-06-23 14:50

    First Zimbabwe, now Swaziland. The begging bowl has migrated very far south over the last few weeks. Of course you will get handouts, while the South African poor wait forever!

  • Normaldude - 2011-06-23 14:53

    Shame let the king suffer , he spent all the money

  • NewsICON - 2011-06-23 14:57

    The days of absolute monarcy are over. Its time that Swaziland becomes democratic. Allow the King to remain the country's 'host'. Similar to UK.. Then a bail out using our tax rands can be considered. A time frame must be established for a transition to democracy must be finalised before any bailout is agreed.

  • cnA kcuF - 2011-06-23 15:03

    Obviously our government will gladly help out their partner, just like they're planning to keep support Zim financially. What this comes down to is: Our tax -> ZIM/Swazi

  • bladeboy - 2011-06-23 15:05

    Computer says NO

  • Marcell - 2011-06-23 15:06

    Let them starve.

  • ZACommentator - 2011-06-23 15:10

    How about the King stops his lavish lifestyle why should be pay for him?

  • Tonsil - 2011-06-23 15:10

    Tell the thug in the skirt with 10 wives to cut down on costs and draw some of his overseas based funds to support swaziland

  • callan - 2011-06-23 15:12

    Stuff them! Mswati can sell one or two of his million rand Maybach cars...!

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-06-23 15:14

    "Swaziland’s public wage bill amounts to 18% of GDP, more than any other country in Africa." Socialism simply doesn't work. The private sector should be the engine of economic growth ...

  • King Solomon - 2011-06-23 15:19

    What so he can have another wife? Don't you dare give this despot a cent of MY money. We need it here in South Africa for housing and job creation.

  • FranklySpeak - 2011-06-23 15:20

    Let the king just sell a few of his cars, that will already see major savings.

  • Greegs - 2011-06-23 15:22

    Don't give them anything!

  • Rito - 2011-06-23 15:22

    i think SA must not give any cent to swaziland as they are failing their own people in service deliver ,i mean R10billion just for a king who will buy his wife cars and they wuill spent that money on unnecessary things-i think now is time for us (SA) to stand together and say no to Mswati, more than 25% of our population are unemployed and the r10billion can help us to creast some jobs for SA people to be able to deliver basic service to all corners of south africa

  • GT - 2011-06-23 15:26

    The despot MUST - sell all his cars, move into a 3 bedroom house AND set up democratic elections, or become a province of SA. The Zulu's and Swazi's are so intertwined I can just see a order from top coming down.

  • Larch Strober - 2011-06-23 15:28

    Another well managed African economy...

  • DeonL - 2011-06-23 15:28

    Maybe the king could sell some of his or his wife's many cars?

      Mikus - 2011-06-24 06:38

      - or maybe sell a couple of his wives, dear old Jacob is always in the market ;)

  • Bill - 2011-06-23 15:29

    Bugger that...! You broke it, you fix it!

  • crymash - 2011-06-23 15:31

    let there be democracy first before we can loan them anything

  • krl777 - 2011-06-23 15:33

    Charity starats at home

  • BigMoose - 2011-06-23 15:38

    King Mswati III is the financial crisis. Time to overthrow the regime!

  • Marcell - 2011-06-23 15:39

    I repeat: Let them starve!

      one-way - 2011-06-24 10:16

      Better to bale them out with conditions , than face more migrants comming into S.A.

  • Gary - 2011-06-23 15:52

    dump your "king" first.

  • motsokwane - 2011-06-23 15:57

    It can't be right am I DREAMING or what? these countries are taking a mick out of us.Do they think we are the west? My people are lying with hunger when I learn that the first daughter of Moswati is rated number 20 when it comes to young royals spending spree, and now I am expected to lift her up the rankings, with my tax? should i fund for her father to marry like a crazy rat? I think they should ask where is the short turn to hell.

  • MuAfrica - 2011-06-23 16:03

    Mswati has got billions stashed somewhere. He must bail Swaziland himself, stop his lavish lifestyle and stop marrying thousand young girls to be wives. The wives must go and look for work. We have enough problems of our own in this country. To hell with the dictator.

      hugsxhisses - 2011-06-23 18:45

      The nerve of Mswati. He is worth a reported $100 Million USD. This does not include $10 Billion USD that his father king Sobhuza II put in trust for the Swazi nation during his reign, in which Mswati III is the trustee. Two thirds of the 1.2 million population in Swaziland lives below the poverty line, 40% are umeployed, half of Swazis live without running water, while the king is said to possess a Rolls Royce, $690,000 Maybach 62 luxury sedan and 10 BMWs, 13 palaces and 14 wives, a private jet worth $45 million-an amount that was double the annual health budget for the entire nation. And recently he gave himself a pay raise. ITS HIGH TIME SOMETHING IS DONE ABOUT THIS FOOL OF A KING, HOW CAN HE HAVE SO MUCH WEALTH WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS SUFFERING IN THAT GODFORSAKEN COUNTRY, WE NEED TO DETHROWN HIM AND SEND HIS ASS PACKING TO THE NEAREST JAIL, THE BLOODY IDIOT.

  • AceOfSpades - 2011-06-23 16:05

    Make no mistake, this is not a bailout of Swaziland, it is a bailout of King Mswati. It will be beyond disgusting if the ANC lends the money without making it conditional on political reforms.

