SA considering Swazi loan request

2011-06-24 07:25

The South African government is considering a request for a loan by Swaziland, the international relations and co-operation department said yesterday.

Spokesperson Saul Molobi said talks over whether to grant the request had begun.

Swaziland, which neighbours South Africa, is the continent’s last absolute monarchy and is led by King Mswati III. It is in the throes of a financial crisis.

Reuters reported that, according to Swazi dissident groups, Mswati was seeking a R10 billion loan, but that Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had said it was too early to pin-point the figure.

Citing the International Monetary Fund, Reuters reported that Swaziland had a budget deficit of 14.3% of GDP and that its economy was “stuck in the doldrums”.

Mswati has been widely accused of repressing human rights, and harassing and jailing pro-democracy activists.

There were protests against him earlier this year when the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the ANC Youth League came out in support of groups seeking regime change.

The youth league condemned South Africa’s “illegitimate” relations with Swaziland.

At its national general council in September, the ANC resolved to have a “full discussion” on the Swazi situation.

Many delegates felt “strongly” about the repressive situation there.

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