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Showing posts with label Khoabane Pinky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Khoabane Pinky. Show all posts

Monday, 4 July 2011


Times Live, South Africa

By Pinky Khoabane

3 July 2011


Use bailout to save Swazis from king

If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know that I don't care too much for monarchies. These potentates areout of step with the democratic ethos of the modern world. I detest the idea that we have human beings who do little of what we mere mortals call work and yet they possess the bulk of their country's wealth.

I dislike the fact that while the majority of the world's workers toil in excruciating conditions to bring home a meagre salary, we have a handful of people whose jobs constitute cutting ribbons and opening crèches in return for large monetary rewards.

Whether we are talking about the queen of England or the young men in the poverty-stricken Swaziland and Lesotho or indeed the one inside our borders in KwaZulu-Natal, the tragic reality is that we have here a bunch of people who live off the sweat of their subjects with absolutely no accountability.

These monarchs are a law unto themselves. They are not held to the same standards as other rulers, who would be kicked out of office if they didn't meet their citizens' expectations.

You can imagine my temperature levels, then, at the news that South Africa was considering bailing Swaziland out from its economic quagmire.

The mooted figure is R10-billion, although this has been disputed. You see, this small country of 1.4 million is near financial collapse, with a budget deficit of 14.3% according to the International Monetary Fund. Its public servants' wage bill eats away at 18% of its GDP, more than any other country in Africa.

Ministers and public servants are appointed at the whim of the king. We only have to cast our memory back to the sacking of justice minister Ndumiso Mamba for allegations of an affair with one of the king's wives, to see the rot in that tiny country.

Against this financial morass is a king who lives large. He collects a fleet of women, flashy cars and property and has amassed wealth estimated at R200-million. In fact, I would go so far as to partly blame him for the country's woes.

The country wouldn't be where it is today if this young man spent less.

This is a kingdom where there are state-sanctioned human rights abuses, including the abduction of young girls who are forced into marriage. There is an absolute disregard for the rule of law. This is a country in which the government does not honour court decisions. Political parties are banned. Unions are allowed to operate but their activities are curtailed by a royal decree that prohibits political marches and public meetings.

While it has become customary for the conditions of such bailouts to include cuts in state expenditure and other economic reforms, as has been seen in the case of Greece in recent months, South Africa needs to go further.

It needs to demand that this king auction off the bulk of his wealth to help resuscitate the economy. Failure to address his personal spending would render the conditions useless. It is imperative that his runaway spending be curbed and the cuts be stipulated in the contract governing this loan.

If it were me, I would even include a clause relating to his marriages. The king is reported to have 14 wives and 27 children and each year he chooses a wife from the annual reed dance. This tradition is not financially sustainable in today's world.

It is unacceptable that South Africans have to bail out a country whose main man has siphoned off this obscene amount from its citizens.

South Africa must be firm in its demand for political reforms in that country.

It must take proactive steps to ensure that Swaziland complies with the terms of the bailout. King Mswati and his government cannot be left to implement those conditions. They have a record for disregarding the rule of law, their judiciary and clean governance.

The International Labour Organisation sent labour experts to help draft amendments to a labour legislation which sought to ban labour strikes; South Africa has to do the same.

South Africa has massive problems and its citizens will feel aggrieved at having to fork out billions to help a big spender, but failure to help the Swazis will result in another influx of economic refugees which it can ill afford.

See also



Sunday, 8 August 2010


It’s good to see that now that the sordid details of the Swazi Royal Family sex scandal have had a good airing people are turning their attention to what it says about King Mswati III and the kingdom he rules.

Interestingly, some of the harshest criticism about ‘that horrid little country called the Kingdom of Swaziland’, comes right on Swaziland’s doorstep in neighbouring South Africa.

Pinky Khoabane, writing in the Times, South Africa, reminds readers that Swaziland, ruled by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, 'is where human-rights violations take place daily with little world attention given to them. Unlike Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, King Mswati III and his government can do as they please with his subjects.

‘From abducting young girls for forced marriages, to a clampdown on political dissent and labour movements, you have a country that should be on a full-time human rights watch, and yet isn’t.

‘You have a country whose activities should be firmly on the media's radar, but isn’t - except, of course, when the king picks up another wife at the annual reed dance, where thousands of half-naked Swazi virgins dance for him. How absolutely revolting!

‘You can imagine how thrilled some of us were then to hear that he had been cheated on.

‘News of the infidelity of the king’s 12th wife would have come as music to the ears of many - men and women alike. Women, because they are sick and tired of the cultural claptrap of polygamy which is being used to justify the infidelity of men. Men, too, feel aggrieved by a king who wants to take all the beautiful girls for himself.

‘It was reported on Sunday that Mswati’s wife Mswati Nothando Dube, [also known as Inkosikati LaDube], 22, was caught bonking Swaziland’s minister of justice, Ndumiso Mamba.

'If this is shown to be true I say: go for it girl. In fact, I say: all you girls waiting in long queues just to have a decent chat with your husbands, not to mention your claim to conjugal rights - while he’s busy cavorting with the entire nation of women he calls wives - must all find yourselves some toy boys.

‘I know that many of you reading this will take issue with me for promoting infidelity but please, give me a break. All these polygamists are involved in socially sanctioned cheating and deserve nothing less.

‘This situation is ridiculous and must be draining - physically, emotionally and otherwise - even for the man.

‘Let me illustrate.

‘King Mswati III is reported to have 14 wives - and that is if there’s somebody who can still keep track of them. If we are to assume that he visits a wife a day - and this is really pushing it - that makes it a fortnightly visit to each of the wives and his children.’

Khoabane goes on, ‘Here’s a little word of advice to the king and all the polygamists out there: women have had enough. They want the devotion of a husband unfettered by other wives. They will not wait any longer.’

Click here to read the full article.