  • gregory.f.dean - 2011-06-23 16:13

    Zimbabwe (read Mugabe) wants $50m. I am also cash strapped and without a job - perhaps I could be given a few million!

  • Daemos1 - 2011-06-23 16:29

    No Swaziland, voetsek

  • Bosj - 2011-06-23 16:31

    Shed all the wifes. abandon the monarchy. Sell all the cars. Go look for a job. Only then we can look into borrowing Swaziland R 1 million rands repayable in 3 months.

  • Boodaleh - 2011-06-23 16:38

    It seems that on the bottom half of the continent, those in power just do as they please without facing consequences for their actions. While on the top half, the people take action in their masses to make themselves heard. Why don't the citizens take action. First Zimbabwe, now Swaziland. Lest we forget that this impacts hardest at the bottom, the man on the street. Next thing they cry xenophobia... When did economic migrants and asylum seekers start flowing into SA? Many years ago, attacks only started now, simply because of the economic situation. First fix the borders, to make sure nobody jumps the fence, and then regulate foreign labour, to ensure that the citizens are not prejudiced. Yes, they say locals are lazy, but that does not justify employing foreign labour while the the unemployment rate is climbing

      James Weather - 2011-06-23 19:30

      Good luck to you Swaziland ... If the King owns all the land? Start selling it bud...

  • Streetanalys - 2011-06-23 16:44

    If South Africa heeds the call to bailout Swaziland from its financial crisis, they can as well do it for Zimbabwe. The brutal, undemocratic regime of Mswati 111 does not deserve the hard earned money of South Africans. Strong democratic reforms under strict supervision by South Africa need to happen in Swaziland before any aid package can be discussed. The Swazi monarcy is bleeding the country dry, state funds are used to look after the royal family and reward those who support the status quo with government jobs for their allegiance. Royal family members draw huge salaries as civil servants without lifting a fingure to do real work. This must come to an end. Mswati has Tibiyo Taka Ngwane which has majority shares in almost all major businesses in the country and amass huge profits for the royal family. People in Swaziland have no land tenure, all the land is held intrust for the people by the king through the Tinkhundla System which ensures that citizens pay allegiance to the king through chiefs under the guise of tradition. If South Africa aids Swaziland without reforms, we might as well burn our Constitution and forsake the principles of our hard earned freedom. The people of Swaziland deserve better than this tinpot dictator of a king, who thinks he can fool the world that the country enjoys peace and freedom. The only freedom enjoyed in Swaziland is by Mswati, his family and cohorts. Mswati take money from your offshore accounts and bail the country out.

  • Samuel - 2011-06-23 17:31

    i like all this if not allmost comments it makes me feel like South Africans STAND WITH ONE. Let mswati kiss a tree if he doesnt mind

  • JadedJay - 2011-06-23 19:37

    I sincerely hope the government does not give money to this antiquated monarchy. Its about time they forced democracy in the one way they can - through not supporting the kings spending (of which this potential bailout will NO DOUBT be part of). I simply cannot believe countries like Swazi and Zim have the gall to even ask. Its time us taxpayers stop paying tax until the government starts spending money on things that our taxes should go towards, that benefit us!

  • Mabhulwana - 2011-06-23 20:37

    We are busy repaying a loan to the international financial institutions(IMF and World Bank). The loan was made before the current ruling(governing) party came to power. Zimbabwe(Robert Mugabe) and Swaziland(King Mswati III should both approach the IMF and the World Bank for loans. Or the lending should be done by the SADC, not by a single country. Otherwise we will soon become like them. Or go and borrow from Colonel Gaddafi.

  • Jason Holte - 2011-06-23 21:00

    Everyone wants bail out from SA. (First Zim, Now Swaziland) I say LETS LOOK AFTER OUR OWN FIRST. There are too many South Africans living in poverty. Let's help them first.

  • Julsie3 - 2011-06-23 22:16

    The Swazi King should sell some of his assets. He went on spending spree and RSA must help..

  • Brieuse - 2011-06-24 07:01

    R10 billion would definitely help South Africa's own.

  • onetickie - 2011-06-24 07:12

    SA can bail out Swaziland and Zimbabwe can bail out South AFrica.

  • Black - 2011-06-24 08:15

    I think SA government should look at its own people before thinking of any sort of such assistance to any country. How many people in this country are living in poverty? I so much support your comment Jason and Mbhulwana. '' SOUTH AFRICAN FIRST''

  • lamha vukawe - 2011-06-24 10:28

    SA should make a one time offer to purchase the entire bankrupt little country, ditch the useless self-serving king and liberate the people as SA's 10th province. I lived in Swaziland for 7 years under Mswati II and he was a gentleman that loved his people. The current "king" is a waste of oxygen.

  • Collitjies - 2011-06-24 10:35

    Santa Claus to Zimbabwe and now Swaziland, rather sort out our own problems here before giving making hand outs over the borders. They will just squander this money and then expect more and more.

  • Blomster - 2011-06-24 16:22

    10Bn for 1.2mil people, thats almost 1mil per person and about 200k in SA. That is to much + the money they get from customs and taxes. This guy can't work with money. He should fire himself as king, but isn't Zuma engaged to one of his daughters or sisters.

  • Frans - 2011-06-28 13:25

    why must sa help? they wanted to rule themselves? In fact, about 10 to 20 years from now, sa will be standing with their hands cupped for european handouts..., especially if the officials continue to plunder the countries wealth and reserves - closer to 10 if malema becomes more prominant..

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