24 June 2011
On behalf of the struggling and voiceless people of Swaziland, the poor, the workers, the sick, destitute and all Swazis concerned about the future of our beautiful motherland: We wish to appeal to the people of South Africa, the South African Government, South African Parliament, the African National Congress, South African Communist Party, Congress of South African Trade Unions, ANC Youth League, Young Communist, Opposition Parties, all civic organizations, that as you consider the desperate request of our government for financial bailout, you seriously take into account the following fundamental issues of concern;
1. The financial meltdown in our country is not simple 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.
2. The Tinkhundla system of governance parades itself as a traditional and cultural based system of governance.
· The fact of the matter is that this system is corrupt to the core and devoid of any moral values akin to African culture such as Ubuntu, respect for the sovereignty of the people and the principles of natural justice.
· Under this system 60% of the national revenue is spent on 20% of the population,
· corruption is wide spread and our minister of finance estimates that R80 million per month stolen out of government coffers but not one person has been officially indicted for this crime since independence,
· 30% of all children are orphaned or vulnerable,
· 69% people the Swazi population lives on less than R7 a day,
· the national budgetary allocations continued to focus on none productive prestigious projects such as a multibillion new International airport in a country that does not have an aircraft carrier,
· The government continue to make large investments in military hard ware and security apparatus,
· A multitude of traditional structures, committees and sub committees continue to be bankrolled to the total neglect of the needs of the poor.
3. There is no frame work for ordinary Swazi people to have a meaningful voice in the conduct of the nation’s affairs.
· Due to the fact that political parties and political affiliation, in opposition to the one party system of governance called Tinkhundla, are not allowed, leaders of civil society, political parties and trade unions work under extremely restrictive political conditions and at great risk to their own lives and welfare.
· It is our prayer that the democratic institutions of the Republic of South Africa would not proceed to consider and decide on the Swazi government request to the exclusion of the pleas and concerns of the victims of the Swazi autocratic rule.
4. We applaud the willingness of the South African Government to help our country and people: we humbly request that such help should not amount to abdication and perpetration of the social and economic injustice that created this mass in the first place. We think South Africa should not grant this loan to the Swazi regime but should offer assistance only within an agreed multi party frame- work, with a clear plan and road map to resolve the economic, social and political crisis.
· The Swazi people should take a pause and seriously work towards the normalisation of their political environment through a negotiated political framework.
· The Swazis must to talk to each other until they find a win-win solution that would serve as a guarantee that the South African tax payers are contributing to a long term future in Swaziland and not just a momentary reprieve that would enrich the same culprits whose irresponsible conduct and bad leadership created the problem.
5. We are making this appeal emboldened by the fact that we are addressing our brothers and sisters, in Africa, who are the architects of their own destiny, as enshrined in your constitution. The people of Swaziland are also yearning for the same freedoms and power to exercise their citizenship rights to elect a government of their choice.
Our position and demands are firm therefore that
· the current system of governance in Swaziland called Tinkhundla and its multitudes of committees and sub committees be dissolved and replaced by a negotiated and inclusive interim or transitional government made up of the best leadership assets that the country could offer.
· The purpose of the interim or transitional government would be (1) to revive the economy and implement whatever measures required mobilising the country to go to work (2) to create the necessary conditions for popular participation in the development of a new constitution, (3) to hold free and fair elections that would produce a democratic government
We believe that for any government to seek to bail out the current Swazi government without the articulated conditions of organized civil, political and trade union organizations would amount to investing in corruption and the continued repression of an entire people. The movement’s leaders and members are committed to the attainment of a sustainable and responsible solution to the crisis in Swaziland and would face whatever sacrifices our situation demands to lift our country out of the current financial and governance crisis and lay the necessary foundation to build a sustainable democratic state.
Issued by Swaziland United Democratic Movement,
Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic organizations,
Peoples United Democratic Movement,
Ngwane National Liberatory Congress,
Swaziland National Association of Teachers,
Swaziland Federation of Labour,
Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions,
Swaziland Democracy Campaign