2011-06-30 16:32:26

A struggle ignored

The Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa have raised their concern regarding news of a request by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland for a financial bailout by the South African Treasury.

It is understood that an amount of R10 Billion is needed to keep the Swazi Government afloat and the administration from collapsing.

The SACBC bishops point out that Swaziland is currently in the throes of an unprecedented financial and societal crisis. It has the highest HIV & AIDS infection rate in the world (26%); the lowest life expectancy in the world (32 years); an unemployment rate of 40% and rising; and extreme poverty with 70% of its population living below the poverty line of less than US$6 a day; a State of Emergency that has curtailed freedom of expression, association and dissent for the last 37 years.

The bishops express their belief that the Swaziland Government must abandon or at least reform the “Tinkhundla” system of governance of royal favour and alliance which – they say - is a breeding place for corruption and greed. Monies intended for alleviating the people’s suffering are diverted to support the lavish lifestyle of the monarchy.

South Africa meanwhile has denied it has approved King Mswati III's request for a bailout loan. He had already reportedly turned to the IMF which said he must do more to slim down Africa’s most bloated bureaucracy if he wanted any aid to stay afloat.

Meanwhile news today reveals that the Swazi government has now run out of money to send its cancer patients to better equipped clinics and hospitals in neighboring South Africa.

Linda Bordoni spoke to exiled Swazi opposition activist, Mfanafuthi Tsena about the situation in his homeland. She asked him why, with such a dramatic human rights record, the plight of the Swazi people is hardly ever in the international news…

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